I really dislike getting gift cards over the holidays…
… but I love that everyone else gets them. Because then it means they try to sell them.
And that means I get to buy gift cards at a huge discount on sites like Raise.
I use Gift Card Granny to do my research because they aggregate data from different marketplaces, including Raise. They have a comprehensive list of cards, their leaderboard and historical tracking is kind of useful, and it's easy to navigate. They don't sell any cards themselves, they get referral commissions when you buy a card through their site.
Every so often, I load up Gift Card Granny, look at the popular gift cards and biggest drops, and buy them for the places we regularly spend money. Gift Card Granny searches 13 sites, including the bigger marketplaces like ABC Gift Cards, Raise, CardCash, Cardpool, SaveYa, and GiftCardZen. (they're not the only one, for the longest time I was using search site named CardBear)
How Big Are These Savings?
Ever buy shoes from Payless? Doesn't it feel good to Payless? I routinely see gift cards available for 30% off.
Love the movies? AMC and Regal Cinemas have gift cards that are in the double digits.
I stock up on Home Depot and Lowe's gift cards on the regular because those cards are as good as cash money for me.
I'm looking right now and there's a 1-800-Flowers gift card at nearly 40% off. People look to sell gift cards because they can't use them, you get to benefit.
I routinely look to buy gift cards to Netflix, or to stores that sell Netflix gift cards. I can log into my Netflix account and load up the value of the card directly to my account, where it will draw down on a monthly basis. It is one my favorite Netflix hacks.
We love going to Seasons 52 for happy hour. Their food is good, the drinks are tasty, and the prices are great. Seasons 52 is a Darden Restaurant and you can get Darden Restaurant gift cards at 12-18% off. It's a no-brainer.
How am I protected against fraud?
The biggest risk in buying gift cards is that you get a bad card.
Whether it's the wrong balance, not active, or whatever… it's on the shoulders of the marketplace. I usually end up buying a card through Raise, since Darden cards aren't available on any of the other sites GiftCardGranny searches and Raise offers a 100% money back guaranteed for 100 days. “Gift cards on our marketplace are provided by verified sellers. We guarantee all cards are valid at the point of sale or your money back.”
I have yet to get a bad card so I haven't put the guarantee through its paces.
GiftCardGranny isn't a direct seller, they're just a search engine, so you have to review the policy of the marketplace you buy from.
Last minute tips…
- Some cards are digital, some are physical. If it's digital, delivery if usually pretty quick so I buy them as I need them. The terminology will vary for the digital cards (digital, electronic, voucher, egift, etc.) but the marketplace will tell you how long it takes to reach you. They typically say within 24 hours. Physical cards are mailed, which means 3-14 days.
- Double check protection policies. They're not all the same.
- Get something to organize the cards. I use a business card book that I got from my last job, it's really convenient and I keep an index of cards on a piece of paper near the front. This ensures I never lose a card or forget that I have it.
- Don't buy like crazy! I only buy cards that I know I will use in the next week or two. Most fraud protections are long but I don't want to buy a card and then sit on it for months.
For a limited time, Raise has a referral program where you get $5 off your first purchase in 30 days (and I get $5 when you make that purchase).