You don’t have to pay full price for gift cards, here’s how
by Zoe Stabler, Senior Writer
Whether you buy them as gifts, use them to buy as presents or just use them for your everyday shopping, there are several ways to get a discount on gift cards. With Christmas just around the corner, it’s a really popular time to buy gift cards.
The good thing is, you don’t have to pay full price for them – and those savings can add up. Here’s how it’s done.
Why use discounted gift cards?
Gift cards don’t have to be given as gifts, despite their name. You can buy discounted gift cards for places you shop at (or restaurants you visit) to save you some money.
You can use gift cards in the place of cash, which can allow you to still make the most of other deals, such as Meerkat Movies at the cinema or Clubcard Prices at Tesco.
However, you shouldn’t let yourself fall into the trap of buying a gift card for the sake of a good discount or good cashback.
Ways to get discounts on gift cards:
There are five main ways that you can get a discount on gift cards, they fall broadly into two categories: discounts on gift cards and cashback on gift cards, explained more below.
Here are our best ways to get discounts on gift cards:
- Cashback apps/sites: You can use cashback sites and apps like JamDoughnut and Cheddar to buy gift cards, where you’ll earn cashback on the value. This is typically between 1% and 5%, though sometimes can be a lot higher
- Cashback site payouts: You can use the money you earn on cashback apps like TopCashback and Quidco to buy gift cards – and you’ll get a small boost on top
- Get gift cards in the sales: You can often get selected gift cards cheaper in places like supermarkets, Amazon or Costco – they can offer as much as 15% or 20% off
- Buy second-hand gift cards: There are sites that buy your gift cards for cash, and then sell them on at a discount
- Buy gift cards with a cashback card: You can earn cashback on gift cards by buying them with a cashback debit or credit card. You can stack this with other methods in this list – such as buying gift cards that are on sale or using cashback apps
The different types of discounted gift cards
Discounts on gift cards
This is exactly what it sounds like — you get money off the retail value of a gift card. For example, you could get a £10 gift card at 15% off (often the case at Tesco), so you’d pay £8.50.
Boosts on gift cards
This is where you can get a boost on your gift card amount, so you might get an extra 4% added to a £50 gift card. This would mean that you’d pay £50 for a £52 gift card.
This is sometimes when you buy from retailers, or if you transfer a cashback payout into a gift card.
Cashback on gift cards
Cashback on gift cards earns you a certain level of cashback for the value of the gift card. So you could earn 5% on a £10 gift card, getting you 50p cashback on the gift card. The gift card doesn’t cost you any less, but you get money in your cashback app
1. Get discounted gift cards with cashback sites
Cashback apps like JamDoughnut, Cheddar and, more recently, HyperJar let you earn cashback on gift cards you purchase through their apps.
They work similarly to a traditional cashback site, except, instead of clicking through to make an individual transaction, you can buy a gift card at your chosen retailer with a set amount of cashback stated for each one.
TopGiftCards is a site that lets you purchase gift cards and earn cashback on them. This is run by TopCashback — it uses the same login and pays your cashback into the same cashback pot.
It’s really quick to choose and buy a gift card – you can do it using a debit or credit card and there isn’t any need to link your bank account. The cashback isn’t instant, but it only takes up to a day, so it’s faster than traditional cashback. I received the gift voucher as an email within a couple of minutes.
TopGiftCards also lets you email the gift card to someone else, which would work if you wanted to buy it as a gift.
£15 welcome offer
If you’re new to TopCashback, you can get a £15 welcome offer when you sign up using this link. You have to spend at least £15 to get the cashback, but we tested it and buying a gift card using TopGiftCards works.
JamDoughnut is an app which lets you earn cashback on gift vouchers you buy through the app. You earn cashback on the transaction instantly and, in our experience, the gift card is available to use right away, although sometimes it can take a couple of hours.
You don’t get a physical gift card with JamDoughnut – you’re given a barcode that can be accessed directly in the app, so you’d have to print it out if you want to give it as a gift.
£4 welcome bonus
We’ve managed to get a special offer to get newbies a boosted £4 in their jar when you sign up for JamDoughnut using our referral link. You get 200 points instantly added to your account and another 200 points added a few days later by the JamDoughnut team.
HyperJar has recently launched the ability to buy gift cards through the app and earn instant cashback. These rates are a little higher than both Cheddar and JamDoughnut’s rates. This doesn’t make much of an impact once or twice, but would rack up!
Gift cards that you purchase are available to view instantly through the app, and you’ll have to print it out if you want to give it as a gift.
Similar to JamDoughnut, Cheddar lets you buy gift cards through its app, which you’ll get instant cashback on. You can also link up your bank account to receive cashback on transactions you make day-to-day.
Once you purchase a gift card, it’s available to view immediately within the app. You can also add it to your Google or Apple Wallet. As with JamDoughnut, you get a digital gift voucher, so you’d have to print it out if you want to give it as a gift.
In our experience, JamDoughnut pays out a slightly higher cashback rate on gift cards.
2. As a cashback payout
If you already use cashback sites and apps, it may surprise you that you can sometimes cash out with a gift card. With this option, you will get a bit of a boost on your cashback, so it can be a worthwhile choice if you’re hoping to buy from a specific retailer.
TopCashback and Quidco both offer this option, with 4-6% boosted for supermarkets and up to 9% with other retailers. Neither JamDoughnut nor Cheddar offer it.
3. Get discounted gift cards in shops
You can often get discounted gift cards on sale at different retailers, including Amazon, supermarkets and Costco.
Tesco often offers this promotion on a number of its gift cards. I’ve managed to pick up Pizza Express ones for 15% off in-store before, and at the time of writing, it recently offered 15% off e-Gft cards for Uber, Uber Eats, boohoo and New Look.
We have a page of gift card deals and offers that we update regularly, so it’s worth having a look to see if you can get a good discount on gift cards.
Amazon also offers discounted gift cards around shopping events like Black Friday, Prime Day and over the Christmas period. This can include the likes of Apple, Netflix and Airbnb.
It’s also worth looking on Amazon for boosts to it’s own gift cards or top-up – we’ve a separate Amazon deals page where we share the best ones.
If you have a Costco membership (or have a friend with one), you can also get gift cards at a discount in-store or online. These are typically for higher amounts, but you can get quite a good discount.
On my latest trip to Costco, it had £100 in Nando’s or Pizza Express gift cards for £83.99, £40 in Vue gift cards for £33.99 and £50 in ODEON gift cards for £42.99.
Of course, the Costco discounts are good, but you have to buy a high value in gift cards and you’ll want to factor in the membership fee if you don’t already have a membership. This is £30 for the year for two people, and you can each take two people in with you. So if you get one, sharing is caring!
You should also keep an eye out for retailers discounting their own gift cards. We’ve seen Costa, Cineworld and more offer bonuses on top when you buy their gift cards or a discount on the face value. Again, we’ll share the best of these on our gift card offers page and in our newsletter.
4. Use a dedicated gift card sale site
There are a handful of sites that sell secondhand gift cards. The idea is that they buy unwanted gift cards, and then sell them at a discounted price.
You can get fairly good discounts on gift cards, such as 10% off at ODEON and 5% off at Uber, but you sometimes have to buy quite large quantities and stock can be limited.
Cardyard is an example of these sites, though there are loads of other ones.
Cardyard claims to verify all the gift cards but be careful to check for protections in case you buy one that doesn’t work.
5. Buy with a cashback card
If you’ve got a cashback card, such as Chase, you can earn money back on gift cards you purchase by using your debit card to make the purchase. In the case of some of these options, you can do this in addition and earn extra cashback.
This could include using your Chase card to make a gift card purchase in a supermarket while they have a sale, in Costco or online to buy them using TopGiftCards.
However, with JamDoughnut, you’ll earn less cashback by paying with a card than by connecting your bank, while Cheddar only connects to your bank account with Open Banking, so it’s not an option.
Bear in mind if you’re heading to Costco with a cashback credit card that it doesn’t take non-Visa credit cards.
We have a whole guide on the best cashback debit and credit cards.
Risks of buying gift cards
Gift cards can often be used in the place of cash, but they aren’t very secure – if you have £50 in a gift card for a retailer that then goes bust, you’ll likely lose the money.
As well as this, gift cards tend to have expiry dates, however, some retailers are ditching expiry dates on their gift cards.
Plus, if you have to return an item, you’ll usually get your refund on a gift card. You don’t want to be stuck with a £200 Currys voucher if you need to return a vacuum that sucks (or doesn’t).
To avoid these risks, you can make sure you only buy gift cards you’ll definitely use, and in full. If you’re using a cashback app, don’t keep a lot of cashback racked up in the account. We have more on the risks of gift cards in our dedicated guide.
Gift card hacks
If you’re looking for a specific retailer that you want a discounted gift card for, such as a discounted Amazon gift card or discounted Netflix gift card, you could instead buy a discounted one for a retailer that lets you buy other gift cards, such as a supermarket.
You can then use this gift card to buy the gift card that you want.
Not all retailers will allow you to buy a gift card with a gift card, so it’s worth double checking with someone at the till.
Also, remember that some retailers are exactly the same, so you can go for higher cashback or a better discount. A Waitrose gift card can be used at John Lewis (and vice versa), and Home Sense and TK Maxx gift cards can be used at either retailer.