Once again, gift cards are at the top of many people’s wish list this holiday season. Gift cards are always an efficient and convenient way to check off your holiday shopping list. Best of all, it pays to give gift cards because of the bonus offers, this time of year. Most of the gift cards must be purchased by December 31, in order to receive the bonus — some promos end earlier, so check first. In addition, some promos are available online or in-store only, while others are available either way. (For true savings, it’s better to buy the gift cards in-store, rather than pay any potential shipping charges.)
We’ve compiled a round-up of bonus offers from popular national restaurants and retailers. However, there may be local deals to be found, too, so stop by your favorite neighborhood spot and ask. Plus, review our tips on how to maximize the promos at the end of the list.
- Merchant – Minimum gift card purchase = bonus offer
- Abuelo’s: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
- Applebee’s: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
- Bonefish Grill: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
- Chick-fil-A: $8 2018 Calendar = FREE food and/or drinks each month in 2018
- Children’s Place: $40 = $10 off coupon
- Chili’s: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
- Chipotle Mexican Grill – $30 (from Nov. 20 to Dec. 24) = BOGO FREE burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos with gift card receipt through Dec. 31
- Cinemark Theatres: $35 = $5 Concession Bonus Coupon
- Denny’s: $25 = $50 in Denny’s coupons
- Einstein Bros. Bagels: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
- Longhorn Steakhouse: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
- Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
- Olive Garden: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
- Outback Steakhouse: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
- Panera Bread: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
- P.F. Chang’s China Bistro: $100 = $20 Bonus Card
- Red Lobster: $25 = $10 off Coupon or FREE appetizer
- Red Robin: $50 = $10 Bonus Buck Reward / $25 = $5 Bonus Buck Reward
- Ruby Tuesday: $50 = $15 Bonus Coupon
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House: $250 0r more = 10% Bonus
- Shoney’s: $25 = $5 Shoney’s Bucks
- Steak ‘n Shake: $20 = $5 Certificate
- Taco Bell: $25 = FREE Combo Meal
- Texas Roadhouse: $30 = $5 Bonus eGift Card
- T.G.I. Friday’s: $25 = Bonus Bites Card worth $5 to $25 and FREE Redbox rental
- Wendy’s: $2 Frosty Key Tag = FREE Jr. Frosty with any purchase in 2018
Remember, price and participation may vary by location. It’s also important to note that most, if not all, of the offers are for “bonus cards” — not gift cards. Review the fine print for limitations, including minimum purchase requirements, date restrictions or menu exclusions first. Also, many businesses don’t allow you to combine multiple bonus cards in a single transaction. Plus, most (if not all) bonuses are not valid until Jan. 1, 2018.
Who says gift cards have to be gifts? If you have a favorite restaurant or merchant offering a gift card bonus, “pre-pay” for goods and services now…and “gift” yourself the bonus.
Plus, get more bonuses by breaking down a large purchase. For example, if the bonus is for a $25 (or more) gift card and you’re buying a $50 gift card, why not purchase two $25 gift cards in separate transactions instead? You just doubled your bonus. However, many businesses give you a bonus for each gift card purchased at a specified amount (usually $25 or $50) — so there’s no need for multiple transactions. As always, clarify first before purchasing, especially because gift cards are typically non-refundable.