The holidays are the best time to buy gift cards for loved ones or even yourself — especially for popular restaurants and retailers.
Not only are gift cards at the top of just about everyone’s wish list every holiday season, they’re an even better choice because of all the bonus offers.
The extra savings make gift cards an easy and quick way to check off your holiday shopping list, while maximizing your holiday budget.
And who says gift cards have to be gifts? If you have a favorite restaurant or retailer offering a gift card bonus, prepay for goods and services now…and enjoy the bonus for yourself.
It’s important to note that most (if not, all) “bonus cards” are not gift cards. They have completely different terms and conditions. Unlike a gift card, bonus cards usually have a minimum purchase requirement, date restrictions and/or menu exclusions. Many bonus cards can’t be redeemed until after the holidays, starting on Jan. 1, 2022.
Be sure to always review the fine print on the bonus offer, before purchasing the gift card — especially because most gift cards cannot be returned.
Tips for getting the best holiday gift card deals
The gift card bonus is only available at participating locations, while supplies last.
Most of the gift card bonus offers are available through Dec. 31. However, some of the bonus promotions end earlier, so check first.
Most bonus offers are either available online or in-store only. However, some may be available both online and in-store. Always check for any additional fees online, including shipping or activation fees. The easiest and quickest way to get gift cards is to purchase digital gift cards online.
Check the terms of the purchase requirement for the bonus. In some cases, you may get more bonuses by breaking down a large gift card purchase. For example, if the bonus is given for a gift card purchase of $25 or more and you’re buying a $50 gift card, why not purchase two $25 gift cards in separate transactions? You just doubled the bonus! However, many businesses offer a bonus for every $25 purchase (or some other specified amount) in gift cards. As a result, there’s no need for multiple purchases — just be sure you purchase gift cards in the proper amount for the most bonuses.
National and regional chains aren’t the only businesses in the gift-giving mood. You may find local restaurants or businesses in your neighborhood with bonus gift card offers, so stop by your favorite spots for more potential savings. Gift card purchases are a great way to support local businesses.
Finally, review our tips on how to maximize the value of your gift cards.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Many bonuses are doubled for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or all weekend between the two shopping holidays. It’s the best time to stock up on gift cards and enjoy lots of bonus offers.
Restaurant gift card deals for 2021
Here’s a round-up of restaurant gift card bonus offers from popular national chains:
Restaurant: Minimum Gift Card Purchase = Bonus Offer
Abuelo’s: $50 = $10 VIP Card
Another Broken Egg Cafe: $50 = $10 Bonus Gift Card
Applebee’s: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
bartaco: $50 = $10 Bonus
Benihana: $50 = $10 Promo Card / $200 = $60 Promo Card
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse: $100 = $25 Bonus Card + 20% off VIP Card
Blanco: $100 = $20 Bonus Card
Bonefish Grill: $50 = $10 eBonus Card
Buca di Beppo: $50 = $10 Reward Card
Buffalo Wild Wings: $30 = Blazin’ Bonus worth $5, $15, $25 or $100
BurgerFi: $25 = $5 Bonus Gift
Carrabba’s Italian Grill: $50 = $10 eBonus Card
The Cheesecake Factory: $50 = $15 Promo e-Card
Chili’s: $50 = $10 eBonus
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Cold Stone Creamery: $50 = $15 Bonus e-Card
Del Taco: $30 = FREE small size combo meal / $100 = Four (4) FREE small size combo meals
Denny’s: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Einstein Bros. Bagels: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar: $100 = $20 Bonus Card
Flower Child: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
Fogo de Chão: $125 = $25 Bonus Card / $300 = $75 Bonus Card / $400 = $100 Bonus Card
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop: $25 = $5 Bonus
Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant: $50 = $10 eBonus Card
Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria: $50 = $10 Bonus Card / $100 = $20 Bonus Card
Jamba: $25 = $5 Reward Card
Kona Grill: $50 = $10 Dining Dollars / $100 = $25 Dining Dollars
Logan’s Roadhouse: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
Maggiano’s Little Italy: $100 = $20 Bonus Card
Metro Diner: $50 = $10 Bonus Bucks
Modern Market: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Native Foods Cafe: $50 = $10 gift card
Noodles & Company: $25 = $5 Bonus Gift Card
Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom: $50 = $10 eBonus Card
On the Border: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
Outback Steakhouse: $50 = $10 off coupon
Panera Bread: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
Pei Wei Asian Kitchen: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Portillo’s: $50 = $10 Promo Card
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery: $50 = $10 eBonus Card
Ruth’s Chris Steak House: $200 = $40 Holiday Bonus Card
Seasons 52: $500 or more = 10% bonus gift card
Shake Shack: $25 = FREE shake
Snarf’s Sandwiches: $25 = $5 Bonus Gift Card
Subway: $25 = FREE 6″ sub
STK Steakhouse: $50 = $10 Dining Dollars / $100 = $25 Dining Dollars
Taco Bell: Online – $25 or more = 10% off / In-store – $25 = FREE combo meal
Torchy’s Tacos: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Retail gift card deals for 2021
Business: Minimum Gift Card Purchase = Bonus Offer
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: $50 = $10 Snack Pass
The Children’s Place: $50 = $10 Gift Coupon / $75 = $15 Gift Coupon / $100 = $20 Gift Coupon
DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse): $50 = $10 Bonus Card / $100 = $25 Bonus Card
Massage Envy: $100 = $20 Promo Card
Gift card fine print
Remember, price and participation may vary by location. Review the fine print for limitations, including minimum purchase requirements, date restrictions, or exclusions first. Also, many businesses don’t allow you to combine multiple bonus cards in a single transaction. Most (if not all) bonuses are not valid until Jan. 1, 2021.
Looking for more gift card tips? Read these articles: