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6 Legit Ways to Earn Free Gift Cards in 2021

Who doesn’t love shopping with gift cards? Whether you receive gift cards as a present or you win them in a raffle, there’s no denying that buying something without spending your own money is incredibly satisfying.

It’s easy to save money by buying discounted gift cards or exchanging unwanted cards for gift cards you actually want. However, if you don’t have much disposable income or gift cards to begin with, these options won’t work.

Ways to Earn Free Gift Cards

Thankfully, there are a number of ways to get free gift cards if you know where to look. With the following apps, cash-back credit cards, and side hustles, it’s easier than ever before to earn free gift cards to your favorite stores.

1. Cash-Back Apps That Give Free Gift Cards

One of the easiest ways to get free gift cards is to install apps that pay you for shopping. Cash-back reward apps are nifty because you don’t have to drastically change your shopping habits to earn rewards. Just install the following apps, buy eligible products, and enjoy free gift cards for your efforts.

Ibotta

  • Pros: Many retail partners and a wide range of gift cards
  • Cons: High cash-out threshold
  • Free Gift Card Options: Amazon, Walmart, Lowes, Target, Starbucks, and dozens of other options

According to the USDA, American households spent 9.7% percent of their disposable income on food in 2018 — 5% on food at home. Clearly, groceries contribute to a significant portion of annual household spending.

Apps like Ibotta help cut down on grocery bills by rewarding users with rebates for purchasing specific products. With the free Ibotta Android or IOS app, it’s easy to find special offers at your grocery store and to earn rebates without changing your shopping habits.

Ibotta works in four simple steps:

  1. Download Ibotta.
  2. Add Offers & Shop. Use the Ibotta app to preselect products you plan on buying.
  3. Earn Cash Back. Upload your receipt with the Ibotta app to show proof of purchase for eligible rebate products. You can also link a loyalty card to Ibotta or make mobile in-app purchases.
  4. Redeem Rewards. Cash out with Ibotta to PayPal, Venmo, or into a variety of gift cards once you reach $20.

Ibotta has hundreds of partners and goes beyond the grocery store. Users earn cash back for shopping at stores like Walmart, Target, CVS, Amazon, Walgreens, restaurants, and plenty of other retailers.

Check out our Ibotta review to learn more about this app.

Fetch Rewards

  • Pros: Low cash-out threshold and a wide variety of brand partners
  • Cons: Lower-paying special offers than Ibotta
  • Free Gift Card Options: Dozens of retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, CVS, IHOP, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Airbnb

Fetch Rewards is like Ibotta because you earn points for shopping at retail partners and upload receipts to show proof of purchase.

However, while Ibotta is retailer-specific in terms of reward eligibility, Fetch Rewards is brand-specific. As long as your receipt contains products from Fetch Rewards retail partners, you earn points.

This difference makes Fetch Rewards much easier to earn cash back with than Ibotta. Plus, Fetch Rewards partners with dozens of brands in multiple shopping categories, so it’s easy to save money.

Popular Fetch Rewards brands include:

  • Kraft
  • Pepsi
  • Huggies
  • Maxwell House
  • Heinz
  • Hellmann’s
  • Knorr

Uploading receipts or buying sponsored offers in the Fetch Rewards app are the main ways to earn points. Users cash out for a variety of free gift cards once they reach $3 in their accounts.

This low cash-out threshold and lenient brand requirement for receipts make Fetch Rewards a mostly passive way to earn free gift cards. As long as you remember to upload your receipts, you’ll save money with Fetch Rewards.

Drop

  • Pros: Drop is completely hands-off passive once you link a card. Shoppers can also double-dip on credit card cash back and Drop points.
  • Cons: Requires an in-app purchase to unlock lower gift card rewards
  • Free Gift Card Options: Popular options include Amazon, Starbucks, Old Navy, American Eagle, Sephora, Uber Eats, and more

Drop is a free rewards app for Android and IOS that is the perfect way to passively earn free gift cards.

Like Ibotta or Fetch Rewards, Drop pays users in cash back for shopping at specific partners. However, Drop isn’t a receipt-scanning app. Rather, saving money with Drop takes five simple steps:

  1. Download Drop. Create a free Drop account after you download the app.
  2. Connect a Credit or Debit Card. Connect the cards you do most of your shopping with to the Drop app. Drop uses the same level of encryption and security as your bank. Read more about Drop’s commitment to security.
  3. Select Your Favorite Brands. Choose five Drop partners you want to earn cash back from.
  4. Select Bonus Offers. Shop for sponsored offers that reward even more cash back within the Drop app.
  5. Redeem Drop Points. Earn free gift cards with your Drop points.

Drop has a fairly extensive list of partners, including Walmart, Starbucks, Target, Chipotle, Kroger, and Whole Foods. Cash-back amounts vary between retailers, but expect anywhere from 0.5% to 1.5% cash back for your loyalty.

Unfortunately, you have to purchase an in-app sponsored offer to unlock $5 gift card rewards. Otherwise, the lowest gift card denominations are $25.

However, Drop regularly rotates its in-app offers. Plus, once you link a card to Drop, this app is a completely passive way to earn free gift cards.

Shopkick

  • Pros: Multiple ways to earn; $1 gift card reward options
  • Cons: Not passive like Fetch Rewards or Drop
  • Free Gift Card Options: Shopkick offers many gift card options, including Amazon, Uber, Best Buy, Target, Starbucks, and Nike

If you want to earn money and free gift cards by working as a secret shopper or buying specific products, Shopkick is an excellent app to try.

Shopkick is a versatile rewards app that makes it easy to earn free gift cards by completing a number of tasks. To earn “kicks,” Shopkick’s in-app currency, users can:

  • Enter Stores. Earn kicks just for walking into stores the Shopkick app highlights.
  • Scan Barcodes. Shopkick rewards kicks for scanning specific items.
  • Upload Receipts. Earn kicks for purchasing sponsored products and uploading a receipt through the Shopkick app.
  • Shop Online & In-Store. Like Drop, Shopkick works with various retail partners and lets you earn kicks for shopping online through the app. You also earn cash back if you link a credit card to Shopkick and shop in-store at a partner.
  • Watch Videos. Watch videos in the Shopkick app to earn even more.

The number of available Shopkick gigs will vary depending on where you live. This free rewards app is an effective way to gradually earn free gift cards for shopping and exploring your city.

Plus, $1 gift card rewards are available for only 250 kicks, which is a very low cash-out threshold in the world of reward apps.


2. Credit Card Rewards

Signing up for the right credit card is a great way to earn cash back or to unlock a variety of travel rewards.

However, certain credit cards also offer gift cards as reward options. If you want to unlock more free gift cards and other benefits, the following credit cards are worth considering.

Capital One Quicksilver

  • Pros: Earn unlimited cash back and redeem rewards at any time. You can use this card on any purchase to earn cash back.
  • Cons: This card requires good to excellent credit; rewards accumulate at a fixed rate
  • Free Gift Card Options: Amazon as well as dozens of other retailers, restaurants, and hotel chains

The Capital One Quicksilver credit card is a cash-back rewards card that has a lot to offer. If you’re looking for a zero-fee credit card that earns cash back and offers gift card rewards, this is it.

Capital One Quicksilver benefits include:

  • Welcome Bonus. Earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 within the first three months of having this card.
  • Unlimited Cash Back. 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases. Cash-back rewards don’t expire for open accounts.
  • Low Fees. Pay $0 in account fees and 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
  • Foreign Transactions. Don’t pay fees on foreign transaction fees with this card.

Cardholders can redeem cash back at any time with this card. Redeeming points for cash or to cover a recent purchase are options. However, gift cards are also on the table, and the ability to earn unlimited cash back is what makes this card so powerful.

Read our Capital One Quicksilver credit card review to learn more about this rewards card.

Blue Cash Preferred Card

  • Pros: Higher cash-back rewards and a better welcome bonus than the Capital One Quicksilver card
  • Cons: A $95 annual fee and high cash-out threshold
  • Free Gift Card Options: Merchants include Walmart, Sam’s Club, Best Buy, Delta, The Home Depot, and Macy’s. View the complete list of reward options to learn more.

The Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express is another excellent way to earn cash-back rewards and free gift cards. Despite the annual fee of $95, this card is potentially more lucrative than the Capital One Quicksilver card if you take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Welcome Bonus. Earn $250 after spending $1,000 within the first three months.
  • Earn Tiered Cash Back. Enjoy 6% cash back on select streaming and digital media purchases and at U.S. supermarkets. Plus, earn 3% cash back at gas stations and 1% cash back on everything else.
  • APR Offer. Pay 0% for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers.
  • Travel Benefits. Alongside cash back, cardholders gain 24/7 roadside assistance coverage, rental car loss and damage insurance coverage, and global concierge service when traveling more than 100 miles from home.

Earning 6% cash back caps at $6,000 per calendar year. However, if you reach this threshold, you still earn 1% cash back. Check out our Blue Cash Preferred card review to learn more about the benefits of this card.

Cash-back rewards are redeemable at $25. Reward options include a statement credit or gift card rewards. If you make use of the lucrative welcome bonus and tiered cash-back system, this is an excellent credit card to consider.

Chase Freedom Card

  • Pros: Gas stations and grocery stores have been quarterly categories in the past, and it’s generally easy to earn 5% cash back
  • Cons: 1% is on the lower end of everyday cash-back rewards
  • Free Gift Card Options: Reward options include Amazon, Apple Rewards, and more than 150 gift card options. Log in to your Chase account to view the complete list.

The Chase Freedom Card is a middle ground between Capital One Quicksilver and the Blue Cash Preferred Card.

This card offers an excellent balance of unlimited cash-back rewards as well as rotating bonus categories. If you’re willing to put in the work to activate each quarter’s bonus categories, this card is a great way to earn cash back and free gift cards.

Highlights of the Chase Freedom Card include:

  • Welcome Bonus. Earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 within the first three months.
  • Cash-Back Bonuses. Earn 5% cash back on special quarterly categories. Check out the cash-back reward calendar to find current special offers.
  • Unlimited Cash Back. Gain 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.
  • Low Fees. Pay $0 in account fees and 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.

Cardholders must activate their 5% cash back manually by the middle of the last month in each quarter. However, this minor bit of work is worth it if you make use of special categories during each quarter.

Check out our Chase Freedom review to get all the details about this rewards card.


3. Play & Test Websites or Apps

If you want to get paid to play video games, you’re in luck. There are a variety of ways to get free gift cards in exchange for playing mobile games or testing out apps.

These side hustles won’t make you rich. However, if you already spend time playing games, you might as well earn some free gift cards in the process.

Mistplay

  • Pros: An easy way to monetize an existing hobby if you’re a mobile gamer
  • Cons: Very slow to earn rewards
  • Free Gift Card Options: Redeem units for gift cards to Amazon, Best Buy, Cineplex, iTunes, or the Google Play Store

Mistplay is a free Android app that brands itself as “the loyalty program for gamers.” On Mistplay, players earn free gift cards for downloading and playing sponsored games. Here’s how Mistplay works:

  • Download Sponsored Games. Players download games they want to play from their Mistplay Mixlist. Mistplay offers a wide selection of games, including strategy games, card games, and single-player action games.
  • Advance In-Game. Players earn “units,” the in-app currency, for leveling up or completing missions in sponsored games.
  • Level Up On Mistplay. Players also earn units for leveling up their overall Mistplay account. As you download and play more games, your Mistplay level increases.
  • Redeem Units. Exchange units for a variety of free gift cards or prepaid visa cards.

Mistplay is not a fast way to earn gift cards. If you scan through reviews on the app store, you’ll see that common complaints include the time it takes to earn points and that points become harder to earn from a specific game the longer you play.

The key with Mistplay is you have to enjoy the games you play for the app to be worth it. If you like mobile gaming, this app is for you. Otherwise, stick with cash-back reward apps or credit cards to get gift cards for free.

Userfeel

  • Pros: High hourly rate
  • Cons: Sporadic work opportunities. This is a side gig, not a reliable source of income.
  • Free Gift Card Options: Amazon is the only gift card option. However, you can use PayPal cash to buy other gift cards.

Userfeel is a usability testing platform that helps web and mobile app designers optimize their user interface to provide better experiences. On Userfeel, users test apps or websites and submit recorded videos of their thoughts and opinions. Testers earn PayPal cash or Amazon gift cards for their work.

It’s a fairly simple process, but there are a few requirements to get started as a tester:

  • Equipment. Testers must have a Windows or Mac computer. Windows computers must be Windows 7 or newer. You must also have a built-in or external microphone.
  • Language. Testers are only sent projects in languages they are native speakers in.
  • Qualification Test. New testers must pass a qualification test that is unpaid. This test checks if you have a microphone and how effectively you can communicate your thoughts while navigating a website or app. This test determines your initial Userfeel rating. Your rating influences how often you receive usability tests.

Each test lasts approximately 10 to 20 minutes. Testers earn $10 for each successful test. Userfeel testers are not paid for a test if they fail to complete the assigned task, upload low-quality audio, or have a distraction interrupt their testing session.

It’s impossible to say how much money you will earn with UserFeel. Your rating influences job opportunities, but there are no hourly guarantees.


4. Trade In Your Stuff

If you want to get free gift cards quickly and don’t have time to hustle for them or to wait for cash-back rewards, there are other options.

Several major retailers have trade-in programs that let shoppers exchange a variety of products for free gift cards. If you have old electronics, books, or games, take a look at the following trade-in programs.

Amazon

  • Pros: Wide variety of trade-in products and a fast payout time
  • Cons: This option has limited earning potential
  • Free Gift Card Options: Amazon is the only option

The Amazon Trade-In program is an excellent way to make use of old electronic devices or books to earn free Amazon gift cards.

There are several categories that are eligible for trade-in, including:

  • Kindle devices
  • Tablets
  • Streaming devices
  • Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and Amazon Echo units
  • Home security devices
  • Smartphones
  • Gaming consoles and controllers
  • Books

Amazon has different condition requirements depending on the item you want to trade. The Conditions Criteria page has a breakdown of quality requirements for each category.

Submitting a product to the Trade-In program is easy and free. The process takes six steps:

  1. Choose an item to trade in. Search the Trade-In store for eligible items.
  2. Select the item’s condition.
  3. Choose what to do in the event your trade-in is evaluated to be a lower condition than you selected. Users can have the item returned for free or can continue with the trade-in at a lower valuation.
  4. Enter the address you are shipping from.
  5. Confirm your trade-in and print a free prepaid UPS shipping label.
  6. Ship your trade-in item by the date outlined in your submission.

Depending on your location, trade-ins might take up to 10 business days to arrive and process. After appraisal, you receive an email notification within two business days if your trade-in is accepted or not.

There are no shipping fees for this program. Amazon pays in Amazon gift cards for trade-ins, making this a great way to turn older devices into something useful for your wallet.

Target

  • Pros: Target’s gift card exchange platform is an excellent way to make use of unwanted gift cards
  • Cons: Like Amazon, this option has limited earning potential
  • Free Gift Card Options: Target gift cards

Target’s Trade-In program is similar to Amazon. The real decision here is if you prefer to earn free Target gift cards or if you prefer to shop on Amazon.

To use this program, start by finding your specific product on the Trade-In program’s website. After you get an appraisal, ship your item to Target with a free shipping label and receive a Target gift card for your efforts.

Target accepts fewer categories than Amazon. Eligible trade-in categories include:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Consoles
  • Wearable technology
  • MP3 players
  • Speakers

However, Target Trade-In also lets users trade in gift cards with a balance from a range of other brands in exchange for Target gift cards. Use the online store finder to find a Target that offers this program or lets you trade in other products directly in-store.

Target gift cards are valid in-store and on Target.com. If you frequently shop at Target, be sure to sign up for a Target REDcard and to use the trade-in program to maximize your savings.

Walmart

  • Pros: A simple way to save money on your next Walmart.com purchase
  • Cons: It takes a long time to receive payment
  • Free Gift Card Options: Walmart.com gift cards

Walmart uses CExchange, the same company as Target, for its trade-in program. Unsurprisingly, this means the program is practically identical.

Walmart’s program offers similar trade-in categories. Phones, tablets, game consoles, speakers, eReaders, and MP3 players are all eligible. However, unlike Target, Walmart only offers electronic gift cards, which are redeemable on Walmart.com or Samsclub.com for Sam’s Club members.

CExchange has two categories for item condition: “Working and Intact” or “Broken or Damaged.” Item condition greatly impacts trade-in valuation. CExchange sends a new offer if their appraisal doesn’t match your initial item submission. Users can accept the offer or opt to have their item returned at no cost.

It takes two to four weeks to receive payment from CExchange in the form of free gift cards. Avoid slowing down the process by accurately appraising and submitting your trade-in product, and enjoy your gift card the next time you shop online at Walmart.


5. Survey Websites

Answering surveys online is not a reliable way to make a living. However, if you just want to make extra money each month in your spare time, survey websites provide a platform to earn at least something.

Additionally, most survey websites let members redeem the points they earn from answering surveys for a variety of free gift cards. The next time you watch TV or are stuck inside on a rainy day, the following survey websites could be worth checking out.

Swagbucks

  • Pros: A wide variety of ways to earn and low cash-out threshold
  • Cons: Low hourly pay
  • Free Gift Card Options: Options include Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, Target, and dozens of other retailers. PayPal is also an option.

Swagbucks is one of the most popular get-paid-to (GPT) websites around. According to Swagbucks, the platform has paid members more than $400 million dollars since its inception and gives out 7,000 free gift cards each day.

Swagbucks users earn points in a variety of ways:

  • Answer Surveys. This is the most straightforward way to make money with Swagbucks.
  • Download Apps. Download sponsored apps to earn additional Swagbucks.
  • Shop Online. Swagbucks has a cash-back side of its platform that pays users with Swagbucks for buying sponsored offers.
  • Watch Videos. Watch videos on Swagbucks to earn low amounts of Swagbucks each day.
  • Answer Polls. Answer a daily poll in exchange for more Swagbucks.
  • Search. Make Swagbucks your default search engine and earn for using the web.

Members can exchange Swagbucks for PayPal cash or a wide variety of free gift cards. Gift card denominations begin at $3, so it’s possible to cash out relatively quickly with Swagbucks. Read our Swagbucks review to learn more about this platform.

PrizeRebel

  • Pros: Like Swagbucks, PrizeRebel has low gift card denominations and a wide variety of rewards
  • Cons: Low hourly pay and fewer ways to earn points than Swagbucks
  • Free Gift Card Options: Prizes include Amazon, Walmart, Steam, Dunkin’ Donuts, Kohl’s, and eBay. PayPal and prepaid Mastercards are also options.

PrizeRebel is another popular GPT website that focuses on paid surveys and mobile app downloads as earning options. This platform is less robust than Swagbucks in terms of ways to earn money. However, PrizeRebel provides an easy way to answer surveys in exchange for some pocket change.

Signing up for PrizeRebel is free. Once you create an account, you can answer surveys or explore other options to earn, such as the video rewards portal or app download offer page.

PrizeRebel has free gift card rewards starting as low as $2. Keep in mind, GPT websites don’t provide a way to earn a substantial income. However, if you can tolerate answering surveys in your spare time, this is another viable way to earn free gift cards without much effort.

InboxDollars

  • Pros: Sign-up bonus and a variety of earning options
  • Cons: Low hourly pay and users require $30 in their account if they wish to redeem their balance for cash
  • Free Gift Card Options: Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Sephora, and Home Depot are options alongside PayPal.

In terms of websites that can match Swagbucks, InboxDollars is at the top of the list.

This GPT platform is free to use and also offers a variety of ways to earn extra cash. Popular methods include:

  • Answering surveys
  • Watching videos
  • Playing mobile and web games
  • Earning cash back for online shopping
  • Getting paid to read sponsored emails from InboxDollars

Like other GPT websites, answering surveys is the most sustainable way to keep making money. You won’t get rich by doing so, but it’s the way to maximize the earning potential of InboxDollars.

InboxDollars currently has a $5 signup bonus, and you can check out our InboxDollars review to learn more.


6. Other Ways To Earn Free Gift Cards

If you’re still on the hunt for more free gift cards, there are several other options depending on the type of gift card that interests you.

Try Starbucks Rewards

  • Pros: Free to sign up; only takes $25 of spending to unlock a free drink
  • Cons: Higher reward options like a free lunch require 200 stars, which takes $100 of spending to reach.
  • Free Gift Card Options: Starbucks stars, which are essentially Starbucks gift cards.

The Starbucks Rewards program rewards shoppers for their Starbucks loyalty. Each time you shop at Starbucks, you earn stars. Stars are redeemable through the Starbucks app for free drinks, food, and merchandise.

Members earn 2 stars for every dollar they spend. It takes 50 stars to earn free coffee, tea, or a bakery item. Other rewards include a free breakfast sandwich or handcrafted drink for 150 stars or a free lunch option for 200 stars.

Signing up for the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card also grants 6,500 bonus stars if you spend $500 anywhere within the first three months. This card has a $49 annual fee. However, members earn additional stars for everyday purchases, as well as bonus stars for every dollar they spend at Starbucks.

Ultimately, this program doesn’t exactly give out free gift cards. However, any Starbucks lover should enroll in this free program to start earning free Starbucks credits whenever they shop.

Install Honey

  • Pros: Free source of cash back and coupon codes that takes no effort
  • Cons: Honey Gold takes a while to accumulate and the rotating selection of eligible stores is tough to track
  • Free Gift Card Options: Amazon, Walmart, Nordstrom, Nike, Target, and dozens of other options are available. Honey also has rewards for Canadian, Australian, British, and EU users.

Honey is a free shopping browser extension that automatically applies coupons to checkout when shopping online.

Installing Honey is an easy way to find the best online deals. However, thanks to Honey Gold, Honey’s cash-back component, Honey is also a great way to earn gift cards for free.

Honey partners with dozens of companies to give shoppers cash back when they make an online purchase. Popular eligible retailers include:

  • Target
  • Best Buy
  • eBay
  • JCPenney
  • Wayfair

Offers change frequently, and you earn Honey Gold automatically as long as you have the extension active when shopping. Members redeem Honey Gold for free gift cards once they reach 10,000 points, which is worth $10.


Final Word

Shopping with gift cards is an excellent way to save money or everyday essentials or treats you wouldn’t normally purchase with your own money. Plus, thanks to a variety of ways to earn free gift cards, it’s possible to cut down on your spending if you know which programs to use.

Ultimately, there is a method out there for everyone. Reward programs, gaming apps, trade-in programs, and various survey sites or referral programs are all viable options. Whether you use several programs or stick to one method is entirely up to you.

Just be careful when searching the web for different ways to earn free gift cards. There’s a wide range of gift card scams, and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Getting free gift cards won’t make anyone rich. However, it never hurts to save money when it’s easy to do so. Besides, who doesn’t love the feeling of getting a gift card to a store they love?

Tom Blake
Tom is a freelance writer originally from Toronto, Canada. Tom's passion for finance and discovering methods to make money originally sparked in college when he was trying to make ends meet on a tight budget. Outside of freelance writing, Tom also manages the blog This Online World - a personal finance website dedicated to helping young adults make and save more money.

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