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 all 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 bonuses 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.) However, always check first, especially if you’re ordering gift cards online. Once you hit the “buy” button, you may be out of luck.
In addition, there may be local deals, so stop by your favorite neighborhood spot and ask. Plus, review our tips at the end of the list on how to maximize the promos.
This list was compiled by Living on the Cheap. We’re keeping all the gift cards on the list even if the establishment does not have a presence in the Triangle, for those shopping for friends and family in other areas.
Gift card bonus offers from popular national restaurants and retailers
Restaurant/Business – Minimum Gift Card Purchase = Bonus Offer
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: $50 = $10 Snack Pass
Applebee’s: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
Barnes & Noble – $75 = $10 Reward Card — bonus offer ends Nov. 19
Benihana: $50 = $10 Promo Card
Blaze Pizza – $25 = FREE Pizza Pass
Bonefish Grill: $50 = $10 off coupon
Boston Market – $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. – $50 = $10 Reward Card
Buca di Beppo: $50 = $10 Reward Card
Buffalo Wild Wings – $25 = $5 Blazin’ eBonus
BurgerFi – $25 = $5 Bonus Card
California Pizza Kitchen: $100 = $20 Promo Card
Carrabba’s Italian Grill – $50 = $10 Promo Card
Children’s Place: $50 = $10 Bonus Card / $75 = $15 Bonus Card / $100 = $20 Bonus Card
Chili’s: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
Del Taco – Online: $30 = FREE small combo meal / $100 = Four FREE small combo meals; In-Store: $15 = Two FREE grilled chicken tacos / $25 = Four FREE grilled chicken tacos — Offer starts Nov. 20.
Denny’s: $25 = $50 in Denny’s coupons
DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse): $50 = $5 Bonus Card / $100 = $20 Bonus Card / $150 = $30 Bonus Card
Einstein Bros. Bagels: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar: $100 = $20 Bonus Card
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse: $150 = $25 Holiday Bonus eCard
Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria: $50 = $10 Bonus Card / $100 = $20 Bonus Card
IHOP: $25 = $5 coupon
Il Fornaio: $100 = $20 Complimenti Card
Jamba Juice: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park: $60 = $15 Bonus Card
Landmark Theatres: Film Aficionado Ticket Book for $225 (25 tickets total for $9 each)
Longhorn Steakhouse: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Maggiano’s Little Italy: $100 = $20 Bonus Card
McCormick and Schmick’s: $100 = $20 Reward Card
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Metro Diner: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
MOOYAH: $25 = $5 off meal in the same transaction
Morton’s The Steakhouse: $250 = $50 Reward Card
Native Foods Café: $100 = $20 Gift Card
Noodles & Company: $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Ocean Prime: $100 = $25 Bonus Card
Olive Garden: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
Outback Steakhouse: $50 = $10 off coupon
Panera Bread: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
Qdoba Mexican Eats: $30 = FREE entrée (from December 1 to 31) — bonus offer ends November 30
Regal Cinemas: $50 = $10 Concessions Bonus Card
Ruth’s Chris Steak House: $250 or more = 10% Bonus
Seasons 52: $100 = $20 Bonus Card
Souplantation: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
Taco Bell: $10 = FREE Regular Crunchy Taco
Taco John’s – $25 = $5 Bonus Card
Texas Roadhouse: $30 = $5 Bonus eGift Card
Tony Roma’s: $50 = $15 Roma Bucks
Village Inn: $25 = $5 Promo Card
Wendy’s: $2 Frosty Key Tag = FREE Jr. Frosty with any purchase in 2019
Yard House: $50 = $10 Bonus Card
Tips on gift card bonus offers
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, 2019.
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.