15 Best Gift Cards Perfect for Everyone on Your List
When shopping for your loved ones this year, consider these top-recommended gift cards.
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The universal gift
Gift cards are a universal crowd-pleaser when it comes to gift-giving—especially when they are related to something that person enjoys most. Not only do they take the guesswork out of searching for a gift, but they also give the giftee the freedom to choose something he or she actually wants. “If you know someone likes a certain store, instead of going aisle to aisle and debating what to buy them, a gift card ensures they will like the gift, no matter what their taste or preferences are,” explains Dana Marineau, vice president of brand, creative, and communications and financial advocate at Credit Karma. “Oftentimes, when given cash, people feel obligated to put that cash toward something more practical, like rent or a savings account instead of spending it on something special for themselves.” To help guide you in the right direction when purchasing a gift card, we asked top financial experts to share their favorite cards for any occasion. Check out the gift cards that people actually want for the holidays.
Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.
For a recent high school or college graduate: Amazon gift card
There’s almost nothing that you can’t get from Amazon, which makes it so ideal for any occasion, but especially someone graduating from high school or college. Another plus? It’s super easy for the person you’re giving it to to add the gift card money to their account so that they can use it at their leisure—all they have to do is click “apply to your Amazon account” to have the fund automatically transferred. Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com, suggests keeping an eye out for a promotion when you’ll get an extra $10 for buying a $100 gift card (or reloading one with $100). “Even if you can’t get that bonus, this is a winning choice, especially if you have no idea what to buy someone,” she says. Find out the most popular gifts on Amazon.
For the foodie on a budget: Whole Foods gift card
Starting at $25
The person you’re buying a gift card might not be up for spending their money at a restaurant or specialty store, but they most certainly will need groceries! Selepak recommends this type of gift card for anyone, but especially college students or those just starting out on their career and not making a lot of money yet.
For a housewarming gift: Target gift card
$5 to $1,000
If a loved one is moving into a new home and also makes regular Target runs, consider purchasing them a gift card so that they can pick up items for their humble abode. “You can find so many home-related items at Target and the cards themselves come in different images for different occasions which adds a personal touch,” says Kimberly Palmer, personal finance expert at NerdWallet. Just be sure to be alert for this gift-card scam.
For the friend in need of a vacay: Airbnb gift card
Starting at $50
If you have a loved one who desperately needs a vacation but can’t get around to spending the money on it, gift them a vacation in the form of an Airbnb gift card. It allows them to select any location and book a stay at their leisure. This way, you’re leaving the details up to them—when to travel, where to go, and for how long—but are encouraging them to do so. Here are 101 gift ideas for people who are impossible to shop for.
For a thank you gift: Starbucks gift card
$25 to $100
A gift card is a perfect way to say “thank you” or simply show someone how much you appreciate them. “The recipient can upload it into their Starbucks app or keep it in their wallet, and they can also register it to guard against losing it,” says Palmer.
For someone restyling their home: Lowes gift card
$50 to $200
If someone you love is upgrading their home or is a huge DIYer who’s always working on a project, buy them a gift card to a home improvement store like Lowes. “Anyone who is renting a home or is a homeowner will eventually find a need to fix or repair something, but many people don’t have the tools, much less the supplies, to do it,” says Andrew Selepak, PhD, Director, MAMC Social Media, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida. “A gift card to a home improvement store is a great gift because it covers that unexpected expense we were not planning for, but know we will have.”
For the city dweller: Uber gift card
$25 to $200
Most folks living in the city don’t have a car and rely on public transportation or rideshares like Uber to get around, which is why this gift card is so handy. With Uber, gift cards can be put towards both Uber rides and Uber Eats, so the giftee can get even more out of it than a regular rideshare gift card, notes Palmer. “The recipient just uploads the gift card into their app and it’s there when they need it.” Find out the savvy shopping tricks you’ll wish you knew all along.
For the chronic binge-watcher: Netflix gift card
$25 to $200
Even if your recipient already has the service, this type of gift card can easily be added to a pre-existing Netflix account. “It’s ideal for anyone who loves to binge-watch and makes a perfect gift whatever the occasion—birthdays, Valentine’s Day, holidays, anniversaries, graduation, etc,” says Ramhold These are the best experience gifts for everyone on your list.
For the podcast and music lover: App Store & iTunes gift card
$25 to $200
“Apple has made some changes to iTunes, but these gift cards are still valuable for the iPhone and Mac lover in your life,” says Ramhold. “If you know someone is firmly in the Apple ecosystem, you can’t go wrong with this gift card, as it can be used for apps or movies and music.” She recommends it for anyone who uses Apple products. You should also consider these cool tech gifts you’ll want to keep for yourself.
For a new couple: Darden Restaurant gift card
$25 to $200
If one or your friends or family members is in the “dating” phase of a relationship, they’re probably spending many nights out to dinner. Getting them a gift card that allows them to choose the restaurant is a great gift. Darden Restaurant gift cards are good for use at any of the following six locations: Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s, Yard House, Bahama Breeze, and Seasons. Know this important gift-giving etiquette for the holiday season.
For new or expecting parents: Home Chef gift card
$60 to $240
New or expecting parents also love to enjoy a nice meal together, but with the demands of pregnancy and/or having children placed on them, it can be hard to get out of the house. A gift card to Home Chef makes it easy to put a warm, homemade meal on the table. Each meal kit is designed to serve balanced meals for two, four or six, and allows recipients to customize their plates, swapping proteins and even doubling-up on proteins or veggies.
For the soon-to-be newlyweds: Zola gift card
$25 to $300
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a just-engaged or soon-to-be-married couple, a gift card to the wedding registry app Zola is a great choice. “From building wedding websites to customized save-the-dates and invitations, Zola offers couples a unique, one-stop-shop,” says Tara Murphy, consumer savings expert. “This is the perfect gift card for a couple that’s in the wedding planning process because they can shop Zola’s store for items for the wedding like clothing and party accessories as well as wedding paper.” These tips will help you give truly meaningful gifts to your loved ones.
For the traveling fitness fanatic: ClassPass gift card
Starting at $50
This fitness app allows users to book almost any type of fitness class at thousands of studios and gyms around the world. Because it’s global, it’s great for travelers who want to stay fit while they’re on the road, according to Murphy. “With a monthly plan, you can search for classes by activity and location and book your spot directly through the app,” she says. “It’s a fabulous way to check out a variety of classes and workouts without having to spend money on memberships at multiple studios or gyms.”
For the lover of learning: Coursehorse gift card
$100 to $250
With more than 70,000 classes offered—everything from cooking, art and language classes to professional skill courses—from top educators in cities across the United States, there’s something for everyone here, says Murphy. The site even offers online courses and classes for kids! “It’s the perfect gift card for anyone that’s looking for a hobby, earn a professional certification, or learning something new,” she says. “Classes on Coursehorse are limited to certain cities so make sure it would be easy for your gift card recipient to attend them.” Avoid these gifts that might send the wrong message.
For anyone at all: Visa gift card
For maximum flexibility, Palmer recommends going the Visa gift card route, which can be used on absolutely anything anywhere Visa is accepted. “It’s perfect for gifts for people you don’t know that well,” she says. “Visa gift cards don’t expire and there are no usage fees, but you do pay a fee at the time of purchase ($5.95 for a $100 gift card).” Here’s how to save money on holiday gifts without being grinchy.
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