Tips for Putting Unwanted Gift Cards to Good Use

January 3, 2013

Now that the holiday season has passed us by, you may be stuck with a wallet full of gift cards that you don’t intend on using. Gift cards have grown in popularity over the years and with “gift card malls” available at numerous retailers, buying gift cards is the easiest way for some people to give a gift. Some popular gift cards are easy to spend, while others might require the recipient to research a specific item they want or make a special trip across town in order to use it.

If you have a lot gift cards you aren’t sure how to use, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your gift.

Sell it: There are many sites (Gift Card Rescue and Plastic Jungle, for example) where you can swap out your unwanted gift card for a more favorable one, or even sell your gift card for cash. Most of these sites charge a fee, so you may only receive 90% of your gift card’s value, but if you never intend on using the card this may be a logical solution.

Donate it: Even though you may never use the gift card you received, there may be charitable organizations that would love to spend it. Many schools and nonprofits can receive gift card donations just as they do cash, just check with the organization before donating.

Use it somewhere else: There are quite a few large retailers and restaurants that are owned by parent companies.  When a gift card is purchased for one retailer/restaurant, it may be good at all the retailers/restaurants owned by the parent company. Here is a quick list of gift cards that can be used at multiple stores or restaurants:

Chili's: Gift card can also be used at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, and Maggiano’s Little Italy.

Marshalls:
Gift card can also be used at TJ Maxx and Homegoods.
 
Motherhood Maternity:
Gift card can also be used at Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity.
 
Old Navy:
Gift card can also be used at The Gap, Banana Republic, Piperlime, and Athleta.
 
Olive Garden:
Gift card can also be used at Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, and Yardhouse.
 
Outback Steakhouse:
Gift card can also be used at Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Roy’s, Bonefish Grill, and Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar.
 
Rock Bottom Brewery:
Gift card can also be used at Walnut Brewery, ChopHouse and Brewery, and Old Chicago.
 
Sears:
Gift card can also be used at Kmart and Lands’ End.

Wal-Mart:
Gift card can also be used at Sam’s Club.

Do you have other creative ideas? Let us know! Share your thoughts below.