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A woman holds a generic gift card.

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It’s like cash, only harder to use!


Key points

  • You can find a lot of deals on restaurant gift cards from popular chains.
  • Entertainment gift cards are also common, including for movies and video games.
  • You can find the occasional travel gift card, which can help you save on holiday flights.

The appropriateness of a gift card as a holiday gift is a topic of much debate. Should you give one to your spouse or partner? Only if they specifically ask for it. What about your niece and nephew? Gift cards are usually a winner.

If gift cards are on your list this year, consider buying them from Costco. The warehouse store offers a variety of gift cards — physical cards in the store, or digital ones online — often at a nice discount. (So at least it’s a smart personal finance decision, even when it’s not the best gift decision!)

In some cases, you’re basically buying three gift cards and getting one free. At the very least, you can save $10 or so on a multipack of cards. Here are some of the best deals we found.

1. Spafinder

The Deal: 2 pack of $50 e-gift cards for $69.99*

Savings: $30.01 (30%)

*Includes additional $10 savings through Nov. 20, 2022. Normally $79.99.

2. Fanatics

The Deal: 2 pack of $50 e-gift cards for $69.99*

Savings: $30.01 (30%)

*Includes additional $10 savings through Nov. 20, 2022. Normally $79.99.

3. California Pizza Kitchen

The Deal: 2 pack of $50 e-gift cards for $69.99*

Savings: $30.01 (30%)

*Includes additional $10 savings through Nov. 28, 2022. Normally $79.99.

4. Jiffy Lube

The Deal: $50 e-gift card for $37.99

Savings: $12.01 (24%)

5. Texas de Brazil

The Deal: Four pack of $50 e-gift cards for $154.99

Savings: $45.01 (23%)

6. Cinemark

The Deal: $50 e-gift card for $39.99

Savings: $10.01 (20%)

7. Fandango

The Deal: 2 pack of $50 e-gift cards for $79.99

Savings: $20.01 (20%)

8. Blue Apron

The Deal: $100 e-gift card for $79.99

Savings: $20.01 (20%)

9. Landry’s

The Deal: 2 pack of $50 e-gift cards for $79.99

Savings: $20.01 (20%)

10. Southwest Airlines

The Deal: $500 e-gift card for $449.99

Savings: $50.01 (10%)

How does it work?

You can purchase physical gift cards in person from your local Costco. Those act just like regular gift cards and can be used anywhere they’re accepted. You may even find better deals in the warehouse than Costco advertises online.

If you purchase your gift cards from Costco.com, you’re actually buying digital gift cards in most cases. You won’t be mailed a physical card. Instead, you’ll be emailed a gift card code. 

Rules for using electronic gift cards in person will vary by brand. Most of the restaurants, for instance, will require you to print out the gift card — you don’t need the entire email, but you do need the part with the gift card number — and give the print out to the server to pay for your meal.

Electronic gift card purchases from Costco.com have a limit of 5 per order. Remember that Costco only accepts Visa credit cards. Some credit cards will earn rewards on gift card purchases, but others won’t, so it may be worth checking your card’s policy before buying.

Another thing to note is that gift cards are typically exempt from sales tax. That’s because the user will pay sales tax when they spend the gift card; sales tax on the card itself would wind up with double taxation. So, what you see is what you’ll pay.

No membership = smaller savings

There are a few gift cards on Costco.com that require you to have a membership to even see the prices of, let alone buy. However, some of the gift card deals here can be purchased even if you don’t have a Costco membership. 

The catch? You’ll need to pay a 5% “non-member surcharge”. 

In some cases, this may still be worth it. For example, the $500 Southwest Airlines gift card at $449.99 comes out to $472.49 with the 5% surcharge added. This still puts it under the face value of the gift card, so there’s value to be had. Of course, if you can find the same gift card with a better deal on a cash back app or other savings site, you’re better off going that route.

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