Retailers and manufacturers often prefer to give consumers a little something extra rather than simply offering items at lower prices. When that something extra comes in the form of a gift card that must be used in a separate purchase, the strategy ensures that the shopper must return as a customer. So what seems like a bonus for consumers is also a bonus for the stores dishing out the “free” gift cards.
These deals are popping up during back-to-school season as well, as these offers demonstrate:
For a limited time at Walmart.com, $100 Apple iTunes e-gift cards are available for just $80. The deal can only be purchased online (not in stores), and the digital gift card and pin are sent via e-mail.
Apple also offers its own back-to-school card bonuses, in which the purchase of a Mac comes with a $100 gift card, and the purchase of a new iPad comes with a $50 card. Purchases must be made by September 21, and the deal is only available to college students, parents of college students, and teachers.
Now through August 28, for every $300 Dell e-gift card purchased, you get an additional $50 Dell e-gift card. One minor catch: The bonus card must be used within 90 days of being issued.
Order an American Express Prepaid Card by August 31 and load at least $200 onto it, and you’ll get a bonus $25 Amex gift card mailed to you. Before jumping at the offer, take note of the prepaid card’s fees; there are no annual or monthly fees, but after one free ATM withdrawal per month, a $2 per withdrawal fee is charged (on top of any fees assessed by the ATM).
With a special offer from daily deal site Saveology, at least some portion of a back-to-school or office supply purchase is effectively half price: Pay just $7.50, and you get a $15 Staples gift card.
In another Saveology deal, a $10 Papa John’s gift card can be yours for just $5. The offer also includes a one-month trial of Netflix, and is only available to first-time Netflix subscribers. Saveology is promoting the deal as a $17.99 value ($10 Papa John’s gift card + one-month $7.99 Netflix subscription), but considering that Netflix always offers a one-month free trial, that’s stretching things. If you’re only interested in this deal for the bonus gift card, bear in mind that if you don’t cancel the Netflix subscription after a month, you’ll start getting charged $7.99 monthly.
Kmart & Walgreens
Both Walgreens and Kmart are currently waiving $25 bonus gift cards as enticements to transfer your prescriptions to their pharmacies. In most states, when you switch over a prescription to either retailer, you’ll be rewarded with a $25 card.