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Sometimes, gift cards can feel like a last-minute afterthought. But that doesn't have to be the case, especially when you take the time to find a card that matches the interests of the person receiving it. In fact, buying a gift card ensures the receiver can select something they want or need, rather than you running the risk of an unwanted gift being tucked away in the back of a closet.
Whether you're shopping for a close family member, a colleague at work, or as a thank you to a neighbor, there's no shortage of gift card options that can be shipped or even sent via email, regardless of what your budget is. Some gift cards give the user a stay in a hotel or a spa visit, others might be for a favorite online retailer or type of product. Just be sure to check the terms and conditions so there are no surprises.
To get you started, here are the best gift cards for everyone on your list.
Winc Gift Card
All wine lovers know and love Winc. It’s the monthly subscription that sends bottles of vino directly to the recipient's doorstep. So naturally, a gift card is a surefire way to please any wine-o. A card allows the recipient to select their favorite bottle of Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot, or a variety that’s absolutely new to them. Also, you can add up to $600 on a single card. That’s a lot of wine!
Etsy Gift Card
We all have the one person in our life. You love them dearly, but they’re absolutely impossible to shop for. It might be a case of them having everything they already need or their tastes are constantly changing. Either way, Etsy should have something even the pickiest person will love and swoon over. The site sells truly unique goods, vintage decor, and handcrafted items for the closet, home, and more. What’s even better is they'll be supporting independently owned businesses and artists.
Hotels.com Gift Card
The person who’s always on the go will absolutely appreciate a Hotels.com gift card. Instead of a card to a specific airline or even a hotel chain, this gives them access to thousands of lodging options around the world—and you can add up to $2,000, which covers a few nights in even the swankiest of locations. You don’t have to worry about any fees and your recipient doesn’t have to worry about the card expiring. Send your gift card via mail or email (for those last minute gifts) and choose from a pre-selected design or upload your own photo.
Best Buy Gift Card
Everyone knows that person who’s always up on the latest gadgets and releases or who can tinker with anything and get it working again. While it might be difficult to find a specific product they’ll love, a gift card to Best Buy, which sells, well, pretty much everything, is a great option. Whether the person is an Apple or an Android, seeking a point and shoot or a DSLR camera, this gift card covers all of the above and more. You can select the usual e-card that gets emailed to the recipient or you choose to have a card mailed, which is free for orders over $25.
Tidy Gift Card
Anyone can appreciate a service that makes their lives easier, but a new parent will forever be grateful for such a gift. Tidy is a company that sends background checked and verified “homekeepers” to spruce up your space. This will immediately take the load off of an exhausted parent who’s juggling other tasks. The homekeepers come bearing baby and safe products to clean any room. The card can be used for specific services or packages that range from cleaning the house for one to four hours.
Starbucks Gift Card
Most people know someone who absolutely needs caffeine. And that's why a Starbucks gift card is the perfect present for them. And what makes this card really convenient is the ways in which the recipient can redeem it. Send the card via email, present a physical card, and you can even send a notification via iMessage.
Z Gallerie Gift Card
Decorating an apartment or house to make it feel like a home can be pretty expensive. Help the new homeowner in your life offset those expenses with a card from Z Gallerie. The store offers everything to outfit a home from top to bottom—literally. Gift cards can go up to $995 and easily help the recipient buy some decorative items or cut down on the cost of that expensive piece of furniture they’ve had their eye on. One thing to note, the Z Gallerie cards are send via postal mail and can take up to nine business days to receive, so plan ahead.
ClassPass Gift Card
Regardless of the time of year, getting in shape is usually on most people’s list of things to do. ClassPass offers flexibility for anyone who gets workout fatigue and likes to switch things up or someone who prefers a class environment to free time at the gym. With access to more than 30,000 small studios and gyms, a gift card can truly open up a world of fitness and exercise classes. Choose any amount for a gift card and the recipient can apply the money toward a monthly membership that offers flexibility and can be cancelled anytime.
Seamless Gift Card
Nothing can ever substitute a good home cooked meal, but some nights you just want to relax on the couch and let someone else do all the work, so takeout is the best option. Seamless makes it easy to decide where to order from, giving you all of your options in once place—homebodies across the national are pretty familiar with them. A gift card can be used for a variety of neighborhood eats, whether the person wants to get the usual or try a new spot. The cards never expire, come in physical or digital form, and are a breeze to use on mobile or Seamless’ app.
Netflix Gift Card
Singles or couples can appreciate a good night of Netflix and chill. With thousands of programs as well as original films and shows, Netflix has something to offer for everyone, even the kids. A gift card balance can be added to an account and makes it easy to binge a latest release or rewatch a classic.
Sephora Gift Card
It’s practically impossible to walk into any Sephora and not be tempted by all of the lotions and potions. Sephora is known for their wide array of makeup and skincare brands, but their beauty products also include perfume, body products, and hair tools. Pretty much anything you can use on your face or body, they’ve got it. And one really handy thing about the gift cards is they can be redeemed at JCPenney locations that include Sephora merchandise, as well.
Moo Gift Card
Even in such a tech heavy world, nothing can replace a great business card. This is especially true for anyone starting a new company. Moo offers unique business cards that really stand out with a variety of shapes, lettering, and foils. The site also offers notebooks, stationery, and marketing materials like flyers, posters, and menus. The digital card can be sent directly to you so you can print it out or emailed straight to the recipient. One handy feature is you can schedule the date you want the card to be emailed to your recipient, so you can shop ahead of time without ruining the surprise.
TaskRabbit Gift Card
Everyone can use a helping hand. That's especially true of those who've moved to a new city or just have a home they're updating. TaskRabbit makes it easy to connect with people in the area who can do everything from hanging curtains to assembling furniture to moving heavy items up a flight of stairs. A gift card to this company is sure to be put to good use.
Chewy Chewy eGift Card
Between the food, toys, and so much more, pet parents will tell you having a fur baby can be pretty expensive. One way to make their load a bit easier is with a card from Chewy. There are no expiration dates and cards range in denomination from $25 to $500. This can be used for a range of products from toys to food to enrichment products to keep the littlest member of the family occupied.
The Sill Gift Card
A bouquet of flowers is a great gift, but what about the gift of a live plant? Being a plant parent has become quite trendy and The Sill is a popular retailer for all plant needs. Gift cards start at $25 and the recipient can apply those funds to a new plant, bouquet, plant accessories, or subscription. New plant parents will find the easy to follow instructions useful and intimidation-free.
What to Look for When Buying Gift Cards
If you're buying a gift card from a major retailer, always buy directly from the store rather than a third-party website, and be wary of small startups or struggling retailers. Cards purchased in-store are usually loaded up at the counter when purchasing, and you should always keep the receipt.
Chains That Offer More Options
If you aren't 100 percent sure of what the person you are buying for likes, select gift cards from chains that own multiple brands. Often these gift cards can be used across different stores, offering the user more options.
Card Top-off Options
Always check the terms and conditions. Most cards will have five years of validity and many allow you to top up with additional cash or put the outstanding amount towards a cash purchase. Be aware, however, that some retailers charge a fee for reloading a card.
Do gift cards expire?
In the U.S., legally, a gift card must be valid for at least five years. However, always check the terms and conditions, as some retailers charge dormancy fees on a monthly basis if the card is not used within the first twelve months.
How do you check a gift card balance?
How you check the balance of a gift card will vary depending on where it is from. Generally, you can get a cashier to scan it in-store or, if it was an online purchase, you can log into the website and insert the card code or your log-in details.
Can you buy gift cards with a credit card?
In most cases, absolutely! Sometimes you might want to do this to earn rewards or cash back from the purchase (although this isn't possible in all cases). Some retailers, however, might limit the number of gift cards you can purchase at one time on a credit card and, occasionally, buying cards in store may only be possible by cash or debit card payment.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This roundup was written by Patrice J. Williams. She has contributed gift guides to The Spruce since 2020. She loves helping her friends and family find unique, thoughtful, and wallet-friendly presents. In addition to her work for The Spruce, she writes commerce articles, including product suggestions and reviews, for other outlets as well as appearing on air for The Today Show, WEtv, and she was the Savvy Shopper reporter for WPIX in New York City. Additional research for this article comes from Gemma Johnstone, a freelance writer and editor with several years of experience covering various lifestyle topics.