The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Friday, December 13, 2019

10 Best Credit Cards for Buying Gift Cards

10 Best Credit Cards for Buying Gift Cards

credit card advice

Adam West
By: Adam West
Updated: November 26, 2019

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No matter the time of year, it always seems like there’s an occasion around the corner that requires a gift. Whether you’re shopping for the holidays, a birthday, graduation, or any other special moment, few items meet a recipient’s needs more than a gift card. That’s why we’ve assembled this list of the best credit cards for buying gift cards.

You can accumulate and maximize your credit card rewards if you’re strategic about where and when you buy your gift cards, which is like a gift for you, too. Read on to see which cards are best used where when it comes to buying gift cards.

Best Overall
Cash Back | Miles | Business | Student | Retail

Best Overall Card for Buying Gift Cards

The Discover it® Cash Back credit card remains one of the kings of cash back. That’s because it offers a great daily incentive to use your card — including 5% cash back on quarterly categories that include gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and Amazon.com — all places that traditionally sell gift cards. But that 5% return on your purchase isn’t all that you’ll get.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

As part of Discover’s popular Cashback Match program, the bank will match the total amount of cash back you earn during your first year with the card. So not only will you earn 5% on that gift card purchase, but you’ll get another 5% back shortly after your card anniversary.

Note that all quarterly bonus categories require activation, but Discover will send you a reminder email when it’s time to do so. Bonus categories are capped at $1,500 in purchases, and all other purchases earn 1% cash back.

Best Cash Back Cards for Buying Gift Cards

Although the Discover it® Cash Back card tops this list, there are still several strong cash back card options that can boost your bottom line if you’re a regular gift card purchaser. And if you take advantage of quarterly categories, you can supercharge your earnings in a hurry.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

You won’t pay an annual fee with the Chase Freedom® card. But you will earn 5% cash back (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases) in quarterly bonus categories. Nearly all the bonus categories include retailers that sell gift cards — meaning you can potentially get up to 5% cash back for your gift card purchases.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • Plus, earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on everything else
  • Bonus rewards capped at $2,500 is combined bonus category purchases each quarter
  • No annual fee
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 12 Billing Cycles
0% Intro APR for 12 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

With the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you can earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice — which includes gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishings. By choosing a retail option where you can purchase gift cards, you can tip the scales in your favor and get 3% back on all your gift card purchases.

4. American Express Everyday® Preferred Card

With the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, you’ll earn 2X points on gas station purchases and 3X points on grocery store purchases of up to $6,000 total per year. Both options typically sell gift cards, which count toward your cash back earnings. But the savings don’t end there.

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

  • 3X points at U.S. supermarkets, 2X points at U.S. gas stations, 1X points on everything else
  • Earn 50% extra points when you use your card 30 or more times on purchases within a billing period
  • $95 annual fee

Amex offers a 50% boost in points when you use your card 30 times or more on purchases within a billing period. If you’re a regular swiper and you buy your gift cards at a grocery store, you can essentially earn 4.5X points per $1 on those purchases.

5. American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card pays out a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year. Cardholders also receive 6% cash back on purchases from select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% on U.S. gas station and transit spending.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Make anyone age 13 or older an authorized user and earn cash back for their purchases
  • $95 annual fee

With the industry-leading 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, you’ll essentially save $6 for every $100 you spend, including gift card purchases. All purchases made outside of the bonus categories earn an unlimited 1% cash back.

Best Miles Card for Buying Gift Cards

Gift cards give recipients the liberty to choose the gift they want. With the Discover it® Miles card, you have a choice of your own: how you will spend the 1.5X miles you’ll earn for every $1 you charge to the card.

You can redeem your miles as statement credits to cover a wide array of travel-related expenses. That can get you to your next trip much faster.

Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

But what makes this the best miles card for gift card purchases is that Discover matches all of the miles you earn during your first year with the card. This essentially makes your gift card purchases worth 3X miles. That’s a nice bonus for being a generous gift-giver.

Best Business Card for Buying Gift Cards

Gift cards are a great way to show appreciation for your employees. With the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card from Chase, you can purchase gift cards at a local office supply chain store — which usually sell a wide array of gift cards — and earn 5% cash back.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
14.74% - 20.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

If your local office supply store doesn’t have a gift card rack, you can opt to make your purchases at a gas station or restaurant — which offers a bonus of 2% cash back on your first $25,000 in combined purchases each year.

Best Student Card for Buying Gift Cards

With the Discover it® Student Cash Back card, you’ll earn 5% cash back in quarterly activated categories (up to the quarterly maximum) that include gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and Amazon.com, most of which sell gift cards. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. And with Discover’s Cashback match, the bank will match the total amount of cash back you earn during your first year with the card.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
19.49% Variable
$0
Fair/New to Credit

This card also pays you for studying hard. With the good grades reward, Discover will give you a $20 statement credit for each school year (up to five years) that you maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA. That means it pays to buy gift cards and do your homework.

Best Retail Cards for Buying Gift Cards

Most major retail locations offer their own gift cards. A few places also sell gift cards for other establishments.

With the two cards listed below, you can earn rewards for your gift card purchases without limiting which cards you buy for your friends, loved ones, or employees.

9. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Let’s face it — in this day and age, who doesn’t shop at Amazon? The e-tailer makes it easy to buy just about anything you want with discounted prices and lightning-fast shipping. An Amazon gift card is pretty much a golden ticket to anything the recipient may want. And, with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature® Card, you can earn 3% cash back on your Amazon.com purchases — and 5% if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Earn 3% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases; Prime Members earn 5% back
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores
  • Pay no annual card fee, Prime fee applies

You can also earn an unlimited 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores — which all typically sell gift cards. Whichever option you choose, you can earn a nice bonus for giving a gift.

10. Target REDcard

Target not only sells its own gift cards, but the stores also typically have a large display of gift cards to other establishments, services, and entertainment options. With the Target REDcard, you can instantly get 5% off your purchase at the register without ever paying an annual fee.

Target REDcard

  • Save an extra 5% at Target and Target.com with early access to special products and promotions
  • Free 2-day shipping on Target.com purchases plus extended returns
  • No annual fee

Target also sends out regular deals and coupons to cardholders via its mobile application that can increase your savings even further, especially when you combine it with the 5% savings.

Do You Earn Rewards for Buying Gift Cards?

A few years ago, you’d get a “no” when asking this. But thanks to modern technology, you can now earn rewards with most of your gift card purchases.

Many grocery stores and other retail establishments once banned the purchase of most gift cards using a credit card. That’s because many scammers would use stolen credit card numbers to purchase prepaid gift cards that would give them access to untraceable cash — even after the stolen card was shut down by the issuing bank.

Photo of an EMV Credit Card Chip

EMV technology has enabled retailers to accept credit cards for gift card purchases, which means you can use your card to earn rewards on those purchases.

When that happened, the retailer that sold the gift card was responsible for the fraudulent purchase. To limit their liability, most establishments simply banned the purchase of all gift cards using credit cards.

But card transactions are now more secure thanks to EMV chip technology. To get retailers to adopt the equipment needed to read the chips, banks took away the retailer liability for any fraudulent purchases made with an EMV chip card.

That’s when most retailers began allowing credit card purchases for gift cards. That also means you can now earn rewards for your purchases. And, depending on the card you use, you can earn as much as a staggering 10% cash back on your gift card buys.

Some credit card issuers, such as Chase, also allow you to accrue rewards points on every purchase you can then redeem for gift cards. Doing so will basically cover your gift-giving obligations without actually costing you money out of pocket.

What Gift Cards Can I Buy with a Credit Card?

So many establishments sell gift cards that your options are nearly limitless. You can use your credit card to purchase various gift cards for retail, online, or entertainment options at grocery stores, gas stations, drug and convenience stores, and even office supply stores.

Choosing the right place to buy your gift card will play a major part in how much cash back you get for the purchase. For example, a card that offers 5% cash back at office supply stores, such as the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card from Chase, may not seem like a great gift-giving tool. But if you look at the wide array of gift cards available at these retailers — places that include Office Depot and Staples — you’ll find hundreds of options to meet any recipients’ wants or needs.

Some of these retailers even allow you to purchase gift cards online, using your credit card, with the gift automatically delivered via email to the recipient.

Most gift card transactions are processed like credit card transactions. A third-party company handles the transaction and forwards the money to the retailer when the recipient makes a purchase.

That streamlining makes it easy for major retailers to set up large displays that offer dozens of different gift card options. And these retailers often allow you to use your credit card when you make a purchase — including when you buy a gift card.

That’s why you can buy just about any available gift card using a credit card and earn rewards for the transaction.

How Can I Redeem Rewards for Gift Cards?

The only thing better than getting a gift card as a gift is buying a gift card without actually using any money out of pocket. With the right rewards credit card, you can do just that.

Many points rewards credit cards — such as the popular cards issued by Chase and American Express — allow you to earn and collect points for every dollar you charge to your card. You can typically redeem your points through a card-issuer portal that gives you options that include travel discounts, cash back, merchandise, entertainment options, and, yes, gift cards.

Screenshot of Ultimate Rewards Point Redemption

You can redeem your points for gift cards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

You have access to hundreds of gift card options in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, with occasional sales that make gift cards even less expensive. The redemptions typically come with straightforward rates.

For example, 2,500 points can net you a $25 gift card.

Many retailers will lower the price of their $25 gift cards during sales to 2,250. And, since gift card redemptions come out to approximately 1 cent per point — and some Chase cards offer between 3X and 5X points per $1 spent — it doesn’t take much to earn a gift card.

You can also redeem your points for instant cash during checkout at Amazon.com with select Discover, Chase, and American Express cards.

When you link your rewards credit card to your Amazon account, your current rewards total will show up during checkout as a payment option. By simply checking the box, your rewards will transfer to cash and your total charge will decrease by the number of points you redeem.

You can use this option to purchase gift cards (and not just Amazon gift cards) or any of the other millions of items Amazon offers.

Be Rewarded for Your Gift-Giving

Everyone enjoys a good gift — and no gift gives the recipient more freedom than a gift card. With a prepaid gift card, your friend, loved one, or an employee can choose to purchase whatever their heart desires.

And with one of the best credit cards for buying gift cards, you can give a gift and get your own present, thanks to your cash back, points, or miles earnings that make being generous easier than ever before.