Gift cards are still wildly popular, but many Americans are rethinking how they use them.
While gift cards still make great presents, consumers are also using them to save on everyday items. For example, you can use a gift card to save on everything from groceries and clothing to home furnishings and automotive products.
Merchants have caught on to this growing trend and have begun advertising gift cards as inducements to become loyal customers. The following 19 merchants offer special gift card deals that can help cut your everyday costs while keeping you apprised of sales, introductory offers and birthday gifts.
1. Academy Sports + Outdoors
The sporting goods retailer gives you a free $5 gift card when you sign up for the Academy Birthday Club.
2. AMC Entertainment
AMC Theaters Movie Bundle gift cards include two unrestricted show tickets with two popcorn and drink vouchers for $24. That's a savings of up to 35 percent. Bundles are only sold in quantities of 25, so they're best for frequent movie goers, fundraising efforts and corporate gifts.
Free $10 Bonus Card when you buy $50 in Applebee's Gift Cards (at participating locations). This limited time offer is only available with in-store purchase.
4. bd Mongolian Grill
Through June 20, buy $25 in bd's gift cards and receive a free $5 Go Mongo Card.
5. Black Angus Steakhouse
Buy $50 or more in gift certificates and get a $10 off bonus card for a future visit.
7. Brooks Brothers
Register online and receive a $10 Brooks Brothers gift card good for any purchase over $50.
8. Children's Orchard
Children's Orchard is a chain of resale/retail boutiques. Join their m.o.m.s club online to receive a $5 cache card, special after-hours deals, invitations to member-only events and birthday gifts for your kids.
9. Chili's Restaurant
Buy $1,000 or more in Chili's Gift Cards and get 10 percent in bonus cards free.
10. Dunkin' Donuts
Set up a $15 or more auto-recharge on your Dunkin Donuts Gift Card and receive a $2 bonus.
11. JC Penney
Register your wedding gift list at JC Penney and receive 10-percent off after the wedding on home items you didn't receive. Penney's calls this a "completion program card," but it's really more of a gift card.
The Kohl's Cares for Kids® Fundraising Card Program provides a 3-percent to 5-percent discount on fundraising Kohl's gift cards purchased by nonprofit, youth-serving organizations. These groups can then sell the purchased cards at face value and keep the remaining profits. The more Kohl's gift cards purchased, the higher the discount and the larger the profit.
13. Lands' End
Lands' End gift cards are available in bulk discounts from 10 percent to 15 percent for businesses interested in using gift cards for employee recognition and service anniversaries or as thank-you gifts and customer rewards.
Realtors can sign up to receive a 5-percent discount on Lowe's gift cards, 10 percent off coupons, free videos, First Time Home Buyers Guide Web banners and more to create a personal marketing tool.
15. Marie Callender's Restaurant Bakery
Bulk order and orders from non-profit organizations may qualify for a 15-percent discount on gift cards.
Sears preferred customers receive 5 percent off each Sears gift card purchased, whether the value of the card is $10 or $1,000.
Register a Starbucks Gift Card and the recipient receives a free birthday beverage.
The tire chain gives away a $100 Uniroyal gift card each month with registration on their website. Kids can also register to participate in the Uniroyal Soccer Ball-a-Day Giveaway, a program they instituted in 2009.