Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Don't miss out! Join the thousands of people who subscribe to our once-daily email or our free miles and points Facebook group with all the best travel news. Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Over the past few months, I have bought a LOT of gift cards.  Sometimes people have asked me which is the worst and best gift card to buy this holiday season

(SEE ALSO: Reselling $18,030 of gift cards (was it worth it?))

(SEE ALSO: Another day, another $900 in profit from reselling gift cards)

Mostly I have been buying gift cards in order to resell, so I have an idea of which is the best gift card to buy for that purpose.  But I also enjoyed this article taking a scientific approach to figure out the best gift cards to buy – I assume if you are actually going to use them as Christmas or other presents

Ranking the best gift cards to buy

The study ranked each type of gift card in 5 categories – gift card popularity, average purchase discount for buyers, average resale value for sellers, happiness of receiving a gift card (Note: we conducted a survey for this) and shipping charges

Here were the top 5 best gift cards to buy in each of those categories (I omitted shipping charges as only 2 companies charged for gift cards)

Gift Card Popularity (measured by Google searches)

  1. Amazon
  2. Walmart
  3. Itunes
  4. Target
  5. Starbucks

Average purchase discount for buyers

Naturally there is a negative correlation between the popularity of a gift card and the average discount that you can buy the card at.

  1. 1-800-Flowers
  2. Dress Barn
  3. Express
  4. H&M
  5. Petco

Average resell value for sellers

But what if little Johnny doesn’t WANT your 1-800-Flowers gift card?  Here are the top 5 cards for resell value.  This matches my experience where gas and grocery cards give the best resell value

  1. Safeway
  2. Walmart
  3. Amazon
  4. Apple
  5. Best Buy

Happiness factor

  1. Chipotle
  2. Amazon
  3. Dunkin Donuts
  4. Target
  5. Chick-Fil-A

Overall best gift card to buy

The overall best gift card to buy (according to this study) was a Target gift card.  Rounding out the top 10 best gift cards to buy were McDonalds (really?!), Gamestop, Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, Amazon, Walmart, CVS, Apple and Costco gift cards.

How to get started gift card reselling

If you’re interested in gift card reselling, you may want to check out my beginner’s primer on gift card reselling.  It’s not super complicated (buy low, sell high).  You will not believe how hard it was for me to resist the “Buy Lowe’s, sell High” pun there….  

The big tool that I use for gift card reselling is this gift card scanner (typing in tons of gift card numbers and PINs is annoying, even if I do have an army of “minions” that I sometimes pay / coerce into typing as part of “homeschool” 😀

I also use these Scotty Peelers (to peel off the PINs on cards, though you have to be careful).


Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Other links on this page may also pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them

Sign up for our once-daily email with the latest tips and tricks on how to travel for free / cheap. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!