Ready to give a different gift card this year? Here’s a list of new gift cards to try this holiday season.
New Gift Cards to Try
Growing up, I gave my dad the same type of shirt every Christmas. He had a style that other siblings sometimes questioned, but I knew he enjoyed. His ideal shirt required four things…short sleeves, stretchy fabric like a knit or a soft terry cloth, a waist band so he didn’t have to tuck the shirt into his pants and a pocket for holding pens. I know you’re thinking this clothing item sounds bad, but in the 1980′s, I didn’t have to look very hard to find these shirts. And he was always glad that I did.
Whether you’re picking out clothing, shoes, household items or electronics, my number one rule of gift-giving is to pick something that you know the recipient wants versus something you think he or she should have. While others tried to update my dad’s look by giving him shirts they wanted him to wear (which he never did), I consistently gave him the shirts he liked. This rule of gifting applies to gift cards too.
If you’ve given someone the same gift card every year and it has gone to good use, then keep on buying it. Chances are, the person is hoping you will bestow the same gift and has possibly even earmarked things to buy with it. But if you legitimately think it’s time for a change, then let’s talk about some of the new gift cards available this holiday season. From unique experience-based gift cards to Visa and MasterCard category cards, there are several new gift cards to try this holiday season. In no particular order, here are some suggestions:
1. Stockpile Gift Cards
The Gift Card that Could Triple in Value!
The Stockpile Gift Card is truly one of the most unique gift cards on my list. If you’ve never heard of Stockpile, you’re essentially giving someone the opportunity to buy a few fractional shares of stock and see what happens!
The founder of Stockpile came up with the idea because he wanted to give stock to his nieces and nephews for Christmas, but found the stocks he wanted to buy (Apple and Google) were too expensive. Stockpile makes it possible to quickly and easily buy your favorite stocks for family and friends because you don’t have to buy full shares (the dollar value of the gift card is the amount that will be invested) and the sign-up process is significantly easier than is typically required to be an investor. So in a few simple steps and for a few dollars, Stockpile gift card recipients can pick a stock, make an investment and possibly even earn more than the gift amount given. Is there any better way to learn about the stock market than to make an investment and see how it performs?
A friend of mine gave Stockpile gift cards to her nieces and nephews and then offered another gift card as a reward to the person who earned the most money within the first quarter of the new year. Talk about a gift card that keeps on giving both monetarily and as an education tool. Here’s a free printable gift card holder for your Stockpile gift card.
Buy Stockpile Gift Cards online or at your local grocery store.
2. Everywhere Cards
The Great Alternative to Local Gift Cards
Have you ever wanted to give someone a gift card to a restaurant but didn’t know which restaurant to select? Or maybe you wanted to buy movie tickets for a friend but didn’t know which movie theater she lived near. Or you had the bright idea to get a gas station gift card for your nephew going off to college but didn’t know which gas stations he would stop at on the way. Well your gifting needs are stymied no more thanks to a new set of Visa® gift cards that are usable within a particular category. There’s Style Everywhere (usable at any fashion retailer), Movies Everywhere (for rentals and theaters), Fuel Everywhere (for gas stations), Dining Everywhere (usable at restaurant and bars) and Explore Everywhere (for theme parks, museums, tours, zoos and national parks). The idea is that the recipient can use the card at ANY merchant within the category listed.
Any merchant? Yes! Take the Dining Everywhere gift card for example. The recipient can redeem the Dining Everywhere gift card at a local cafe, at a nationwide restaurant or at a downtown eatery. As long as the card is used at a bar or restaurant–no matter how big or small the establishment is–the card should work. The other category cards work the same.
Here’s a list of “Everywhere” cards you can buy this holiday season:
|Fuel Everywhere||Fuel Everywhere Gift Card is redeemable for fuel, snacks and services at national and local service stations everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.|
|Dining Everywhere||Dining Everywhere Gift Card is usable at restaurants and bars, everywhere Visa debit is accepted, even online.|
|Movies Everywhere||Movies Everywhere Gift Card is redeemable for tickets, food and rentals, everywhere Visa debit is accepted in the U.S., even online.|
|Style Everywhere||Style Everywhere Gift Card is usable at any fashion retailer everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted, even online.|
|Explore Everywhere||Explore Everywhere gift card is the gift card that lets you play! Redeemable at parks, museums, tours and zoos–everywhere Visa debit is accepted in the U.S., even online.|
3. Airbnb Gift Cards
The Gift of Living Like a Local
According to the Airbnb website, Airbnb is an online “marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.” I tend to think of this business in more simple terms–it’s a way to book a private house and/or rooms for your next vacation. Rather than staying at a hotel or a timeshare, you can actually rent someone’s house. The benefit to doing so is that the options are vast and varied. You can stay in someone’s downtown loft or book a room at someone’s countryside cottage. Plus, for the cost of the rental, you get the benefit of amenities such as the use of a full kitchen, a hot tub on the balcony or bicycles to ride along the beach. Many say they prefer to use Airbnb over traditional rentals because staying in someone’s home is a more authentic experience. Rather than living like a tourist on vacation, you get to live like a local.
With an Airbnb gift card, you can gift the experience of local living to someone. It’s a great option for newlyweds, graduates, a couple celebrating an anniversary and just about anyone else who likes to travel. An Airbnb gift card is even a great idea for people who just need a place to stay for an event such as a wedding, family reunion or funeral. Here are five reasons to give an Airbnb gift card plus five free gift card holders for travel gift cards..
Buy Airbnb Gift Cards online or at your local grocery store.
4. Paint Nite Gift Cards
The Gift of Creativity and Conversation
A dear friend and I used to meet regularly to paint pottery and catch up on each other’s lives. Neither of us is an artist. That didn’t matter. We found the combination of creativity and conversation to be very therapeutic. If she still lived near me, I would insist that she and I try Paint Nite as well.
Paint Nite is a company that brings local artists to bars and restaurants to guide people through a painting experience. I don’t want to say that the artists teaches you how to paint, because I don’t think that can be done in a couple of hours. But with guided help, each person will walk away from the event with a personal masterpiece. More importantly, the event includes ample time for socializing and having fun with the other painters. Like my friend and I, you don’t have to be artistic to enjoy trying something new.
With a Paint Nite gift card, the recipient can sign up for an event in his or her local area. This sounds like a great gift card for a friend, a group of friends, a mother-daughter activity or a wedding party. I would love to see a Paint Nite gift card given to a new mom who could use a break from the sometimes overwhelming task of caring for little ones ’round the clock.
Buy Paint Nite Gift Cards online or at your local grocery store.
5. Groupon Gift Cards
The Gift Card that can Save You Money
Do you have a deal junkie on your Christmas list? You know who I mean. This is the friend who never pays full price. She shops with coupons, uses discount gift cards, has all the store apps on her phone to get loyalty points and she knows how to maximize fuel perks. If there is a way to save, this girl knows how to do it. So chances are this friend is already a Groupon customer.
With a Groupon gift card, your money-saving friend can structure her next buy with even less of her own money. Whether she buys tickets to an Escape Room, grabs an insane deal on makeup brushes or uses the gift card to try out a new restaurant, a Groupon gift card can foot most of the bill. Daily Deal sites are a great way to save money on gift cards. If you have a gift card TO a daily deal site, then the potential to save is even greater.
Buy Groupon Gift Cards online or at your local grocery store.
6. Five Back Visa Gift Cards
The Gift Card that Gives you Money BACK!
Speaking of savings, I have to tell you about the new Five Back Visa gift card. I seriously had to do the math (a couple of times) to make sure I understood how it all works because it seems like you can easily earn money with this gift card. And as it turns out, you can!
Basically, if you use the gift card to shop at a growing list of merchants, then you get 5% of the purchase price put back on the card. So, for example, if you use the gift card to make a $20 purchase at JCPenney, you’ll get $1 loaded back onto the card after the transaction is complete. Now, keep in mind that it costs $6.95 to activate the card, but you’ll pay the same dollar amount no matter how much money you load onto the card. The break-even point is at about $140. If you load $200 onto the Five Back Visa card and use it at Bed Bath & Beyond, CVS or Gap (among several other choices), you’ll get $10 put back onto the card. The cash back amount more than covers the activation.
So if you want to give someone an easy way to make a little money back when they shop with a gift card, the Five Back Visa is a great option.
Buy Five Back Visa Gift Cards online or at your local grocery store.
7. Go Play Golf Gift Cards
The Gift of Green Fees
Though most gift cards purchased in the U.S. are only redeemable in the U.S., this gift card is an exception. It can be used to pay for green fees at over 5,000 golf courses nationwide PLUS it can be used at golf courses in Mexico, Europe and The Caribbean. The Go Play Golf gift card can also be redeemed for golf equipment and apparel. So whether you’ve got a U.S. Open contender on your holiday gift list or a sub-par duffer to buy for, the Go Play Golf gift card is the perfect choice.
Buy Go Play Golf Gift Cards online or at your local grocery store.
8. SpaFinder Gift Cards
The Gift of Relaxation
What Go Play Golf is to golf courses, Spafinder Wellness 360 is to over 20,000 spas, fitness & wellness centers, yoga studios, salons, hotels & resorts, and more. With a SpaFinder gift card, you can literally pick out the pampering you want most. If you want to spend a day in the spa, you can do that. If you’d rather sign up for Pilates class at a yoga studio, you can do that instead. Want your feet rubbed and your toes polished? Done. With so many places to choose from, you’re sure to find the relaxation you need.
If you have someone on your gift list who could use a little pampering, then this gift card is the perfect choice. And if you don’t believe me, then listen to the editors at Faveable.com magazine who just voted the SpaFinder Wellness 360 gift card as the Best Gift for a Single Mom. The recipient doesn’t have to be single to enjoy this gift card, of course, but if she is, then all the more reason to give it to her this year.
Buy SpaFinder Wellness 360 Gift Cards online or at your local grocery store.
9. GiftofCollege.com Gift Cards
Gift card image from www.giftofcollege.com
The Gift That Can Last a Lifetime
It didn’t take much for this new gift card to capture my attention. It’s called “The Gift of College” and I’m a fan. Several years ago, I paid my own way through college. I earned a couple of small scholarships, got a grant, took out a few student loans and worked (and worked and worked) to pay everything from tuition to books to room and board. My parents chipped in when they could, but I had five younger brothers and sisters at home at the time, so money rarely stretched out to Utah where I attended school. It wasn’t easy, but I wanted to graduate so I did everything I could to make that happen.
GiftofCollege.com is based on a social saving platform. Create an account, invite friends and family to donate and the money earned can be used to pay for new college expenses or pay off an existing student loan. A statistic on the company’s website says, “Just by opening an account for the ones you love, you increase the likelihood that they will attend college 75%.” I’m not sure that’s true, but I do believe there is something to be said for expectations. When mom, dad, grandma and grandpa put their money towards your college education and say words like “WHEN you go to collage” versus “if you go to college,” I have to believe the odds of attending do go up.
If you want to get a gift for a child this holiday season, then check out the Gift of College. You might not get the “jump up and down response” that a gift card to an amusement park would get, but the ultimate impact could be so much greater in the end.
Buy GiftofCollege.com Gift Cards online.
10. Personalized Visa Gift Cards
The Gift Cards They Hold onto Forever!
I know what you’re thinking…this isn’t a new gift card. You’re right. It’s not new to me. But I would wager that this gift card will be a first for whomever you give it to. I’ve given hundreds of gift cards over the years, and personalized gift cards are pretty much the ONLY gift cards that both the receiver and I remember (and still have). There’s just something about this plastic gift card with your picture on front that is captivating and unexpected. And tossing it in the trash after the money doesn’t even seem like an option.
If you want to give someone a gift card to remember, then add a photo to a personalized gift card this holiday season and be prepared to watch the recipient gush all over it. It’s my favorite gift card to give and recipients always ask me how I made the card, assuming that I have some special connection because of my job, but I don’t. I order personalized gift cards just like everybody else–straight from the website.
Buy Personalized Gift Cards online.
It’s hard for me to stop listing gift cards right here when I know of so many others that may not be new, but are less well known than some of the national brand gift cards you see at the grocery store. So if you have a favorite gift card that you’d like me to consider, then tell me about it in the comments below or let’s talk gift cards on Twitter (@GCGirlfriend). If you make a comment, I promise you’ll hear from me, so don’t be shy.
Happy Gift Carding!
~Shelley Hunter, Gift Card Girlfriend