The 10 best digital gift cards to give and get this year
Gift cards are a wonderful invention, and online gift cards might be even better. Delivered directly to a recipient’s inbox, or even to their smartphone, they’re a great option if you’ve left your holiday shopping to the last minute. (And if you’re reading this, chances are you have.)
Online gift cards are also perfect for anyone on your list who is fussy and difficult to buy for, great for far-away friends and family you’re not going to see during the holidays, and also an eco-friendly solution for anyone who wants to reduce their carbon footprint.
Best yet: You don’t have to leave the house to buy them.
The 10 best online gift cards you can buy and send digitally
First, to clarify: These gift cards are bought online and received digitally (unless you want to give the gift in person or have it sent via snail mail; some of them even have that option). Some of them can also be redeemed digitally by the gift recipient. So there’s a variety of ways in which these gift cards can be classified as internet-friendly. It’s up to you to decide how IRL or online-only you want the experience on your and your recipient’s end to be. Moving along! We’ve established that online gift cards are A Good Thing, but want kind of cards should you be checking out? Aside from the overly obvious options like Amazon and iTunes, here are our top choices for the best digital gift cards. Surely, you can find something here for everyone on your list.
So, yes, it’s a bit basic, but rather than a voucher for some obscure site or service, at least if you give someone a Starbucks online gift card you know it’s going to get used. You have several virtual options with Starbucks.
You can send an Starbucks eGift via email. This lets you choose a Christmas, Holidays, or Hanukkah graphic and personalized message, or you can send an eGift via text. To do this you need to download the Starbucks app for either iOS or Android and follow the gifting instructions within.
Audible is a fab option for both big gesture gifting and more affordable present-giving. This is because you can choose to gift your recipient a full-blown Audible subscription, or just an individual title via an online gift card.
If you opt for the subscription, you can choose between a one, three, six, or 12-month membership plan with prices starting at $15. This membership will give your giftee one Audible credit per month, good for any title—plus two Audible Originals each month.
Alternatively, you can just buy them one single audiobook you think they will like. To do this, sign in to Audible, find the title you want to give them, then look for the “Give as a gift” option on the product page.
If your recipient is a film fan, a Fandango online gift card sent via email can be used at all locations across the United States. Digital gift cards are available in various increments from $15 and up. You can choose one of Fandango’s Christmas, Holidays, or Hanukkah designs, or even design your own virtual gift card with your own imagery.
When you go through the payment process, you can choose to schedule the digital gift card’s delivery time, so if you want the gift to land in your giftee’s inbox at say, 10 a.m. on Christmas morning, that’s doable!
You can even add Fandango’s “dinner and a movie” gift card combo. This comprises of one $25 Fandango gift card and one $25 Olive Garden gift card, sent in one email.
If you have a cool teen on your gift list, haven’t got a clue what to get them, and don’t want to waste money on a like, super laaame gift, we don’t think you can go wrong with an Urban Outfitters online gift card.
Valid on Urban Outfitters North American websites and in all North American stores, the gift cards are available from $25. Simply select the design from the predictably edgy options, type your message, select the date you want the e-gift to be emailed to them, and you’re done.
This is an ideal option for gym bunnies, or as a perfect digital gift card just before the New Year when so many of us begin new exercise regimes and fitness routines.
You can gift your recipient any amount you want but keep in mind that ClassPass says the most popular plans in New York and Los Angeles are either the $49 a month plan, which amounts to 27 credits or up to seven classes, or the $79 a month plan, which amounts to 45 credits and up to 12 classes.
6) Ulta Beauty
An Ulta Beauty digital gift card is a very versatile gift that the recipient can put towards cosmetics, toiletries, skincare, haircare, nail products, perfume and fragrances, or even in-store salon services.
Once you’ve chosen a card design or uploaded your own image, you can choose any amount to gift—even as little as $10. Finally, you can also select the delivery date so the card will hit their inbox on the day you want it to.
7) Home Depot
If your recipient is more about DIY than looking fly, why not consider a Home Depot digital gift card? There’s more to Home Depot than just building materials. Your giftee could buy house plants, wall art, candles, blankets, luggage, kitchenware—they’d struggle not to find something to spend the card on.
You can buy a Home Depot gift card online in any amount in increments of five dollars, choose a design for the card online, create a personalized message, and select which date you’d like the card to be mailed to them.
Are you shopping for an oenophile? Haven’t got a clue whether they’re mad for merlot or go ga-ga for grenache? Winc, a popular wine club, also offers wine on a per bottle basis, as well as some really lovely and well-thought-out gift packages, like a bottle of wine and two suitably shaped glasses, or a bottle of wine and a scented candle.
So you can basically let your giftee choose the wine they want with a Winc gift voucher. You can buy a Winc online gift card to be emailed to your recipient in $60, $100, and $50 increments thereafter.
Give the gift of travel with an Airbnb online gift card. Perfect for anyone you know who is planning a trip in the New Year, or for that one person who always Airbnbs it, the digital gift cards are available in $25, $50, $100, $200 values or any custom amount between $25 and $100.
The cards can be redeemed online for any of the million-plus Airbnb destinations around the world, but do be aware they can’t be used on long term reservations of 28 nights or longer.
Finally, Whole Foods Market digital gift cards can be used at any of the chain’s stores in the U.S. and Canada, but not online. While it’s not a gift that will suit everyone on your list if you’re buying for a student or someone you know needs a little extra help over the holidays, it’s an option to consider.
There is a minimum spend of $20. Once you’ve customized your card design, you can choose to have it sent to the recipient by text or email. All they need to do to use it is to show a Whole Food cashier the message on their cellphone.
Interestingly, Whole Foods also gives you the option to have the digital gift card sent to your email address to print out, useful to know if you were hoping to give someone an anonymous gift of grocery help.
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