Top 20 gift cards this year

Are you on the prowl for gift cards this month? This might help you in your search., an online gift card marketplace, polled 6,000 people from January through October to determine the top 20 cards desired this year. It’s no surprise that Walmart, and Target took the top three spots, but the list also includes product-specific retailers in addition to Visa, American Express and MasterCard.

The full list:

  1. Walmart
  3. Target
  4. Visa
  5. The Home Depot
  6. Lowe’s
  7. Costco
  8. Best Buy
  9. Starbucks
  10. Walgreens
  11. CVS
  12. American Express
  13. Bed, Bath & Beyond
  14. McDonald’s
  15. MasterCard
  16. Whole Foods
  17. Shell
  18. Exxon Mobil
  19. BP
  20. Southwest Airlines

Are you buying gift cards for friends, loved ones or coworkers this year? Do you tend to give general cards for flexibility or store-specific cards?

Here’s a refresher on the new gift card laws if you’re not up-to-date.

-By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter. You can follow me on Twitter @atlbargains.

23 comments Add your comment

mystery poster

December 8th, 2010
8:39 am

I hate giving and/or getting gift cards.


December 8th, 2010
9:12 am

I love to receive gift cards. Target, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, and restaurant gift cards are my favorites. My husband and I receive several each year for Christmas and we always use them. We also like Lowe’s gift cards. We usually purchase gift cards for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law because they are hard to shop for. They like to shop and like going to the spa, so gift cards are the perfect gifts for them. We always get a little something else to go with the gift card as well.

Ted Striker

December 8th, 2010
9:16 am

Receiving: I prefer receiving gift cards over merchandise because many past gifts were duplicates of items already owned or things I simply didn’t care for that ended up in a yard sale, donated, or sometimes just thrown away.

Giving: If I’m confident that someone would enjoy a specific item or service, I’ll gift it directly. If I’m unsure — or they’re especially difficult to shop for — I’ll do my homework and learn places they regularly shop and give them a gift card. Many times I’ve given away gift cards the person will later say “hey, guess what I bought with the card?” and then they’ll tell me and say “I really love it, thanks again!”


December 8th, 2010
9:22 am

Could we be missing the concept of the word “gift” here? A gift should be something we give not out of obligation or not because it’s that time of the year. It should be (carefully) considered and should be a reflection of both the giver and the receiver. If you are too busy or too lazy or too uninterested to consider the receiver, perhaps you should reconsider giving. Remember the reason for the Christmas season.


December 8th, 2010
9:30 am

I like to show my appreciation for my son’s school staff and will give his teacher(s) gift cards or cash for a holiday gift. I feel that’s better so they can purchase what they want or need for the holidays. Sometimes I do grocery store gift cards and other times I will give debit cards they can use anywhere. I hope they don’t think I’m being lazy or inconsiderate by doing so. I just don’t assume I know what their needs are but want to give them something.


December 8th, 2010
9:36 am

f you are too busy or too lazy or too uninterested to consider the receiver, perhaps you should reconsider giving.

Despite your belief that the world is black and white, it is not. Gift cards may always seem like a cop-out gift to you, but I think that in the right circumstances, they are thoughtful. They say, “I care about you and want you to have something YOU WANT (as opposed to something I think you might like and hope you don’t already have), so this way, you get to choose.”

Most people, especially adults, have too much “stuff” as it is. A gift card for consumables will make their day. I truly enjoy receiving them, and I give them for the same reason. Ones to restaurants are especially nice–that’s an expense the recipient would probably not make on their own. Now, they can look forward to a nice dinner out.

Certainly, don’t give them if you don’t want to. And if someone is nice enough to give you one, make sure you grumpily say, “How lazy of you.” :-)

Remember the reason for the Christmas season.

Rampant consumerism? That’s what it means in America, at least. If you dislike this reality, then don’t buy any gifts this year. Give homemade, or simply enjoy the company of your friends and loved ones.

Remember the reason for the Christmas season.

Ted Striker

December 8th, 2010
9:52 am

Don — You’re on a tangent.


December 8th, 2010
10:02 am

I absolutely hate the whole idea of gift cards, and if somebody can explain to me how they are a good idea, I would love to hear it. The gift card has to be the single greatest product ever sold. 100% of the benefits are to the retailer. They get your money in exchange to promise to give an equivalent amount of stuff to somebody later; that is unless that person loses the card, or doesn’t come in soon enough and the card expires, or the person uses most but not all of the value (in which case the holder will most likely discard the piece of plastic since it has almost no value, letting the retailer keep the extra money)! Then there’s inflation, which makes things cost more later, so the value of amount of stuff you can get with the card later is actually less than the amount of stuff you could have gotten when the card was purchased. There are EXACTLY ZERO benefits of gift cards over cash to the person who receives the card. Specifically, everything you can do with a gift card can be done with cash, plus cash has the benefit of being able to be used ANYWHERE, never expiring, and I’ve never met anyone who bought $97.84 worth of stuff with a $100 bill, got $2.16 back, and threw the cash away because it wasn’t worth carrying around. Yet somehow our society has determined that this lousy stand-in for cash is a good idea. With all the benefits to the retailer, it’s no wonder these cards are pushed so hard…


December 8th, 2010
10:26 am

GOOD mornin’ Lauren! Hope you have a great one!

Lauren Davidson

December 8th, 2010
10:29 am

Mornin’, y’all! I have to say, I just used up my Starbucks gift card yesterday! Yum! But I do have some (Home Depot) that are more than a year old…with the fees I’m not even sure that they’re worth anything anymore.

Also: I’m the underdog in the AJC Tweet-off today! Come follow me @atlbargains!

the Grinch

December 8th, 2010
10:43 am

I would much rather have a gift card to buy something I WILL USE AND APPRECIATE than have something I won’t use and will take up space. I would rather give a gift, but MOST people are impossible to shop for. You can’t go wrong with it.
And REMEMBER, Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, not giving gifts. Here today gone tomorrow. Merry Christmas!


December 8th, 2010
11:06 am

My fiance knows not to give me gift cards. For someone that close, you should be able to figure out what I want.
He asked me the other day if I would be upset if his grandma gave me a gift card. Of course I wouldn’t! She doesn’t know me all that well, and I think it is sweet that she is getting me a gift to begin with.


December 8th, 2010
11:07 am

My kids(they’re actually adults) love getting gift cards. The Gap, Express and other clothing stores are among their favorites since they don’t like the clothes I pick out for them. I also get cards for Kroger and Publix since filling up the frig costs a pretty penny on a tight budget.

Don, I think that fits right in with “the reason for the season”. Helping my kids get things they need makes me feel good. I know they’ll get what they actually want.

Easy Out

December 8th, 2010
11:13 am

I don’t have as strong an opinion as some but I like gift cards and although I haven’t given many, I will buy them if I know a person will appreciate it. I received many gift cards as wedding gifts this year and they all came in handy. I was mindful to spend every penny on them too. I had three cards that had very small balances on them and I used the remainder from all three cards on one purchase. It’s still money and there was no reason to throw away $5. Visa and Mastercard gift/cash cards are used just about anywhere and some cards are re-loadable. I guess if you don’t like it, you can re-gift.


December 8th, 2010
12:28 pm

My kids will get presents, but my extended family will get gift cards. I know I prefer gift cards myself. I don’t think you can go wrong with letting ppl chose what they want. I tend to stick with store specific cards like Target.


December 8th, 2010
1:15 pm

I like receiving gift cards because wherever I shop, I know when to go for the best deals. If I get one for Christmas, it is worth “more” right after the holiday due to all the heavy discounts. Plus, with a gift card, I don’t have to stand in line to exchange/return anything, which can be nightmarish! Having said that, I understand why some might think it impersonal, but who am I to judget what someone wants to buy for themselves using a gift card. At Wal-Mart, you can buy just about anything. If you know the person well enough, then you should know where they shop and can get a gift card that is suited to their purchases. As far as the retailers making money off these deals, they certainly might. I don’t think the argument regarding cash being better holds water though. The value of our dollar is going down every day (seemingly). At least the gift card is still worth what you paid for it. If you don’t agree with the terms (any loss in value, any activation fee – all of which I think have been done away with), then put your dollars elsewhere. Otherwise, give me my Khol’s gift card, and when my %age off coupons come in AFTER the holidays, I will be smiling when I leave the store with my purchases – EVERY TIME!


December 8th, 2010
4:39 pm

I like MONEY! Best gift card ever!!


December 8th, 2010
7:46 pm

I bought my children the PS3 Move this year and gift cards to Target so that they could purchase the video games that want for the game. Cuz I know what I get them they are not going to want to play, gift cards are like free money for my kids..which they always seem to enjoy!


December 8th, 2010
8:42 pm

top 20 gift cards at the UK’s leading online gift card superstore (I’m a co-founder):

arcadia group
pizza express
Pizza Hut
laura ashley
red letter days

Our gift card sales are up over 50% this year vs. last year, and e-gift vouchers – where you email a gift card instantly – are now 25% of sales and growing.

Bottom line – the British are starting to love gift cards just as much as the yanks!

Ole Guy

December 8th, 2010
9:31 pm


December 9th, 2010
2:00 pm

eGift cards are a great alternative to traditional plastic. Essentially impossible to lose. Can be reprinted or resent.



December 10th, 2010
7:55 am

@ Laura – Home Depot gift cards do not have fees.
I know this ’cause I work for Home Depot Corp.
There are many websites where you can sell unwanted gift cards…
Or you can use those gift cards in The Home Depot replace your furnance filter, buy CFL light bulbs – they’re not just for ‘projects.’

Top 20 gift cards this year « Boner Blog

December 10th, 2010
9:01 am

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