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Businesses go out of their way to entice you to buy gift cards around the holidays by offering with special perks and extras. Here are 36 gift card freebies this year. Some of them are as big as a 20% bonus! Thanks to so many readers who shared additional discounts. Am I missing any?
AMC Theaters – Buy $50 in gift cards and get a free $10 concession card.
Barnes and Noble – Buy a $100 gift card by Dec. 6, 2011 and get a free $10 e-gift card on Dec. 26, 2011.
Borders – Buy a $50 gift card and get a $10 bonus.
Applebee’s – Buy a $50 gift card and get a $10 bonus gift card through Feb. 29, 2011.
Arby’s – Participating locations are offering a free combo when you buy a $20 gift card.
Benihana – Join the Chef’s Table and get a $30 gift certificate mailed to you in your birthday month. Or get a bonus $10 gift card when you buy a $50 gift card. Ends Dec. 31, 2010 and the gift cards expire Mar. 31, 2011. If you can combine the two, you’ll pay $50 for $90 in gift cards!
Ben & Jerry’s – Get a free ice cream when you buy a gift card for $10 or more. Unclear when this deal expires.
Black Angus – Buy a $50 gift card by Dec. 31, 2010 and get a $10 bonus gift card.
New! Buca di Peppo – Reader Rachelle reports Buca di Beppo is offering a $10 Reward Card with every $50 in gift card purchases.
California Pizza Kitchen – Buy a $100 gift card and get a free $20 bonus card that is valid Jan. 10, 2011 through Mar. 25, 2011.
Cheesecake Factory – Get a voucher for a free slice of cheesecake on your next visit when you buy a $25 gift card. Ends Dec. 24, 2010.
Chick-fil-A – Select locations (check ahead of time) are giving away a free 2011 calender stocked with freebies when you buy a $20 gift card. Otherwise the calenders cost $6.
Chili’s – Gift card orders of $100 or more are 10% off.
Chipotle – There are rumors that if you buy a $25 gift card in stores before Dec. 24, 2010, you’ll get a free entree on your next visit with the original receipt. You must claim the freebie by Dec. 31, 2010, which is a tight window. Can anyone confirm this? Reader Stacy confirmed this by calling her local Chipotle!!!
CiCi’s Pizza – Buy a $20 gift card and get a free adult buffet card that is good through Jan. 2011. One per person. Beverages not included.
Claim Jumper – Buy a $50 gift card and get a voucher for a free slice of Chocolate Motherlode Cake on your next visit (good through Jan. 9, 2011) and a $10 gift card that is good Jan. 10, 2011 through Mar. 31, 2011. So you’ll have to make two visits to redeem both. Buy $500 or more in gift cards and get 20% back in gift cards that never expire.
Coffee Bean – Get a free 12-ounce drink of your choice when you buy a $25 gift card or reload an existing card (with $25 or more). Valid in AZ and CA, but not at Ralphs, casinos, school campus, and military bases. Not valid online.
New! Corner Bakery – Reader Rachelle reports that she bought a $25 gift card at The Corner Bakery and got a $5 gift card for herself to use after the holidays.
CVS – For every $25 gift card you buy, get a free $5 bonus gift card.
Del Taco – Get various freebies when you buy a gift card between $15 and $100, from free tacos to a free T-shirt. Offers may vary in restaurants. Unclear when they expire.
Denny’s – Buy a $25 gift card, get a $5 bonus card free. For a limited time. Each order has a $1.95 processing fee.
Friendly’s – Get a free $5 gift card with every $25 gift card you buy. No details on exclusions.
Fuddruckers – Get a $5 bonus gift card for every $25 gift card you buy. Ends Dec. 31, 2010. The bonus cards are valid Jan. 1, 2011 through Feb. 28, 2011.
Islands – Buy a $100 gift card and get a $20 gift card free. Ends Dec. 19, 2010.
Jamba Juice – Buy a $25 gift cards and get a free 16-ounce smoothie through Jan. 3, 2011. Not valid at Safeway, Vons, Pavilions or Hawaii store locations.
LL Bean – Get a free $10 gift card for every $50 you spend through Dec. 24, 2010. One card per customer per day. The free gift cards are valid through Feb. 15, 2011.
Macaroni Grill – Buy a $25 gift cards before Jan. 5, 2011 and get a free $5 gift card that is valid Jan. 1 2011 to Feb. 28, 2011. Not valid in Puerto Rico.
Maggiano’s – Get a $20 bonus card with a $100 gift card purchases. Ends Dec. 31, 2010. The bonus card is good Jan. 1, 2011 through Feb. 1, 2011 and requires a $50 purchase. Lame.
Panda Express – Word on the street is that you get a free two-item combo when you buy a $25 gift card. Unclear when this ends. Can anyone confirm? Reader Kelly S. confirmed this deal!
Qdoba – Get a $5 voucher with every $25 Qdoba gift card you buy. The bonus voucher is good Jan. 1, 2011 through Feb. 28, 2011.
New! Ralphs – Reader Linda reports that Ralphs in California is offering 4X bonus points for each gift card you buy from the grocery story. For example, if you buy a $25 Barnes and Noble card, you get 100 points.
Red Robin – Get a $5 bonus gift card for every $25 gift card you buy, or get $20 off a gift card of $500 or more. The $5 bonus is valid Jan. 1, 2011 through Feb. 28, 2011.
Ruth’s Chris – Buy a gift card for $250 or more and get 10% back in bonus cards that are valid Jan. 1, 2011 through Mar. 31, 2011. Promotion ends Dec. 31, 2010.
New! Safeway – Reader Shelley Hunter said Safeway/Vons is doing a $15 grocery coupon when you buy $150 in gift cards from them.
Subway – This promotion may only be happening in Canada, it’s unclear. Get a free 6-inch sub when you buy a $25 gift card. Some exclusions. Ask the cashier before you order.
Taco Bell – Get a free large soda when you buy a $10 or $20 gift card. The fine print says the free soda requires a purchase, but I’m assuming you can use your gift card to cover the balance.
TGI Friday’s – Buy a $25 gift card and get a $5 bonus card. Ends Jan. 3, 2011. Read fine print carefully for redemption rules.
The Children’s Place – Get a free $10 egift card for every $40 of egift cards you buy through Dec. 26, 2010.
UNO Chicago Grill – Buy a $25 gift card and get a free $5 bonus card that is valid Jan. 1, 2011 through Mar. 31, 2011.
What other gift card bonuses have you come across? Leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list.