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If you're a regular SlickDeals visitor, you're likely the kind of person who likes to squeeze every cent of discount and every dollar of value from a purchase. As long as you always pay it off in full each month, a rewards credit card is a great way to maximize your return from each purchase. But there's a pro trick you can use to get a little bit more back from online purchases and brick-and-mortar buys alike: gift cards.

If you visit any large chains or make purchases from online retailers, you may be able to buy their gift cards at an office supply store, supermarket, gas station or online seller to get top credit card rewards while maybe even saving a few percentage points on future purchases. Read more to find out how it works.

Recommended Credit Card Bonuses

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

1.5%Extra Cash Back More Info

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

$0 1.5% - 5%Cashback More Info

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

75,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. Dollar Equivalent: $1,725 (75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 1x- 5xPoints More Info

Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

20,000Points More Info

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value. Dollar Equivalent: $200 (20,000 Points * 0.01 base)

$0 1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up - like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

$200Cash Bonus More Info

Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.

$0 2%Cashback More Info

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

1. Find Credit Cards With Bonuses for Buying Gift Cards

Some credit cards offer bonuses at restaurants, but it’s tough to get top-level rewards when dining or shopping depending on the combination of cards you carry. Other cards give you bonuses at office supply stores, supermarkets and other places where you can buy gift cards—this is where the pro strategy starts.

For example, say a card gives you 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back everywhere else. You might see that as a way to earn 1% on most purchases outside of the bonus categories, but you can do better with gift cards:

  • If you buy a subscription to Netflix, movies on the iTunes store or supplies for a home improvement project at Home Depot or Lowe’s, you would get the “everywhere else” 1% back.
  • If you head to your local grocery store and buy a Netflix, Apple or home improvement store gift card, you should get the 2% cash back rate (though it's worth checking your card's fine print). That’s double what you would get if you shopped there directly.

If you own a small business, you could take your Ink Business Cash® Credit Card card to Office Depot, Office Max or Staples to get 5% cash back on those gift cards. That’s five times the rewards for a purchase you would have made anyway.

Compare Chase Ink Business Credit Cards

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

$750Cash Bonus More Info

Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

$0 1.5%Cashback More Info

Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business. The advertised rewards type is cash back, but it’s important to note that you’re technically earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which can then be converted to cash back).

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

$750Cash Bonus More Info

Earn $350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening

$0 1% - 5%Cashback More Info

Earn 5% cash back on your first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. It also offers you 2% cash back on your first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

100,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $2,300 (100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 More info

This fee includes extra cards for authorized users, such as employees, at no additional charge.

1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3x points on the first $150,000 of combined spending in a number of key business categories

Ink Business Premier® Credit Card

$1,000Cash Bonus More Info

Earn $1,000 bonus cash back after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

$195 Up to 2.5%Cashback More Info

Earn unlimited 2.5% total cash back on purchases of $5,000 or more and unlimited 2% cash back on all other business purchases.

2. Beware Credit Card Rules and Terms

Some credit cards specifically forbid you from using your card to earn points on gift cards. American Express is known for the strongest rules against this type of behavior, so use caution depending on the card you carry.

That said, adding a few gift cards to your regular grocery store visit probably won't trigger alarms with Amex or other credit card companies. But they are known to cancel accounts or clawback rewards in the event of abuse of the rewards system. Check the fine print in your credit card’s cardholder agreement to find out what isn’t allowed.

Be most cautious if you're thinking of using a credit card to buy Visa, MasterCard or American Express gift cards. These purchases may show up on your statement as a cash advance with higher fees and no rewards. They can also land you in hot water with the credit card companies.

Get The Most Bang for Your Buck with Rewards

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3. Plan Ahead and Don't Overspend

Assuming your credit card issuer allows purchasing gift cards and you don’t overdo it, this strategy can earn you bucketloads of rewards on top of what you would have otherwise earned. You might even be able to save more money, depending on how you buy your gift cards. For example, eBay often puts gift cards for some companies on sale. I recently picked up some Southwest Airlines gift cards and Lowe’s gift cards there with a 10% discount. That’s like 10% off on any future purchases.

While financial events like credit card promotions, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Prime Day offer deals at certain times of the year, they come up year-round if you pay attention.

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4. Build a System to Get the Best Rewards and Track Your Gift Cards

It would be a shame to start down the path to earning more rewards with gift cards only to make a costly mistake. If you forget to make a credit card payment or pay less than the full balance, interest charges and fees will eat up all of your savings. Even worse, a misplaced gift card is like money down the drain.

I use a Google Sheets spreadsheet and Google Wallet to store and track all of my gift cards to use. With a combination of automatic payments and a good reminder system, I’ve never paid a cent of credit card interest or paid late.

Find a system that works for you so you always stay one step ahead. If you do, increased credit card rewards could be just around the corner.

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5. Apply for the Best Rewards Credit Cards for Buying Gift Cards

Using a rewards credit card when you buy gift cards can help you earn valuable points, miles or cash-back perks this holiday season.

Yet all rewards credit cards aren’t equal. One card might give more rewards for dining or travel purchases, while another card might reward you more for grocery or gas purchases. If you want to maximize your reward-earning potential, it’s important to choose the right credit card for each purchase.

Quick Tip

Not sure which credit card is right for you? Start with our comparison tool to review features and rewards as you shop around for the best fit.


Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel, and technology writer in Ventura, California. He is a former bank manager and corporate finance and accounting professional who left his day job in 2016 to take his online side hustle full-time. He has in depth experience writing about banking, credit cards, investing, business, and other financial topics. When away from the keyboard, Eric enjoys exploring the world and spending time with his wife and little girls. You can connect with him at Personal Profitability or