Since I know I’ll eventually spend the money on Amazon, an Amazon gift card is pretty much as good as cash these days.
But why would you buy Amazon gift cards when you can get them for free?
Fun fact: You can actually get Amazon gift cards for free from dozens of different companies.
Other fun fact: I actually interviewed at Amazon back in 2005 for a position in gift card marketing. I didn’t get the job, and looking at how things turned out, I’m pretty happy about that. (But those stock options…!?)
But whoever did get that job went crazy with it. Today, Amazon gift cards are everywhere!
In fact, if you Google “free amazon gift cards” you’ll be presented with articles offering as many as 50+ “sneaky”, “easy”, “legit”, and even “lazy” ways to earn them.
(Some of those posts are even written by friends of mine!)
I won’t attempt to compete with those articles. Instead, I’ll share some of the real ways I get free stuff on Amazon on autopilot.
Then, if you choose, you can dive deeper into the “free gift card” rabbit hole.
Wait a minute, you might be saying. Are these gift cards really free?
Yes and no.
You and I have been around long enough to know that few things in life are truly 100% free–and earning Amazon gift cards is no exception.
These won’t cost you any money, but you’ll have to take some action, whether it’s signing up for an account, filling out a survey, or completing some other task.
So what are the best ways to earn free Amazon gift cards?
Let’s take a look!
Passive Ways I Earn Free Amazon Gift Cards
The Capital One® Venture® Card
My favorite rewards card is the Capital One Venture card, which offers “double miles” on all purchases. You can trade in your miles for statement credits, gift cards, or travel purchases.
When you redeem your miles for a statement credit, it takes 2000 miles to knock $10 off your statement. But when you redeem them for a $10 Amazon gift card, it only takes 1250 miles–a 60% better value.
Capital One is currently offering a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus (worth $400 in free Amazon gift cards) after you spend $3000 in the first 3 months. That’s the equivalent of 13% cash back on your spending!
The $95 annual fee is free for the first year.
The Venture card has been our “daily driver” for years and that’s added up to hundreds of dollars worth of free Amazon purchases.
Pei is my favorite new automatic cash back app.
After you sign up and sync your card, you’ll automatically earn an extra 1-10% cash back at many stores and restaurants.
Your card is secure with Pei uses bank-level 256-bit encryption for end-to-end encrypted communication, and uses 2-factor authentication when linking your cards.
Once you earn $15, you can cash out via PayPal, a gift card to Amazon or other stores, or–if you’re a crypto enthusiast–Bitcoin.
When you opt for the Amazon gift card, you’ll even earn a 2% bonus credit on your cash back:
So far I’ve earned Pei points from Target, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, 7-Eleven, In-N-Out, Papa Murphy’s, and more.
(Read my full Pei review here.)
Mobilexpression is a market research panel that pays you in exchange for data from your mobile phone.
Download their app and allow it to work in the background recording your browsing habits while on your phone. By participating with Mobilexpression, you’ll earn weekly credits redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers.
With RebateKey, you skip the gift card entirely and just get Amazon purchases for free or deeply discounted.
They actually have 30+ retailers, not just Amazon, but I’ve only used it with Amazon so far. Just enter your rebate key–your order ID–after purchases and you’ll receive a reimbursement check after 35 days.
(I was skeptical too, but it actually worked!)
It’s a little weird, but companies offer to refund a portion of your purchase on certain products — up to 100% — when you buy through RebateKey.
What’s in it for them, I wondered?
Well, they’re building sales proof on platforms like Amazon, gathering user feedback, and collecting emails. I tested it out and sure enough, a month later, I had a check for the full amount of my $21.95 purchase.
Pretty crazy, but definitely worth checking out to see if they have any products you’re in the market for.
A friend of mine noted he does a lot of his gift shopping here!
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Amazon has started syncing your payment options with your Chase Ultimate Rewards balance. This means you can use your existing bank of rewards points to seamlessly pay for your Amazon purchases:
Done this way, your points are worth approximately $0.008 each, or $80 for 10,000 points. While this is certainly an easy way to redeem points and make your Amazon purchases free, it’s actually not the best use of Chase Ultimate Rewards.
For example, if you were to redeem those 10,000 points for an Amazon gift card, they’d be worth $100 — not $80.
Still, Ultimate Rewards points are even more valuable when you redeem them for travel purchased through the Chase rewards portal.
And they’re even more valuable when you transfer them to one of Chase’s travel partners, which include United and Southwest.
Bottom line: if you want to use Chase Ultimate Rewards to make your Amazon purchases free, I’d go the gift card route — not the easy-peasy checkout integration route.
A quick way to get started is with the Chase Freedom card. This card is currently offering $150 as a sign up bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 months (15,000 Ultimate Rewards points).
That’s the equivalent of 30% cash back.
And if your household is anything like ours, it won’t be much trouble to spend $500 on your card in 3 months. Plus there’s no annual fee!
A Head Start Towards Free Amazon Gift Cards
Signing up for these services won’t get you free Amazon money right away, but they’ll give your account a little head start to the lowest reward threshold.
Want to make money off your grocery purchases without all of the limitations most programs have?
It’s also kind of a cool tool to track your spending across time and across different stores:
You can then redeem points for gift cards to retailers like Best Buy, Sephora, Staples, Gap, and more. (I’ve been cashing in for $10 Amazon gift cards.)
Rakuten (formerly Ebates)
Want an online shopping portal that can earn you an average of 5% cash back on all your online purchases?
Tons of online retailers are available on Rakuten, including eBay, Kohls, Walmart, and Amazon. I used the site to get $165 back on my new Dell laptop!
Sign up through my referral link for a $10 bonus right off the bat.
Then transfer those funds to an Amazon gift card once you hit the $20 minimum.
Swagbucks – You can earn up to $35 a survey and get a $10 bonus just for signing up! Then flip those earnings for an Amazon gift card.
Inbox Dollars – This company has paid out over $50 million to members. Get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
Active Ways to Earn Free Amazon Gift Cards
Now we’re getting into some options that require a little more time and effort. I’ll caution that the effective hourly rate from these probably won’t be anything to write home about.
I made $40 in Amazon gift cards in about 40 minutes — here’s my full User Interviews review.
Prize Rebel – Earn $10-12 an hour doing surveys or completing other tasks. Just avoid the low-paying ones. I’ll warn you though; Prize Rebel can be pretty addicting. I’ve earned a few hundred dollars worth of free Amazon gift cards through the site.
Amazon’s Trade-In Program – Have old cell phones, video games, books, etc. to sell? Use Amazon’s trade-in program to earn credit on Amazon.
I should note that you can get more money selling them yourself, but Amazon offers a simple, painless process. You don’t even have to pay for shipping.
Survey Junkie – Earn up to $50 a survey and cash out via gift cards or PayPal.
Shopkick – Earn rewards points just for walking into a store with Shopkicks!
Other ways to earn points (called “kicks”) include shopping with a linked card, scanning barcodes on selected products, viewing online products, watching videos, and visiting online stores.
Redeem your kicks for free Amazon gift cards. There’s got to be some level of irony for earning Amazon currency for walking into brick and mortar stores, right?
Mechanical Turk – Earn a small fee ($0.01 to $3) for each micro task you complete. Over the last couple of years, Mike Naab earned over $21,000 in his spare time completing surveys and other small jobs on the mturk platform. I don’t know if this is worth your time, but it’s clearly worked out for him!
AppNana – Like playing games and checking out new apps? AppNana gives you rewards points for doing just that! Redeem those points for Amazon gift cards.
Receipt Hog – Scan your receipts and earn bonus coins with Receipt Hog. Then exchange those coins for free Amazon gift cards.
CoinOut – First seen on Shark Tank, CoinOut rewards you for shopping online as well as scanning receipts. Your rewards can be flipped for Amazon gift cards.
What Do Free Amazon Gift Cards Actually Cost?
All of the ways mentioned above do pay out free Amazon gift cards, but are they really free?
They are in the sense that you don’t pay money for them.
However, there is time involved in taking surveys, shopping online, scanning receipts, playing games, and tracking your rewards.
(That’s why I prefer the more passive methods from the very top.)
Even though these are simple tasks that anyone can do, you’ll have to ask yourself if it’s really worth your time. If what you’re really after is extra money to spend on Amazon, there are probably more effective ways to earn it.
Have you ever heard of the term “opportunity cost”? It’s an economics term and basically means the value of what you had to give up in order to pursue something else.
What’s your opportunity cost to pursuing free Amazon gift cards? In other words, what else could you be doing with that time?
What Could You Do Instead?
This site is filled with side hustle ideas!
Here a few with low barrier-to-entry and low startup costs.
Unlike the online survey sites and apps above, Respondent facilitates one-on-one consumer research studies and focus groups. And with an average payout of $140 an hour, it’s by far the best paying online survey outfit I’ve found.
Notary / Loan Signing Agent
Notary certification is granted by the state and the cost is generally less than $100.
Once you’re certified, you can charge your own fee to notarize documents, or become a loan signing agent like Brian did and make $1500-2000 a month overseeing mortgage signings in your spare time.
Become a Virtual Assistant or Freelancer
Virtual assistants provide administrative support to clients from their home office. If that sounds like a fun side hustle you can set up shop on your own or jump on board with an established VA company.
To learn more about starting your own virtual assistant company, check out the free video training from my friend Abbey Ashley, who started her VA business on the side and shares:
- Where to find thousands of potential clients.
- How to make a full-time living working from home.
- What clients are really looking for in a VA. (hint: it’s not prior VA experience)
Abbey started out at $20-30 an hour, and ultimately grew her business to $75 an hour and up for specialized services.
Driving for Dollars
If you’re free mornings, nights, or weekends, you can earn extra cash driving your fellow citizens around.
Did you know? Both companies offer “Destination Mode”, which basically allows you to earn money on your regular morning and evening commute by telling the app which direction you’re headed and only accepting riders along your route.
And if you don’t like the idea of strangers in your car, you might consider a delivery service. With services like Postmates and DoorDash you can earn money (up to $25 an hour) on your own schedule delivering take-out orders in your town.
For more, check out our full list of apps that pay you.
Flipping Products for Profit
Buy low, sell high. That’s the name of the game, and surprisingly, there’s profit to be had all over the place!
Jessica Larrew and her husband Cliff have sold more than $1 million worth of stuff on Amazon, mostly sourced from local retail stores.
Building an Online Business
The payoff in starting a blog or online business is longer, but over time can be far greater than many of the ways to earn a few free bucks on Amazon listed above.
If you’re willing to toil away doing surveys or watching videos, what if instead you invested that time into building an asset of your own?
What do people already ask you for help with? What challenges or obstacles have you overcome in your own life? Use those to come up with ideas and get started building your platform.
Take time to analyze your situation.
Does it make sense to pursue rewards programs to earn free Amazon gift cards? Or does it make more sense to invest in yourself to earn some money on the side doing something you already know?
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Stock photos by Dean Drobot and 9dream studio via Shutterstock
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