News

The Best Holiday Gift Card Deals at Restaurants This Year

shutterstock.com

Holiday shopping is hard… like, really, really hard. Picking out meaningful gifts for the people you love can be stressful, time-consuming, and mentally draining. But luckily for you, gift cards exist to make sure everyone on your list gets exactly what they want with minimal effort on your part. They’re a win-win if you’re at the point where you just need to settle on something.

While a gift card may seem like the least thoughtful gift, dozens of restaurant chains offer incentives that make gift cards the gift that keeps on giving. All sorts of establishments offer deals and bonuses for you to enjoy over the holidays to reward your mediocre gift giving. No wonder your Aunt Barbara always gives you an Applebee’s gift card for Christmas -- she’s getting a little something out of it for herself. Can you blame her?

So, if you’re ready to give up on finding more thoughtful gifts for the people in our life, here’s a running list of the best gift card deals money can buy this year:

Applebee’s
The deal:
When you buy a $50 Applebee’s gift card for someone on your holiday gift-giving list from now until January 6, 2019, you’ll get a $10 bonus card to keep for yourself. The gift card must be used by March 3, 2019 and can’t be used the same day you get it.

Buffalo Wild Wings
The deal:
Buffalo Wild Wings is offering gift card purchasers a $5 eBonus for every $25 spent in eGift cards now through December 31. All eBonus cards must be redeemed between January 1, 2019 and February 28, 2019, so don’t dottle.

Bahama Breeze
The deal:
Spend $50 on gift cards now through January 2, 2019 and Bahama Breeze will gift you $20 in bonus cards. Bonus cards are valid January 1, 2019 through March 31, 2019 with the exception of Valentine’s Day.

Benihana
The deal: Benihana will reward your holiday generosity with a $10 promotional card when you spend $50 on gift cards. The offer is available through December 31, 2018 while promo cards are good January 2, 2019 through March 31, 2019.

Black Angus Steakhouse
The deal:
When you spend $50 on gift cards, Black Angus Steakhouse will gift you with $10 in Bonus Bucks. The offer is good until December 31 and you have from January 1, 2019 until February 7, 2019 to spend your Bonus Bucks.

Bob Evans
The deal:
Bob Evans is giving gift givers a $10 bonus coupon with the purchase of every $50 gift card, which means the more you buy the more you save. Gift cards must be purchased in a Bob Evans restaurant to take advantage of this deal, though.

California Pizza Kitchen
The deal:
You can get your hands on a $20 promo card from California Pizza Kitchen when you spend $100 in gift cards. Gift cards must be purchased between now and January 1, 2019, while promo cards are valid January 7, 2019 through February 24, 2019.

Cheesecake Factory
The deal:
When you purchase a $25 gift card from Cheesecake Factory, you’ll get a coupon for a free slice of cheesecake. You’ll have to buy your gift cards by December 31 and snag your free dessert between January 1, 2019 and March 3, 2019. This deal is limited to one card per guest.

Chili’s
The deal: Spend $50 on gift cards at Chili’s and they’ll gift you a $10 bonus card now through December 31. Your bonus card is valid January 1, 2019 through February 6, 2019.

Cold Stone Creamery
The deal:
Cold Stone Creamery will gift you a $10 bonus e-gift for every $40 you spend on gift cards online now through December 31.

Firehouse Subs
The deal:
If you purchase a $25 Firehouse Subs gift card, you’ll get a free medium sub during your next visit while supplies last.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar
The deal:
Get a $20 Bonus Card for every $100 you spend on gift cards for Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar now through December 31. Promo cards are valid January 1, 2019 through February 10, 2019.

IHOP
The deal: You’ll get a $5 bonus coupon with the purchase of any $25 IHOP gift card between now and December 31. Your coupon expires January 31, 2019, so you’ll have to hurry in to your local restaurant to catch this deal.

Longhorn Steakhouse
The deal:
When you spend $25 in Longhorn Steakhouse gift cards you’ll get a $5 bonus card. Your bonus card is valid January 1, 2019 until February 3, 2019.

Noodles & Company
The deal:
Spend $25 in gift cards from Noodles & Company and you’ll get a $5 bonus card to apply to your next order.

Olive Garden
The deal:
Get a $10 bonus card for every $50 you spend in Olive Garden gift cards now through December 30. Bonus cards are good January 2, 2019 until February 10, 2019.

Outback Steakhouse
The deal:
Spend $50 on Outback Steakhouse gift cards and you’ll get a $10 bonus card now through December 31. Bonus cards can be redeemed January 1, 2019 through February 10, 2019.

Panera Bread
The deal:
You’ll get a $10 bonus card for every $50 you spend on Panera Bread gift cards through December 31. Bonus cards are valid January 1, 2019 through January 22, 2019.

P.F. Chang’s
The deal:
If you purchase $100 in P.F. Chang’s gift cards this holiday season, you’ll get a $20 bonus reward for yourself, valid from January 1, 2019 to February  28, 2019.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop
The deal:
Give the gift of a Potbelly Sandwich Shop gift card and you’ll get a free sandwich for yourself.

Red Lobster
The deal:
Spend $50 on Red Lobster gift cards and you’ll get a $10 gift card to use in January.

Red Robin
The deal:
You’ll get $5 bonus buck rewards for every $25 you spend on Red Robin gift cards this holiday season.

Ruby Tuesday
The deal:
Get a free $15 bonus card for every $50 you spend on Ruby Tuesday gift cards. Bonus cards will be valid January 2, 2019 through March 5, 2019.

Sizzler
The deal:
From now until Dec. 31, for every $50 you spend on Sizzler eGift cards you’ll get a $10 eBonus card for yourself. All eBonus cards are valid from January 1, 2019 until January 31, 2019.

Smith & Wollensky
The deal:
If you shell out $200 on Smith & Wollensky gift cards this year, you’ll get a $40 holiday bonus card. This offer is valid now through January 1, 2019, while bonus cards are good from January 1, 2019 until February 25, 2019.

Steak N Shake
The deal: Get a free $5 certificate when you spend $20 on Steak N Shake gift cards through December 31. Your certificate will be valid January 1, 2019 through February 28, 2019.

World of Beer
The deal:
For every $50 you spend on World of Beer gift cards, you’ll get a $10 bonus certificate now through December 31.

More Holiday Gift Card Deals?

Did we miss any holiday gift card deals? Feel free to send ‘em our way by emailing news@thrillist.com and we’ll add to our list.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it -- find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.