Restaurant gift cards
Whether you're planning on stuffing it in a stocking or tucking it under a tree, the gift card is a go-to idea for many a harried shopper.
But what kind of gift card should you get for Aunt Sally or Cousin Mike? That's where Bankrate comes in. Using data collected from our sister site, CreditCards.com, we looked at the terms and features of 62 different gift cards, including general purpose cards, store-branded retail cards, restaurant cards, airline cards and gas station cards.
Using the chart below, you can compare these cards to find out the one that suits your needs based on factors such as the amount you can put on the card to any fees it costs to buy one. This way, everyone comes out a winner this season.
Select card features:
- Inactivity fee
- PIN available
- Loss/theft protection
- eCard offered
- Free shipping
- Purchase fees
- Online balance check
Brinker Restaurants (Chili's, Romano's Macaroni Grill, On The Border, Maggiano's)Loading limits: $5-$100 on e-cards; $10-$100 plastic gift cards.
- Maggiano's gift cards ship for free. Shipping options for Brinker Restaurants, Chili's and On the Border gift cards are USPS $1.95, FedEx 2-Day $10.95, FedEx Overnight $13.95. Gift cards from Romano's Macaroni Grill under $200 ship for $3.50. Customized gift cards carry $2.99 fee.
Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Seasons 52)Loading limits: $5-$250 (Darden card, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Olive Garden); $25-$1,000 (Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Eddie V's). E-card: $10-$250.
- Gift cards will be replaced if customer has 16-digit number on back of card and value still remains on the card. Only gift cards purchased online are reloadable. All the restaurants in the Darden family now offer e-cards. Gift cards by standard mail are free for Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Capital Grille, Seasons 52 and Eddie V's. Shipping is $1.95 for Olive Garden, Red Lobster and generic Darden Restaurants gift card; quicker delivery available for a fee of $8.95-$14.95.
McDonald'sLoading limits: $5, $10, $25, $50.
- Can be purchased only in stores.
OSI Restaurants (Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's, Fleming's)Loading limits: $25, $50, $100.
Panera BreadLoading limits: $2-$200.
- Website says minimum $.65 for USPS delivery, 8-10 days. But the only shipping methods shown are FedEx, minimum of $4.50, max $20.50.
Pizza HutLoading limits: $10, $20; e-cards: $5-$100.
- Reloadable if marked reloadable.
- E-cards are not reloadable. $10.35 USPS 2-day delivery is their cheapest shipping option, with an additonal $3 for residential shipments. So a $10 gift card costs $23.35 to get delivered to your home.
StarbucksLoading limits: $15-$100; e-cards: $5-$100.
- Starbucks replacement is available only for registered cards.
Taco BellLoading limits: $10, $20.
- Must be purchased in store. Replacement is available only for registered cards.
Source: Survey conducted by Creditcards.com in early November 2013.