Stocking Stuffers: Gift Card Deals in Orange County (and Nationwide!)

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The gift for someone who’s impossible to get a gift for: the gift card!

If you are truly, completely lost, but just don’t want to take that step to giving cash straight-up just yet, you may want to class it up with a Visa Gift Card. There are a lot out there, so keep two things in mind:

(1) Ask about fees

(2) Check expiration dates and non-use fees

gift card holidays

As for gift cards to fast food restaurants and dining restaurants, Nancy Luna has done an amazing job of it over at the OC Register, so here’s  a preview of my favorites and click through to go through to the rest…. Basically, what you can expect, though, is 20% back; so if they’re the kind of restaurant that can afford it, it’s $5 back on $25, but it seems like most shops are going for $20 back on $100, for the most obvious reason.

BJ’s Restaurants: $50 in gift card purchase, get you a free limited edition BJ’s pint glass; $75 in gift cards, gets you a free pint glass and a “surprise” promotional BJ’s card that could be worth $5 to $1,000. It also includes a grand prize trip for two to Scotland. The card is good from Dec. 26 through Feb. 28; and $100 in gift card purchases gets you a set of four free pint glasses and a surprise promo card.

Del Taco will offer buyers two free chicken soft tacos with a $10 in-store gift card purchase or a $15 online gift card purchase. Purchases of $25 gift cards receive a free combo meal of choice; a $50 card gets two free combo meals; and $100, gets a free “I Love Tacos” T-shirt.

Matador Cantina in Fullerton is offering a free $25 gift card with $100 in gift card purchases, or you can get a free dessert with the purchase of a $25 gift card.

Lazy Dog Cafe‘s gift card offer launches Nov. 26.  For every $25 gift card purchase, the restaurant will give you a $5 “thank you” card.  No blackout dates or expiration dates. Offer valid until Dec. 29.

Salt Creek Grille in Dana Point is offering one of the better bonus deals. When you buy a $75 gift card, diners will get a $25 reward card. The bonus card is valid from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2011.”

FOR A TOUCH OF HOLIDAY CHARITY

Cha Cha’s Taco & Tequila in holiday gift card program.  For the holidays Cha Cha’s is offering a free $20 gift card with the purchase of a $100 gift card. Also: In December, Cha Cha’s is hosting a toy drive. If you bring in an unwrapped toy or gift and purchase a $100 gift certificate, you will receive a voucher for a free Sunday Brunch for two. Or if you purchase a $50 gift certificate when you drop off a $10 unwrapped toy, you will receive a voucher for a free Sunday Brunch for one.

The Melting Pot (O.C. locations): Donate $10 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when buying ANY gift card and the restaurant will give you a $20 dining credit.

See the rest of the list.

For the boba lovers, the Lollicup in Irvine is selling a holiday book. $20 for 10 drinks. The drink coupons are good for one drink, any size, any drink, plus one filling/addition. With the lowest milk tea being $2.65, and not even at a large, this is a great deal. So far, I’ve only seen it at the Irvine Lollicup, but it may be good in other locations as well. Just check your local one.

Lastly, this also works on a national level: the online gift card mall Plastic Jungle. You can sell your unused gift cards to Plastic Jungle for up to 92% of the value! Plus, you can buy gift cards at a discount, sometimes even scoring an $100 gift card for as little as $70! My recent visit showed Barnes and Nobles gift cards at 9% discount and Macy’s at 11%. I’ve seen Express go even lower. All in all, it beats ebay’s gift card mall, even if shipping isn’t free.

I’ve also heard Costco is pretty good for gift card bundle packages, but then you need a membership, so it’s just an aside. In other words, keep a weather eye out for my next piece in holiday savings: Fast Food Holiday 2010 Coupons – Nationwide Chains, but here’s a teaser:

Restaurant.com is starting it’s forward-a-friend a $10 Restaurant, no fees or gimmicks included.

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