What is the difference between a gift card and a reward card?

What is the difference between a gift card and a reward card? The difference between a gift card and a reward card is that a gift card is typically purchased by the buyer to give as a gift, while a reward card is earned through loyalty programs or promotions.

What is the difference between a gift card and a reward card?

Gift Card:

A gift card is a prepaid payment card that holds a specific value, typically purchased by one person to give as a gift to another. It is often associated with a particular retailer or brand and can be used to make purchases at their establishments. Gift cards can generally be used either in-store or online, depending on the retailer's policies. They offer the recipient the freedom to choose their preferred items or services within the specified value of the card.

Gift cards are usually purchased for special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries. They provide a convenient alternative to traditional gifts and allow the recipient to select something they truly desire. Gift cards can be physical cards or electronic cards (e-cards) delivered via email or mobile devices.

One significant advantage of gift cards is their universality. They can be used in a specific store or at multiple retail locations within a larger network. For example, a gift card from a department store can be used to shop at any of their affiliated stores.

Reward Card:

A reward card, on the other hand, is a type of prepaid card that is often associated with loyalty programs or promotional offers. These cards are typically issued by companies to incentivize and reward customer loyalty. Customers can earn reward points or cashback when they make purchases using the card. These points or cashback can then be redeemed for future purchases or other rewards offered by the company.

Reward cards are usually connected to specific brands or businesses that want to encourage customers to continue using their products or services. They provide benefits to customers who frequently engage with the company, fostering brand loyalty. Common types of reward cards include airline miles cards, hotel loyalty cards, and store-specific reward cards.

Unlike gift cards, which usually have a set value, reward cards allow customers to accumulate rewards over time. The more they use the card, the more benefits they can enjoy. Reward cards often come with additional perks such as exclusive discounts, priority access, or special services.


While both gift cards and reward cards provide prepaid benefits, the main difference lies in their purpose and usage. Gift cards are primarily intended to be given as gifts, allowing recipients to choose their preferred items or services within a specified value. Reward cards, on the other hand, are designed to reward customer loyalty and encourage repeated engagement with a specific brand or business.

Another difference is the redemption process. Gift cards are typically redeemed for goods or services at the same retailer or brand that issued the card. Reward cards, however, often allow customers to redeem their rewards at a variety of participating retailers or service providers within a network.

In conclusion, gift cards and reward cards may share some similarities, but their distinct purposes and usage separate them. Gift cards are given as gifts, enabling recipients to choose their purchases. Reward cards, on the other hand, are designed to incentivize loyalty and offer benefits to customers who frequently engage with a specific brand or business. Understanding the differences between these cards can help consumers make informed choices based on their specific needs and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a gift card?

A gift card is a prepaid card that can be used as an alternative to traditional paper gift certificates. It holds a specific value that the recipient can use to make purchases at the designated store or online.

2. What is a reward card?

A reward card is a card that is typically issued by a retailer or a credit card company as a way to incentivize customer loyalty. It offers rewards or points for every purchase made using the card, which can later be redeemed for discounts, cashback, or other benefits.

3. Can a gift card be used anywhere, like a reward card?

No, a gift card is usually limited to a specific store, brand, or a group of participating retailers. It cannot typically be used at any merchant that accepts payment cards.

4. Do reward cards have an expiration date?

Some reward cards may have an expiration date, while others may not. It depends on the terms and conditions of the specific reward card program. It is important to check the card's expiry date and any applicable rules to ensure that rewards are not lost.

5. Can a reward card be considered as a gift?

Yes, a reward card can be considered as a gift, especially if it allows the recipient to enjoy discounts, special offers, or other benefits. However, it is important to note that a reward card is different from a traditional, store-specific gift card as it is usually linked to a loyalty or rewards program.