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Friday, May 24, 2024

Our Favorite Online Gift Cards and Digital Presents

Trawling through busy retail stores seeking gifts is a daunting task. Shopping online can be just as time-consuming, and you may run into delivery delays. Even if you successfully secure a haul of presents, many will wind up in closets or charity stores. It’s time to try an online gift. Digital presents and online gift cards are easier. Shop from your comfy sofa or cozy bed—no need for gift-wrapping or shipping. We have a virtual smorgasbord of delicious digital gift ideas for you. 

You might also be interested in the Best Subscription Boxes for Gifting, the Best Gift Subscriptions for Kids, or one of our many other gift guides.

Updated September 2023: We’ve added a new Food section and new entries in several existing sections, and we’ve updated services to reflect latest changes and prices.

Table of ContentsGift CardsFood and RestaurantsMovie and TV SubscriptionsMusic Streaming ServicesEbooks and AudiobooksDigital News and MagazinesGaming SubscriptionsPassword Managers and SecurityOnline Teaching CoursesFitness ServicesShopping Loyalty ProgramsTravel and ExperiencesDonating to Charity In Their Name

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eGift Cards

They may not be all that imaginative, but electronic gift cards let your loved ones choose what they actually want, and it's never disappointing to receive one (assuming it's at a place you like). Gift cards are everywhere—you can also look beyond the retail giants to find highly rated independent stores near your giftee.

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Etsy gift cards work with a huge variety of independent sellers, and it’s a virtual treasure trove of quirky and unique items that make great gifts.Amazon gift cards are an obvious pick for the sheer breadth of choice.Target, Best Buy, REI, Walmart, and Home Depot are other good choices.Food and Restaurants

The way to anyone’s heart is often through their stomach. Food can bring comfort and joy, and everyone loves an excuse to treat themselves and skip the chore of cooking for a night. Many local restaurants and delis will offer gift cards or hampers, so it's worth checking if your giftee has a favorite.

Goldbelly gift cards can be used to order culinary delights from across the United States. If your giftee complains they can no longer get their favorite cakes, sandwiches, or fried chicken because they moved out of state, there’s a good chance they’ll be able to find it, or something similarly great, from a small restaurant or shop on Goldbelly.OpenTable offers gift cards for restaurants in various locations, making it easy to find top-rated eating spots near your giftee and set them up with a tasty treat.GrubHub gift cards give family and friends the chance to order in from their favorite restaurants. They simply type in their address to get a list of restaurants nearby that do delivery or takeout.Movie and TV Subscriptions

We are living in a golden age of entertainment. It has never been easier to get great TV and film pumped into your home. Cord-cutting gives us more control, and there’s an increasingly wide choice of streaming services you can give as presents.

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Sling TV for Live and Local TV ($35+ per month): This app works on phones, PCs, or a streaming device like Roku and has live TV channels, just like a cable subscription would, just over the internet. It's one of the most affordable live-streaming services and lets you choose between channel bundles. Live TV is ideal for folks who love sports and talk shows. There are a few other great live-TV streaming apps worth looking at.Disney+ for Families ($80 per year): This makes a thoughtful gift for those with young kids, although many adults will also enjoy a dose of nostalgia with old Disney movies and shows, not to mention the Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar universes.Netflix Gift Cards at Target and Amazon: It boasts an impressive library of TV shows and movies, including exclusives like Wednesday, The Sandman, and Squid Game. To ditch ads and get 4K streams on up to four devices simultaneously the price jumps from $7 to $20 per month.Paramount+ Gift Cards at Walmart and Best Buy: The home of Star Trek has a growing roster of shows and some good movies. And there are a few other streaming services worth gifting.Mubi ($36 for 3 months): With its host of hand-picked international art-house films, fans of cinema seeking obscure indies and influential classics will love this subscription. You can also get a year for $100.Music Subscriptions

Music makes a wonderful gift. It can conjure memories, boost your mood, and get you dancing. Our Best Music Streaming Services guide runs through our favorites and why we like them in more detail, but these four subscriptions are the best options for most people:

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Spotify Premium Gift Card ($11 per month): If someone doesn't have Apple Music or Spotify already, it’s a slick service with the best music discovery algorithms, solid apps for every platform, and an enormous library of tracks, albums, podcasts, and playlists.Apple Gift Card for Apple Music ($11 per month): It boasts millions of lossless tracks, and the mobile apps are solid, but the desktop app and music discovery can’t match Spotify, nor can its compatibility outside of Apple's ecosystem.Google Play Gift Cards for YouTube Music ($11 per month): YouTube Music offers a huge library and starts at $11 per month, but if you watch a lot of YouTube videos, YouTube Premium costs $14 a month and offers an ad-free experience.Tidal Gift Card for Tidal HiFi ($11 per month): Audiophiles will appreciate the streaming quality here, and Tidal boasts more than 100 million songs. The premium HiFi tier jumps to $20 per month but adds Dolby Atmos Music and 360 Reality Audio support.Ebooks and Audiobooks

There’s nothing quite like settling down with a good book, whether you read it on a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. Ebooks and ebook subscriptions make great gifts, and there are some fantastic audiobook versions with big-name casts for folks who love to listen. Amazon dominates this scene, but it’s not the only game in town.

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Amazon Kindle Unlimited ($12 per month): This lets a book reader with the Kindle app or popular ebook reading device borrow up to 20 books at a time from a library of millions. There are discounts for longer gift subscriptions (6, 12, or 24 months).Audible Plus ($45 for 3 months): You get one free book to download per month and access to a bunch of included Amazon audiobooks, including many best-sellers. You can also gift individual ebooks or audiobooks by selecting the “Give as a Gift” option on Amazon.Scribd Ebook Subscription Service ($60 for 6 months): It's billed as the “Netflix of books.” There are more than two million included ebooks, and you also get access to audiobooks, magazines, podcasts, and sheet music.Epic! ($26 for 3 months): This digital reading platform for kids 12 and under has more than 40,000 titles and includes audiobooks, interactive videos, quizzes, tracking tools, badges, and rewards to encourage reading, as well as personalized recommendations.Libro.fm (2-credit bundle for $30): This audiobook service supports local booksellers (you can pick a store) and splits the profit from your purchases. Plus, it boasts expert curation from booksellers.Digital News and Magazines

Some of the best journalism you can find online requires a subscription. Magazine, journal, and newspaper subscriptions make great gifts for anyone.

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WIRED is just $5 for a year of unlimited online access, a digital edition of the magazine, and the print edition (if you like). If we may be so bold, it’s ideal for any tech lover in your life.The New York Times is $90 for a year, which nets your giftee unlimited articles, podcasts, and videos via the website or app.The Atlantic costs $80 per year for a digital subscription and offers an array of well-reported stories and newsletters.The New Yorker has a digital-only subscription for $120 per year that includes new articles, access to the archive, and crossword puzzles.Gaming Subscriptions

There may be too many gaming subscription services now, but that’s good news for gift shoppers with gamers on their list.

PlayStation Plus Essential costs $10 per month or $60 per year. It's essential for anyone who wants to play online multiplayer on a PlayStation 5 or PS4, and it gives access to monthly free games. If they already have it, consider PlayStation Plus Extra ($15 per month or $100 per year) for a catalog of around 400 games, or PlayStation Plus Premium ($18 per month or $120 per year) for more than 700 games and cloud streaming access.Xbox Game Pass Ultimate ($17 per month) might be the best deal in gaming. It includes hundreds of titles, including frequent new releases, to download and play on Xbox or PC. It also includes access to the Xbox Cloud Gaming streaming service so you can play on your Android phone or tablet.Nintendo Switch Online ($20 per year) is a must-have for online play and cloud game saving. It also gives access to classic NES and SNES games. If you opt to add the Expansion Pack, you’ll pay $50 for a year, but this adds N64 and Sega Genesis games as well as DLC for Animal Crossing.Google Play Pass for Android phones costs $5 per month or $30 a year and provides access to a library of ad-free games and apps for Android phones and tablets. You can’t gift the subscription specifically, but you can send a Google Play gift code for someone to spend on Play Pass.Apple Arcade for iPhone and iPad is also $5 per month and has more than 200 games and costs $5 per month or $50 a year. Again, there’s no specific gifting option, but an Apple Gift Card can pay for an Apple Arcade subscription.Humble Choice memberships cost $12 per month and give access to new mainstream and indie PC games every month, as well as a curated library. You can also gift Humble Bundles and a portion of every purchase goes to charity.Steam PC game store gift cards come in various sizes and make great gifts for PC gamers. Steam has a library of more than 50,000 games.Password Managers and Security

If you have family or friends with questionable online security habits, no amount of nagging will change their ways, but buy them a digital security gift and they might just try it. Here are a few security-related digital gift ideas. (We also have more info in our Best Password Managers and Best VPNs guides.)

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1Password Starts at $3 per month and gift cards are $25, $50, or $100. It’s our favorite password manager and works on every platform, has tons of integrations and add-ons, and boasts lots of useful extras, like travel mode.NordVPN Starts at $13 per month, but if you like it, there are deep discounts for longer periods, such as $60 per year, or cheaper if you catch one of its frequent discount deals. It’s one of our favorite virtual private networks, deservedly popular, and offers servers all around the world. It can stop people from snooping on you and help you bypass geographical restrictions on streaming services like Netflix.Malwarebytes Premium costs $60 per year and covers five devices. It goes way beyond your average antivirus program to guard against malware and other cyber threats, like phishing and malicious URLs. It’s easy to use, speedy, and less intrusive than a lot of popular antivirus software.Online Teaching Courses

Everyone wants to acquire new skills, but motivation can be hard to come by. If your loved ones talk about learning a musical instrument, a new language, or picking up some photography skills, why not spring for some online lessons to help them get started?

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MasterClass starts at $120 per year and offers classes on all sorts of topics from seriously big-name celebrities. You can get cooking classes from Gordon Ramsay, storytelling tips from Neil Gaiman, film classes from David Lynch, songwriting help from Alicia Keys, or learn skateboarding from Tony Hawk.Rosetta Stone ($36 for 3 months) offers complete language learning courses. For total immersion, lessons are conducted in the target language and feature interactive real-life scenarios and pronunciation feedback. Check out our Best Language Learning Apps guide for more options.Lessonface gift cards start at $25. This is an online platform to connect students of all ages and abilities with music teachers. There are lots of reviews and filters to help you find the right teacher. Rates for online lessons vary, but you can buy gift cards starting at $25.The School of Photography ($155 per year) has online courses, hundreds of videos, Lightroom presets, and monthly assignments. Any photographer, whether a hobbyist or pro, can develop their skills.Fender Play ($50 for 6 months) offers online lessons for guitar (acoustic, electric, or bass) or ukulele players. The mobile app and online lessons are suitable for beginners or intermediate guitarists looking to improve.CodeSpark Academy ($60 for 6 months) is a game-based app designed to teach kids aged 5 to 10 years the fundamentals of coding. It stars cute monsters and challenges kids to solve a series of puzzles. Everything is visual, so there’s no reading required. They can also make and share their own interactive stories and games.Fitness Services

It’s crucial to stay fit if you want good health and a general sense of well-being, and our favorite fitness apps and services can help anyone do it with online classes that guide workouts in your own home. Exercise some caution when gifting fitness services, though. Make sure your intended recipient is genuinely interested. 

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Peloton ($13 per month) is a popular fitness brand that sells expensive exercise bikes and treadmills, but you can also get an app subscription that gives access to on-demand and live workouts that people can do with whatever equipment they have. There’s no direct way to gift Peloton membership, but you can use an Apple or Google Play gift card on the app.Strava ($60 per year) is an excellent tracking and training app for runners and cyclists. There is a free tier, but the subscription allows for more in-depth analysis, custom goals, route planning, segment competition, personal heat maps, and more.ClassPass ($19 per month) gives access to fitness studios and gyms, a wide variety of at-home workouts, and beauty and spa treatments. Basic membership gives you eight credits, enough to book up to two classes.iFit ($39 per month for Family Membership) is one of our favorite fitness services and partners with NordicTrack, ProForm, and FreeMotion equipment for Global Workouts, Live Workouts, Studio Classes, and more. Members can also get iFIT workouts that require no equipment, including pilates, yoga, boxing, and strength training classes. Apple Fitness+ ($10 per month) is packed with slick video and audio workouts ranging from kickboxing to yoga. It’s a great choice for beginners, as workouts rarely require any equipment, are well explained by the charismatic instructors, and always include variations for folks at different levels. While you can’t give a subscription, an Apple Gift Card can be used for Fitness+ or any of Apple’s other services.Shopping Loyalty Programs

Some retail memberships or subscriptions give access to better deals, free priority shipping, and other benefits that make them highly appreciated gifts.

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Costco’s Gold Star Membership ($60 per year): The recipient gets access to more than 700 Costco locations and the website, with frequent deals to be found on everything from big-ticket electronics to wholesale groceries.Walmart+ membership ($98 per year): If you know a frequent Walmart shopper, this includes free shipping and grocery deliveries, discounts on fuel, pharmacy discounts in some states, and contactless checkout on a smartphone.Amazon Prime ($139 per year): You likely already know about this service, but these are the perks if you don't. It includes fast free shipping, video and music streaming, ebooks and games, and various exclusive deals and discounts. You can no longer buy Prime as a gift but you can use an Amazon gift card to get it. It costs $15 per month if you don't pay annually.Travel and Experiences

Many of us are getting back into the swing of traveling and are looking to make up for lost time, so why not give the gift of a trip away?

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Airbnb Gift Cards start at $100 and you can get physical cards from Amazon, too. They can be used for any stay or experience. Virgin Experience Gifts include driving experiences, active adventures, golfing trips, foodie tours, and a whole host of other options. You can search by location, so it is easy to check what's available near your recipient. You can buy eGift Cards in any amount. 57hours Gift Cards start at $100 and go toward outdoor adventures with local guides across the globe. Categories include rock climbing, hiking, kiteboarding, surfing, mountain biking, and more. You can search by location and activity, but some places have more options than others, and trips can get pricey.StubHub Gift Cards from $25 can be used for sports games, concerts, theater, and other live events across the country.AMC Theatres Gift Cards start from $10 and can be used for movie tickets, popcorn, and other goodies from the concession stand.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift Membership from $110 gives your recipient and a guest free admission to New York's most popular museum, with five preview days for access to exhibitions before they open to the public, members-only tours, and more.Donate to Charity in Their Name

Many of us have more than we need, and gifts can be hit or miss. Making a charitable donation in someone’s name is a great alternative that lets people know you’re thinking of them and also does some good in the world. Just be careful to do a little research on your chosen charity or service before you spend. Organizations like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch can help you find the most deserving and trustworthy charities.

GlobalGiving supports all kinds of projects and relief funds all around the world. You can choose to donate to a specific project in someone’s name or give them a gift card so they can pick a project.GiveWell is all about ensuring your donations have the highest possible positive impact. It takes no fees and supports some crucial global campaigns.World Wildlife Fund symbolic species adoptions ($60+) cover everything from hammerhead sharks to arctic wolves. These make great gifts for animal lovers and come with an optional soft toy and information pack. The WWF does have a large infrastructure to support but takes its mission to protect wildlife and the environment very seriously.

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