Best Free Gift Cards App: The Definitive SwagBucks Guide

Read this definitive Swagbucks guide to find out why Swagbucks is the best free gift cards app!

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Type: Apps + Website Payment: Cash + Gift Cards
OS: + Bonus: Up To $5*
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The Definitive Swagbucks Guide To Earning Free Gift Cards

What Is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is one of the more complex rewards sites/apps out there but don't let that stop you from joining because once you get the hang of it, you'll see why it topped the list of 2017's best apps that pay you and just how easy it is to start earning free gift cards with Swagbucks!

There is a lot to Swagbucks though which means it can be confusing for beginners to understand how best to earn with it. That's where my "Best Free Gift Cards App: The Definitive Swagbucks Guide" comes in!

So to begin, what exactly is Swagbucks? Swagbucks is a website and collection of mobile apps that gives you points (called Swagbucks or SB for short) for doing things such as taking polls, completing surveys, watching videos, shopping online, searching the web, playing games, inputting bonus codes, and visiting web sites.

I told you it's complex! Each activity provides a different amount of SB which can then be redeemed for rewards such as gift cards or cold, hard, cash (well, not quite, it's through PayPal so I guess invisible, digital, ones and zeroes that we all have agreed have value?)

How Much Are Swagbucks (SB) Worth?

Swagbucks (SB) are worth $.01 each so 100 SB are worth $1.00, 200 SB are worth $2.00 and so on. This obviously could change but at the time I'm writing this, that is the current exchange rate.

So now that you know what Swagbucks are and how much they're worth, let's move on to the important stuff in this Swagbucks guide, how to actually earn free gift cards (and money!)

How Do You Earn Swagbucks?

To Do List

Luckily for us, Swagbucks has provided a handy little To Do list to make it somewhat easier to find your way around. This not only gives a general overview of most of the ways to earn SB, but also provides you with a small bonus if you complete six of the eight categories in a single day which is pretty easy to do.

This list appears on the left of the homepage after you sign in and is clickable which means you don't have to hunt for each of the list items to complete them. The TO DO LIST showing no categories completed yet

Daily Poll

The first item is the Daily Poll which is only one (usually fun) question like what's your favorite t.v. show of the 90's? It's really simple and fast to take and gives you 1 SB upon completing.

Daily Crave

The next item on the list is the Daily Crave which opens up an external site and plays (normally) two different video clips on various topics.

There's a timer on the left side of the page that counts down the time you have to spend watching the video and displays a "Like" or "Didn't Like" button at the end. These two videos are both usually short and again, you get 1 SB for watching both.

Daily Search

Daily Search is next and is pretty straight forward. If you click on it it will open up a new tab and automatically search for something like "local weather" using the Swagbucks search engine.

While the Daily Search is guaranteed to give you 1 SB, every other time you search through the website/app you have a chance of winning a random number of Swagbucks so you may want to make it your default search engine.

Daily Watch

Next on the list is Daily Watch which when clicked on, will take you to a page with lots of video playlists of varying length to choose from. Some will state how long they'll take to complete while others won't.

Depending on which playlist you watch, this one can take significantly longer to complete compared to the previous To Do items. Luckily, you only need to earn 1 SB from this to check it off your To Do list.

Daily Discover

Daily Discover is the next item to check off of your list and allows you to complete it multiple ways including clicking through slideshows (recommended), downloading apps, signing up for offers, purchasing items through specific stores, etc.

I generally go the slideshow route which usually consists of viewing 10 slides to earn 1 SB.

Attempt A Gold Survey

Attempt A Gold Survey is next, which you guessed it, requires you to try to take a Gold Survey. The reason it's "Attempt A Gold Survey" is because sometimes you don't qualify to take the actual survey. This is due to the researchers wanting specific types of individuals, e.g. single mothers who work in the tech field.

Depending on whether or not you enjoy taking surveys, this could be either a good or bad thing, but as long as you attempt one of the surveys, it will be checked off your list for the day.

Deal Of The Day

If you've done all six of the above items in a single day, you will have met the requirements to get an extra SB bonus which at the time of this being written, was between 4-6 SB.

If you want to complete the To Do list, you will usually have to spend some money as the next item on the list is the Deal Of The Day. These deals vary widely so whether you plan on completing the To Do List or not, you may want to check out what it is each day to see if it's something you can use.

Also, some of these deals can pay more than what you spend, for example, a deal may pay you 350 SB but only require you to spend $1 or $2 which is why they are generally worth investigating.

Complete A Gold Survey

The last item on the list is Complete A Gold Survey which you actually may end up completing when you attempt to take one and find out that you do in fact qualify for the survey.

There are usually multiple surveys to choose from which grant various amounts of SB for completing them. Generally, the longer ones pay more, as one would expect.

If you complete all eight of the daily tasks on the TO DO LIST, you will receive an extra bonus, on top of the one you received for completing 6 of the 8 daily tasks.

Watch Videos (nCrave)

This is probably the section of Swagbucks I use the most. In my opinion, it's the best because all you have to do is watch videos and who doesn't love watching videos?

To earn Swagbucks, click on a playlist under the "Explore Content (nCrave)" section and a new tab (or window) will open up and start to play the first video in the selected playlist.

If you selected a playlist with the Discovery Mode option (a blue arrow inside a white circle), you can turn on Discovery Mode (pictured below) and the videos will continuously play until the playlist is finished and you've earned the stated number of Swagbucks.

After that, you can move on to the next playlist. nCrave is easy to earn Swagbucks with, straightforward, and a great time killer when you don't have anything else to do. Watching nCrave videos through Swagbucks with the Discovery Option turned on.

Swag Codes

While these usually only occur a few times a day, an easy way to get some extra SB is through the use of Swag Codes.

Swag Codes are simple strings of text that Swagbucks posts on their website and/or various social media accounts that are only good for a certain amount of time. Once found, you can type/copy them into the Swagbucks app, website (there's a text box at the top) or Swag Button to earn SB. The input box where the Swag Codes go.

Swag Button

What's the Swag Button you ask? The Swag Button is a browser extension released by Swagbucks that helps you get SB even when you're not using their website/apps. Upon installing it for the first time, you'll get a 50 SB bonus and then once it's installed, it'll notify you of any Swag Codes that are available and provide a box for you to redeem the codes through.

In addition, it will also notify you if any website you're on currently offers cash back via SB.

If you do a lot of online shopping, this extension could prove to be very valuable as it can be easy to forget to check Swagbucks for cash back opportunities before making a purchase.

Also, the Swag Button allows you to both watch videos to earn SB as well as search using the Swagbucks search engine. Overall, I highly recommend downloading the Swag Button if you plan on signing up. What the Swag Button looks like

Daily Goal And Winning Streaks

Meeting your daily Swagbucks goal is another great way to easily earn bonus SB. Each day, you get a goal of a certain number of SB which, if you meet it, you'll receive a set number of bonus SB. The daily goal changes along with the number of bonus SB for meeting said goal so pay attention to it each day you log in as it's a pretty easy way to gain some extra SB. The box that displays your Daily Goal along with how many Swagbucks you've earned today

Also, if you meet your daily goal each day for the following number of days, you'll receive the following number of SB (at the time of this writing, obviously this may change) as an additional bonus:

  • 7 Days: 25 SB ($.25)
  • 14 Days: 100 SB ($1)
  • 21 Days: 200 SB ($2)
  • 31 Days: 300 SB ($3)


While I haven't used this option yet, Swagbucks provides a way for you to get SB by making purchases online at various stores. All you need to do is sign in to Swagbucks, then click on the "Shop" link on the left. This will take you to a page with a list of all of their various shopping offers along with how much "cash back" you will receive (in the form of SB, of course).

Since I'm not the biggest shopper, most of these don't appeal to me, but I do check if Amazon has any good discounts from time to time. If, unlike me, you are a big shopper, this is definitely something to keep in mind as they often have offers for 5%+ cash back.

If you're like me though and prefer to get cash back on the essentials like food, check out my Ibotta review.


Swagbucks offers three free games to play that grant SB:

  1. Swag Memory: A memory-based matching game
  2. Swag Jump: A 2D jumping game
  3. Swagasaurus Run: 2D classic side-scroller

You can only get a maximum of 10 SB a day for playing these games but they are kind of fun and don't take very long so they're worth checking out.

Mobile Apps

Swagbucks currently has 9 mobile apps with another one coming (Amped 360) to choose from, each providing something different:

  1. Swagbucks App: The main Swagbucks app providing the most functionality
  2. Swagbucks TV: Earn SB by watching various videos
  3. Answer: Earn SB by answering surveys
  4. Local: Shop locally and earn SB
  5. EntertaiNow: Watch entertainment-oriented videos to earn SB
  6. Lifestyle: Watch lifestyle-oriented videos to earn SB
  7. Movieclips: Watch movie trailers/clips to earn SB (duh)
  8. Sportly: Watch sports related videos to earn SB
  9. IndyMusic: Earn SB by watching music-related videos

Whew, that's a lot of apps! Honestly, I think it's too many and I hope they decide to eventually merge most of these apps as I think it probably confuses a lot of people.

Basically, you can earn a certain number of SB each day through each of the video-based apps. Once you hit your max on one, you can open up another app and start watching videos there to get even more SB.

Team Challenges/Bonus Games

Swagbucks will occasionally provide opportunities to gain additional SB through various team challenges or other games. When you join these, you are automatically assigned to a team (if it's a team game) and your goal is basically to get the most number of SB as a team by doing various tasks (many of them are the same as what you would do to get SB for yourself anyway).

Some other games require you to do specific things such as input a Swag Code from the mobile app or sign up for an offer, etc. Sometimes it's a good way to get a large amount of extra SB so keep your eye out for these.

Refer Others

Finally, we come to the last way to earn SB...referring people! I'm not going to lie, referring people was one of the main reasons for writing this Swagbucks guide (along with actually, you know, helping people figure out how to use Swagbucks) because Swagbucks has a great referral program.

When someone signs up using your referral link, you earn 10% of whatever they earn, for life! That means that if you refer someone who ends up using it daily, you could end up earning a lot of SB, all passively. That's awesome as many other referral programs only provide you with a one-time bonus.

Now you know why I ask you to consider using my referral code if you decide to sign up...speaking of which:

Congrats! You got to the end of my Swagbucks guide! Thanks for reading all of that and I really hope this Swagbucks guide helped you in some way!

I would really appreciate it if you shared this with your friends so they too can start earning free gift cards.

*To qualify for the bonus, you must sign up and then earn 300 SB within a certain amount of time. To earn an additional $2 you must spend at least $25 at a retailer (through Swagbucks). The complete details are available on the Swagbucks website.