01 July, 2024

The Best Employee Recognition Gift Cards to Reward Your Team

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Celebrate your shining stars and motivate the workforce with the best employee recognition gift cards. Personalized cards add to the excitement and elevate work satisfaction.

Gift cards are without a doubt more convenient and interesting rewards for employees than other ideas. Although many employers like the idea of presenting tangible rewards, gift cards give more joy and satisfaction to employees because they can choose products or services of their choice through the card! 

Besides being a more feasible rewarding option for employees, gift cards empower recipients to choose and personalize their rewards, which naturally makes them excited. In other words, presenting gift cards as rewards also leaves no risk of presenting a gift that’s of no use or interest to the recipients. 

With corporate employee recognition a necessity for fostering employee motivation and positive work culture, make sure you’re not missing out on the practice of gifting! The best idea is to present gift cards from trusted brands and retailers to elevate your corporate gifting to a higher level. 

Here, we have shortlisted some of the cool ideas for employee recognition gift cards that can make your gifting gesture memorable to your employees. Take a look!

Open-Loop vs. Closed-Loop Gift Cards

Gift cards are perhaps the best creative gift ideas for employees because they allow them to choose a product or service they love. However, when it comes to gift cards, you need to decide which of the two types of cards to pick for your employee recognition program – closed-loop gift cards and open-loop gift cards.

Well, to make a decision, first understand what each type of gift card defines. 

  • Closed-loop gift cards: These are gift cards for a specific outlet or brand that are valid for purchases only from that outlet or brand. This type of gift card works great when you know the employees or their preferences. Gift cards from Nike, Subway, Uber Eats, and many more are prominent examples of closed-loop gift cards. 
  • Open-loop gift cards: On the contrary, open-loop gift cards are a kind of prepaid gift card that can be used to purchase products or services. These include Visa gift cards or Mastercard gift cards that are issued by a bank connected to a credit card network. 

What is an Employee Gift Card?

Before you focus on anything else, let’s understand what an employee gift card is and how it works. 

“Employee recognition gift cards are digital or physical cards that give employees access to a plethora of possibilities regarding shopping, dining, traveling, and many other utilities and services.” Most employers like to recognize their talented staff and their achievements with a grand ‘Thank You’ gesture, and no wonder gifting is the best gesture! 

Considering gift cards as great employee appreciation gifts in your organization will not just make your employees happier but also take away the stress of figuring out what to gift them. Choose a particular brand, outlet, or service whose gift cards you want to gift and let your employees:

  • Buy what they want or love.
  • Snag lucrative discounts or deals during sales.
  • Enjoy freedom or flexibility in choosing what to buy with the prepaid money.

20 Employee Recognition Gift Card Ideas For Your Corporate Gifting

Employee recognition is a significant practice if you want to invoke a feeling of trust in your employees and foster a strong bond or positive association with them. With countless options available for employee gift cards to show your appreciation, don’t miss any more chances to reward your employees to signify your positive work ethic and build connections with them. 

By now, if the idea of using gift cards for your valuable employees still hasn’t convinced you, here’s a hint from our list of the best gift cards for employees.  

Prepaid cards

Prepaid cards are the most flexible option for gifting. They let your employees redeem them anytime and purchase anything of their choice. 

  1. Visa Reward Card

Visa cards are undeniably the best gift for employees, and that’s why we have put them at the top of our list. They will give your employees the flexibility to choose anything they want and, therefore, the scope to make them genuinely happy at heart! 

Whether they want to engage in a shopping spree, buy their wish-listed items from a favorite brand, take their family to a fine-dining restaurant, or go on a relaxing holiday, Visa gift cards give them the chance to do anything they wish with the card amount. 

With such versatility, this gift card option is sure to make your employees happier and make them appreciate this reward gesture more.  

  1. Mastercard prepaid gift card

Like Visa cards, Mastercard prepaid gift cards are convenient options for gifting that your employees can use to spend on their preferred products, services, or experiences. Some of the cards even allow payment or bills, so you never know how much appreciation and thankfulness you will receive from the employees who have some pending dues!  

Mastercard gift cards are secure and simple to redeem and allow your employees to manage their money pretty easily and wisely. 

Gift cards from large retailers

There are endless great employee appreciation gift ideas apart from prepaid cards, and to begin with, we can only think about gift cards from giant retail brands. Such cards will give your employees the chance to shop for their essentials or desirable items, starting from groceries to clothing, kitchen appliances, and electronics. Here are a few examples for you to consider. 

  1. Amazon gift card

No point in guessing that Amazon is the biggest retailer globally with an unimaginable number of categories of products. From clothing, grocery, sports items, and electronics to home improvement and gardening essentials – you name anything, the Amazon gift card has it covered!

Your team members will surely love this idea of employee recognition gift cards as they can instantly find something that they truly need or for nurturing their passion. 

  1. Target gift card

Gifting Target gift cards is another cool idea because your employees can choose from a diverse range of categories, from home essentials to clothing and accessories, video games to movies and books. To personalize your gesture better, you can choose from exclusive types of gift cards, including Target Gift Cards, Specialty Gift Cards, and Video Game Gift Cards. 

They also have seasonal gift cards that you can give during special occasions like Christmas, New Year's, and Thanksgiving. 

  1. Walmart gift card

We bet a lot of your employees like shopping from Walmart stores, so gifting their cards will help them engage in some delightful shopping experiences. From basic gift cards to popping gift cards and specialty gift cards for occasions, you can pick a type you want of a desired denomination.

Needless to say, there are endless categories to shop from Walmart, and additional deals on the cards will make shopping much more fun! With bulk gifting options available, it is also convenient to gift. With a few simple steps, send a bunch of e-gift cards of Walmart crossing off every employee and spread smiles through this rewards and recognition idea. 

Coffee cards

Who doesn’t love the idea of specialty coffee? Since most of us sip coffee while walking to our offices or running errands, a gift card from Starbucks or some other coffee brand will make their day!  

  1. Starbucks gift card program

Through a Starbucks gift card program, let your employees indulge in some of their favorite beverages from the coffee shop besides the usual coffee. While you can effortlessly send the gift card, you can also choose featured cards available for a personalized touch, such as ‘Thank You,’ ‘Celebration,’ ‘Appreciation,’ ‘Encouragement,’ and ‘Workplace.’

It goes without saying that you can curate employee recognition gift cards and offer your members the best coffee experiences through Starbucks.  

Dining and food delivery

Food or gourmet gift cards are never to be ignored while considering employee gift cards for any budget to show your appreciation and recognition. There’s hardly anyone who is not a foodie at heart or loves to have dining experiences with their family and loved ones. 

So, gifting dining or food delivery cards is the ideal option out there for your office or remote employees that’s simple to give away and create excitement in them.  

Among the multiple food and dining gift card options, here are some of our top picks for thanking your employees. 

  1. Mix It Up gift card

“More favorites, flavors, and fun!” that’s the punch line of gift cards by Mix It Up! 

With a single-brand food gift card, recipients can buy a range of mouthwatering snacks and gourmets from reputed brands like Carvel, Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Auntie Anne’s. The gift cards are redeemable at nearly 3,900 outlets across convenient locations in the US. 

With physical cards or e-gift cards available, you can choose any convenient way to gift and please your employees.

  1. Uber Eats gift card

Let your employees enjoy their weekends or holidays during festivals by relaxing and relishing some tempting items by ordering through Uber Eats. With hundreds of options available from diverse restaurants and food services, this gift card idea for employee recognition is sure to bring joyful smiles to your team members. 

We kept Uber Eats gift cards for another reason, though—access to some of the top online liquor stores. Thus, give this gift card to your fun-loving employees who deserve to relax and enjoy some of the finest drinks to have a refreshing break from their work lives.

  1. DoorDash gift card

Doordash is another food delivery app and one of the brilliant options for employee recognition gift cards. It lets your employees access hundreds of popular local restaurants and cafeterias and order delicacies right at their doorstep.    

It helps make your employee recognition idea more intentional, as employees can order their favorite food for brunch or any meal while working at the office or home with just a few clicks.  

Tech and electronics

Food delivery or retail shopping gift cards are a good gesture to thank your employees. But if you have a bigger budget, you can go a bit out-of-the-box and make your gift cards more appealing and memorable. 

Keeping that in mind, we summed up a few technology gift card ideas for employee recognition on special occasions like birthdays, work anniversaries, and target achievements.   

  1. Apple gift card

Gadgets or smart devices can give employees immeasurable happiness, and so gifting them leaves an everlasting impression on them. With an Apple gift card, make your employee reward program exceptional. 

With abundant options available, from the latest iPhones and Macbooks to iPads and wearables, let your employees pick a gadget that they deeply wish to buy! 

Additionally, the Apple gift card gives access to the extensive App Store, which means your employees can also buy subscriptions to any prevalent Apple services such as Apple TV+, iCloud storage, Apple Music, and many more. 

  1. Best Buy gift card

If you need a budgeted yet versatile option for tech gift cards, consider giving Best Buy gift cards. 

With ample options for electronics, workstation hardware, video games, and many more, these gift cards will make your employees super excited. With Best Buy gift cards, give them the freedom to choose a favorite game or device from a brand of their choice while not exceeding your budget.  

  1. Playstation gift card

It’s a no-brainer that your young next-gen employees love playing immersive video games, regardless of their gender. If a majority of your workforce comprises millennials, don’t give a second thought but go for a Playstation gift card or Xbox gift card. 

The idea will not just thrill them but will also make your effort for employee recognition or reward more impactful.

Clothing and apparel

Gift cards from notable clothing brands are widely used employee gift cards. Most clothing brands offer an effortless way to distribute gift cards to any number of members and supplement your employee recognition programs. Consider any of the options below if clothing and apparel gifting looks reasonable for you. 

  1. Nike gift card

A gift card from this world-class brand of sports shoes and athletic items will surely make your employees gleam with contentment. From comfortable footwear to a broad collection of sportswear, apparel, and accessories, your employees can shop items they love to kick their sporty side and activate the ‘Just-Do-It’ style! 

  1. Nordstrom gift card

Gift cards from Nordstrom can satisfy your employees' needs by allowing them to shop from an amazing selection of clothing and accessories, including shoes, jewelry, and makeup items from top-level brands. 

Since these are redeemable only at Nordstrom rack stores across the US, your employees will be more than happy to shop for themselves or their loved ones.

Streaming services

Rewards and incentives for employees are essentially not confined to tangible products. You can gift experiences like online video streaming (OTT platforms) or music subscriptions, keeping in mind the entertainment needs of your employees. Here are the examples.

  1. Hulu

A gift card for a subscription to this premier American streaming media and vast content hub for your employees is like gifting them long hours of happiness. While those who love to binge-watch anime shows and movies will be wonderstruck by your gifting idea, those who don’t will get inspired to watch good content. 

So, a Hulu gift card will create sheer joy for all types of employees and bestow your company with return appreciation. With an easy way to redeem, they can enjoy this OTT subscription at any moment after receiving the gift card. 

  1. Disney

Another outstanding gift card subscription option is the Disney +platform. Not to mention, a Disney subscription gives access to abundant original content, from live sports and movies to series and animated movies. 

This is it if you are truly looking for unique employee recognition gift cards. Employees will thank you from the bottom of their hearts because they can also share them with their family members and enjoy memorable moments together while watching something.  

  1. Spotify

You must not skip out on the option of a Spotify gift card, one of the most popular music streaming services available today. Almost everyone loves listening to music albums, podcasts, and concerts. Spotify is the gateway to accessing all of these through their phones or tablets. So, you can consider gifting Spotify subscriptions as employee appreciation gift cards to make a difference.


Travel gift cards

When we said there are countless gift card options for employees, we truly meant that. While we already discussed many above, how can we forget about this most thoughtful and fulfilling option – a travel gift card?  

  1. Airbnb gift card

If budget is not a concern or you want to go beyond your own to appreciate your valued employees, gifting travel experiences through an Airbnb gift card is the best option to consider. 

In fact, what can be more appealing than rewarding a short vacation at one of the most exquisite destinations in the USA or anywhere in the world? Besides being a thoughtful reward idea, this is also an incredible way to boost work-life balance for your employees. 

Bookstore gift cards

As a sincere employer who understands the monotony of the work life of your employees, you can gift bookstore gift cards to help them kick-start their reading habits once again. Here’s an idea.  

  1. Barnes & Noble gift card

Gift cards by Barnes & Noble are guaranteed to make your employees jump with joy, especially those who are bookworms or enthusiastic learners. Barnes & Noble is the leading chain of bookstores in the US and comprises profound collections that mesmerize every book lover. Whether your employees enjoy reading or just want to continue their learning process, a gift card from this mega bookstore is worth every penny! 

Bonus: Crypto gift cards

  1. Crypto Voucher

While all these ideas for the best employee gift cards are totally meaningful and create impact, there’s still another option that we thought of including to blow your mind. It’s a Crypto Voucher—an absolute future-oriented gifting idea that will make employees who are indulged in or interested in financial investments incredibly happy. 

A crypto voucher is a Bitcoin gift card that works as a prepaid coupon, enabling the recipients to redeem it in return for cryptocurrency. So, if you want to stand out with your corporate gifting gesture, consider this brilliant idea of a gift card for employees.


When to Use Employee Gift Cards?

Many corporate brands and companies look for perfect occasions or opportunities to give gift cards to their employees. While the motive behind the cards is to appreciate and recognize their achievements, you don’t need any special event to gift. 

However, to make sure your idea of employee recognition gift cards aligns with the interests of the HR team and everyone knows and applauds your gesture, it is best to give gift cards during:

  • Corporate events such as office annual parties, success parties, and so on. 
  • Monthly as a stipend or bonus for their good work
  • As a perk for working extra hours, closing a deal, work anniversaries, birthdays, or a milestone achievement. 

Expert Tips for Sending Gift Cards to Employees

If the time to curate an excellent reward program with employee appreciation gift cards has arrived for your organization, take account of these necessary tips! 

Tip #1: Personalization is key

While sending gift cards to your employees, adding a personal touch will create a huge difference and make them appreciate your reward more. Discuss with HR to comprehend their interests, hobbies, lifestyle, food preferences, etc., and figure out which type of gift card will give them maximum satisfaction and joy. 

Tip #2: Timing is important

If it’s a holiday or festive season, employees will have time for traveling, food/dining experiences, and shopping. On the other hand, for occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, you can give unexpected rewards like tech gadgets, books, streaming subscriptions, etc. to make your rewards more memorable. 

Tip #3: Communicate well 

Remember to complement your gift card with a heartfelt message expressing your personal gratitude for the immense hard work and contribution to your organization’s growth.  

People Also Ask These Questions about Gift Cards For Employees

Many employers are still not aware of the benefits of employee recognition gift cards and how they go a long way in building solid trust and loyalty in your employees. If the idea of rewarding your employees has stuck in your mind, here are a few questions that might have occupied your mind.

Q: What are the benefits of having an employee gift card program? 

The benefits of employee gift cards are remarkable and help companies boost their productivity. That’s why more companies are introducing employee gift card programs. 

  • Fosters a strong bond and positive connection with employees.
  • Make the employees feel seen, heard, valued, and appreciated.
  • Builds a sense of trust between you and employees. 
  • Enhances the morale of your employees and promotes a welcoming work ethic. 

Q: Can you reward employees with gift cards?

That’s an absolute yes! Sending away employee gift cards is a proven method for expressing gratitude to employees and appreciating their excellence and hard work. So, leave no chance to pick a convenient option of gift card and award them. 

It’s Time to Make Your Employees Happy with Impressive Gift Cards!

Employee recognition is the cornerstone of a healthy work culture. It ensures that every employee receives value and appreciation for their hard work and dedication. And there’s nothing more candid way to demonstrate your appreciation than giving them gift cards!

It’s also no surprise that employee recognition gift cards will benefit your organization, such as improving employee morale, creating a positive work culture, and increasing employee retention. 

So, wait no more, and start planning an exciting employee reward program with these amazing gift card options! Contact Gifted.co for personalized ideas and to create the ultimate gift card experiences for your employees.     

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