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Freebies: Gift card deals and bonuses

Wednesday - 12/18/2013, 8:41pm  ET

Gift card (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Gift cards may be under the tree this holiday season. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON - With Christmas just one week away, many people will finish their holiday shopping by buying gift cards.

In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts 81 percent of holiday shoppers will buy at least one gift card this year.

With so many stores and restaurants offering holiday gift cards with bonuses and freebies attached, WTOP tracked down some of the best deals, and detailed them below.

The Federal Trade Commission recommends you only buy gift cards from trusted sources, and not online auction sites.

Also, read the fine print before you buy to determine whether there are any extra fees, such as shipping and handling, if you're buying online.

Along with the gift card, be sure to give the gift recipient your receipt so he has it handy in case the purchase needs to be verified.

Rule changes that went into effect in 2010 mean gift cards can't expire until five years after purchase at the earliest, and inactivity fees can't be deducted from the balance until at least one year has passed.

Read more from the FTC here.

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  • Applebee's: Get a free $10 bonus card when you buy $50 in gift cards from Applebee's, online or in restaurants.

  • Bonefish Grill: Now through Dec. 31, get a free $20 bonus card when you buy $100 in gift cards online from Bonefish Grill. The chain will ship them free, or you can pick them up at your local Bonefish Grill. Bonus cards are valid from Jan. 1, 2014 to Feb. 10, 2014.

  • Boston Market: Buy a $25 gift card from Boston Market and you'll get a free $5 bonus card while supplies last.

  • Buca di Beppo: Buy a $50 Buca di Beppo gift card at a restaurant or online, and you'll get a free $15 reward card valid Jan. 1, 2014 to Feb. 28, 2014.

  • California Pizza Kitchen: Get a free $20 promotional card when you buy $100 in gift cards at California Pizza Kitchen for the holidays.

  • California Tortilla: Buy a California Tortilla gift card worth at least $25 between now and Dec. 31, and you'll get a coupon good for a free entrťe redeemable on your next visit before Feb. 1, 2014. There's no limit to how many gift cards you can buy and freebies you can earn.

  • Capriotti's: Get a free 9-inch sub when you buy $50 in gift cards from Capriotti's. Show your receipt during your next visit to get your freebie, which must be claimed by Jan. 31, 2014.

  • Caribou Coffee: Buy a $25 eGift card online from Caribou Coffee, and you'll get a 5 eGift card free. Offer good through Dec. 31 or while supplies last.

  • Carrabba's Italian Grill: Get a $20 bonus card with every $100 in gift cards you buy online from Carrabba's Italian Grill through Dec. 31. You'll also get free standard shipping. Bonus cards are valid Jan. 1, 2014 to Feb. 10, 2014.

  • The Cheesecake Factory: Give a gift card, get a slice at The Cheesecake Factory. You'll get a free slice of cheesecake with every $25 gift card you buy online or in restaurants. Free slice redeemable between Jan. 1, 2014 and March 30, 2014.

  • Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa: Buy $100 worth of gift cards for the Cheaspeake Beach Resort & Spa by Dec. 31 and you'll get a $20 dining voucher to use at any of the resort's waterfront restaurants.

  • Chili's: Get a free $10 bonus card when you buy $50 in gift cards. Bonus card is valid Jan. 1, 2014 to Feb. 10, 2014.

  • CiCi's Pizza: Buy $25 in gift cards and get a free buffet at participating CiCi's Pizza. Offer valid for in-restaurant gift card purchases only. Free buffet card is redeemable in January 2014.

  • Cold Stone Creamery: Buy $30 or more in gift cards in December, and you'll get a free $5 bonus card from Denny's when you buy a $25 gift card this holiday season. Bonus card redeemable Jan. 1, 2014 to March 31, 2014.

  • DSW: Get a $5 bonus card free with every $50 gift card you buy at DSW now through Dec. 26. Bonus cards are redeemable on a pretax purchase of $5 or more Jan. 10, 2014 to Jan. 25, 2014.

  • Famous Dave's: Get a $5 reward card for every $25 in gift cards purchased from Famous Dave's, now through Jan. 1, 2014 (not valid for eGift cards).
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