Employee Rewards

Awesome Alternatives To American Express Gift Cards

July 4, 2022
min read

When it comes to offering non-cash incentives to employees, prepaid debit cards and reloadable cards like American Express gift cards are highly popular. 

American Express gift cards are often the first ones to come to mind when thinking about how to offer gift card rewards to employees and it’s also a name that many teams know about too.

Although these cards are used for offering incentives, there are many alternatives to American Express gift cards that are readily available, easy to use and even more cost-effective! On top of that, these other options can also offer the recipient greater value than retailer-specific gift cards. 

In this guide, we first identify what the alternatives are and then how they differ in the benefits that they offer. We want you to find the best card-based employee incentive for your company’s needs!

The Best Alternatives To American Express Gift Cards

Research has proven that employees feel receiving better rewards would increase their loyalty towards the company. 

When it comes to non-cash-based rewards for your employees, there are various options that you can explore that step outside the traditional American Express gift card.

Visa Prepaid Cards

A well-known name all over the world, Visa offers not only credit and debit cards, but also prepaid cards for gifting as well. These are probably the most popular choice as an alternative. 

The benefits of Visa prepaid cards:

  • The reloadable cards can be used to pay for any product or services online and in stores. 
  • Can be used to withdraw cash and pay bills. 
  • Offers many more options than other benefits and gift cards.
  • Can be used anywhere that Visa debit/credit cards are accepted.

PerkUp Virtual Reward Cards

PerkUp’s Perk Cards promote employee engagement by allowing companies to offer incredible rewards to their employees. 

There is a wide variety of reward options to choose from and these include the useful services and products described below.


Babysitting, children’s clothing and toys, kids’ haircuts, and various child-related services like BabyQuip are included in this category. Parents of young children often need a helping hand with expenses and this perk category gives them that.

If your employee is a pet parent, you can even offer pet services and supplies as benefits!


Prioritizing your employee’s mental well-being with mindfulness perks will definitely benefit them and the company too. 

With access to apps like Headspace, they will carry less stress, make clearer business decisions and enjoy improved communication with colleagues. 


Further education and training opportunities will facilitate innovation within your team and increase employee retention along with their value to the company. 

Educational benefit cards can assist employees individually in personal and career development!

They can also give employees a chance to learn something unrelated to work and let them indulge in personal development.  Consider A Cloud Guru, Brilliant app, and Coursera for personal and career improvement training.


A range of food options is available on the PerkUp platform for ordering from home or dining out and these options also cater to a variety of dietary requirements. 

Perk Card rewards can be redeemed from DoorDash, Caviar, Instacart, Glovo and HelloFresh among many others.


Benefit cards for gym memberships and fitness apps are now available!

They will encourage your staff to be fit and healthy through endless options of classes and memberships. 

Yoga class passes are available from CorePower Yoga. You can also offer employees personal training and workouts from Equinox or Mirror.


Reduce stress with a range of podcast, film and music platforms for your employees to enjoy. 

You can reward your employees with access to Hulu, Blinkist, Netflix, AMC Theaters, and CraveTV to name just a few of these.

Home Office 

Boost productivity with home office equipment and tech products from providers such as Amazon or services from Dashlane. 

Computer and desk accessories are especially suitable for your remote employees and these people will also appreciate cleaning and maintenance services from Handy, for example.


Keep your team up-to-date with business, economic and other developments from top media platforms. 

For example, some employees and their companies will benefit greatly from access to publications like The Financial Times, The Economist, Foreign Affairs, and BusinessWeek so they can stay on top of business trends and remain educated about their industry.


You can ensure your employees stay productive with their teams and connected to their loved ones, especially through the purchase of AT&T’s mobile network on PerkUp.

Our Top Alternatives to Gift Cards

After reading through the list above, it’s clear that PerkUp offers greater accessibility, convenience and flexibility for employee rewards than American Express cards can. Our virtual Perk Cards help reward your dedicated employees with an amazing array of services, perks and benefits across many categories.

Not only can employees enjoy the rewards they deserve after their continuous hard work and achievements, the PerkUp platform offers them the gift of choice in deciding how to spend these rewards. 

Your team will definitely appreciate the extra step you’ve taken to allow them to enjoy their gifts in their own way, and by catering to their individual needs and interests, you’re sure to experience a happier and more productive workforce within your company. 

Keep reading for some examples of our most popular gift card alternatives!

Amazon Virtual Gift Cards

Our virtual gift cards for Amazon can be loaded with various dollar amounts and allow employees to treat themselves to the incredible variety of Amazon products. 

Your employees can choose to buy books, music, movies, homeware, appliances, electronic goods and accessories, exercise equipment, bath and body products, pet supplies, toys, games and more from Amazon right through their PerkUp accounts. 

Apple Music Virtual Gift Cards

Our virtual gift cards for the Apple Music Store let employees access the entire music library of millions of songs. They can enjoy albums from their favorite artists across all their devices while remembering their amazing company that extended this token of appreciation.  

Prepaid Health, Fitness, and Lifestyle Cards

Would your employees prefer access to health, wellness, sports, lifestyle products and services? 

PerkUp offers Classpass and Daily Burn memberships, among many others, as well as DAZN access benefits for sports fans in the office. 

Mental health care options are available from BetterHelp and even spa treatments from Hand and Stone or Massage Envy! 

PerkUp definitely has it all to help your employees feel and perform their best. 

Why Do Employees Like Receiving Gift Cards And Prepaid Cards?

Studies have shown that 41% of companies reported that employee gifting substantially improved retention. 

With that knowledge, it’s clear that gift cards and prepaid cards offer a simple means of issuing effective performance-based rewards. They are tangible proof that the employee is valued, appreciated and acknowledged within the company. 

Gift cards and prepaid cards offer employees the chance to enjoy quality products or services as a reward for their efforts at the organization, leading to greater satisfaction, engagement, and better performance in the workplace.

How To Decide What To Offer

When setting up your incentive program, you must keep your team’s wants and needs in mind. This can be done through an internal survey to determine what types of perks and rewards they will most appreciate and benefit from individually.

You can also consider what rewards to offer based on your employees’ roles, milestones, and career stage. 

Our products are suitable for use for any team, no matter if it’s all employees or for sales program incentive fund (SPIF) rewards for company sales reps.

General rewards for employee anniversaries, performance rewards for your best employees and retirement gifts are also easy to award through PerkUp.


While there are various alternatives to American Express gift cards, only PerkUp offers the flexibility and versatility companies need. 

PerkUp ensures you have more control over a rewards program, provides integration with existing software and further assistance with tax compliance. You can also tailor rewards according to your budget and to meet all your employees’ different interests.

No matter the size or type of business, we have a virtual prepaid card that will meet all your requirements!

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