The best Discover it® Cash Back benefits include 1% to 5% cash back rewards on purchases and 0% introductory APRs on purchases and balance transfers. There are also standard Discover it card benefits such as a $0 annual fee and 0% foreign transaction fee. And Discover will match all cash back earned during the first year after your first account anniversary.
You won’t get many traditional secondary benefits from Discover it Cash Back, though. In February 2018, Discover discontinued numerous benefits on all of its cards, including the Discover it Cash Back card. Those included purchase protection, extended warranty, and return guarantee. They also cut both travel insurance and rental car coverage at that time. Plus, price protection got dropped from Discover’s benefits package effective Halloween 2018.
The Discover categories for bonus credit card rewards are gas stations, restaurants, along with various rotating quarterly categories. When cardholders make purchases that qualify for their Discover card’s bonus categories, they earn extra rewards compared to the card’s base rewards rate.
Discover it Cash Back, Discover it Student Cash Back, and NHL Discover it earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent in the quarterly categories combined. Unlike regular bonus categories, you need to activate rotating categories to earn rewards.
Whether a purchase falls into a card’s bonus categories depends on "Merchant Category Codes," which are assigned by the major credit card networks to merchants based on what kind of business they conduct. So if a merchant has the MCC for "Gas Stations,” for example, purchases made at that merchant with cards that include "Gas Stations" as a bonus category will earn bonus rewards.
If you’re looking to get a rewards credit card from Discover, it’s a good idea to pick a card that offers the opportunity to earn bonus rewards in your most frequent purchase categories. Alternatively, you might want to get a card that offers a flat rewards rate on all purchases, like the Discover it® Miles (1.5 miles per $1 spent on all purchases) or the Discover it® Business Card (1.5% cash back on all purchases).
The Discover cash back bonus pays you back a certain percentage of the money you spend as a reward. The Discover cash back bonus can be redeemed either at select merchants or for cash. More specifically, there are three types of Discover cashback bonuses:
5% bonus rate: You earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent per quarter in bonus categories (which change every quarter and require activation), and 1% back on all other purchases. The Discover credit cards that offer this deal are the Discover it® Cash Back, the NHL® Discover it®, and the Discover it® Student Cash Back.… read full answer
Cash back in categories that don’t change: Other Discover cards offer a cashback bonus in certain categories that never change. Discover it® chrome, Discover it® Student chrome and Discover it® Secured Credit Card offer 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 spent each quarter combined), and 1% back on all other purchases.
Cashback Match: There’s a final Discover cashback bonus that all Discover cards have. With Cashback Match, Discover will match all the rewards you earn the first year your account is open. So, if you rack up $500 in rewards during the first 12 months, for example, Discover will tack on another $500 as an anniversary present.
Discover’s 2% cash back bonus and Cashback Match are fairly simple, but there are several other details you’ll need to know about the 5% bonus. To start, Discover has a cash back calendar showing when the categories rotate. And to get the 5% Discover cashback bonus, you need to “activate” it every quarter. You can easily do so by logging in to your Discover account from their cash back bonus page. You can activate the new categories on the first day of the quarter.
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