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.
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.
The Discover calendar shows what purchases qualify for Discover’s 5% cash back bonus rewards categories. Eligible cardholders can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent per quarter in the purchase categories listed on Discover’s bonus rewards calendar, when they activate.
Discover’s 5% cash back calendar applies to three Discover credit cards: Discover it® Cash Back, Discover it® Student Cash Back and NHL® Discover it® (this offer is not currently available on WalletHub and may be out of date). Cardholders must activate new bonus categories by the end of each quarter for purchases to qualify for the 5% rewards rate. And the bonus rate will apply only from the date of activation through the last day of the quarter. To activate a category, click the blue “Activate Now” link on the calendar.
Just bear in mind that there are exceptions to Discover’s calendar categories. For example, purchases at restaurants inside other locations – like hotels, convenience stores and grocery stores – are not eligible. Neither are restaurant delivery purchases. PayPal purchases using tap-and-pay, virtual wallets or similar technology may not qualify, either. Each category has a bit of fine print. Be sure to read it.
Current Discover card promotions include a dollar-for-dollar rewards match at the end of the first year, up to 5% cash back on purchases, and 0% intro APRs for up to 15 months (followed by a regular standard rate). None of Discover’s credit cards charge annual fees or foreign transaction fees, either.
There are plenty of other perks, too, such as free credit scores. And together, all these Discover card promotions form a portfolio that can meet any cardholder’s financial needs.
Here are the latest Discover Card promotions:
Double rewards the first year: Available on all Discover cards. Discover will match all the cash back you've earned (or miles on the Discover it® Miles card) at the end of the first year. Offer only for new customers.
Up to 5% cash back: The Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Student Cash Back cards offer 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. You must activate the bonus each quarter by clicking “Activate Now” and logging in to your Discover account.
No annual fees or foreign transaction fees: Discover cards do not charge annual fees or foreign transaction fees. There are no penalty APRs for late payments, and Discover waives the fee for your first late payment. There’s a fee for cash advances - Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater-, and balance transfer fee - 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.
Up to 15 months intro transfer offer: Available on the Discover it® Cash Back card, the Discover it® Miles and the Discover it® chrome, which also charge a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*. The intro rate is followed by the regular APR, which is 14.99% to 25.99% Variable, based on creditworthiness.
Up to 15 months 0% purchase intro APR: Available on the Discover it® Cash Back, Discover it® chrome, Discover it® Miles and NHL® Discover it® cards. The intro rate is followed by the regular APR, which is 14.99% to 25.99% Variable, based on creditworthiness. Discover it® Student Cash Back and Discover it® Student chrome offer intro APRs of 0% for 6 months on purchases, followed by a 15.99% - 24.99% Variable regular APR.
As you can see, there’s a lot to like about Discover card promotions. The one thing you won’t see on any current Discover cards, though, is an initial bonus for spending a certain amount after you get the card. But Discover makes up for that by matching the first year’s rewards on all their cards.
There used to be another Discover card promotion called “Discover Deals,” where you could get extra discounts or bonus points for shopping with over 200 retailers in Discover’s online mall. Unfortunately, that program ended on October 31, 2018.
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