Activate now: Discover updates 5% cash-back quarterly categories for 2020
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit card information, including The Home Depot added as a bonus category. This page includes information about Discover cards that is not currently available on The Points Guy and may be out of date.
While parts of the world are beginning to reopen, many of us will still be spending far more time at home as we continue to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. That means more spending on things like groceries — or perhaps a home improvement project that you’ve been putting off.
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With the end of the second quarter rapidly approaching, now is the time for Discover it Cash Back cardholders to take advantage of the 5% cash back for gas stations, Uber and Lyft, wholesome clubs, and as of June 1, The Home Depot. You must enroll and the 5% back is only valid on the first $1,500 in purchases each quarter; then 1%.
The information for the Discover it Cash Back has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The bonus categories for the rest of 2020 are as follows:
- April-June: Gas stations, Uber, Lyft, wholesale clubs, and as of June 1, The Home Depot (activate now)
- July-September: Restaurants and PayPal (activate now)
- October-December: Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com (activate starting Aug. 1)
All of these categories open up plenty of opportunities to really max out your 5% cash back, as they’re impressively broad. For Q2, note that Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Warehouse both accept Discover. Costco has an exclusive deal with Visa, so the Discover card can’t be used onsite, although it is accepted at Costco.com.
Related reading: The best credit cards for groceries in 2020
Earning potential on the Discover it Cash Back
However, note that you must enroll each quarter and can only earn 5% in each quarter up to $1,500 in purchases. After that, you’ll earn 1% back on all purchases. Also, you must enroll each quarter before making any transactions — unlike the Chase Freedom card, you can’t do it retroactively after you’ve made the purchase and still have it earn 5% (up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter).
Related reading: Activate Chase Freedom bonus categories
If you max out the bonus category each quarter, you could be taking home an additional $75 per quarter and $300 a year — not too shabby. Even better, if you don’t currently have a Discover it and sign up for one now, Discover will match all the cash back you earn in a 12-month period at the end of your first year of having the card.
That ultimately adds up to a potential of 10% back on the bonus categories, meaning up to $600 in cash back. That’s pretty great for a no-annual fee cash-back credit card, and Discover also makes it pretty easy to redeem your cash-back.
Related reading: Best cash-back credit cards
Discover it cash-back calendar
For reference, here are the previous Discover it Cash Back quarterly categories, going back to 2017:
|2020 – Q1||Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS|
|2020 – Q2||Gas stations, Uber, Lyft and wholesale clubs. The Home Depot (June only)|
|2020 – Q3||Restaurants and PayPal|
|2020 – Q4||Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com|
|2019 – Q1||Grocery stores|
|2019 – Q2||Gas stations, Uber and Lyft|
|2019 – Q3||Restaurants|
|2019 – Q4||Amazon.com|
|2018 – Q1||Gas stations and wholesale clubs|
|2018 – Q2||Grocery stores|
|2018 – Q3||Restaurants|
|2018 – Q4||Amazon.com and wholesale clubs|
|2017 – Q1||Gas stations, ground transportation, wholesale clubs|
|2017 – Q2||Home improvement stores, wholesale clubs|
|2017 – Q3||Restaurants|
|2017 – Q4||Amazon.com, Target|
Other card options
If you’re interested in other cards with rotating bonus categories, the Chase Freedom mentioned above offers 5% back (up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter you activate) in a similar fashion to the Discover it. Additionally, if you have an Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can convert cash back earned with the Freedom card into Ultimate Rewards points, making the Chase Freedom a powerful companion card. The information for the Chase Freedom card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
If you want a straight cash-back card, the Discover it Miles earns 1.5 miles (equivalent to 1.5% cash-back) on all purchases, and Discover will match your miles at the end of your first cardmember year — meaning you’re earning 3% cash-back on all purchases for the first 12 months of card membership.
The information for the Discover it Miles has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related reading: These are the best cards for online shopping
Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson
Featured photo by smgu3 / Twenty20A
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