Earn more rewards in the first year with Discover it® Cash Back card’s Cashback Match™

Discover it Cash Back bonus

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When you sign up for the Discover it® Cash Back card, you won’t receive the traditional $100-$200 introductory bonus. Instead, Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year – with no maximum reward amount.

With holiday shopping around the corner and higher spending months approaching, Discover it Cash Back cardholders can take advantage of this offer to maximize their cash back. If you combine making large purchases with the card’s rotating 5 percent cash back categories, you can earn unprecedented rewards in the first year.

Traditional sign-up bonus or cash back match: Which is better in the first year?

Most cash back rewards cards offer some kind of introductory bonus, typically around $100 or $200 if you spend a certain amount in the first few months. For example, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers $200 if you spend $500 in the first 90 days.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards card and Discover it Cash Back card have pretty comparable rewards rates. Both offer 1 percent cash back on general purchases, with a few bonus categories that boost rewards. In order to get the full reward potential out of either card, you’ll have to spend most of your money in the bonus categories and charge up to the spending cap.

Despite similar rewards earning schemes, the Cashback Match offer from Discover gets cardholders significantly more in the first year.  


Discover it Cash Back Card
Discover it Cash Back Card
Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card
Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards rate

  • Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • 3% cash back on gas
  • 2% cash back on groceries and wholesale club purchase
  • $2,500 combined limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-up bonus

  • Matches cash back at end of first year
  • $200 online cash rewards if you spend $500 in first 90 days

Annual fee

  • $0
  • $0

Estimated earnings in first year ($1,325 monthly spend)

  • $502
  • $469

How to spend your money to get the most out of your sign-up bonus

Since the Discover it Cash Back card doesn’t offer a flat intro bonus, cardholders have to be smart about their spending to maximize their rewards and earn a bigger match.

Each quarter, cardholders can enroll for 5 percent cash back (on up to $1,500 in purchases) in scheduled bonus categories. To earn the most possible rewards, you’ll definitely want to meet the $1,500 cap as often as possible. If you hit the spending cap each quarter, you’ll significantly improve your overall rewards rate and take home more every year.

As shown above, the average cardholder will bring home around $502 in cash back in the first year thanks to the Cashback Match offer. But if you weigh your spending more heavily towards each quarter’s 5 percent bonus category and meet the full spend cap, you can make almost double that amount with the same monthly spend.

Here’s a quick look at the bonus categories for 2019 to give an idea of the kind of places you can get the best deals.

January – March
April – June
July – September
October – December
  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • Restaurants
  • Amazon.com

Even after you hit the spend cap on the 5 percent categories, you’ll earn 1 percent on other purchases, with no maximum. Since the Cashback Match offer essentially doubles the rewards rate, you’ll want to make any large purchases you can in the first year.

Fortunately, the Discover it Cash Back card also offers a 0 percent intro APR for the first 14 months, so you’ll be able to spend a bit more than usual without worrying about excess interest charges.

Who is eligible to earn the sign-up bonus?

The Cashback Match intro offer is only available to new cardholders, so if you currently or have previously owned a Discover it Cash Back card, you might not be eligible. You’ll also have to meet the card’s initial application qualifications, including a good to excellent credit score (above 670).

Redemption options for Discover it Cash Back card

Once you’ve earned cash back using the Discover it Cash Back card, you can redeem any amount at any time as a statement credit. You also have the option to use your rewards directly on Amazon or donate to select charities. If you’d prefer a gift card, you can still redeem your cash back that way, but you will need a minimum of $20 available.

Should you apply for the Discover it Cash Back card now?

The Discover it Cash Back sign-up bonus doesn’t change often, so there is no firm timeline on when you need to sign up to take advantage of this offer. But if you have any large purchases to make soon – especially with gift-giving season upon us – and want to earn more in rewards, the Cashback Match is a great way to get a substantial bonus.

See related: Capital One to launch travel transfer partners for Venture cardholders in December, Earn 10x miles on hotel stays with Venture and VentureOne, How to transfer points to airlines

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Updated: 12-19-2018