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Discover has launched cash back categories for Q4 2019

Cardholders can activate the third quarter bonus – restaurants and PayPal – now


See the latest bonus categories from Discover and get tips on how to maximize your cash back.

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As of Aug. 1, 2019, Discover cardholders can begin activating their fourth quarter bonus categories –, Target and But keep in mind that you won’t start earning bonus points on these purchases until Oct. 1, 2019.

Until then, cardholders can still take advantage of third quarter bonus categories for 2019 – restaurants and PayPal. Eligible cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined restaurant and PayPal purchases through Sept. 30, 2019, after enrollment.

For cardholders who spend a lot on dining out, the restaurant bonus category is certain to prove lucrative. Plus, the addition of PayPal purchases provides added flexibility – since a wide variety of online retailers accept the payment method.

Discover it Cash Back cardholders must activate the third quarter bonus category by Sept. 30, here.

Here’s what you need to know at a glance:

  • You must activate the bonus each quarter to receive 5 percent back.
  • The third quarter bonus is active from July 1, 2019 – or the date on which you activate it, whichever is later – through Sept. 30, 2019.
  • The bonus is capped at $1,500 per quarter.
  • All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back.

Read on for everything you need to know about Discover’s cash back bonus, including the full 2019 calendar, our suggestions to maximize the 5-percent rate and how Discover’s bonus categories compare to those of Chase.

Discover 5 percent cash back calendar 2019

January – MarchApril – JuneJuly – September
(Activate by Sept. 30, 2019)
October – December
(Activate starting Aug. 1, 2019)
  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • Restaurants
  • PayPal
  • Target

While several of Discover’s 2019 categories are the same as those from 2018, the major item that stands out is the absence of wholesale clubs – which Discover offered during the first and fourth quarters of 2018. But if you frequently use ride-sharing services, you can still come out on top thanks to the addition of Lyft and Uber as new bonus categories in 2019.

What is included/excluded in the “restaurants” category?

According to Discover’s website, restaurant purchases are classified as “those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast food locations.” Food ordered from restaurants process by a delivery service might not qualify.

What is included/excluded in the “PayPal” category?

This category includes purchases made online using PayPal, money sent to friends through PayPal using your Discover card and in-person purchases at merchants who use PayPal Here.

Tips for maximizing your bonus

  • Use your Discover it Cash Back card to purchase food when you dine out.
  • Process online transactions with PayPal whenever you are given the option.
  • Check Discover’s shopping portal for opportunities to stack your rewards.
  • Visit for more information on which digital wallet transactions qualify for the 5 percent bonus.

Discover vs. Chase bonus categories

Chase also offers a 5 percent cash back bonus in categories that rotate quarterly. From July 1 through Sept. 30, 2019, Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 at gas stations and on select streaming services.

Chase vs. Discover cash back categories 2019

Discover it® Cash Back
Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom®
January – MarchGrocery storesGas stations, drugstores and tolls
April – JuneGas stations, Uber and LyftGrocery stores and home improvement stores
July – SeptemberRestaurants and PayPalGas stations and select streaming services
October –, Target and Walmart.comComing soon

Which card offers the best deal?

Ultimately, it depends on your spending habits. If there’s a road trip in your near future , you’ll benefit from Chase’s third quarter bonus category.

But if you spend more money on dining out than gas, you can benefit from Discover’s restaurant category.

Beyond the third quarter, though, we can’t tell you which card offers the better deal. Based on the past year, we can speculate that Chase may offer the bonus rate on wholesale club, department store and Chase Pay purchases sometime during 2019. But because they don’t release their full calendar in advance, it’s impossible to tell which card will best suit your spending habits throughout the year.

See related: Chase launches its cash back category for Q3 2019, Credit card special offers and limited-time promotions

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Published: July 31, 2019

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: August 14th, 2019
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