See the latest bonus categories from Discover and get tips on how to maximize your cash back.
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Discover has launched its 5 percent cash back category for the second quarter of 2019. From April through June 2019, Discover it® Cash Back cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on gas station, Uber and Lyft purchases on up to $1,500 in combined spending upon enrollment. If you spend a lot on gas each month or if you frequently use ride-sharing services, this is a great opportunity to earn a generous rewards rate on those purchases.
To activate the second quarter bonus, click here.
Here’s what you need to know at a glance:
- You must activate the bonus each quarter to receive 5 percent back.
- The second quarter bonus is active from April 1, 2019 – or the date on which you activate it, whichever is later – through June 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’s 2019 cash back calendar
For the second year in a row, Discover has released its entire cash back calendar in advance – instead of on a quarter-by-quarter basis – allowing cardholders to get a jumpstart on planning their 2019 shopping schedule. Director of rewards strategy for Discover, Nidhin Mattappally, explained, “We release our full 5 percent cash back calendar as another way to make earning the cash back bonus easier for our card members and help them plan their spending throughout the year.”
See the 2019 categories and activation dates below.
Discover 5 percent cash back calendar 2019
|January – March||April – June|
|July – September|
(Activate starting May 1, 2019)
|October – December|
(Activate starting Aug. 1, 2019)
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 during 2019: Discover added Lyft and Uber as new bonus categories for the second quarter.
What is included/excluded in the “gas stations” category?
This category includes stand-alone gas stations. Purchases made at gas stations affiliated with supermarkets and supercenters may not be eligible.
What is included/excluded in the “Uber and Lyft” category?
This category includes rides purchased with Uber and Lyft. Uber Eats is excluded. Additionally, Uber and Lyft gift cards may not be eligible for the bonus.
Tips for maximizing your bonus
- Use your Discover it Cash Back card to purchase gas at stand-alone gas stations.
- Avoid purchasing gas from supermarkets, supercenters and warehouse clubs during the second quarter to ensure you receive the bonus rewards rate.
- Use your Discover it Cash Back card to pay for ride-sharing services.
- Check Discover’s shopping portal for opportunities to stack your rewards.
- Visit Discover.com/digitalwallets 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 April 1 through June 30, 2019, Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 at grocery stores and home improvement stores.
Chase vs. Discover cash back categories 2019
Discover it® Cash Back
|January – March||Grocery stores||Gas stations, drugstores and tolls|
|April – June||Gas stations, Uber and Lyft||Grocery stores and home improvement stores|
|July – September||Restaurants||Coming soon|
|October – December||Amazon.com||Coming soon|
Which card offers the best deal?
Ultimately, it depends on your spending habits. If there’s a road trip in your near future or if you use ride-sharing services on a regular basis, you’ll come out on top with Discover’s second quarter bonus category.
But if you have a large family and spend a lot on groceries each month, the Chase Freedom card offers the better deal.
Beyond the second 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 restaurant, 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.