See the latest bonus categories from Discover and get tips on how to maximize your cash back.
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Discover it Cash Back cardholders can begin activating the third quarter bonus category as of May 1, 2019, here. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, keep in mind that Discover continues to offer 5 percent back on gas station, Uber and Lyft purchases – on up to $1,500 in combined spending upon enrollment – through June 30.
If you haven’t done so already, activate the second quarter bonus category 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.
- You can activate the third quarter bonus, which is effective from July 1 through Sept. 30, 2019, as of May 1.
- 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 – March||April – June|
(Activate by June 30, 2019)
|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 thanks to the addition of Lyft and Uber as new bonus categories in 2019.
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 and PayPal||Gas stations and select streaming services|
|October – December||Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.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 benefit from 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 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.