Discover cash back calendar 2018

Earn 5 percent back at and wholesale clubs in Q4

Discover cash back calendar

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Discover has launched its 5 percent cash back category for the fourth quarter of 2018. From October through December 2018, Discover it cardholders can earn 5 percent back at and wholesale clubs on up to $1,500 in combined spending upon enrollment. This is a great opportunity to earn a generous rewards rate on items you use every day, from groceries and toiletries to cleaning supplies and electronics.

To activate the fourth quarter bonus category, 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 fourth quarter bonus is active from Oct. 1, 2018 – or the date on which you activate it, whichever is later – through Dec. 31, 2018.
  • 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 2018 calendar, our suggestions to maximize the 5-percent rate and how Discover’s bonus categories compare to those of Chase.

Discover’s 2018 cash back calendar

Discover has done things a little differently this year. Instead of announcing its bonus cash back categories on a quarter-per-quarter basis, they unveiled the full 2018 calendar in advance. According to Discover, the 2018 calendar is designed to include more places where Discover it card members routinely shop.

Discover 5 percent cash back calendar 2018

Winter Spring Summer Holiday
January – March
April – June
July – September
October – December
(Activate starting Aug. 1, 2018)
  • Gas stations
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Wholesale clubs

While several of Discover’s 2018 categories are the same as those from 2017, the major items that stand out are the absence of ground transportation, home improvement stores and Target stores. However, if you frequently shop at wholesale clubs, you can still come out on top with the 2018 categories. Because Discover offered the bonus rate at wholesale clubs during the first quarter of 2018 and again in the fourth quarter, you can essentially earn 5 percent back at stores like Sam’s and Costco for half of 2018. Since you can earn the 5 percent rate on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter, and 1 percent cash back after that, you can potentially earn more than $150 cash back at wholesale clubs during 2018.

What is included/excluded in the “” category?

The “Amazon” category includes purchases made through the checkout, such as digital downloads and Amazon gift cards. Also, Amazon Fresh orders, Amazon Local Deals, Amazon Prime subscriptions and items sold by third party merchants through’s marketplace are eligible for the bonus.

What is included/excluded in the “wholesale clubs” category

Items purchased at wholesale clubs, such as food, cleaning supplies and clothing, are included in this category. Services, like travel and cell phone purchases, may be excluded from the category. Items purchased using a mobile wallet, tap and pay, mobile or wireless card readers or similar technology may also be excluded.

Note: Discover recommends that you check with your wholesale club to ensure that Discover cards are accepted there.

Tips for maximizing your bonus

  • Use your Discover it card to pay for all purchases.
  • Renew your Amazon Prime subscription using your Discover it card during the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • Purchase Amazon gift cards that can then be used throughout 2019.
  • Ensure that your Discover card is accepted at your wholesale club.
  • Purchase groceries, toiletries and household items from wholesale stores, instead of grocery stores and drug stores.
  • Do not use your mobile wallet to purchase items at your wholesale club.

Discover vs. Chase bonus categories

Chase also offers a 5 percent cash back bonus in categories that rotate quarterly. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018, Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 on department store, wholesale club and Chase Pay purchases.

Chase vs. Discover cash back categories 2018

Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom
January – March Gas stations and wholesale clubs Gas stations; internet, cable and phone services; Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay
April – June Grocery stores Groceries, Chase Pay and PayPal
July – September Restaurants Gas stations, Lyft and Walgreens
October – December and wholesale clubs Wholesale clubs, department stores and Chase Pay

Which card offers the best deal?

Ultimately, we think Chase does.

In addition to getting 5 percent back on department store and wholesale club purchases, Freedom cardholders can earn the bonus rate anywhere Chase Pay is accepted. Meaning that, along with groceries, clothing and household items, Freedom cardholders can earn the 5 percent rate on dining out, movie theater tickets, gas and more. 

See related: Chase launches its cash back category for Q4 2018, Chase Pay: How to use it and rack up cash back rewardsCredit card special offers and limited-time promotions

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Updated: 10-23-2018