See the latest bonus categories from Discover and get tips on how to maximize your cash back.
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With holiday season around the corner, cardholders can take advantage of online shopping at Amazon.com or Walmart.com to stockpile gifts. Plus, the Target category also includes in-store purchases, providing even more flexibility to get your holiday shopping done this year.
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, 2019 – or the date on which you activate it, whichever is later – through Dec. 31, 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 – March||April – June||July – September||October – December|
(Activate by Dec. 31, 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. Luckily, there are still some great ways to earn significant cash back.
What is included/excluded in the “Amazon.com” category?
According to Discover’s website, Amazon.com purchases include all those made on the website, including digital downloads, gift cards and Amazon Fresh orders. Your Amazon Prime subscription can also qualify for the bonus.
What is included/excluded in the “Target” category?
This category includes purchases made on the Target website, app and in-store. Keep in mind that individual merchants within Target might not qualify for the bonus, depending on how the transaction appears on your statement.
What is included/excluded in the “Walmart.com” category?
On the Discover website, Walmart.com purchases are classified as all those made on the store’s website or app – including grocery pickup. Unfortunately, in-store purchases will not qualify for the bonus.
Tips for maximizing your bonus
- Use your Discover it Cash Back card for all Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com purchases.
- Consider doing holiday shopping with a participating merchant.
- 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, if you prefer to shop that way.
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, 2019, Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 at department stores and on Chase Pay and PayPal purchases.
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||Department stores, PayPal and Chase Pay|
Which card offers the best deal?
Ultimately, it depends on your spending habits. Coming into holiday season, the best category for you depends widely on how you prefer to do your shopping. If you favor online purchases from big merchants like Amazon.com, the Discover category can benefit you. For those who still prefer brick-and-mortar department stores for their holiday shopping, the Chase category might be more lucrative.
Going into the new year, though, that can change drastically. Neither Chase nor Discover have yet announced their categories for 2020, so it remains to be seen which card provides more potential value next year.