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Activate Discover cash back categories for Q4 2019 now

Cardholders can activate the fourth quarter bonus –, Target and – now


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

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Discover’s fourth quarter bonus categories –, Target and – are live as of Oct. 1, 2019. Through the end of the year, eligible cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in these categories, after enrollment.

With holiday season around the corner, cardholders can take advantage of online shopping at or to stockpile gifts. Plus, the Target category also includes in-store purchases, providing even more flexibility to get your holiday shopping done this year.

Discover it Cash Back cardholders must activate the fourth quarter bonus category by Dec, 31, 2019, 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, 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 – MarchApril – JuneJuly – SeptemberOctober – December
(Activate by Dec. 31, 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. Luckily, there are still some great ways to earn significant cash back.

What is included/excluded in the “” category?

According to Discover’s website, 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 “” category?

On the Discover website, 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, Target and purchases.
  • Consider doing holiday shopping with a participating merchant.
  • 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, 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
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.comDepartment 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, 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.

See related: Activate Chase cash back category for Q4 2019 now, Credit card special offers and limited-time promotions

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