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The Discover cash back calendar for 2022 is here — account members can start planning how they will use their cards to maximize their earnings all year long. This issuer offers highly competitive rewards in comparison to other cash back programs. Keeping tabs on the applicable categories per quarter is a must to take full advantage of their reward scheme. Here’s what Discover it Cash Back, Discover it Student Cash Back and Discover More cardholders should know.
How the Discover Cash Back Program Works
Discover Bank gives one of the highest cash back rates in the market on rotating categories. Eligible customers can get up to 5% on purchases made with select U.S. merchants every quarter. However, account members often have to work hard for their money by keeping track of the ever-changing bonus groups. Additionally, they need to activate the promotion each period to be able to collect their rewards.
Points collected through Discover cash back never expire. In addition, to ensure no reward is ever lost, Discover sends account members a deposit or check with their remaining Cashback Bonus balance when:
- They close their account
- They haven’t used their account in 18 months
With other issuers, reward points would automatically go to waste in these scenarios. It’s important to mention that redemption for Discover Cashback Bonus rewards may not be available for up to 48 hours after reporting a misplaced or stolen card.
Signing up to Discover’s cash back program is free. All Discover it and Discover More credit card users need to do is log in to their account or call the Discover hotline to activate their membership every quarter. Registering for the Account Center is an excellent way to expedite this process and avoid long hold times for a bank representative.
How To Earn the Cash Back Bonus
Discover allows qualifying users to earn back 5% with their everyday purchases across select merchant categories. They rotate every quarter, however, so cardholders need to ensure they make purchases in the correct category and without exceeding the specified amount to guarantee their earnings. Refer to the table below to see which categories are available for 5% cash back each quarter.
The quarterly maximum this year is $1,500, but members also make an unlimited 1% on all other purchases without needing to activate. Additionally, during the first year of opening an account, new cardmembers receive an unlimited match on every cash back dollar they make.
Cash back with Discover is estimated per transaction, and it accumulates daily. All cash back dollars rounded to the nearest cent are then stored in the user’s Cashback Bonus account. They’re then posted in one to two billing cycles.
Are There Any Caps?
While there’s no cap on the total amount of cash back a cardmember can make, individual offers can have limits on the extra money that can be earned. However, even when exceeding this limit, clients can still make their 1% cash back bonus for every purchase.
How To Redeem Cashback Bonuses
Account members can use the Account Center to redeem their cash back and select the most convenient redemption options online. Discover also allows members to redeem points on the phone for those who are not enrolled in the Account Center. The cash back redemption options with this card issuer include:
- Gift cards
- Pay at checkout with PayPal and Amazon
- Donations to a participating charity
- Direct deposit
- Statement credit
Good To Know
While Discover Cashback Bonus rewards are redeemable for gifts cards, using an account just for this purpose isn’t the most favorable in the eyes of the card issuer. To remain on good terms with the card issuer and their rewards program, utilizing other redemption options is a good practice.
Categories That Get 5% Cash Back With Discovery
Discover customers with a cash back account can earn up to $75 every quarter through the reward program. The following categories are eligible to earn a 5% Cashback Bonus per quarter in 2022.
|Q1: January 1 to March 31, 2022: Ready to activate||-Grocery stores, excluding Walmart and Target
|Q2: April 1 to June 30, 2022: Ready to activate||-Gas stations
|Q3: July 1 to Sept. 30, 2022: Activate starting May||-Restaurants
|Q4: Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022: Activate starting Aug. 1||–Amazon
-Digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay and Garmin Pay
Newly earned Cashback Bonuses show up on every monthly statement. Still, cardholders can use Discover’s Account Center to monitor their earnings whenever they want.
How To Boost Cash Back Rewards With Discover
There are numerous ways to maximize earnings made through the Discover Cashback Bonus program. For example, as previously mentioned, new members get double the points they make during the first year of opening their account. This introductory promotion applies to the 5% cash back in rotating categories and on the 1% cash back made through general purchases.
Carefully planning and taking the time to review which groups are eligible for a 5% Cashback Bonus is the surest way to get the most out of this program. Similarly, cardholders ought to monitor individual promotions to ensure that they’re not exceeding any caps and that they’ll see their rewards reflected as they initially expected.
Account members can match their rewards with their yearly purchasing plans and lifestyle. Some examples are:
- Aligning seasonal shopping plans with months that reward Target or Amazon.
- Planning to pay for their yearly gym memberships in quarters that offer bonuses on fitness club purchases.
- Assessing if other cards in their wallet give bigger rewards in certain categories.
- Using months that reward PayPal payments to pay for any subscriptions and memberships that accept this payment method.
Discover Cash Back vs. Citi Cash Back
Here’s how Discover’s cash back compares with another competitive cash back program: Citi®’s Citi® Double Cash card.
|Discover It® Cash Back||Citi® Double Cash Card|
|Credit required||Good to excellent||Good to excellent|
|APR||, based on creditworthiness after 0% introductory APR expires||, based on creditworthiness|
|Reward type||Cash back||Cash back|
|Cash back rate||1% on all purchases and 5% for select categories every quarter||2%|
|Reward bonus offer||n/a||n/a|
|Reward specs||Unlimited cash back match for new users with no minimum spending. 5% cash back on every purchase with select retailers upon activation. $1,500 quarterly maximum. 1% automatic cash back on unlimited purchases.||2% cash back on every purchase — 1% on purchase and 1% on payment. Only the minimum payment per billing period is required to keep earning the full cash back.|
While both options are attractive for those who appreciate cash back rewards, they have different earning rates. Citi’s unlimited rewards rate allows users to make money back on every purchase. On the other hand, Discover’s earnings, although higher at first glance, can easily go unused. Account members who are unaware of the activation policy or the rewards categories each quarter could miss out.
Discover may make account holders put extra thought and energy into their cash back bonuses. However, the high reward rates this issuer offers are well worth the additional efforts. Those who would rather skip all the planning and monitoring could benefit from other options out there.
Rates, offers and requirements are subject to change at the card issuer’s discretion.