[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]
If you have the Discover it – 18 Month Balance Transfer Card in your wallet, you already know you can earn great cash back rates with a rotating carousel of merchants all year round. But this quarter, Discover is offering new cardholders the opportunity to close out the year with a cash back bang.
Discover’s fourth-quarter bonus category, combined with its cash back matching offer, significantly boosts the card’s value for anyone who’s held the card for under a year. First-year customers can save on goods, earn rewards, and even double their cash back value as they shop.
Here’s how new cardholders can take advantage of the Q4 bonus category and cash back match to supercharge the Discover it Card’s value.
The Q4 Cash Back Bonus Category
Discover offers 5% cash back in bonus spending categories that rotate every quarter. For instance, 2017’s first quarter offered 5% cash back at gas stations, for ground transportation, and at wholesale clubs. Even if you aren’t excited about a quarter’s bonus category, you can ride it out for three months and earn 1% cash back on all other purchases in the meantime.
Cash back can be redeemed for bank account deposits, statement credits, gift cards, charitable donations, and more.
For 2017’s last quarter (October through December), cardholders will earn 5% cash back on all eligible Amazon.com and Target purchases. This bonus category is especially valuable for a few reasons:
- Holiday shoppers can earn 5% cash back when gift shopping at Amazon.com and Target.
- com and Target carry an enormous variety of goods, so qualifying purchases abound.
- Eligible Amazon.com purchases include its inventory of physical products, downloads, Amazon gift cards, Amazon Prime subscriptions, and goods sold by third-party merchants on Amazon.com.
- Online Target purchases qualify, so you don’t even need a nearby Target to benefit.
This bonus category is solid on its own, but new cardholders can see even greater value with Discover’s first-year cash back match.
The First-Year Cash Back Match
Discover currently matches all cash back earned in the first year of the card, with no cap on the potential earnings. After your account is open 12 consecutive billing periods, Discover will match the cash back you’ve earned up to that point and apply the bonus to your account in a month or two.
This essentially doubles the cash back you earn, giving new customers a potential 10% cash back in bonus categories (with limitations) and 2% cash back on all other purchases for a full year.
There are a few limitations. The 5% cash back category applies only to the first $1,500 in purchases per quarter—any bonus category purchases beyond the cap will earn 1% cash back. You must also remember to activate your bonus category each quarter, and any purchases made before activation won’t earn the 5% cash back rate.
The cash back matching offer is available only to new Discover customers.
Taking Advantage of the Q4 Bonus Category
If you’re a first-year cardholder, you should take advantage of this bonus category while it lasts.
Make sure to activate your bonus category immediately if you haven’t already (bonus categories can be activated online). To get your 5% cash back, try to prioritize purchases at Amazon.com and Target—any time you need to make a purchase, it can pay off to check with those merchants first.
Remember, 5% to 10% cash back won’t make up for large price discrepancies. If a competitor offers an identical good much cheaper, it may be better to go for the savings. Your 5% cash back is good for only $1,500 in purchases each quarter, so feel free to shop around once you hit that limit.
Before you apply for any credit card, you should check your credit score and submit an application only if you feel reasonably confident that you will be approved—a hard credit inquiry can negatively affect your credit score. Review your credit report for free at Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Discover it card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.