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Each quarter, cardholders of the Discover it® Cash Back and the the Discover® More® Card can earn 5% cashback on purchases. However, the eligible merchants change each quarter. Thankfully, Discover releases its 5% cashback calendar at the beginning of each year. So, you have plenty of time to plan ahead.
To earn 5% cashback, you must activate the earning rate before making purchases. Discover only awards the bonus on purchases made after you activate for the quarter. That's unlike the Chase Freedom Flex℠ — which allows you to register later in the quarter and retroactively receive the 5% on purchases for the entire quarter.
Highlights of the merchants featured in Discover's 2021 5% earning calendar include grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, PayPal, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and select streaming services.
2021 Discover 5% Cashback Calendar
- Q1 (January to March): Grocery stores, Walgreens, and CVS — activation now open
- Q2 (April to June): Gas stations, wholesale clubs, and select streaming services — activation opens February 1, 2021
- Q3 (July to September): Restaurants and Paypal — activation opens May 1, 2021
- Q4 (October to December): Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com — activation opens August 1, 2021
Walgreens and CVS are straightforward, but you'll need to be careful with the “grocery store” category in Q1. This includes Walmart Grocery Pickup and Delivery purchases. However, it excludes other Walmart purchases, all Target purchases, and other “supercenter” purchases.
The list of “select streaming services” is extensive and includes most well-known names — including Apple Music, Apple TV+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Showtime. But if your service is provided through another third-party provider, it may be ineligible for earning 5% cashback.
Discover 5% Cashback Overview
- Each quarter, cardholders earn 5% cashback at select merchants on up to $1,500 of purchases.
- That's a maximum of $75 cashback each quarter. Then, you'll earn 1% thereafter.
- You need to register at the beginning of each quarter to activate your 5% cashback.
- The offer is only open to cardholders of the Discover it® Cash Back and the Discover® More® Card.
- Purchases made using Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay digital wallets are eligible for the promotion.
- Purchases made through other third-party payment accounts, mobile or wireless card readers, virtual wallets or similar technology may not be eligible “if the technology does not provide sufficient transaction details for rewards qualification.”
- Allow up to two billing cycles for the bonus to post to your account.
The 5% bonus is the primary reason for holding these cards. If you hold an eligible card, you'd miss out on serious returns by not registering and taking advantage of this 5% cashback offer.
Cashback fans can get even more bonus cashback categories by also signing up for the Freedom Flex card. In addition to earning 5% on travel purchased through Chase and 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, the Freedom Flex also features a rotating 5% bonus category. You can even combine the cashback with points earned from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to boost the value of your cashback earnings.
Even better, get both the Freedom Flex and a Discover card to earn 5% cashback on up to $3,000 in purchases each quarter!
How do you boost your cashback earnings?
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