Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
Discover cash back categories 2021
Earn 5% cash back on gas, restaurants and groceries.
Updated . What changed?
2020/2021 Discover cashback rewards calendar
|October–December 2020||January–March 2021||April–June 2021||July–September 2021||October–December 2021|
|Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com; Best Buy (new category from November 25 to December 31)||Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS||Gas stations, wholesale clubs and streaming services||Restaurants and PayPal||Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com|
Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com and Best Buy eligibility
The following purchases are eligible for the 5% cashback rate on Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com and Best Buy:
- Amazon.com purchases made through Amazon.com checkout — digital downloads, gift cards, Amazon Fresh orders, Amazon Local Deals, Amazon Prime subscriptions and items sold by third-party merchants through Amazon.com’s marketplace. Purchases also include those made in-store at Amazon Go, Amazon Bookstore, and Amazon 4-Star.
- Walmart.com purchases made at Walmart.com and when shopping through the Walmart app, including Grocery Pick Up and In-store Pick Up.
- Target.com purchases made online at Target.com or through the Target app.
- Best Buy purchases made in-store at Best Buy, online at bestbuy.com, or through the Best Buy app.
Steps to activate your Discover rewards
You must activate your Discover rotating categories to earn the 5% cash back. There are three ways to activate:
- Through your online account
- Through the Discover Mobile app
- Call 800-347-2683.
What to know
With the Discover it® Cash Back card the 5% cash back isn’t retroactive. This means if you activate the categories late in the quarter and made purchases beforehand in qualifying categories, you may not earn accelerated cash back on them. However, reach out to customer service to see if they would be willing to adjust it.
How do 5% cashback categories work?
Every time you make a purchase in activated categories — for up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter — you earn 5% cash back. After reaching the cap, and on all other purchases, you earn 1% back.
This means, you can earn a maximum of $300 on the 5% categories every year. For the first year, that would be $600 or 10% back thanks to Discover Cashback Match. Not bad, considering there’s no annual fee.
How can I redeem my Discover cash back?
There are many ways to redeem your Discover cash back, including a deposit into your bank account, gift cards, pay for Amazon.com purchases at checkout and more.
Tips to maximize your Discover cash back
- Activate your categories.
If you fail to activate before the end of the quarter, you won’t earn accelerated cash back. You also may not receive retroactive cash back if you activate later in a quarter.
- Cashback Match.
Instead of a signup bonus, Discover will match the entire cash back you earn during your first year. Suppose you earn $500 in cash back, You’d get a $500 bonus for a total of $1,000 for the first year. This beats any signup bonus offered by a similar card.
- Use at Amazon.com.
When Amazon.com purchases are part of the Discover card categories, you can buy gift cards and use them later during the year. You can also use your card to renew your Prime membership.
- Pair it with another card.Chase Freedom Flex℠ also offers 5% cash back up to $1,500 in combined purchases, and the categories rarely overlap. Combining the two cards can maximize your cash back during the entire year.
Compare bonus rewards categories
|Categories 2021||Chase Freedom Flex℠||Discover it® Cash Back|
|January to March||Wholesale clubs, select streaming services, Internet, cable and phone services||Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS|
|April to June||Revealed before the quarter starts||Gas stations, wholesale clubs and streaming services|
|July to September||Revealed before the quarter starts||Restaurants and PayPal|
|October to December||Revealed before the quarter starts||Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com; Best Buy (new category from November 25 to December 31)|
Which card is better?
There’s no clear answer, as it mostly depends on your spending habits. However, you could maximize your cash back if you combine both cards and use each card for the category with the highest cash back.
More guides on Finder
Best balance transfer credit cards of 2021
Here are our top balance transfer picks for 2021.
Best cashback credit cards
The top cards often have cashback rewards of 5% or more. But which one is the best for you depends on how you spend.
Can I get a 5% interest savings account in 2021?
You can find a 5% interest savings account in 2021. But find out if it’s worth it here.
Citi Simplicity® Card vs Discover it® Cash Back
Which of these credit cards would you choose to better fit your budget?
Best credit cards for Amazon purchases
The cool thing about having an Amazon Prime credit card is that the cash back you earn stacks with any Prime Day deals — so you could get up to 15% back.
How many Discover cards can you have?
You can have two Discover cards at a time, with limitations.
Your guide to the Discover Refer-A-Friend program
Refer a friend to a Discover card and earn rewards if their application is approved.
The best credit cards for entertainment 2021
Earn up to 6% cash back on select entertainment spending.
Best credit cards for families 2021
Earn rewards on groceries, gas or family travel.
Ask an Expert