Eligible Discover credit card holders can now activate bonus 5% cash-back categories for the last quarter of the year. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending across purchases made at Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com (then 1%).
Plus Discover released the 2020 cash-back calendar, so you can start to plan spending for the new year.
Here are the bonus categories for 2019:
Discover revealed its full 5% cash-back calendar for 2020, so you can take a look at the bonus categories effective next year.
Here are the bonus categories for 2020:
Discover and Chase are the two most popular card issuers offering 5% cash-back cards. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two cash-back calendars for 2019.
This comparison shows that during 2019, both Discover and Chase included common spending categories, such as grocery stores and gas stations, in their calendars. Plus Discover included restaurants for one quarter, while this was missing from Chase's calendar.
For the last quarter of the year, both issuers chose categories geared toward holiday shopping. Discover went with Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com, while Chase opted for department stores and select digital wallets.
To earn 5% cash back, you're required to activate bonus categories each quarter. After you activate bonus categories, you can start earning 5% cash back on eligible spending. Discover lets you set up email alerts and you can add reminders to your calendar, so you don't forget to activate.
Earning 5% cash back isn't unlimited. Each quarter, after you spend a combined $1,500 in the bonus categories, the cash-back rate drops to 1%. This maximum spending requirement resets every quarter.
All other purchases made outside the bonus categories automatically earn 1% cash back. If you want to optimize the amount of cash back you can earn, we recommend using an alternative cash-back or rewards credit card for spending outside the bonus categories, so you earn at least 2% or 2 points per dollar spent.