Discover Cashback Calendar: Here’s How to Earn Incredible 5% Bonuses [Updated with 2020 Categories]

These bonus opportunities are too good to miss. Here’s how to take advantage of them.
Last updated Nov 5, 2019 | By Jennifer Calonia
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Another quarter, another fresh list of categories on the Discover cashback calendar. Activating your Cashback Bonus categories can give you a rewards boost.

Here’s what you need to know about the Discover cashback calendar and the current bonuses available now.

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How does the Discover Cashback Bonus work?

The Discover it Cash Back Credit Card offers a cashback rewards program where cardholders can earn an unlimited, flat 1% cash back rate on non-bonus categories. One of the biggest appeals of this card, however, is its Cashback Bonus opportunities.

Every quarter, you can earn 5% Cashback Bonus rewards on purchases under specific categories. The purchase categories rotate each quarter, starting from the first day of the first month to the last day of the last month; for example, January 1 through March 31.

Your ability to earn the Cashback Bonus, however, is capped at $1,500 every quarter from the time you activate it. Keep in mind that you must activate the bonus each quarter through your Discover Cashback Bonus account to earn 5% on eligible purchases.

Purchases made using tap-to-pay, your mobile device, or similar methods may not be eligible for the 5% bonus. In some cases, the technology doesn’t give Discover the information it needs to recognize rewards bonus eligibility. Also, third-party partner purchases — like a purchase from a Starbucks that’s inside a Target store — may not qualify.

Earned bonus rewards, based on the Discover cashback calendar, will usually post to your account within two billing cycles.

When does Discover announce its cashback calendar?

In November 2019, the card issuer released its full Discover cashback calendar for 2020. 

Unlike other cashback cards that reveal their bonus categories one by one throughout the year, Discover publishes its entire calendar for the upcoming year. This is a helpful benefit for cardholders who prefer to plan their eligible bonus transactions ahead of time.

Discover 5% Cashback Bonus categories for 2019 and 2020

Cashback Bonus purchases may be eligible for 5% rewards, if they fall under the following categories:

2019 dates 5% Cashback Bonus categories for 2019 Exclusions
January 1 through March 31 Grocery Stores Walmart and Target grocery purchases

Purchases from convenience stores, gas stations, warehouse clubs, discount stores, and supercenters

April 1 through June 30 Gas Stations, Uber, and Lyft Uber Eats, Uber and Lyft gift cards, and gas stations that are affiliated with supermarkets and supercenters
July 1 through September 30 Restaurants and PayPal Payments through Xoom transfer

Restaurant transactions using PayPal only receive a total of 5% bonus (i.e., doesn’t earn 10%)

October 1 through December 31 Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com Individual merchants and stand-alone stores inside Target and Walmart locations, as well as on Target.com

Purchases from Walmart Stores, Walmart Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Walmart Pay


2020 dates 5% Cashback Bonus categories for 2020 Exclusions
January 1 through March 31 Grocery Stores, Walgreens and CVS Walmart and Target grocery purchases

Purchases from convenience stores, gas stations, warehouse clubs, discount stores, and supercenter

April 1 through June 30 Gas Stations, Uber, Lyft and Wholesale Clubs Gas Stations include only merchants that sell automotive gasoline that can be paid for either at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets and supercenters may not be eligible.

Uber and Lyft purchases include on those made in the United States.
Purchases of affiliated Wholesale Club services, such as travel and cell phone purchases, may not be eligible in this category.

July 1 through September 30 Restaurants and PayPal Payments through Xoom transfer

Restaurant transactions using PayPal only receive a total of 5% bonus (i.e., doesn’t earn 10%)

October 1 through December 31 Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com In-store purchases

Common questions about the Discover Cashback Bonus

Does Discover give cash back on all purchases?

Yes. If you’ve activated the Cashback Bonus during the quarter, you’ll earn 5% cash back. You’ll also earn 1% back on all other purchases.

Is there a limit on Discover cashback rewards?

Discover cashback calendar bonuses have a $1,500 quarterly limit. There’s no maximum for how much cash back you can earn at the 1% rate.

What is Discover Cashback Match?

If you’re a first-time Discover it Cash Back cardholder, you automatically get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earned $252 in cash back after your first year, Discover will match your cash back by $252.

How do I maximize my Discover Cashback Bonus?

To maximize your Cashback Bonus, make sure to set a calendar alert on your mobile device or computer each quarter to activate the bonus categories.

You can also enroll in dining rewards programs and link your Discover it Cash Back Card to maximize your rewards.

How do I redeem my Discover Cashback Bonus?

You can redeem your Cashback Bonus through your online account.

Once you’re logged into your account, you can see all of your redemption options, including gift cards, depositing the amount to your bank account, applying your rewards to your Discover statement, donating to charity, or using rewards at Amazon.com checkout.

Do Discover cashback rewards expire?

Discover Cashback rewards don’t expire.

Staying on top of the Discover cashback calendar

Staying in the know for when the Discover cashback calendar is published and remembering to activate 5% bonus categories each quarter can help you get the most value out of your Discover it Cash Back Credit Card.

Even if you don’t plan on making purchases under a particular category, it’s a wise move to active your option to earn lucrative quarterly bonuses in case you do.

5% Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back

Benefits

  • Up to 5% cash back
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Cash back match your first year
  • No foreign transaction fees