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If you have a Discover credit card with rotating bonus categories or you're thinking of opening one, find out what bonuses you might earn. Eligible Discover credit cards will offer 5% back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases across a range of bonus categories every quarter that you activate.
You'll find the full 2021 cash back calendar below, as well as information on how Discover chooses its bonus categories from Meera Sridharan, vice president of rewards and product strategy at Discover.
These are Discover's rotating bonus categories for 2021:
For the most part, these are the same bonus categories that Discover offered in 2020. The only change is in the second-quarter categories. In 2020, these included gas stations and wholesale clubs, but the other categories were Home Depot (for June only), Uber, and Lyft. Discover replaced those with more than 20 TV and music streaming services for 2021.
New consumer behaviors and spending habits were the motivation for that change. Sridharan told us specifically that, "In entertainment, we are seeing a shift from linear TV to streaming content." She added, "In Q2, with most consumers still likely to spend a majority of their time at home, we added select streaming services to gas stations and wholesale clubs."
To take advantage of rotating credit card rewards, you need to activate them. Fortunately, this is quick and easy to do. Simply log in to your Account Center, go to the cash back bonus option, and click the Activate button. You can also activate by calling the phone number on the back of your Discover card.
Since bonus categories must be activated every quarter, you may want to set up email reminders. You can also do this either online or over the phone.
There are three Discover credit cards with rotating 5% bonus categories:
You can activate bonus categories each quarter to earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in purchases across those categories with any of those credit cards. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
In addition, all Discover credit cards will match the rewards you earn in your first year. If you earn $500 in cash back in the first year you use your card, Discover will give you another $500.
These 5% bonus categories are an excellent way to earn cash back, especially since Discover cards don't charge an annual fee. The categories aren't changing much in 2021, but that's not a bad thing -- Discover already has a strong selection of bonus categories. The addition of select streaming services is helpful with so many consumers spending more time at home during the pandemic.
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