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Activate Discover 5% Bonus Categories Now For Q3

Smart Balance Transfers provides in-depth information and insights into credit cards. While we do accept Smart Balance Transfers provides in-depth information and insights into credit cards. While we do accept compensation from credit card companies when consumers visit their websites, we have striven to provide unbiased reviews since 2007.

cash-back-credit-cards-holidayThe Discover It card, like several other credit cards, requires cardholders to go online and activate bonus categories of spending. This system is designed to encourage cardholders to actively engage with the card issuer, and minimize rewards issued to those who don’t. It is also a way of keeping track of who is actively using the card for this benefit. Think of it like a promotion where customers are supposed to mention a certain thing to get a discount.

Activating bonus categories

As with other competing products Discover it cardholders can activate their quarterly bonus categories before or during the quarter. And after June 15th, they can activate the Q3 bonus category of gas stations, which is valid from July through September. In fact, bonus categories that are activated at any time apply to purchases made throughout the quarter, so they are retroactive.

The Q4 bonus category is holiday shopping, but Discover has yet to announce the details of that category, which are to be made public on August 1st.

Other things to know about the 5% cash bonus

5% cash back is only offered on the first $1,500 of eligible spending each quarter. Purchases beyond $1,500 will only earn the standard 1% cash back. Cash back can be redeemed as a direct deposit, statement credit, or used to pay for purchases from Amazon, iTunes, and other select partners. Cash back can also be used for gift cards or for charitable donations.

  • New! Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically—only for new cardmembers*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, and more—up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months—then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • New Freeze It℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.*
  • Track your recent FICO® Credit Scores for free in one easy-to-read chart on monthly statements & online.* Plus get 100% U.S.-based service.
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text and never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • *See rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms & other info by clicking "Apply."
Purchases Intro
Balance Transfers Intro
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed

0% for 6 months*

0% for 18 months*

10.99% - 22.99% Variable*


Excellent Credit

The best way to use cash back

Smart cardholders will simply ask for direct deposit or a statement credit. That way, they can use that money for any purpose. Even if they choose to make purchases from eligible retailers or buy a gift card, they are better off earning rewards from their purchases than using rewards for their purchases. And in the case of charitable giving, cardholders can’t deduct the value of their rewards from their taxes, they can only deduct cash donations. So if cardholders choose to donate, it is much better for them to redeem cash back and donate that than to donate their rewards.

When cardholders understand how the Discover it’s cash back bonus program works, they can earn the most possible rewards from their daily spending.

Editor's Note: This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Citi or any of the other companies whose products are featured in this content.

About the author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele is a freelance journalist specializing in personal finance and travel and is recognized as an expert in credit cards. He is a regular contributor to many of the top personal finance sites such as Wise Bread and Money Talks News. His work has been frequently carried on mainstream news outlets such as MSN Money, Yahoo, Finance, and Business insider.

Jason lives in Denver Colorado with his wife and two daughters.

– has written 431 posts.

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