Discover It recently announced all of their 5% cash back categories for 2019. I appreciate Discover releasing their categories all at once so I can plan my spend accordingly throughout the year. Knowing what the categories are in advance also help time new applications accordingly.
As always, be sure to activate the categories each quarter to be eligible for the 5% cash back. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined categories each quarter.
Discover It 2019 5% Cash Back Calendar
Q1 (January-March 2019): Grocery stores
The Discover It Q1 (Jan-Mar) 2019 category is grocery stores. Wal-Mart and Target are EXCLUDED from the 5% categories.
I plan to stock up on grocery store gift cards or store-branded gift cards from Safeway to maximize the quarter. I don’t recommend buying cash equivalents like Visa/Amex gift cards.
Q2 (April-June 2019): Gas Stations, Uber, and Lyft
Similar to grocery stores, my plan for Q2 is to stock up on store-branded gift cards towards the end of the quarter.
Since I don’t own a car, I appreciate that Uber and Lyft are included in the categories. Per the terms of service, UberEats purchases do NOT qualify for 5% cash back.
Purchases of Uber and Lyft gift cards may not be eligible, so it might be worth testing a small transaction. Worst case, Uber gift cards are available at select gas stations like 7 Eleven.
Q3 (July-September 2019): Restaurants
The Discover It will be my default card for dining at restaurants when Q3 rolls around.
If you dine out with friends often, the optimal strategy is to be the one that picks up the check and Venmo requests everyone for their portion. This goes without saying that you should only do this with people you trust.
Another strategy would be to volunteer your Discover It card for office lunches if your employer reimburses you.
Q4 (October - December 2019): Amazon.com
Since the holidays are in Q4, Amazon is a useful category to have.
The category can be tricky if you plan to buy electronics on Amazon. Discover does not have any extra protections like extended warranty, so think twice before you make a large purchase with your card.
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