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Discover the rewards program guide

Discover offers a wide range of credit card rewards that allow you to accumulate points for travel, refunds, and more. None of the issuer’s cards charge an annual fee, nor do they charge a foreign transaction fee for overseas purchases. The publisher also offers an easy-to-use rewards program, and that’s true regardless of which card option you choose.

Discover rewards program guide
Discover rewards program guide

Looking to earn back cash, gift cards, travel rewards or more? Keep reading to find out how the Discover rewards program works, which Discover credit cards fall under this program, and how to use the rewards you earn.

How does the Discovery Rewards Program work?

The Discovery Rewards Program is extremely versatile, especially when you consider all the different ways to redeem your rewards. For the most part, Discover cashback credit cards allow you to redeem rewards for statement credits, refunds, gift cards, merchandise, and charitable donations.

You can also sign up for a Discover card that allows you to earn “miles,” although this mileage works differently than the airline’s mileage. With Mileage Discovery, you can redeem your rewards for any form of travel purchase you want; simply cash in your miles to cover the purchase.

What is the value of the Discovery reward?

Discover refund rewards that are worth the exact refund dollar value. For example, if your Discover cash withdrawal card allows you to earn 1% back for all your regular purchases, you’ll earn $1 in cash for every $100 you spend on your card.

The mileage you earn with a Discover travel credit card is worth a penny each time. This means that if you accumulate 10,000 miles in Discovery, you can exchange them for $100 when buying travel.

How does discover cashback match work?

Discover’s cashback reward, called a Refund Matching, is a program that allows you to earn delayed welcome rewards. With the Match Refund program, Discover will match all the rewards you earn in your first year as a new cardholder. For example, if you earn $300 in cashback in your first year, Discover will add another $300 to your reward balance after the first year. On the other hand, if you earn 35,000 Discover miles, then Discover will correspond to that amount to 70,000 miles after the first year.

Who gets the Combined Refund bonus?

In general, anyone can earn a Matching Refund bonus on discover credit cards. Just be aware that this bonus applies to new accounts and the reward is only doubled or “commensurate” with the reward you earned in the first year. This means that if you already have a Discover credit card over a year old, you won’t be eligible for a refund. However, you can sign up for a different Type of Discover credit card and be eligible for a Refund.

The best Discover credit cards for 2022

There are quite a few Discover credit cards, all geared towards different types of consumers. The following are some Discover cards worth considering if you want to earn rewards without paying an annual fee.

Discover it Cashback: Best to get a refund bonus

Rewards rate: Earn back 5 percent when spending up to $1,500 in rotating bonus categories activated each quarter (then 1 percent); 1 percent back for everything else.
Eligibility for Refund Match: Yes
Cardholder perks: Introductory APR offers on purchases and balance transfers, Social Security number alerts, and free FICO credit score access
Annual fee: $0
Discover it® Cash Back allows you to earn back 5 percent on the amount up to $1,500 spent in rotating bonus categories activated each quarter (then 1 percent) as well as a 1 percent refund for everything else. The discovery will match all the rewards you earn in the first 12 months, in addition to no annual fees and no penalty fees for your first late bill payment. This card also comes with an APR that introduces 0 percent on purchases and balance transfers in the first 15 months, followed by a changeable APR from 12.74 percent to 23.74 percent.

Discover it Miles: Best for Travel

Reward rate: Earn 1.5 times unlimited air miles for every dollar you spend
Eligibility for Refund Match: Yes
Cardholder perks: Introductory APR offers on purchases and balance transfers, Social Security number alerts, and free FICO credit score access
Annual fee: $0
The Discover it® Miles card allows you to earn 1.5X miles for every dollar you spend, and Discover will match all the miles you earn in the first 12 months through the MatchBack program. Your miles never expire and you can redeem them in exchange for a variety of travel purchases, goods, credit statements or cashbacks.

This card does not charge an annual fee and you will be eligible for a 0% referral APR on a 15-month purchase, followed by a variable APR of 12.74% to 23.74%. There is also a 0 percent referral APR when transferring balances for 15 months from the date of the first transfer (applying the terms), followed by a changeable APR from 12.74 percent to 23.74 percent.

Discover it Student Refunds: Best for Students

Rewards rate: Earn 5 percent cash when spending up to $1,500 in rotating bonus categories that are activated each quarter (then 1 percent); 1 percent back for everything else.
Eligibility for Refund Match: Yes
Cardholder perks: Introductory APR offers on purchases and balance transfers, Social Security number alerts, free FICO credit score access
Annual fee: $0
Students who want to build credit should consider Discover it® Student Cash Back, an annual free launch card that allows you to earn 5% back when spending up to $1,500 in alternate bonus categories each quarter (then 1%; activation requirements) as well as 1 percent return for all other purchases. All the rewards you earn in the first 12 months will be put together.

In addition, new cardholders will receive a 0 percent referral APR on a six-month purchase as well as a referral APR of 10.99 percent when transferring balances for six months (both have APR varying from 13.74 percent to 22.74 percent).

Discover it Credit Guaranteed Credit Card: Best to Build Credit

Reward rate: Earn 2 percent cash at restaurants and gas stations on combined purchases of up to $1,000 per quarter (then 1 percent); 1 percent back for everything else.
Eligibility for Refund Match: Yes
Cardholder perks: Introductory APR offers when transferring balances, Social Security number alerts, free FICO credit score access
Annual fee: $0

Discover it® Guaranteed Credit Card is one of the top secured credit cards on the market today as it allows consumers to build credit and earn rewards without paying annual fees or hidden fees. For rewards, this card gives you a 2 percent refund for up to $1,000 spent on combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations each quarter (then 1 percent) as well as 1 percent for everything else. Like other Discover cards, this card is also eligible for the Cashback Match program.

Keep in mind, however, that the security card requires you to make a deposit as collateral, usually equal to the credit line you are eligible for. For this card, the minimum deposit you can make is $200 and the maximum limit is $2,500. So if you put down a $200 deposit, you’ll only start with $200 of open credit that you can use.

Your guaranteed deposit will be fully refunded if you close your account without a balance and are in good condition. Also, remember Discover will automatically review your account after seven months to see if you’re eligible to upgrade to an unsecured credit line.

Discover it Business: Best for Business Owners

Rewards rate: Earn an unlimited 1.5% refund for every dollar you spend
Eligibility for Refund Match: Yes
Cardholder perks: Introductory APR offers on purchases, free FICO credit score access, and free employee cards
Annual fee: $0

Small business owners and single entrepreneurs may want to consider discover it® business cards for all their business expenses. This business credit card does not charge an annual fee and you will get a 1.5% cash refund for every dollar you spend. Discover will also match all the rewards you earn in the first 12 months, and you can get up to 50 free employee cards. In addition, you will be eligible for a 0 percent referral APR on a 12-month purchase (followed by a 12.99 percent to 20.99 percent APR).

How to redeem discovery rewards

When it’s time to redeem the Discover card reward, you’ll find many options available to you. This type of flexibility is useful if you want to earn rewards but aren’t sure how you’ll use them or if you want to travel but don’t want to join a specific airline or hotel loyalty program.

When you’re ready to redeem discover card rewards, here are the redemption options you can choose from:

Refunds

You can get your cash back by sending it directly to your bank account or as a statement written to your account. This option allows you to redeem your rewards the way you want. You can use your rewards to cover regular expenses, bills, travel, or some kind of spending.

Gift cards

You can redeem your rewards for some gift card options, which cost between $5 and $200 and have an increment of $5. Many Discover gift card options also allow you to get more than 1 cent per value point. Cardholders can redeem their Refund rewards for partner gift cards with an added value of between 5% and 20% (depending on the seller). You can see which partner’s gift card is eligible to receive more rewards by logging into your Discover account.

Pay with rewards

You can use your rewards to pay for purchases on Amazon.com or over PayPal. This opens the door to many possibilities, whether you want to use your rewards to cover essential household needs like toiletries or home grocery delivery or if you want to save your rewards for profligate spending.

Charitable

Can’t decide how to use your rewards? Donate your reward for a worthy purpose or a charity in partnership with Discover such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation or ASPCA.

Is the Discovery Rewards Program right for you?

The Discovery Rewards Program is a good option if you want to earn rewards without paying an annual fee for a credit card. In particular, Discover cash back cards tend to be popular among students and consumers who need to build credit.

However, there are credit card rewards from different card issuers to consider. If you’re looking to take advantage of even more value from your rewards, you should consider credit card rewards programs that allow you to transfer destinations to airlines and hotels or book travel through a portal. Or, for more redemption options, check out other rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.

Frequently asked questions about the Discover rewards program

Do you have an introductory program?

Discover has a friend referral program, which rewards current cardholders for inviting friends to join. Discover cardholders will receive a statement credit for each friend who becomes a card owner, and that friend will also receive a statement credit when they make a purchase with their card within three months of opening the account.

However, keep in mind that the terms apply. Certain cards are not eligible for this program, and the person you must apply for a specific offer is submitted via link and approved within a certain time frame. The discovery also notes that the amount of referral rewards statement credit ranges from $50 to $100.

What are discover it cash back bonus categories for 2022?

Here’s a look at the portfolio of cashback bonuses for Discovery for 2022:

Q1, January to March 2022: Grocery store, fitness club, gym membership
Q2, April to June 2022: Gas Station, Target
Q3, July to September 2022: Restaurants, PayPal
Q4, October to December 2022: Amazon.com, digital wallet

What’s the best way to exchange cash from Discover?

Since the rewards earned with discover credit cards are usually worth a penny per share, there won’t be any truly “excessive” rewards to continue. You can get more than one percent of the value for selected gift card redemptions, but you should only pursue this option if you can use eligible gift cards to your advantage.

The bottom line

If you want a credit card that will reward you for every dollar you spend, and you don’t want to pay an annual fee or follow the complex rules of the loyalty program, then it’s hard to beat Discover’s offerings.

Before diving in, make sure to compare all the Discover credit card options as well as the best credit cards available today to find the best option for your spending needs and habits.

Written by hoangphat

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