The name of the game at PointsAway is, of course, free travel. However, we receive one question far more often than you might think:
We don’t talk about Discover much here since the company doesn’t offer a travel-focused card. What they do offer, though, are several of the best cash-back cards on the market today.
These cards are great not only for those who want to save money at home but also for those just beginning to build their credit history and students, too.
Discover It offers a 5% cash-back bonus on up to $1,500 of purchases within spending categories that change each quarter. For example, here’s what the 2014 calendar looks like:
- January – March: Restaurants & Movies
- April – June: Home Improvement & Furniture Stores + Bed Bath & Beyond
- July – September: Gas Stations
- October – December: Online Shopping & Department Stores
This is very similar to how Chase Freedom is structured, but I think Discover’s 5% categories are just slightly stronger. For example, Freedom only offers 5% back at Amazon, Zappos and select department stores, while Discover It can earn 5% back with a far wider array of online merchants, including eBay among others.
Maximizing Your Cash Back
You can save up to $300+ each year with Discover It. That’s a great value for a no annual fee card.
If you maximize your 5% cash-back each quarter, you can save up to $300 per year, and keep saving at 1% on all purchases. That’s a great value considering the card has no annual fee.
Maxing out your cash-back is easier than you might think, too. For example, gas stations tend to offer a wide variety of gift cards, allowing you to extend the 5% discount at gas stations to a variety of other shopping this quarter.
All other purchases – and purchases from 5% categories after the first $1,500 each quarter – earn an extra 1% cash-back. You can receive your points either as a statement credit to help lower your bill or redeem them directly toward purchases at Amazon.com.
Discover It comes with a variety of features that are particularly useful to students and those still building their credit history. For example:
- Discover It cardholders gain free access to their FICO score, which is a great way to stay on top of your credit health.
- Paying late doesn’t raise your interest rate.
- There’s no late fee the first time you forget to make a payment.
- Discover will help you out on your bill if you lose your job.
- You can pay your bill up until midnight on the day it’s due and your payment is considered on time.
None of those features apply to Chase Freedom, by comparison.
Discover It: Key Features
- 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter up to $1,500 in purchases.
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
Discover It Chrome
Discover It Chrome is very similar to Discover It in many ways. The only real difference is in how the card’s cash-back is structured.