How To Discover Card Reward Programs

The Discover Card Reward programs are among the most popular and prolific credit card rewards offers in the US today. Introduced in 1986, Discover cards are considered to be the #1 credit card product in the US, and it is very rare that you'll find anyone who does not own or has not heard of the Discover card. Discover's USP and marketing strategy are built around their multiple rewards programs, including cashback offers, bonus payments for maintaining a good credit history and travel miles for frequent flyers.

For those who want to know more about the various Discover Card Reward programs, here's how to get started:

Cashback bonus: This is the basic reward program for Discover credit card holders and comes in three different variants:

  • 5% cashback bonus - This program runs through the year with select categories of purchases, and each scheme is valid for a period of 90 days. As a Discover Card holder you can earn a 5% cashback bonus up to a maximum of $400 on all transactions you make in selected categories of merchants as specified. For example, it could be all transactions at hotels and airlines for a 90-day period, or all transactions at restaurants, clothing outlets, movies, etc. You will need to sign-up in advance to receive the bonus, and check in the Customer Service section of the company website for the latest valid program and shopping categories that are covered in this period.
  • ShopDiscover - This is an exclusive reward program for using your Discover card at selected online retailers (over 100 online retail outlets are participants!), with cashback bonuses ranging between 5-20% (check exact amount on retailer website) on any number of transactions, and there is no maximum capped amount as in the 5% program. So you can spend as much as you want and keep earning an unlimited amount of cashback rewards, which are credited directly into your credit card account.
  • Up to 1% unlimited cashback bonus - This program covers all those transactions that do not qualify under the 5% cashback bonus or the ShopDiscover programs. There is no upper cap on the cashback bonus you can earn, and up to 1% is the maximum percentage per transaction you can receive.

Pay-on-time-Bonus: This reward program is available only on the Discover Motiva card, a credit card designed to reward customers who maintain a good payment record. As per the T&Cs for the Discover Motiva card, you can earn a cash bonus twice a year for every six on-time repayments made. The bonus amount is the cash equivalent of the interest calculated for the 7th month. On-time payments in this context mean making a payment of the Minimum Amount Due (MAD) by the Payment Due Date (PDD) for 6 months in a row. If you pay less than the MAD or your payment is received beyond the PDD or is returned unpaid, the on-time payment counter is reset to zero. For example, you make on-time payments for 5 months in a row, but miss a payment in the 6th month, the previous 5 payments will not be taken into account and you will not receive any bonus even if you make an on-time payment in the 7th month. The counter moves back to zero, and from that month onwards, you will need to make another 6 on-time payments to become eligible for the bonus. In addition to this bonus payment, Motiva cardholders can also avail of the cashback bonuses under the ShopDiscover program and receive up to 1% cashback on other retail transactions.

Earn and redeem Miles: Rewards in earning and redeeming travel miles are available with 2 travel cards from Discover - Miles by Discover and Escape by Discover. The product features for each of these credit cards are as follows:

Escape by Discover

  • 2 Miles per $1 on all purchases made on the card
  • 2 extra miles per $1 on purchases made under the ShopDiscover scheme
  • $60 annual fee
  • 1000 miles each month as bonus if you use your card to make a purchase every month for the first 25 months of membership, totaling 25000 bonus miles
  • Redeem earned miles for travel credits, gift cards from Discover or a Partner, or convert to cash that is credited onto your card account

Miles by Discover

  • Unlimited miles and no annual fee
  • Double miles per dollar for the first $3000 spent on travel and restaurant transactions
  • 1 mile per $1 for all other purchases
  • Double miles per dollar on ShopDiscover purchases
  • Redeem earned miles for travel credits, gift cards from Discover or Partner or convert to cash that is credited onto your card account
  • 12000 bonus miles if you make a purchase every month during your first year of membership (1000 miles per month)

The Discover Card Reward programs are ranked #1 among all reward programs offered in the US. Armed with the information in this article, you are now ready to make the most of your Discover credit card. In case you don't have one, there's no time like the present... apply for a Discover card immediately!


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