Note: The ShopDiscover program has been discontinued and the information below is for reference purposes only
Q: I was thinking about applying for a Discover card but have never had one before and am unfamiliar with their benefits. Can you explain please?
A: Sure, I’ll be happy to. Because I advertise their cards on this site I know quite a bit about them. The Discover card benefits vary depending on the exact product you have, but here’s a brief overview of the main ones…
This is one of my favorite things about their credit cards – they give you access to the ShopDiscover program. What is it you ask? It’s an online shopping portal that offers a 5% to 20% Cashback Bonus at many popular online retailers – nearly 200!
This screenshot shows a few of the websites that were participating in the “Fashion” category but there are several others, including electronics, jewelry, travel, beauty/health, books, and more.
I know you’re probably used to credit cards offering these bonus malls for online shopping but what sets Discover apart from the crowd is that overall, they offer the most generous rebates compared to the other guys.
American customer service
I’m sure you’ve seen those Peggy commercials where they poke fun at credit cards that use foreign customer service. One of the best Discover card benefits is that they use American-based service centers. I’ve been a member for years and have called during late night hours, holidays, as well as more normal times and never once have I received a foreign call rep. Not once!
Travel Insurance benefits
Like many credit cards, one of the Discover card benefits is Collision Damage Waiver Insurance on car rentals, which is secondary to your normal auto insurance. There is also Flight Accident Insurance. But let’s hope you never have to use these two Discover benefits!
For 2013 they added a couple NEW benefits. Baggage Delay Insurance covers you for up to $500 in replacement travel essentials if your checked baggage is delayed 3 hours or more. With 24-Hour Roadside Dispatch you pay a pre-negotiated flat fee of $69.95 each time you need service. This is cheaper than what you probably pay if you had to call on your own.
It’s important to read their cardmember agreements so you understand the rules, limitations, and exclusions to the Discover card insurance benefits. What I mentioned above is only a very brief summary!
Coverage on purchases
Last year they started rolling out these benefits, similar (and in some ways better) than the comparable versions found on other credit card brands:
- Purchase Protection – You’re protected for 90 days and up to $500 on stolen or damaged Discover card purchases.
- Extended Product Warranty – No need to worry about expired warranties. Discover will extend the terms of an eligible purchased or manufacturer’s warranty for up to 1 additional year.
- Return Guarantee – Unhappy with a purchase? Now you can return your purchase within 90 days — regardless of the original store’s policy — and they’ll refund the cost of the item up to $500.
- Price Protection – If you see an item you purchased at any store at a lower price within 90 days, they will cover the difference.
Obviously there are a rules and exclusions, but they seem reasonable to me.
Great cash back
Ever since day one, Discover has branded themselves as a premium choice for rewards, so it’s no surprise that’s the benefit they are most well known for today. In 2013 Discover discontinued all of their cards and replaced it with a single offer- the It card. This has better rewards than the predecessors because you get 5% on categories and a full 1% on all other purchases:
Great website for cardholders
It really boggles my mind… the credit cards are such a big money maker for the banks, yet some of them have websites that look like a 5th grader made them 10 years ago!
I know over the past few years the Discover card website has won awards for being top in the credit card niche. But more importantly, I’ve heard that same sentiment echoed on Credit Card Forum and I personally also like the design and layout of their site the best. It’s easy to navigate and there are useful tools to analyze spending by category and month to keep your budget in check.
No annual fee
Last but not least, the new Discover it cards (regular and student versions) have no annual fee. In fact, when they first launched in 1986, they really shook up the credit card industry by offering rewards and no annual fee (unheard of at the time).