Discover it Q4 2016 categories: don’t forget to activate

discover 5 percent cashback bonusYou got the Discover it card for its 5 percent cash-back categories. So don’t forget to activate them.

Q4 starts Oct. 1, and Discover does NOT reward the 5 percent cash-back bonus retroactively if you activate late. So the time to activate (which you have to do manually, when logged in to your account) is now.

Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, you will earn 5 percent cashback bonus (on up to $1,500 in combined spending) in the following categories:

  • Department stores
  • Sam’s Club

As always, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back on your non-category purchases — and potentially even more than 5 percent, if you utilize the Discover Deals program and shop at Discover’s partner merchants.

Cards offering rotating 5 percent cash-back categories have historically been holiday-shopping friendly during Q4, and this year is no different from Discover. Think about all you’ll spend on gifts via Amazon and department stores.

The addition of Sam’s Club is an interesting one. Rewards cards have been flocking toward warehouse clubs as a bonus category this year. Costco’s switch from Citi (Visa) from its long-time partner, AmEx, may have been just the disruption needed for customers to re-think which cards and warehouse stores they use. In any case, Sam’s Club is a welcome addition to Q4 — in addition to their bulk foods being particularly holiday-party friendly, we all know they’ll have their holiday decorations out on shelves by Oct. 1.

If you maximize Discover’s Q4 categories, you’ll earn up to $75 cash back, which will probably be welcome when it comes to paying off your holiday purchases.

If rotating 5 percent categories are too much of a moving target for you, consider the many cards that offer a steady 1.5 percent cash back year-round.

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