Maximizing Discover’s Q4 Category Bonuses

Update: Several commenters below have reported getting even more lucrative offers in the mail, so if you do have a Discover card keep your eyes peeled for stackable offers via email and snail mail as you’ll likely need to register for each of them!

-Discover it®
-Discover it® for Students

Need To Meet A Spending Threshold Deadline? Send And Receive $1,000/Month With No Fees Using Amazon Payments!

Discover cards are great for building credit as they’re easy cards to get. They even have a student card as an option. But everyday spending only earns 1% cash back on the Discover it cards which is easily beat by any mileage earning card.

They are useful for a few things though. They have rotating 5% cash back categories. Through the end of the year you can earn 5% cash back on any online purchases up to $1,500. That even includes Amazon Payments!

Additionally if you have a Discover card be sure to check your email today to see if you are targeted for a promotion that will earn you an additional $30 cash back on purchases of at least $1,000 between 11/01-12/31.  You can earn the $30 bonus 3 times.

If you are targeted you can send a friend $1,000 via Amazon Payments next month and you’ll make yourself an easy $80 cash back thanks to the stackable promotions (1,000x.05=$50+$30).  Do it again in December and that transaction will earn you $60 cash back ($500x.05+500x.01=$30+$30).

When using Amazon Payments between friends it’s always a good idea to include at least a few people in a circle so that you don’t just send money back and forth between each other. It’s also not a good idea to logon to multiple Amazon Payments accounts from the same IP address.

Another nice thing about Discover? No foreign transaction fees and they do cover rental car insurance in Israel.  Just be aware that Discover will only cover up to $25,000 of damage to a rental car.

They also give you a bonus on your cash back if you redeem for a gift card.  You can use $40 cash back for many different $50 gift cards like Bed Bath & Beyond/Buy Buy Baby, Brooks Brothers, Children’s Place, Gap Inc, Staples, and more.  There are also other levels like $70 for $75 at Shell or Whole Foods.

So that $80 of cash back (8%) from a $1,000 Amazon Payment can become $100 (10%) when redeeming for gift cards instead of cash.

I still love my mileage earning cards, but those numbers are nothing to sneeze at.  I only got a Discover card because as any Clevelander will tell you, you need to have one so that you can shop at Marc’s.  But I’ll admit to enjoying these stackable opportunities as well.

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41 Responses to “Maximizing Discover’s Q4 Category Bonuses”

  1. Buddy Says:

    Who do they pull from in NY?

  2. Dan Says:

    Usually Transunion though sometimes Equifax.
    They don’t touch Experian and that’s probably why it’s easy to get approved 😀

  3. Kidooo Says:

    Regarding car rental in israel:

    1. This card does not cover Theft, therefore some companies won’t accept it.

    2. unless you rent a really small car, chances are the car is worth much more than $25K (a chevy cruz costs in israel almost $40K), which will leave you hanging with the bill if anything bad happens.

  4. stephen Says:

    does the 5% also apply to chase freedom?

  5. Dan Says:

    Isn’t theft and liability (LI+TP) mandatory besides for CDW in Israel?

    And $25K is a lot of damage.
    Most problems in Israel are because the scammy companies like to ding tourists with a few hundred bucks of “damage” due to the same scratch they charge everyone.

    Unless you total a car it won’t be $25K of damage, but that is why I included that limit in the post.

    Chase Freedom does earn 5 points per dollar (and Freedom points are worth much more than 1 cent each) but it’s only at Department stores and
    Amazon Payments is excluded from Freedom.

  6. BenC Says:

    I’ve had a discover card for years. They just sent me a new card in the mail (even though my card doesn’t expire for a few more years) stating if I spend $1000 by Dec 31 I will earn an additional $75 cash back. Has anyone else received this? I thought it was a little random but I’ll take it!

  7. Dan Says:

    Yup, they’re targeted promotions are sweet because they also stack on top of the 5%.

    Send $1,000 with AP and you’ll get an easy $125!

  8. A Says:

    Will freezing TU make them pull EQ?

  9. Dan Says:

    Good question. If anyone tries let us know what happens.

  10. yankel Says:

    Got the same targeted promo to dspend $1000 by end of year for $75 cash back. And 0% balance transfer for I don’t remember how long and when I called customer svc, they refunded the 3% fee.

  11. mey Says:

    I have a discover student card. They just raised my credit line from $500-$700 about 2-3 months ago… Is there any way I could get them to raise it to about $1,200 or $1,400 so that I could send $1,000 w/ AP?

  12. Dan Says:


    You can try prepaying some money from your bank or Bluebird and see if they’ll let a $1,000 charge go through.
    That works on some cards, so YMMV. I haven’t tried it with Discover.

  13. blake Says:

    i got a targeted offer by snail mail a little while back that if i spend $2500 by 1/31/14 i’ll get an additional $150 cash back.

    hello AP…

  14. Oscar Asher Says:

    Are u sure they don’t charge any foreign transaction fees? I know once upon a time they didn’t but if I remember correctly they now do.

  15. Dan Says:


    @Oscar Asher:

    “Q: Will I be charged a transaction fee when I make a purchase in a foreign currency using my Discover Card?

    A: No, Discover does not charge a foreign currency transaction fee.”

  16. Mileagemaven Says:

    please explain how to get the $30 credit 3 times without spending more than 2k

  17. CtownBin Says:

    I currently don’t have a Discover card, although I have received multiple “pre-approved” mail offers to get one, and was thinking about it anyways as a fellow Clevelander who hates using cash at Marc’s. If I apply for one now, will there be a way to still get in on some of these targeted promos before the year is out? Maybe I should ask for it as part of the application process when I still have a bit of leverage?

  18. Dan Says:

    You can’t.

    It’s worth having just for Marc’s if you’re from CLE. Paying cash stinks!
    When they had 5% for grocery stores I loaded up on Marc’s gift cards and got 5% off everything from Marc’s for the entire year!

    The targeted promos are gravy but you will definitely get the 5% for Q4 online purchases if nothing else.

  19. Ymksa Says:

    “…multiple AP accounts from the same IP address” – is this a concern even if the two accounts are in two separate people’s names eg. Husband and wife accounts?

  20. CtownBin Says:

    It’s a concern SPECIFICALLY for that. If it was the same name- why would it be a red flag to log in from the same IP? The problem is, if you are supposed to be “sending” money between one person and another, then it would be strange that they’d be logging in from the same IP. That indicates the accounts are managed by the same person.

  21. CtownBin Says:

    I know, but between Costco, BJ’s, and Trader Joe’s, we don’t really shop at Marc’s THAT much, just for the few things that are cheaper there. So yes, cash is annoying for those times, but I don’t know if it’s annoying enough to spend a credit pull for no bonus and for a non-mileage card…
    Any ideas how to get the promos before year is out?

  22. Oscar Asher Says:

    Just called them and of course you’re right.

    When I opened discover card in 2009 they were indeed charging foreign transaction fees, but they have since removed those fees, starting from a few years back.

    Thing is I remember trying to use my discover card in a canada a few years ago and could not find a merchant that accepted discover.

  23. menachem_m Says:

    I’m still using the the “old” one from mid 2012. Only gives .25% CB. Any reason why NOT to switch over? Am I being grandfathered with anything cool right now, that I might lose?

  24. Ymksa Says:

    Understood. So what’s the safest way to send among friends? A1 sends to B1 who seems to C1 to A2 to B2 to C2? Same direction every month or change it up? How do YOU do it?

  25. Anonymous Says:

    @CtownBin: not necessarily. Could be a few roommates living in the same house and using AP to pay their rent. All roommates would have same IP address since they would be using same wireless router signal.

  26. mmm Says:

    I don’t have the offer on my account. Do you think I can call and get it added?

  27. elky Says:

    I got a targeted offer this summer to get $500 chashback for spending $3000. monthly for the next 8 months.

  28. mey Says:

    @Dan. Is it bad if I call and request a higher line of credit? Will it affect my credit score?

  29. Uri Says:

    The Discover links do not work for me – could you check?

  30. Tt Says:

    I got in the mail $500 if I spend $3k/month. Did amazon for 2k the rest I spent. I got 500 last week. They also gave me a checking acct. Which is targeted. They are also very helpful on the phone someone in usa always picks up and fast.

  31. puppydogs Says:


    Doesn’t Chase Freedom also have a 5% bonus for this quarter for Amazon? would this apply to Amazon Payments as well??


  32. Kim Says:

    My snail mail offer was $500 for spending 3000 a month for 6 months through December.

  33. theberk Says:

    didn’t get any of these offers but they did send me a $5 starbucks gift card this week “just for being a card member”!

  34. josh Says:

    I got this offer: It stats single item would amazon payments be sufficient or would they notice not a single item? Please respond
    Buy BIG. Save BIG.
    Receive a $30 statement credit
    when you spend $1,000 or more
    on a single-item purchase
    between November 1 and
    December 31, 2013.*
    You can take advantage of this
    offer, up to three times—for a total
    of $90 in statement credits.

  35. josh Says:

    in ny they usually pull eq if you freez your eq they will
    deny the app

  36. Steve Says:

    No promos here 🙁

    I have the more card.

    I get .25% for the first $3k spent per card member year, and 1% for all purchases after that.

  37. Daniel Says:

    AP asks:
    Payment is for
    _ Goods/Services
    _ Cash Advance

    Which should I use?

    The help says that Cash Advance may incur a cash advance or other fees by your credit or debit card issuer…

  38. josh Says:

    U should use the goods/services

  39. Ari Says:

    @elky: Oh goodness. that’s outrageous. if you use ap and vanilla reload combination for 8 months you get (and this not even counting 1% or 5%) $4000? that is just unbelievable

  40. Mom Says:

    I’d like to help my 17 yr old establish a credit rating. Unfortunately, my credit is not good. Is she too young for a discover student card? A secured credit card?

  41. Ari Says:

    Or perhaps does it need to be ine transaction of $3,000? VR will work but the may start asking why and what on earth you’re buying at CVS for $3,000 every month… otherwise using PayPal or square (not your account; I think the charge shows up in your name) is still well worthwhile…


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