Quarterly cashback rewards have been announced for Discover cardholders. Hang on to your wallets because these timely rewards are worth scooping up.

If there’s one thing about credit cards that makes life a little sweeter, it’s the cash back incentives. It’s great. Spend money on everyday purchases, like groceries, fuel, and restaurants, and get a percentage back in cash. It’s like a mini discount every time you swipe.

Not only do cash back cards offer a percentage back, but they can also often include quarterly incentives.

Discover announced 2021’s 5% cash back quarterly incentives, and every category is spot on.  You must activate each quarter and the maximum spend is $1,500.

  • January – March 2021: Grocery stores, Walgreens, CVS.
  • April – June 2021: Gas stations, wholesale clubs, and select streaming services. 
  • July – September 2021: Restaurants and PayPal.
  • October – December 2021: Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com.

The Discover it® Cash Back is sneaking in some savings for you, so check out these creative ways to capitalize on 5% back.

Discover offers gas pump relief

Gas prices are increasing, especially along the West coast, so Discover’s 5% cashback offer for gas stations and rideshares is a welcome relief. Use the card any time you fuel up in the spring!

Plan on taking lunch more often next summer

Use your Discover it® Cash Back more often when you hit up restaurants in Q3. Any full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, and fast food locations are eligible for Discover’s cashback bonus. 

In order to not go overboard chasing 5%, make sure you can stick to your monthly budgeted amount for eating out

It’s tempting and convenient to spend money eating out, but make a plan to sensibly use the offer by opting for restaurants that give generous portions. You can stretch your restaurant budget by eating leftovers the next day.

Use PayPal to get cash back

Fan of PayPal? Same. Discover’s third quarter incentive allows cardholders to redeem 5% on all purchases made through PayPal. You can easily look for merchants and online retailers who have the PayPal button. 

PayPal has some 22 million merchant accounts worldwide. A great way to take advantage of the PayPal perk is to download the app to your phone. Create an account if you haven’t done so already and link your Discover card to it.

Your purchases are protected by PayPal’s Purchase Protection program. So not only do you get the protection of buying through Discover, but you also fall under PayPal’s jurisdiction.

Let’s say you buy from a seller but instead you received something completely different. You could receive reimbursement plus the original shipping costs.

Get strategic with holiday shopping

It’s no accident that Discover will partner up with Amazon, Target, and Walmart for the last quarter of the year again in 2021. It’s a good idea to do the majority of your holiday shopping with these three retailers.

One thing to note, Walmart purchases are only eligible when made on Walmart.com or through the Walmart app. You can also do grocery and in-store pick-up and still receive 5%, but you can skip waiting in line on Thanksgiving since purchases made in-store at Walmart won’t count.

However, if you want to shop in-store, Target will give you 5% back, which could make for an interesting Black Friday. If you’re willing to wait in line and stay up all night for mega deals, you can still shave 5% off this holiday season.

And if you want to skip dealing with your fellow shoppers, grab an extra discount with Amazon. Last year, Amazon customers ordered more than 180 million items between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. You have the potential to bundle holiday deals and trim another 5% off the top. 

How much can you save with Discover’s cashback rewards?

The Discover categories for 5% cashback are pretty appealing, but how much can you actually save?

Each quarter is capped to $1,500 and activation is REQUIRED in qualifying purchases. That means you can earn 5% cash back on purchases up to $1,500.

So, say you max out purchases made in Q2 on gas stations and wholesale clubs, you’d have to spend an average of $500 per month in this category.

Seems extreme if you average $100 per month in gas and basics from Sam’s Club. You could, however, plan a road trip within the coming months to offset additional gas expenses while you’re on the road.

Make a plan to strategically use these offers as they roll out for the remainder of the year. You might be able to take that extra savings and put it towards other money goals, like paying down debt.


Discover has released their cashback calendar, and they have some pretty great deals! They make it almost impossible for you not to save more with their rotating calendar.

It makes this card one of my favorites to use every year because I end up saving so much money.

Read more:

  • Discover it® Credit Card Review (Cash Back Vs. Balance Transfer)
  • Discover Cashback Debit Account Review

Related Tools

About the author

Total Articles: 7
Justine Nelson is a personal finance freelance writer and YouTuber. She enjoys teaching millennials how to eliminate debt and live a debt free lifestyle. Justine paid off $35k in student loan debt in two and a half years on a $37k income. Connect with her on Instagram or her website Debt Free Millennials.