At a Glance

In the world of credit cards, the Discover rewards program has earned its reputation for being an enticing reward program. But what exactly is the Discover rewards program, and is it worth your attention? In this article, we’ll explore the various facets of Discover’s reward system, from the basics of cashback to the pros and cons that you should consider. So, let’s embark on this engaging journey through the world of credit card rewards!

In this article, you’ll learn:

How does the Discover reward program work?

The Discover card rewards program is straightforward and appealing to credit card users seeking financial benefits. When you make purchases using a Discover credit card, you earn rewards in the form of cashback. The most popular card in the world of Discover is the Discover it Cash Back card, where you can earn up to 5% cashback on rotating categories. It’s like having a reliable financial companion that helps you save as you spend.

Here’s how it works:

  • 5% rotating categories: Discover designates specific spending categories each quarter where cardholders can earn 5% cashback. It’s like a little bonus game – what will be the 5% category this quarter?
  • 1% unlimited cashback: For all other purchases outside of the rotating categories, you still earn a competitive 1% cashback. It’s like the dependable, always-there-for-you sidekick.
  • Cashback Match: For new card members, Discover offers the Cashback Match program, which doubles your cashback earnings during the first year. It’s like a generous welcome gift.

Best Discover credit cards for 2024

Discover it® Cash Back

Apply now with Discoverlock-icon
Reward rate1% - 5%
Reward detailsEarn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.
Intro Bonus:Equal to the cashback you earn in first year Annual fee$0
Regular APR16.49% - 27.49%
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Discover it® Miles

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Reward rate1.50%
Reward details1.5X Miles on every dollar of every purchase
Intro Bonus:Equal to the cashback you earn in first year Annual fee$0
Regular APR16.24% - 27.24%
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Discover It® Secured

Apply now with Discoverlock-icon
Reward rate1% - 2%
Reward detailsEarn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all your other purchases automatically. 2 x Cash Back with Cashback Match, get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
Intro Bonus:Equal to the cashback you earn in first year Annual fee$0
Regular APR20.45% - 27.24%

What is the value of Discover rewards?

The value of Discover card rewards lies in their flexibility and the opportunity to earn money back on your everyday spending. Depending on your card and the current promotional offers, you can earn up to 5% cashback on your purchases. It’s like having a cashback ally in your wallet.

Moreover, Discover’s Cashback Match program for new cardholders can significantly increase the value of your rewards during the first year. This means that if you earn $500 in cashback, Discover will match it, resulting in a total of $1,000 in rewards. It’s like getting an extra helping of your favorite dessert.

Pros and cons of Discover credit card rewards



Generous cash back (up to 5% depending on the category) Limited international acceptance
No annual fee Must track and enroll in rotating bonus categories
0% introductory offers on purchases and balance transfers No travel rewards
Cash back match for new cardholders after the first year

How to redeem your Discover rewards

Discover offers various redemption options for your earned rewards, providing cardholders with flexibility and choices for using their cashback.

Here are the primary redemption options:

1. Cashback

You can get your cashback as a direct deposit into your bank account, a physical check, or as a statement credit. This allows you to use your rewards to reduce your credit card balance or cover future purchases. It’s like having different pockets for your cashback.

2. Rewards

If you prefer, you can use your rewards to shop for gift cards or merchandise through Discover’s online portal. This is a great way to treat yourself or buy gifts for others. It’s like having your own virtual shopping spree.

3. Gift cards

Discover allows you to redeem your rewards for gift cards from popular retailers. This option can be especially valuable during the holiday season or for special occasions. It’s like getting a gift for being good with your money.

4. Charity

For those who want to make a positive impact, you can choose to donate your rewards to a charitable cause. Discover partners with various charities, making it easy to support the causes that matter to you.

5. Cash deposit in bank

Another convenient option is to deposit your cash back directly into your bank account. This provides immediate access to your cashback for any financial purpose, making it one of the best rewards options for many.

6. Statement credit

Applying your cashback as a statement credit can reduce your credit card balance, effectively lowering your overall debt and providing more financial flexibility. It’s like having a financial eraser.

When can you redeem Discover card rewards?

One of the appealing aspects of the Discover rewards program is the flexibility it offers in terms of redemption. You can redeem your Discover rewards at any time, and there is no minimum threshold or expiration date. This means you have the freedom to use your rewards when it’s most convenient for you, whether that’s for a small purchase, a bill payment, or as a substantial credit towards your balance. It’s like having a reliable financial safety net that never disappears.

This flexibility contrasts with some other reward programs that impose restrictions on when and how you can redeem your rewards.

How does Discover Cashback Match work?

Discover Cashback Match is a feature offered by Discover credit cards that matches all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year as a card member. Here’s how it works:

1. Earn cash back: With a Discover card, you earn cash back on your purchases. Different cards have different cash back rates for different categories of spending – you can earn up to 5% on rotating bonus categories or 1% back on everything else.

2. Accumulate cash back: Throughout your first year as a card member, you’ll accumulate cash back based on your purchases. Discover keeps track of this cash back for you.

3. Matched cash back: At the end of your first year, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned. For example, if you earned $200 in cash back during your first year, Discover will give you an additional $200 as a Cashback Match, totaling $400 in cash back for the year.

The great thing is there’s no limit to how much cash back Discover will match. If you earn $500 in cash back during your first year, Discover will give you an additional $500, doubling your cash back earnings. If you earn $1,000, Discover will give you another $1,000. You can then redeem your cash back for statement credits, direct deposits, or purchases on It’s a great way to maximize your cash back earnings in the first year of having a Discover card.

Is the Discover reward program worth it?

The worth of the Discover rewards program ultimately depends on your spending habits and preferences. If you are a regular credit card user who appreciates cashback benefits and values the flexibility of reward redemption, the Discover card rewards program can be an excellent choice for you. It offers a straightforward way to earn money back on your everyday spending, and the Cashback Match feature for new cardholders can be particularly rewarding. It’s like having a financial ally in your corner.

However, if you’re primarily interested in travel rewards or frequently travel abroad, you may want to consider other credit card options that better align with your needs. It’s like choosing between a beach vacation or a ski trip – pick the one that suits your style.

To determine if the Discover rewards program is worth it for you, consider your typical spending patterns and financial goals. Review the terms and features of Discover cards, such as the introductory offers, and see how they align with your needs and preferences.


To maximize your Discover card rewards, you should pay attention to the rotating categories and make sure to activate them each quarter. This step ensures that you earn the 5% cashback in those categories. Additionally, make the most of Discover’s introductory offers, such as the Cashback Match program for new cardholders. Lastly, use your Discover card for everyday spending to accumulate cashback rewards. It’s like following a well-thought-out strategy to make the most of your financial benefits.

Discover used to offer a Cashback Match program, where they would double the cashback rewards earned during your first year as a cardholder. However, it’s important to check Discover’s current promotions and terms, as these may change over time. It’s like keeping an eye on your favorite TV show’s new seasons – things can change from year to year.

Discover occasionally runs referral programs where you can earn additional rewards for referring friends and family to get a Discover card. These programs can provide extra benefits to cardholders who recommend Discover to others. It’s like being a financial influencer and getting rewarded for sharing the good news.

Learn more: Guide to Discover Refer a Friend

The 5% cashback on a Discover card in 2024 is part of Discover’s rotating category system. These categories change each quarter and may include popular spending areas like groceries, gas, dining, and more. It’s like having a seasonal sale that brings extra value to your everyday spending.

The highest credit limit on a Discover cashback card can vary from person to person, depending on their creditworthiness. Discover typically reviews your credit history and financial situation to determine your credit limit. It’s like having a tailor-made credit limit that suits your financial style.

Discover is known for its cash back rewards program, where you earn cash back on purchases made with your Discover card. The amount of cash back varies depending on the card and the spending category.

Discover offers Cashback Match, where they match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year as a card member. This can effectively double your cash back earnings for the year. Discover also often provides a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for a certain period, which can help you save on interest charges. Many Discover cards have no annual fee, making them a cost-effective option for cardholders. Plus, Discover’s rotating bonus categories can earn you higher cash back rates for specific types of purchases, such as groceries, gas, restaurants, and more.

No, Discover does not double your cash back every year. The Cashback Match feature is a one-time offer for new card members during their first year with a Discover card. After the first year, Discover cardholders continue to earn cash back based on their purchases, but it is not matched by Discover.

The Discover it® Cash Back credit card typically offers the most cash back among Discover cards. The Discover it® Cash Back card offers 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories, up to a quarterly maximum (activation required). You’ll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. This card is popular for its high cash back rate on rotating categories, which can include things like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and more. The cash back categories change every quarter, so cardholders need to activate the new categories each quarter to earn the 5% cash back rate.