The Discover it® Cash Back card is one of the premier rotating category cash back cards out there. It has no annual fee and 0% APR for the first 14 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that you’ll be looking at a variable APR between 13.49% and 24.49%. The card offers 5% cash back each quarter for rotating categories that connect to daily purchase needs like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more. All you have to do is activate the category for the current quarter and you’ll earn the generous rewards rate for up to $1,500 in category purchases. You’ll also automatically get 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases. And as an added bonus, for the first year Discover will match the cash back you earn automatically.

To see more information about what the Discover it Cash Back card has to offer, check out this detailed review.

Discover’s 2019 Cash Back Bonus Calendar

Maximizing your Discover it Cash Back card rewards starts with knowing what categories are on offer each quarter. Here are the categories for 2019:

  • January–March: Grocery stores (excluding Walmart.com and Target)
  • April–June: Gas stations, Uber and Lyft (excluding Uber Eats)
  • July–September: Restaurants and PayPal
  • October–December: Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com

How to activate your bonus categories

Bonus categories have to be activated in order to take advantage of the high rewards rate. Discover will send you a reminder email with an activation link each quarter. If you’d like a further reminder to activate, you can set up calendar reminders for Yahoo, Google, Apple and Outlook through your Discover account online. You can also activate categories by logging in to your Discover account or by calling 1-800-DISCOVER.

Bonus categories can be activated up to one month before the bonus period begins and any time before the bonus period ends. But it’s in your best interest to activate categories early—you’ll only get the top rewards rate on purchases made after activation. Any purchases made during the bonus period prior to activation will only receive 1% cash back.

Here are the start dates for activating categories:

  • January–March: December 1
  • April–June: March 1
  • July–September: June 1
  • October–December: September 1

For each quarter you have the potential to earn up to $75 for the bonus category if you reach the purchase maximum of $1,500. That’s a total of $300 a year, not including the 1% cash back earned on all other purchases. Plus, for the first year Discover offers the Cash Back Match program that matches any cash back you earn. That gives you the potential to earn $600 cash back during your first year with the card.

How to redeem rewards

Your Discover it Cash Back rewards can be redeemed at any time during the year. You can redeem rewards for a statement credit, a direct deposit or gift cards (starting at $20). You can also use your cash back rewards to pay for purchases on Amazon.com. One last use of your cash back rewards is to support a charity. Discovery will pool card members’ rewards and make an annual contribution to the organization that receives the most member support.

Rewards never expire, and if you decide to close your account your cash back rewards will be credited to your balance. However, closed accounts are not eligible for the Cash Back Match program.

The bottom line

The Discover it Cash Back rewards card is a great option for someone with good to excellent credit who is looking to earn cash back on daily purchases. It can also be paired with other cash back cards to have even more cash back options. For example, you can maximize dining and entertainment rewards by adding the Capital One®  Savor®  Cash Rewards Credit Card. Or you could add a card that offers a fixed cash back rate for all purchases, like the Citi® Double Cash Card. If you’re thinking of pairing the Discover it Cash Back card’s rotating categories with another card to maximize cash back, check out our reviews of the best cash back credit cards.