Those who signed up for a Discover It card recently (and those who signed up as existing cardholders prior while they allowed that) have a remarkable opportunity: after 12 months, Discover has promised to double all cashback earned. Since the Discover It card already offers generous 5% cash back in rotating categories and one of the best cash back portals around, there are plenty of opportunities to combine these promotions to earn fantastic rewards. For example, in a previous post, I laid out how to take advantage of multiple Discover offers at once to get up to 70% cash back on Sears.com purchases. For complete details, please see this post: Maximizing the Discover Double Cash promo: Huge rewards via online shopping!
Discover 5% at Sears.com
One key piece of the puzzle is the ability to get 5% cashback from Sears during the 3rd and 4th quarter 5% category bonuses. In both quarters this year, Discover is offering 5% cash back for department stores, among other options:
A few readers have commented that while Sears counts as a department store for in-person purchases, Sears doesn’t count for online purchases. Here’s an example comment from an old post:
I love your blog and has been very very useful to me. But I would recommend you stop misguiding people about sears and discover portal earn rates.
sears.com = purchases code as merchandise and are not eligible for “home improvement” or “department store” 5% quarterly bonus
sears.com = purchases do get 10% discover deals bonus
sears instore purchase = you get 5% “department store” bonus
So max you can earn,without the double bonus at end of year, is 10% not 15%.
This would be a useful warning if it were true, but it hasn’t been my experience in the past. Sears.com has always counted for 5% cash back during similar category bonus periods in the past, so why wouldn’t it count now?
With my recent purchases in which I reloaded Sears’ gift cards, my purchases coded as follows:
SEARS.COM 09300 W DES MOINES IA
Merchant Category: DIRECT MRKTNG-COMBO CATALOG & RETAIL
Despite the coding shown above, I can now declare that Sears.com does count. In my latest Discover card statement, we can see that my combined $1000 worth of gift card reload purchases from Sears.com did result in 5% cash back:
And, yes, I also earned 10% cash back from the Discover portal. So, combined, I earned 15% cash back from reloading Sears’ gift cards. And, when I buy things from Sears.com using those gift cards, I always go through the Discover portal (which is offering 10% until August 31). So, my cash back total comes to 25%, which will later be doubled to 50%. And, in those occasions where I can buy items with 100% back in points, I’ll do even better (see: Roll gift cards into points for triple rewards).
- The 5% quarter bonus only works for purchasing e-gift cards, print-gift cards, or refilling existing gift cards from Sears.com. By-mail physical gift cards will not work because the charge will come from Kmart, not Sears.
- The 5% quarter bonus only works for Sears & Kmart gift cards bought from Sears.com. Sears advertises additional gift cards sold by GiftCardMall, but these will not earn the 5% category bonus (and they will not earn portal rewards either).
- You can buy other (non Sears/Kmart) gift cards in-store at Sears to earn the 5% category bonus, but then you cannot combine this with a portal bonus.
Why we care
For anyone signed up for the Discover Double Cash Back promotion, all cash back earned will be doubled after 12 months. So, a 5% category bonus will really mean 10% in the long run. And, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this and other deals can be combined for up to 70% cash back! For full details of how to take advantage of this promotion, please see “Maximizing the Discover Double Cash promo: Huge rewards via online shopping!”
How to get in on the deal
If you do not have a Discover It card, or you want a second one, you can still get in on the double cash back promotion by signing up for Discover It by September 30th. You can find a referral link (from a friend of mine) on my best offers page. This will get you both the double cash back offer and a $50 signup bonus (which will also be doubled at the end of the year).