Discover’s Deal of the Year: Excludes gift cards

I’ve written a lot about Discover’s current overlapping promotions: an extra 10% cash back for Apple Pay purchases, plus double all cash back for a year.  You can find full details here and here.  What’s new is that Discover has started telling people that gift card purchases don’t count for the Apple Pay promotion.

When you use Apple Pay with Discover, it now shows a message on your phone that says (bolding is mine): “Get 10% Cashback Bonus on up to $10K of in-store purchases using your card in Apple Pay till 12/31/15. Excludes gift cards.”

Excludes gift cards Discover Deal of the Year

And the small text that says “Tap For Details”?  When I click it, all it does is open the Discover app that’s loaded on my phone.  I don’t see any relevant details there.

Will they enforce the gift card exclusion?

Now that its clear that Discover doesn’t want to pay people 10% back for buying gift cards, the question on everyone’s minds is whether or not Discover will actually enforce this exclusion.  Does Discover have a way of knowing what you bought?  What if you buy both a gift card and other things?  Do the answers to these questions vary by store?

My bet is that this exclusion won’t be enforced.  That said, I have no way of knowing that for sure… yet.  There is unquestionably a real risk: you might not get a 10% bonus when buying gift cards.

Waiting is the hardest part…

My statement doesn’t close until early October, so I won’t personally be able to check what works and what doesn’t for a while.  I’m sure, though, that we’ll hear reports from readers soon as their Discover statements close and they find out whether or not they’ve earned the 10% bonus.

Until we learn more, don’t forget that this is a great deal even without gift cards.  You can still get over 20% back on regular purchases if you participate in both big promotions: Apple Pay 10% and Double Cashback for a year.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. […] Frequent Miler reported yesterday that Discover has started to show a gift card warning/disclaimer when using ApplePay.  I’ve used ApplePay 3 times at Walgreens and have not seen the warning/disclaimer myself.  I think this is just a scare tactic by Discover to deter (not prevent) people from buying $10,000 of gift cards (which I’m sure some of you have already maxed out).  If Discover (or any other credit card company) had the ability to identify and not award miles/points/cash back on the purchase of gift cards, they would have done it already and the whole gift card MS space would be dead by now.  Regarding the ApplePay aspect of the transaction, I have no idea what data Apple, Walgreens (or any other merchant), or Discover are able to see.  My next Discover It Credit Card statement closes on October 1 and I should be able to view my statement a few days later.  I will report back on my findings when the statement is available. […]

Comments

  1. I already planned to get a new MacBook. Maybe now I’ll just ask everyone I know if they are planning on getting any Apple products and let them buy from me instead.

    • Well, you can get $50 (doubled to $100 in a year) for yourself if you apply. Not that that’s a lot, but hey, money…

      And then of course the question is how much additional money you might earn on top of that. Will you max out the Apple Pay deal, earning yourself 11% to become 22% at year end on $10,000? If you did that’s $2,200 in your pocket. Is that better than 30K SPG points? Well, 30K points at maybe 2 cents each is about $600. Assuming cash is equivalent to potential travel value (WHICH IT ISN’T, CASH IS WORTH MORE). Then yes, yes its worth applying for this.

      But we all have limited time. You may not live in an area where Apple Pay enabled stores sell VGCs or whatever. Your call.

      • I think you misunderstood. Yes, if you can buy gift cards and get the cashback then fine. Of course it’s worth it.

        If gift cards really are excluded, or there’s a risk that Discover will clawback the money in a year, then is it still worth it? It’s a personal decision based on real spending, and there’s no way I’m spending $10k on ApplePay merchants without gift cards.

  2. Just as a data point, this time last year when Discover ran the targeted ‘pick your store’ bonus promotion (which included Walgreens as an option) they paid out the bonus 5% on gift cards.

    • Agreed, but the question here is if merchants transmit a log of WHAT you actually buy. I don’t think that was an issue with the regular cards. And that’s what has us on edge.

      • So you’re saying that you’re concerned they’re getting L3 data when you use Apple Pay but not when you swipe the card? If anything it’s going to be the opposite of that.

        • I suspect that Apple is so desperate to get into payment processing specifically for the data mining benefits. So I expect that Apple (and Google) will be getting more data from your shopping, not less.

        • That’s not how Apple Pay works. It just generates a token which is still used and processed through the old payment network. There is no more data flowing over the connection than before. So if say Walgreens is a Level II stores in the VISA network, then its probably still Level II using Apple Pay and Discover as well.

        • According to Visa, there are two types of Level 3 data: Summary Data and Line Item Detail. Only the latter provides individual item details.

    • Not necessarily true. Issuers have the ability (if they want) to see Level 3 processing which provides individual item description, individual item amounts, etc.

        • Correct. Just mentioned it because Amit appeared to be under the impression that it was impossible to see to that level.

        • According to Visa, there are two types of Level 3 data: Summary Data and Line Item Detail. Only the latter provides individual item details.

      • “Surprise” – the people who work at Discover are not ignorant and were well prepared for us. I bet they read this blog and others like it to learn our methods …

        BTW, the same appears to be true for American Express, who recently stopped reimbursing some fake airline incidental fee expenses. Guess where they learned how we were gaming their system 🙂

        • Actually it looks like they’re starting to post again from reports in the Amex forum on FlyerTalk. Amex would be fools to kill it since the Prestige credit gives an extra $50 and credits airfare purchases directly.

  3. Not at all surprised by this since every blog I read has been trumpeting this big promotion. *Somebody* has to pay the money that Discover comps out so I am sure this was brought to their attention very fast. This is the problem with telling folks about great deals and hacks. They get blown all out of proportion and trumpeted everywhere and then they die super fast. Same as with Error airfares, etc.

    As far as being able to tell what you bought, I am very certain they can do this with most retailers, especially through the Apple Pay thing. I know for a fact that Amex can see a lot more of what you do than one might think.

  4. To add a related-but-not-totally data point … I haven’t received portal cashback for gift card purchases through Discover Deals in the past couple of weeks.

    When I got my new Discover It card a couple months ago, I had 100% success buying gc’s through Disco’s portal and receiving portal cashback (regardless of T&Cs saying gc’s weren’t valid). Since Sep 8, I’ve bought gc’s from UnderArmour and GNC, and have not received the trusty email confirmations.

    That’s a small sample, but leads me to the theory that maybe Disco has beefed up their processing. If they can deny me cashback through portal purchases, maybe they can do the same to the Apple Pay purchases.

  5. this is specifically coming from the SlickDeals effect. Many MS noobs over there have called Discover asking if GC purchases will count! So Discover now feels compelled to add this disclaimer. And probably realizing what a cost it could be for them. Nonetheless, with a big enough effect from sites like that, it could end up like Chase AARP (for the same reasons), so I do think there is concern here. I think they could change things mid-stream.

  6. Simple question: if it was so easy to identify the gift card purchases, why aren’t the other banks/credit card companies doing this already? After all, why would they give out points/miles if they could precisely tell which transactions were used to purchase gift cards?

    This gives me some hope.

  7. Hi Everyone! I am going to be doing some Ms for the first time. I see that the picture shows the purchase from Walgreens. Walgreens sells the vanilla gift cards do we look for just the ones that are issued by meta bank? And then from there I should be able to go to Walmart and use Kate and get money orders for them correct? What has everybody had the best experience with doing?

    • @Jason I like your enthusiasm but you might want to do a lot more reading first. Start slow and build up. It’s easy to rush in and spend yourself into a corner and make mistakes. I have paid for mine, sure, but reading a LOT before I started and keeping up on it has saved me a lot of times as well.

      • Thanks for responding so quickly! I have done a lot of reading these past few weeks but everything seems to contradict each other. I didn’t opt to do the serve or Redbirds account because I’d rather not register for those kind of accounts. For me going to Walmart and doing money orders is the more logical solution. But what I’ve read is that only vanilla gift cards by a certain seller don’t work like cvs. Being that the original author posted a picture of Walgreens I assume they are buying the cards issued by meta bank. These cards would therefore work at Walmart for the money center or money order services correct? It’s just a little weird cause some blogs say yes and others say no!

        • Jason, I don’t know what your reasoning is for not signing up for a prepaid Amex acct (Redbird/Serve/Bluebird), just make sure you’ve looked up on them enough to know about them. A prepaid Amex card is the main–and easiest/cheapest–MS venue for most people nowadays.

  8. I wish I could discover the home addresses of every person who tweeted to DIscover “will the 10% back promo count towards giftcards?” If I had their addresses I would call Amex and tell them to FR that fool. If I was more aggressive I would punch them in the face, cut up all there cards, and then smash their iphone.

  9. I agree that it would be tough to decipher gift card transactions from others, but those that have the $4.95 or $5.95 added to $500 are probably suspect!

  10. the other question remains- they may enforce $ equiv gcs but still allow 3rd party merchant gc’s.
    Redbird USED to give 5% off Disney Gift cards, recently I haven’t had it work. But the Target registers were coding the Disney cards as non GC transaction so it qualified for the 5%.

    I wonder if the same logic will apply here. you can’t buy a $gc, but you can go to Best Buy and stock up on netflix gc’s. Sure, it isn’t as a great a deal, but 20% off your southwest flight, netflix consumption and Red Lobster dining is still a good deal. Especially since my grocer takes appPay. I may prepay my groceries for a year….

    • I wish I could do that. My grocer takes apple pay! They WERE selling all kinds of GCs. They are in Bankruptcy and now sell NO GCs, not even for their own store! No other grocers in town take Apple Pay. Sad face!

    • The Red CARD (either debit or credit) will still get you a 5% discount on the Dis gift cards (no experience with Redbird). Try online if in store doesn’t work.

      • Thanks for the info JP. My point was Redbird USED to give 5% off Dis but no longer does. I’m not sure if it is POS terminal related or AMEX related as far as why it used to qualify and now doesn’t. Interesting that the Redcard still works……I may need to try the redbird again, but I’ll be in Disney soon with my Apple Pay getting 20% so I may need to wait until my NEXT vacation to Disney…..5% doesn’t cut it anymore.

        • It was probably a loophole which they closed, rather than by design.

          Redbird also would give you 5% off the entire Target purchase even if you only paid a small percentage of the purchase with Redbird; that loophole is also closed.

  11. Okay, I take it back. The Discover FAQ says this:
    “Earn an extra 10% Cashback Bonus on up to $10,000 of in-store purchases when you use your Discover card with Apple Pay now through 12/31/15. Excludes gift card purchases. No sign up needed.”
    So, Discover would like to limit the bleeding by excluding CB for gift card purchases. The question becomes can they? As others have pointed out, it would depend on the highest level of purchase data.

  12. I made two Walgreens purchases on 9/16 with Apple Pay — one for 504.95 and one for 505.95. My statement closed 9/18. I can confirm that I did NOT receive bonus 10% cash back. Both purchases fell under the “Everything Else” category.

    • Oh snap! Now the question is will they post as cutback on the NEXT statement, since it claims it can take up to 2 billing cycles?

      • We’ll know once someone has a statement to post that has “regular” items separate from gift cards. If nothing earns 10% on that statement there’s still a chance.

    • Per FlyerTalk:

      Today 5:32 pm by vah4883

      for Discover any cashback bonuses(5% or 10%) for purchases between due date and closing date which is 5 days, will be posted on next statement.

      • Hmm…so if my closing date is September 26, any purchases made by the 20th should be on that statement’s cashback? Or is that any purchases that are POSTED by that date?

  13. I once had a fraud alert on Citi bought OV at CVS. Called in to clear alert. Rep said “oh you bought a giftcard. Those often tricker fraud alerts”. It was interesting that she said that right away without giving her any details. So basically they do know what you buy.

    • It’s just weird as I bought Visa prepaid cards on AmEx, Citi, Chase, and even Discover and never had any issue at all getting my respected cashback. Strange…

  14. Ummmm, Greg…. mark this one down for your slippery ethics file. You and Shawn went gah-gah breathless over this, calling it (as you did when discover IT first did the double promotion) the “deal of the century” whatever…. Yet even quicker than the last time, fly arose in the ointment

    Glad I didn’t follow the pied pipers here off the proverbial cliff and buy an I-Phone — and then get roped into the horrendously expensive cell phone plans to pay for it. Good for those of you who’ve got unlimited resources and could care less. Me, I’ll stick with my Republic & Kroger I-Wireless sub-$10 a month plans (or less) . Don’t ask, there’s no referrals in either for ya.

    Anyway, if indeed, gift cards no longer count, then how in good conscience can you keep hawking it as the latest “deal of the year.”??

    ah, but great click bait…. keep milking it.

    • Will, I understand that you’re unhappy this deal didn’t happen but it wasn’t Greg’s fault. The gift card issue was announced much later so I take strong exception to your questioning Greg’s ethics!

      In any case:

      1) You don’t need to get an expensive plan to get an iPhone. For example, I purchased an unlocked iPhone a while ago and I use it with a very reasonable plan sold by Walmart.

      2) The 22% discount (1% cashback + 10% when using Apple Pay, both doubled) is still something really really good if you can use it. For example, if you happen to buy groceries from a store which accepts Apple Pay you can save a lot of money from now until the end of the year. So yes, this is still an exceptional deal even if the gift cards end up not working.

    • This isn’t unethical at all. You’re making a valid purchase that they said would pay you 11% back on top of another promotion that will double that cashback. There was no forewarning about gift cards. Even if the gift cards don’t work, this is 4th quarter in which many of us celebrate halloween, thanksgiving and christmas which all require a great deal of spend.

      Without giftcards I probably will not maximize this opportunity, but I have my local grocer on the list, the amazon route for 15% back, and a host of other viable opportunities to get some cashback. I have a five year old laptop and I’d like to get an xbox one.

      I’d like an xbox one. I’d like an xbox one for 22% off even better!

      Stop bashing Greg because he couldn’t get you $2200 cashback. Tell me where the unethical route is? He just cut 22% off my christmas list.

    • This is a great opportunity to buy that Apple Watch I’ve been wanting and a great opportunity to shop at some places I don’t usually shop at.

  15. It would appear that it depends on how the store codes the transaction. On another blog I read they said discover disclosed that it’s up to the merchant to code it as a gift card purchase rather then a merchandise purchase.

  16. If I buy an item and return it for store credit would I still keep the 10% or do they notify Discover of the return even if I’m not being reimbursed?

    • I don’t think the ethics of that would be any different than just buying Walgreens gift cards, which would be much easier. I can’t imagine trying to buy and return $10,000 worth of merchandise would end well. 🙂

    • Posts on other forms have noted that Discover seldom revokes cashback for returned items. I can confirm that I never had cashback removed for a $150 return. With that being said, haha, I’d never even attempt to return 10K worth of stuff.

  17. I bought Visa cards, Apple, eBay and PayPal all at WG. The thought process with Apple was so I would comply with the “store purchase” for the additional 10%, and then I could just order from Apple.com and avoid the iPhone 6S madness in the store. I’m in no real hurry for the iPhone, but if the gift card issue is enforced I can always return the phone I ordered online and then just buy it in the store. My thoughts were the same for eBay and PayPal as I need a lot of stuff off eBay now due to a lightning strike at home. I guess time will tell where this goes.

  18. En, looks like anti-joey just making the junk out of mouth.
    I do believe discover got the thing since amex knew what I got in grocery store when I did mixed purchase with GC and regular stuff.
    I am waiting for my newly IT card to explore the way it is. I just moved to a very rural town, even the walmart is not 24 hr.

  19. People argue discover cannot enforce the rule because they don’t have level 3 processing data. But do they have level 2 data? if they do, they know much tax was in each transaction. Since gift cards is tax-free purchase items. you can easily tell which transaction includes GC purchases….

  20. No news is good news:
    Despite what the Joeys and Anti-Joeys (above) have written, I haven’t yet seen any proof that anyone has yet earned 10% cashback on any statements. As far as I know, the question of whether or not the gift card exclusion will be enforced is still up in the air.
    .
    Personally, I’m still betting that gift cards will work, but I wouldn’t stake my blog on it.

  21. I made GC and regular purchase at walgreens. Didn’t see the 10% CB for both of them. Have emailed discover when will 10% will get posted.

    • @Brad Meyer Statement closed yesterday. I made two Apple Pay purchases, one at Trader Joe’s and one with Sprouts, did not see any 10% cashback. The only two cashback categories were 5% (I made a purchase at Kolh’s) and everything else, which was 1%.

  22. I just made $770 purchase of prescription last week in walgreens. I hope I could use Apple pay for the hospital bill as well… only if they accept AP and that counts as ‘in-store’ purchase…

  23. I’ve tried small gift card purchases, both solo and mixed with other purchases. No data yet, but will update when my statement comes in.

  24. My statement was supposed to close on 9/27, but when I logged on yesterday, it has been pushed out another month (new account) to 10/27. Not sure I can take another month of waiting!!

    • Yes, you can have multiple Discover IT cards. You can have multiple payment methods in your “wallet” within Apple Pay. You would just have to select the appropriate card when paying.

      • I guess to clarify. If the limit is $10,000 in transactionas @ 10% cashback (doubled)… What would the best set up be to have multiple accounts. So I could have 2 cards/account (which I think is the limit Discover has per person.) So I could really spend up to $20,000??? Or is there more potential. Is the 10,000 limited per Apple pay account, phone etc. Can someone post a link to the 10% Apple Pay terms?

  25. I did about 2k….waiting till there is some sorta confirmation before doing the whole 10k. These cards are a little annoying to cash out so might not be worth it, if it isnt for sure.

      • Most Target stores don’t have the temporary Redbird card but let you load the permanent one. If you can’t find the temporary Redbird nearby you can buy one online from people who activate and sell them. I’m one of them and I have an online store set up at NoonRadar.com where you can buy it instantly. There’s an FAQ page there also about it and the entire process.

        Otherwise you can liquidate the pin-based gift cards at Walmart via Serve or Bluebird or money orders, or at Family Dollar via Serve, if they would let you do so. As with anything MS, YMMV about all these stores, including Target. FYI, Walmart doesn’t eat Vanilla type cards over $49.

  26. Just had first stmt post. AP GC only purchases, and AP non-GC purchases (did not have GC and non-GC mixed on one trans). Also had non-AP trans. NO BONUS for anything.
    The dream is still alive…

        • 1% for general cashback (all spending) posts on the next statement. Bonus cashback, whether quarterly or whatever, takes a bit longer.

        • Chris F., did you read the person’s post before mine? He/she wrote about receiving 1% on AP in addition the normal 1% on the last statement. You are basically agreeing with me that it doesn’t make sense, correct?

        • I misread that quickly when responding to you, and looking at it now, no, it doesn’t make sense — sorry for the confusion!

        • When they said “also” they meant “as well as” and not “in addition to.” They meant 1% for both and not 1% more (=2%) for AP.

        • I don’t think you’re right. Wouldn’t the gift cards have been purchased using AP? Otherwise the comment wouldn’t even relate to this discussion. Obviously only that person can know what he/she actually meant. I think we can all agree that it was a very confusing way of communicating.

  27. Appreciate guidance here as I’m not an expert:

    Vanilla reload cards specify that they are “NOT GIFT CARDS” so I assume they wouldn’t be excluded from this promotion?

    What would be the best way to use those?
    – Could they be loaded to Serve (or a Vanilla card) and then used on Plastiq?
    – Is there a way they can be loaded to a debit card which would qualify for no fees on Plastiq? “0% Plastiq service fee for Visa & MasterCard debit cards (US Only)”

  28. My first statement just posted with my new Discover IT card. I used Apple Pay for both VGC at Walgreen’s and my regular supermarket trips. I only got 1% for all of my Apple Pay purchases. So I expect the 10% bonus would come on the next statement.

    • this is semi good news. I have a small loan expiring this month at 0%. I can buy a couple of $500 VGCs with a 1% fee then roll those through Redbird and extend the loan. The 1% CB offsets the 1% fee. The 10% is gravy. My Discover offer came with 0% for 12 months. This will help my cash flow immensely through the holidays. Now if we can just get 10%…..

  29. question on Level 3 data- is it on the merchant to provide it to Discover? Or is it on Discover to pay for it?

    I’m just wondering- does it vary by Merchant. I.E. You have two retailers that both sell GC’s. Is it more advantageous to go to one vs the other because they may not pay for Level III data or is that all on discovers end?

    • My understanding is it’s merchant specific. The incentive is a reduced processing fee but it’s usually only done for corporate or government transactions. Consumer purchases are usually level 1.

  30. Has anyone received their Oct statement from Discover yet to determine if gift cards are excluded from extra bonus? Speak now.

  31. My Discover More October 16th statement does NOT have any of the 10% ApplePAy bonuses posted. Starting to wonder if this is just a big scam?

    • Mine didn’t show either, though the promotion FAQ does say “Rewards earned are in addition to your standard rewards and are added to your Cashback Bonus account within 2 billing periods.” That said…my Apple Pay purchases (non-gift card) aren’t even showing the usual 1% cash back as being posted. I figure I’ll give them a month or 2, then contact them if it hasn’t shown up.

  32. Statement closed the 19th. No extra cash back for any Apple Pay transactions, either with gift cards included or only merchandise. (Got the 1% on non-home store transactions, of course.)

    I wonder if the whole bonus won’t be credited after December 31 so no one knows what the rules really are until after it’s too late.

    • That’s what I would do if I were them. I thought that maybe they would do something like that to discourage others by not confirming whether it would work or not. I think it will work, hence I continue to buy the cards. I’m pretty close to the 10K mark.

      • This makes perfect sense – use the old Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt approach … Either that or they need more time to fine-tune their database mining procedures to detect the transactions which include buying gift cards.

    • Just read on another site that this is EXACTLY what Discover just told a customer. Not paying out bonuses until after 12/31. Interesting. Guess we’ll see . . .

      • Hmm, fudging their books for the annual report?
        In a related problem, I have not been able to redeem points from Discover Miles for over a month. It’s not possible to do it online, and the phone reps give me one excuse after another. The points were promptly deducted from my DM account, but never arrive in any receiving accounts they tried or as a paper check.

  33. FWIW, last quarter when they had the 5% CB bonus at home improvement stores, my wife and I were at Lowe’s and bought about $50 worth of planting stuff. At the same time, I also bought a $500 eBay GC and based on the CB I earned, I must’ve gotten the bonus on that purchase, too. Maybe this is common knowledge already, but it seems pretty indicative to me that it should work, *especially* if you buy other items with the GC(s).

  34. My 2nd statement closed yesterday and no bonus cash back. Bought GC’s on 9/17, so no cash back on September or October statements. Also bought a bunch more last month that weren’t on it.

  35. I contacted Discover, since my account didnt show any Apple Pay bonuses either, they said it will take them another month or so to process it.. They may actually end up giving the cash back after Dec 31st..

  36. Bad news , just received several emails on gc Apple Pay from Walgreen

    We’re writing to let you know that your Apple Pay purchase on September 23, 2015 for $504.95 at Walgreens #9808 included a gift card. The gift card portion of your purchase does not qualify for the 10 Miles per dollar spent promotion.

    As a reminder, now through December 31, 2015, you’ll earn an extra 10 Miles per dollar spent on up to $10,000 in purchases when you shop in stores and use your Discover card with Apple Pay, excluding gift card purchases.

    If you disagree with our finding and contend that your purchase did not include a gift card or a portion of your purchase qualifies per the terms of the promotion, let us know with supporting documentation in the next 21 days. Documentation can include store receipts or invoices, but cannot include your Discover card statement. You can send documentation via email:

    • I suspected this would how Discover would play it. Estimate which transactions included GCs, deny the claim and move the burden of proof to the cardholder.

      • My in box was spammed with all the ones from Walgreen gc purchasing , I suspect they haven’t yet check staples or office max ones, will report once those spam comes in.

    • Mine was a little more generous!

      Future gift card purchases will not earn extra rewards

      Dear ###,

      We’re writing to let you know that your gift card purchase made with Apple Pay at Rite Aid Store – #### for $#,###.## on September ##, 2015 will be rewarded 10% Cashback Bonus® as a one-time courtesy. Gift card purchases are not currently included in this promotion, and any future gift card purchases will not qualify.

      As a reminder, now through December 31, 2015, you’ll get an extra 10% Cashback Bonus® on up to $10,000 in purchases when you shop in stores and use your Discover card with Apple Pay, excluding gift card purchases.

      Sincerely,

      Discover Card Customer Service

      • I got the same email that gave me my first purchase of $505 for gift card for the courteous one time deal and then an email saying that future gift cards are not included in the fall fo I got the same email that gave me my first purchase of $505 for gift card for the courteous one time deal and then an email saying that future gift cards are not included in this offer. I posted my emails but my post is under moderation.

  37. Two emails from Apple about this…

    #1;
    Important info about extra rewards with Apple Pay
    Dear Mark X XXX,

    We’re writing to let you know that your gift card purchase made with Apple Pay at Walgreens #9751 for $504.40 on September 23, 2015 will be rewarded 10% Cashback Bonus® as a one-time courtesy. Gift card purchases are not currently included in this promotion, and any future gift card purchases will not qualify.

    As a reminder, now through December 31, 2015, you’ll get an extra 10% Cashback Bonus® on up to $10,000 in purchases when you shop in stores and use your Discover card with Apple Pay, excluding gift card purchases.

    Sincerely,
    Discover Card Customer Service

    #2;
    Important info about extra rewards with Apple Pay
    Gift card purchases will not earn extra rewards
    Dear Mark X XXX,

    We’re writing to let you know that your Apple Pay purchase on September 21, 2015 for $521.59 at Walgreens #9751 included a gift card. The gift card portion of your purchase does not qualify for the 10% Cashback Bonus® promotion.

    As a reminder, now through December 31, 2015, you’ll earn an extra 10% Cashback Bonus® on up to $10,000 in purchases when you shop in stores and use your Discover card with Apple Pay, excluding gift card purchases.

    If you disagree with our finding and contend that your purchase did not include a gift card or a portion of your purchase qualifies per the terms of the promotion, let us know with supporting documentation in the next 21 days. Documentation can include store receipts or invoices, but cannot include your Discover card statement. You can send documentation via email:

    •Scan and then e-mail to promoverification@discover.com

    Sincerely,
    Discover Card Customer Service

    • Has anyone tried buying smaller denomination GCs at places where spending a larger amount of money is presumably more normal than drug stores? Like Whole Foods, for instance. If you buy a $100-200 GC from there that doesn’t seem as out-of-line in terms of a purchase amount than at say, Rite-Aid, and maybe less likely to get flagged.

      It doesn’t do anything for MSing, but it does help to at least capitalize on the discount if it’s somewhere you’ll ultimately spend the money anyway.

      • I purchased a $50 VGC from Office Depot during the 1st days of the promotion. Haven’t heard anything about it since. Will post any updates here.

  38. Thanks for the heads-up. I purchases ONE Visa Gift Card and one one merchant gift card so far. I’ll update my info here when, and IF, I get an e-mail like that.

  39. Hey Mark, I received the same similar message from Discover this weekend. I guess they are actively monitoring gift card purchases and removing them.

  40. Data point: just received first email warning from Discover for a $245 purchase – except that the purchase did NOT include any gift cards (I have the receipt to prove it)!

    It seems obvious to me Discover is simply flagging purchases over a certain amount, but does NOT have level 3 meta data (or whatever it’s called).

  41. I finally got my first chunk of Apple Pay bonus. It seems to correspond roughly to my first billing cycle (ending Oct 19) with Apple Pay charges, but it’s about $9 short. There is an obvious $75 gift card purchase at a drug store, but I have never received a mail telling me they were excluding something.

    Two questions: 1) is this consistent with what other people are seeing? Cash back lagging a couple of months behind purchases? 2) Is there any way I can see which purchases qualified for which bonuses so I know if I have to dispute something?

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