What’s the deal with Discover Deals?

Discover Deals (previously known as Shop Discover) has long been one of the highest paying shopping portals around.  When Discover introduced Double CashBack for a year for new cardholders (and existing cardholders who jumped on the deal quickly), Discover Deals became too good to be true.  Those enrolled in the Double CashBack offer can click through Discover Deals to a merchant offering 10% cash back and, in the long run, they should earn a total of 20% cash back.  And, when a store offers 20% CashBack through Discover Deals, the customer should eventually get a total of 40%.  That’s phenomenal.  And, keep in mind, these rewards are on top of rewards earned by one’s credit card automatically.

The Catch

I’ve reported several times before that as of mid October, Discover Deals has stopped sending congratulations emails within a few days of each purchase.  Miles to Memories reports that people have received emails saying that they’ll hear from Discover in about 30 days to confirm the amount of CashBack Bonus they may earn:

Discover Deals Thanks for Visiting

In my case, I haven’t received any such emails, but recently I have received a few “thanks for using Discover Deals” emails from purchases made almost two months ago.  While the emails show the merchant and the reward amount, they do not show the transaction date or order ID.  Here’s an example:

Discover Thanks for using Discover Deals

In the above example, it was easy to figure out which purchase had earned cash back.  Since the payout for Sears has been 10% since the beginning of October, I know that a $40 reward corresponds with a $400 purchase.  In mid October I had gone through Discover Deals to Sears and reloaded a Sears gift card with $400.  Simple enough.  Another email, though, shows $1.90 in rewards.  I don’t have any records of a $19 purchase at Sears so I can’t figure out which of my many purchases were credited, or partially credited, here.  Discover Deals usually lumps together payouts from multiple purchases made in one day with the same merchant.  My guess is that the $1.90 payout is from two or three small separate purchases (but I still can’t find a combination that adds to $19!).

No tracking

Most online shopping portals provide an easy way to see rewards that are pending or paid.  Many even offer the ability to see “click-through” tracking so that you can see which stores you visited and when.  Discover provides none of that.  Once your statement has posted you can see a summary of how much you’ve earned from each merchant, but that’s about it.  Using Discover Deals requires a leap of faith that you’ll earn the promised rewards.  As far as I can tell, there’s no good way to check to see which purchases have been properly credited.

Recommendation

In the past I’ve recommended using the Discover Deals portal even if you didn’t plan to pay with a Discover card.  It usually worked anyway.  And, in some cases, buying or using gift cards worked too even if the terms and conditions said otherwise.  Now, my recommendation is different than before (but consistent with Shawn’s approach):

  • Check CashBackMonitor to find current portal rates.  If another portal offers rewards close in value to Discover Deals, then go with the other portal.
  • If you don’t want to pay for your purchase with your Discover card, then go with a different portal.
  • If you plan to buy gift cards and if the Discover Deals terms exclude gift card purchases from that merchant, then go with another portal (ideally, go with one that doesn’t exclude gift card purchases).
  • If Discover Deals offers the best rate and you plan to pay with your Discover card for an item that is not excluded, then go with Discover Deals.  Make sure to record the date of the transaction, the order number, and the amount that you expect to earn from Discover.  If you don’t eventually get cash back from Discover, call Discover and ask for a courtesy adjustment.

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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Rik
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Rik

I think Discover might be trying a new tactic to limit my ability to earn double cashback… With their notoriously low credit limits, I decided to split my home theater purchase at Best Buy into 2 separate runs using AP. I purchased my TV first, paid off the balance the next day when it posted and waited patiently for my available credit to rebound so I could make the rest of my purchases. My payment posted eight days ago, but my available credit limit has still not increased. The payment cleared my bank five days ago, but Discover reps informed me yesterday that “payments may take up to 10 days to post to be sure that funds clear.” My payments normally post the next day and available credit rebounds nearly immediately… Anyone else had this experience? It’s interesting that this is just happening after I decided to spend big at an Apple Pay merchant. No available credit = no more purchases = Discover stops the bleeding?

Jake
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Jake

Rik,

i opened an IT card and they only gave me a $2k credit line. I paid it but it was taking forever even though chase online said it wasn’t in my checking account anymore. I called discover and they said that because I was new there was a long hold on replenishing the credit even if the money had been taken from the bank account. It’s stupid and an awful policy but they were willing to release the hold over the phone (and shorter than 10 days) if they conferenced in chase and chase confirmed the amount had been taken from my checking account successfully. It was stupid but once she did it once she changed a setting and I haven’t had to wait more than 48 hours for the credit line to reopen.

Madison
Guest
Madison

Had several discussions with Discover customer service regarding bonus payouts. I was told it would take several statements for the bonus to post, no email alerts when using bonus category for purchases either. Very frustrating, time to look elsewhere. Discover’s loss if they can’t post bonuses in a precise manner.

rick b
Guest
rick b

Maybe Discover should take all that money it’s wasting on mailouts and spend it on cashback instead.

Seriously…I get probably one of their offers every other day now. I had to call and tell them to stop, that I’m not interested in participating in their shady offers that require a million hoops to get paid.

Jay
Guest
Jay

I had a similar experience with my credit line not resetting quickly. After about 5-6 days I called and they did it manually. I highly recommend you call them.

SDO
Guest
SDO

Discover’s track record for paying out the Discover Deals rewards has been spotty at best. Think of the ramifications if they fail to pay out those double rewards at the end of next year.

CBM
Guest
CBM

We noticed that the number of Discover Deals on mobile (visit Discover Deals on mobile phone) are less than that on desktop even login with the same account. 10% cashabck for Sears is listed on desktop website, but not on mobile site. Do you guys experience the same?

iahphx
Guest
iahphx

I got my first Discover card a few months ago in response to the “double cashback” offer. I’ve used cashback sites for years, and I was immediately concerned about Discover’s lack of transparency — aka, no way to track your purchases (something I take for granted with other cashback sites). At first, I was getting nearly-immediate email confirmations — which provided some sort of “tracking” capacity — but then those stopped (as you’ve noted).

I’ve kind of stopped using Discover Deals, but I have several large Sears purchases that never credited. A few weeks ago, I called Discover and their agent said I needed to wait a few weeks to see if they post. Obviously, this isn’t an acceptable solution, and certainly makes me reluctant to “max out” the current promos which are only “worth it” if the cashback actually comes.

Certainly a frustrating experience, and I hope somebody (aka, you!) gets to the bottom of what’s going on.

PCN
Guest
PCN

I stopped using Discover after the Apple Pay fiasco. Thats the best we can do.

wise2u
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wise2u

That loud whooshing sound your hearing is the other shoe being raised to drop.
First the apple pay limitation, next the portal and final yearlong total of what gets doubled.
I passed on this promo, partially because of the vague wording and legalese in the T&C that allow Discover to pull the rug at the end. Either that or they have Craptera running their promo and portal reporting. Hope I am wrong and it all pays as anticipated, but that whooshing keeps getting louder..lol

will s
Guest
will s

Another reason to be disgusted with Discover “deals” and their miserable card. I just looked at the fine print for next quarter’s categories. I had been excited (ha!) previously to see that gas would be included in next quarter’s categories. (at 5% — to be doubled at end of first year). Silly me to think they would be doing that the same way that Chase, Citi, Bank America, et. al. have done it. But nooooo, this is “discover,” where they are discovering all sort of new ways to mislead and rip us off. Note the fine print:

“Purchases made at Gas Stations affiliated with superstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs may not be eligible.”

typical Discover ambifliguity…. as in, gee, “discover” than any gray area with discover are anything but black holes?

And of course, gas stations affiliated with Kroger, Safeway, et. al. are not on the list thereafter….

(they DO work when the

will s
Guest
will s

ps to Greg, perhaps you could use all the comps. you got ealier this year from Discover to install an editing feature for our posts. When the subject of Discover comes up, I dooo get so fired up I don’t edit the steam very well.

ps #2: while I’m at it, about your guidance going forward, why would anyone use Discover deals AT ALL if they don’t have the decency to let us know that at least a given transaction has tracked — within say 24 hours of the order being placed? If they aren’t willing to even correct that problem, and to admit that they’ve been screwing up, then I’d say we should start a major boycott of Discover.

(and send copies of threads like this to Wall Street analysts who cover Discover Financial Services…. I’m half tempted to short DFS)

PCN
Guest
PCN

Who needs Discover … when we are so much better with AMEX and Chase cards

Max
Guest
Max

Until the next wave of FR’s (AmEx) or shutdowns / points theft (Chase). LOL

Bris
Guest
Bris

So finally I received two cashback emails from discover for Sears purchases. One order was paid for with a discover card. But the second order was paid for entirely with a Sears gift card.

a$]-[u
Guest
a$]-[u

Discover has screwed themselves with these deals and is just taking time to figure out how to minimize the damage. Cashback will come eventually!

Gabe
Guest
Gabe

Question:(I’m new to discover card and how cashback works)

I did a purchase at Dell using the portal and Discover card 2 weeks ago.
Dell cancelled the purchase for unrelated reason last week but I also got the cashback confirmation email.
Now I have the cashback posted to my account.
Will they take it back if I use it?

Thanks!

Bris
Guest
Bris

In theory, Discover should take back the cashback if an order is cancelled. But under similar circumstances, they didn’t take back cashback from my account on at least twice.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Does anyone have any info if Discover Deals is paying the cashback on Ipads purchased from BestBuy?

Thanks

D.S. Arrowsmith
Guest
D.S. Arrowsmith

I have used ShopDiscover and Ebates for Walmart purchases. I have noticed that some items are more expensive or not available when I get to Walmart via these portals (instead of directly). I wonder if that applies to other retailers.