Here Are Discover’s 5% Categories For 2020

A few weeks ago Discover announced its full list of 5% categories for 2020 and I just realized that we never covered it. It’s good news as it should be fairly easy to max out the 5% categories each quarter.

Here’s a list of each quarter’s categories and a few tips for how to maximize them.

Discover 2020 5% Cashback Calendar

January – March 2020

  • Grocery stores
  • Walgreens
  • CVS

Some people will easily max this out through regular grocery store spend seeing as it works out to be an average of $500 per month. Alternatively, medical expenses, prescriptions, etc. might help meet the spend at Walgreens and CVS.

If you get towards the end of March and still haven’t spent your full $1,500, you could pick up Visa, Mastercard or third party gift cards to lock in the 5% cashback. It’s a shame that Rite Aid isn’t one of the drugstores listed as they tend to run some great deal on gift cards by offering up to 20% BonusCash.

April – June 2020

  • Gas stations
  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • Wholesale clubs

If you shop frequently at Sam’s Club, Costco or BJ’s, a large chunk of your $1,500 limit could be used there. Gas stations will be useful for those with a long commute to work each day, while Uber and Lyft is handy for those that frequently use their services.

Similar to Q1, you could finish maxing out your $1,500 limit at the end of Q2 by buying gift cards at gas stations or wholesale clubs. Some 7-11s code as gas, so that could be a good option for Visa gift cards, but you’ll want to see how your local one codes first.

Edit: Good point by Lara in the comments below that Costco doesn’t accept Discover in-store. As a couple of other commenters have mention though, you can buy Costco gift cards online using your Discover card and use those in-store.

July – September 2020

  • Restaurants
  • PayPal

The quarter with restaurants included tends to be the hardest one for people to maximize, so the inclusion of PayPal for Q3 is extremely welcome. PayPal is accepted at all kinds of retailers online, so some will be able to spend the full $1,500 that way through regular spending.

Otherwise, buying gift cards from PayPal Digital Gifts is a quick and easy way to earn the 5%.

October to December 2020


Note that you’ll only earn 5% for purchases on the Target and Walmart websites rather than in-store. Still, with October to December encompassing the holidays, it shouldn’t be too hard for many people to spend $1,500 across these three sites.

If nothing else, you can buy gift cards from all three sites to lock in the 5% cashback. Target usually sells their $100 gift cards for $90 for Black Friday with a limit of 3; if they run that again next year, that’s an easy $270 of spend.

About Stephen Pepper

Stephen Pepper is on a 5 year, 50 state road trip with his wife Shae and their dog Truffles. Finding opportunities to earn miles and points is one of the ways they can afford to do this, so he'll try to help you do the same for your own travels.

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Has anyone been able to product change from the Discover It Miles to the the one with the 5% rotating categories?


Only one problem with the April – June wholesale club bonus category – if you shop at Costco, you’re out of luck. They don’t accept the Discover card.


You can use Discover to buy Costco gift cards online. YMMV on what the transaction will code as.


That’s how I’ve been doing it to max out the discover 5% in the past. Buy Costco GC on the website where they accept non Visa credit card, and use in store.