ShopDiscover: The Heavyweight

discover space shuttle

ShopDiscover is one of the oldest credit card malls and still one of the very best. Here’s a look at the stats, calculated on 9/18/12:

  • Average rewards rate: 5.61% (check out our calculation here. ShopDiscover partners with 33 of the 40 stores we surveyed in our analysis).
  • # of stores: 216
  • Cash back posts: usually within week, can take 1 – 2 months.

Top 3 Things to Know about ShopDiscover

  1. With a 5% cash back minimum, ShopDiscover consistently has the highest rates around.
  2. Limited number of partners.
  3. Excellent seasonal deals.

Insider’s Tips

  • Use non-Discover card. ShopDiscover’s terms and conditions clearly state that you must use your Discover card to earn your cash back bonus. Some users, though, have reported receiving their full cash back bonuses after using other credit cards. Experiment with small purchases with a non-Discover card before you try and buy large.
  • Watch out when using coupons. Any coupons listed on the retailer’s ShopDiscover page are fair game, and you’ll get full cash back if you use these. Using third-party coupons, however, might mean your cash back won’t be honored – always check the retailer’s terms and conditions. You won’t know if your cash back will be nixed until you don’t receive your payment. This is really, really annoying, but it’s also common to most rewards malls.
  • Gift cards are almost always excluded from the cash back bonus. This should be clearly listed in the merchant’s terms and conditions. The cash back bonus is also not paid on shipping, taxes, installation and service fees, gift wrapping or gift cards.
  • Buy a gift card in a separate transaction from the rest of your purchase. Make sure you go through ShopDiscover the second time as well – a merchant’s systems might see a gift card purchase in an order and exclude cash back on the entire order.
  • Take advantage of the Discover More’s rotating categories. For Oct 1st – Dec 31st of 2012, cardholders of the More get a 5% cash back bonus at department stores and for all online purchases. You get that bonus on top of any bonus you earn through ShopDiscover, so using your More will get you a 10% minimum bonus cash back. That’s not including the More’s base rewards rate, too, which is an extra .25% or 1%.

Features We Like

The best rates in town. With its minimum 5% cash back and up to 20% at various stores, the online mall can’t be beat.

Our rankings found ShopDiscover to be the best mall in 2010. When we crunched the numbers again, it came out on top once more, way ahead of the competition for the second time. The portal went head-to-head with over 20 other rewards programs, so the big victory was no fluke.

Seasonal deals. For the recent back to school season, ShopDiscover bumped up its cash back rate to 10% at popular stores such as Macy’s, Target, Sears, Kmart, Kohl’s, and JCPenney. Sure, it’s seasonal and ends 9/6/12, but 10% back at major retailers just has to be talked about. Hopefully we’ll see bigger and better seasonal deals in the future.

Drawbacks

ShopDiscover has only 216 partners according to our last count. That’s not nearly as many as Bank of America WorldPoints Mall or Capital One Perk Central, both of which have over 500. But the reason for the lack of partners is simple: The portal only partners with merchants that will give customers 5% or more cash back. Quality over quantity.

Another serious complaint is the less than stellar cash back tracking system. Discover usually sends confirmation emails within a few days of purchase, but many users report that they never receive such emails. Some users say that they receive full cash back even when emails aren’t sent, so wait it out.

How We Calculated the 5.61% Average Rewards Rate

For our calculations of average rewards rate, we checked ShopDiscover’s rate at the 40 major retailers listed below. Discover’s shopping site only partners with 33 of our 40 merchants, so we had to exclude those 7 non-affiliated stores from our average.

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Retailer ShopDiscover Rewards Rate
1-800-Flowers.com 15%
Aeropostale 5%
Apple Store 5%
Avon 5%
Bath and Body Works 5%
Bed Bath and Beyond 5%
Best Buy 5%
Buy.com 5%
Crate and Barrel 5%
Dell Home 5%
Foot Locker 10%
Game Stop 5%
GAP 5%
Home Depot 5%
HP 5%
HSN 5%
J.Crew
JCPenney 5%
Kmart 5%
Kohl’s 5%
L.L. Bean 5%
Lowe’s 5%
Macy’s 5%
Newegg.com
Office Depot 5%
OfficeMax 5%
Overstock.com
PetSmart 10%
RadioShack
Sears 5%
Shoebuy.com
Sony 5%
Sports Authority 5%
Staples 5%
Starbucks Store 5%
Target 5%
Toys ‘R’ Us
Urban Outfitters 5%
Victoria’s Secret
Wal-Mart 5%
5.61%
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