Discover’s 2020 Categories Mostly the Same as 2019’s

The issuer adds 5% cash back at Walgreens and CVS in the first quarter and wholesale clubs in the second quarter.
Paul Soucy
By Paul Soucy 

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Discover has announced its 5% bonus cash-back categories for all of 2020. They're mostly the same as 2019's categories, with a few tweaks.

Several Discover credit cards earn 5% cash back in categories that change every three months. Once you activate categories online, you get that rate on up to $1,500 in category purchases in the quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

Here are the 2020 categories, with the 2019 categories for comparison:

2020 categories

2019 categories

Q1 (January to March)

• Grocery stores • CVS • Walgreens

• Grocery stores

Q2 (April to June)

• Gas stations • Uber and Lyft • Wholesale clubs

• Gas stations • Uber and Lyft

Q3 (July to September)

• Restaurants • PayPal

• Restaurants • PayPal

Q4 (October to December)

• • •

• • • Target (in-store and online)

Key changes in 2020:

  • The nation's two largest drugstore chains, CVS and Walgreens, join grocery stores as bonus merchants in the first quarter.

  • Wholesale clubs, such as Sam's Club and BJ's, have been added to the second quarter. (Costco's stores do not take Discover, although you can use Discover for online purchases at

  • In the fourth quarter, Target purchases will earn 5% only if they are made online or in the Target app. In-store purchases won't qualify as they did in 2019.

Discover cards that earn 5% cash back include the Discover it® Cash Back and the Discover it® Student Cash Back.

Two other issuers have cards with similar bonus category rewards programs — the Chase Freedom® and the Citi® Dividend Card. As of Nov. 1, 2019, neither of those cards had announced any categories for 2020.

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