Discover it®-Cashback Match™ has an enticing bonus offer for qualifying cardholders. The program offers a dollar-for-dollar match on all rewards earned in the first 12 months, thus turning $150 of rewards earned into $300, for example. It also offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 billing cycles.

When Cashback Match™ is combined with the 5% Cashback bonus on eligible spending in quarterly activated categories like Amazon.com or Target, subject to a $1,500 spending limit each quarter, the Cashback Match™ can be a great way to earn a huge bonus from a no-annual-fee credit card.

The skinny on Cashback Match™

With Cashback Match™, Discover will automatically match the cash back earned in the first 12 consecutive billing cycles. Thus, if you earned $300 of Cashback in the first 12 months, you'd receive another $300 in the form of the Cashback Match™ one or two billing cycles after the end of the first 12 billing cycles.

Discover's biggest selling point is its Cashback Bonus, which rewards cardholders with 5% Cashback on the first $1,500 of eligible spending within an activated spending category. Current and upcoming bonus categories are shown in the following table. Cardholders must log in to their account online to activate the bonus each quarter.

Calendar Quarter

5% Bonus Category

October-December 2017

Amazon.com and Target

January-March 2018

Gas stations and wholesale clubs

April-June 2018

Grocery stores

July-September 2018

Restaurants

October-December 2018

Amazon.com and wholesale clubs

Data source: Discover.

Notably, cardholders who maximize the value in each Cashback category for one full year will receive 5% Cashback on $6,000 of combined spend ($1,500 per quarter), resulting in rewards of $300. All of this Cashback is then matched in the first year, resulting in an additional $300 of value. In total, this results in $600 of total Cashback on $6,000 of spending in bonus categories in the first year.

The match also applies to Cashback earned at the standard rate of 1%, thus bringing the first-year rewards rate to 2% on all non-bonus spending. This makes cards like Discover it®-Cashback Match™ especially lucrative for new cardholders who use the card for everyday purchases. New cardholders who open an account today could easily have hundreds of dollars of Cashback Match rewards hit their account just in time for the holidays next year, in addition to all the rewards they earn along the way.

U.S. coins spill out of an overturned glass jar.

Image source: Getty Images.

How rewards can be redeemed

Discover offers a number of low- or no-minimum redemption options that enable cardholders to redeem their Cashback almost as quickly as they earn it. Rewards can be redeemed five different ways:

  • Make a deposit into your bank account ($0.01 minimum).
  • Redeem for a statement credit to reduce your Discover balance ($0.01 minimum).
  • Use points for Amazon purchases (no minimum).
  • Receive gift cards with at least $5 added to each gift card ($20 minimum).
  • Donate to charitable partners ($0.01 minimum).

Whereas many other cards have redemption minimums of $25 or more, with some travel cards having minimums as high as $100, Discover's low minimum redemption requirements make it easy for cardholders to redeem the rewards they earn quickly. Just log in to your Discover account and redeem your rewards with a few clicks.

Gift cards from partners can multiply the rewards you earn from Discover it®-Cashback Match™. That's because gift cards from partners have at least $5 of value added to the card. Thus, there are opportunities to make a $20 redemption and receive a $25 gift card. 

Other Discover it®-Cashback Match™ Perks

While the rewards may steal the show, the Discover it®-Cashback Match™ offer adds an extra layer of value in the form of a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 billing cycles. Importantly, the 0% intro APR on purchases kicks in immediately, but the 0% intro APR on balance transfers starts with the first transfer. Thus, the clock doesn't start on the balance transfer on day one of account opening. (There is a hard limit for when the balance transfer has to be used to qualify for the 0% intro APR, though it may be months after account opening -- see the terms of the current offer here.)

A 0% intro APR can be a valuable bonus in and of itself. The following table shows the savings offered by the 0% intro APR period on the Discover it®-Cashback Match™ compared with a $5,000 balance on a card with an 18% APR.

Type of Balance

Total Savings on $5,000 Balance at 18% APR

Purchase

$581

Balance transfer

$431 (accounts for the 3% fee on balance transfers)

Data source: calculations by author. Table assumes a $5,000 balance is paid off in 14 equal monthly payments.

The amount you save by using a 0% intro APR depends on your balance, but applicants who are approved for Discover it®-Cashback Match™ will receive a credit line of at least $500, according to the current terms of the offer in Fool.com's credit card database.

As far as rewards cards go, the Discover it®-Cashback Match™ is a compelling offer for cardholders whether or not they make full use of the 0% intro APR. Use the card wisely by activating bonus categories once per quarter, and maximize your rewards by taking advantage of the first-year match. This card is one of the most lucrative rewards cards, particularly in the first year, when all rewards are matched by the program. 

 

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Jordan Wathen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.