Discover More Experiments in Progress


imageI recently got my first ever Discover card, the Discover More card.  I didn’t really want a Discover card, but I did want access to the ShopDiscover portal which often has higher cash back rates than any other portal.


5% Cash Back Bonus

Like the Chase Freedom card, the Discover card offers 5% cash back in various categories that change each quarter.  And, like the Freedom card, 5% is capped at $1500 in spend each quarter.  This quarter the Discover categories are Department Stores and Online Shopping.  The latter is a wonderfully broad category that literally includes almost every online purchase. 


The ShopDiscover portal is where things get interesting.  Here are some impressive cash back examples (at the time of this writing):

  • 20% cash back at Vision Direct
  • 15% cash back at
  • 15% cash back at Groupon
  • 10% cash back at Crate & Barrel
  • 10% cash back at Home Depot
  • 10% cash back at Kohl’s
  • 10% cash back at Sears & Kmart
  • 10% cash back at Walgreens
  • 5% cash back at Apple Store
  • 5% cash back at Best Buy
  • 5% cash back at
  • 5% cash back at Staples

The great thing is that these cash back amounts are in addition to the quarterly bonus categories.  So, since “Online Shopping” is one of the categories this quarter, I would earn an extra 5% on top of the percentages shown above.  For example, I would earn a total of 25% cash back at Vision Direct and 15% back at Sears.



In order to take full advantage of the Discover portal, I want to learn the following:

  • Do gift card purchases result in cash back?  The answer will probably depend on the merchant.  So far, it appears that physical Sears gift cards do result in cash back, but e-gift cards do not.  I need to do further experiments to verify this.
  • Do purchases made with gift cards result in cash back?  What if part of the purchase is paid for with a Discover card?  I have yet to test this question at all.
  • Do purchases made with other credit cards result in cash back?  Posts on FatWallet and SlickDeals are contradictory on this point.  I ordered another physical gift card in order to test this one out.

One frustrating finding so far is that there is no way to see pending cash back online.  Most other cash back portals provide a way to see purchases that were tracked, even when they are not yet payable.  When I contacted Discover to ask about this I was told that the only way to know if a purchase tracked appropriately is to wait to see if you get an email saying “You’ve Earned Additional Cashback Bonus Through ShopDiscover.”  In my experience so far, these emails take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to arrive.  As a result, ShopDiscover experiments are taking quite a while to run.

Once I have concrete results from my tests, I’ll report back.

Cash & Points

Depending on how the ShopDiscover experiments turn out, there may be some interesting opportunities to earn cash & points.  Here are a few examples:

  • Buy Sears gift cards through ShopDiscover to earn 15% cash back.  Then, spend the gift cards through a points earning portal to get points as well.
  • Buy Sears gift cards through a point earning portal.  Then, spend the gift cards through the ShopDiscover portal.
  • Go through ShopDiscover to Staples, but pay with a Chase Ink card which offers 5 points per dollar at office supply stores.  Hopefully earn 5% back and 5 points per dollar.
  • A variation of the above is to go through ShopDiscover to OfficeMax and pay with the American Express SimplyCash card.  This card offers 5% cash back at office supply stores and, through the Amex OPEN Savings program, it offers 5% to 10% back for online OfficeMax purchases.  Altogether you could earn as much as 20% cash back at OfficeMax.

The ideas above are just a few examples of what might be possible.

Reader Findings

Do you carry a Discover card?  If so, what have you learned about leveraging its cash back categories and/or the ShopDiscover portal?

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Do purchases made with gift cards result in cash back?

I have used gift cards along with Discover card through the Deal portal to buy stuff on or and earned cash back on the amount of the order excluding tax. I think it is a little bit weird that Discover gave cash back on the portion of the purchase by gift card since they could clearly see how much was paid by credit card. Anyway, hope this helps.


Greg, any luck on buying vanilla visas via discover cb portal? You dont have to name the merchant if so, just wondering if I should bother searching. I see in the lab that walmart is no go.


Jonathan: No, I haven’t found a good source for that.

[…] but if you buy any volume of stuff online, you can get really insane returns through ShopDiscover. FrequentMiler has some highlights. __________________ Flying for Free is more […]

[…] ShopDiscover has some of the highest cash back rates out there. Frequent Miler discusses the various ShopDiscover bonuses and tricks on his site.  I currently have this card and have been using it for online shopping this quarter […]


JJ: I expect that it is stackable, but I don’t really know


I just saw on my account page that I could also sign up for 2% cashback bonus for purchases on Dec. 22. Do you think extra bonuses like this will be stackable with the 5% quarterly bonus categories? I didn’t see anything in the T&C about this.


Hi! Going to purchase parents’ gift at Best Buy. Default 5% on Freedom is nice but any luck using Chase through Discover portal? Have some gift cards to use in conjunction…800 UR points through portal vs $20 cash back through Discover…let me know if I should just stick to chase. Thx!


IrishTiger: I haven’t tried Chase specifically, but yes when I used a non-Discover card through the portal it seemed to work.


Unrelated to current post, but here’s a suggestion for an experiment. If you have prior experience doing this then great, else if you can do this experiment in your lab, it may be useful for many frequent fliers.
Many times we debate which card to use at hotel. If there is some Starwood hotel which participates in Visa Signature benefits program (meaning free wifi, etc.), can I handover Sapphire Preferred at the time of check-in and get the Visa Signature perks and at the time of settling bill at checkout, I can give my starwood Amex to get bonus star points?
Will it work this way, or I can get Visa Signature benefits only if paying with that card?


Picmeup: Interesting idea. I don’t have any experience with Visa Signature hotel benefits. Anyone else?


Thanks AJ! I will continue to think of unique content to help everyone. I’m just doing the blog for fun.


I got Discover cash back for buying walmart gift card on ebay


No way you get cb for a gc pruchase from discover .


Since writing this post, I did receive an email from ShopDiscover saying I was awarded cash back for a purchase of a gift card that I made with a US Bank card. I’ll wait till I actually see the cash back reported on my statement or somewhere before I declare victory.


I think you are all being a little harsh on romsdeals. When it comes to point earning blogs, FM is hands down the best site I’ve come across. However, there is room on the internet for more than one site explaining methods that consumers can use to earn points for travel. He is not forcing you to go to his site. Don’t like, don’t click. Personally, I’ve checked out romsdeals’ site and I believe he has some original content that is interesting. Also, he seems to always add some positive comments here in the discussions. Why waste bandwidth and time ripping him when you can be earning points and helping others do likewise with more positive discussion?


AJ: I agree with you. Romsdeals has been a positive contributor to this site.



No offense but your blog name seems to be a rip off of dansdeals, and your perpetual churning machine seems to be a rip off of FM. In any case I won’t be reading your blog, I think most here won’t as well. You would do better to try and siphon off MMS readers as they might actually fall for your sherade.

marathon man

actually fergit it! I found your link and applied… Congratulations! You’ve been approved. Welcome to Discover!
Wow aint seen one of those since I dunno how long. Usually I have to wait but later get the cards.
Anyway I will see how this one goes, breaux!


marathon man: Thanks! For others, if you’re interested in looking through credit card links for which I get a commission, you can click on the Credit Cards tab itself and you’ll be taken to this page: Scroll down and you’ll find a searchable table. For example, if you type “Discover” into the table’s search box you’ll find 13 different Discover card offers. Personally I went with one of the Discover More offers, but I don’t know enough about Discover cards to say which is best.

marathon man

OK I’m in. Not sure where or how I will use it yet but I too have never had a discover card and have also never applied thru a CC on this blog so gimme a link FM and I will set ya up! Thanks for the write up. When I get it and test it I will report anything I find. I know that if anyone is going to find the ‘yeah but what if this happens?’ thing, it’s going to be me lol