Credit Cards, Personal Finance

Discover More Credit Card Signup Bonus

Though there have been reports that credit card rewards programs are being scaled back and there don’t seem to be as many great signup bonuses these days, there is one signup bonus that is being heavily advertised that you may want to check out.

Discover is offering a $100 Cashback Bonus when you make $500 in purchases within three months of being approved if you can get yourself approved for a new Discover More card (and you don’t already have one). This card offers Discover’s usual 5% Cashback Bonus in categories that change quarterly (January-March 2009’s 5% back is on airlines, hotels, car rentals, and cruises; April-June 2009’s is on home improvement, department stores, and clothing stores) as well as up to 1% Cashback on all other purchases, no annual fee, and a 0% APR on balance transfers until April 2010.

In addition to the quarterly Cashback categories, you can earn Cashback that isn’t category-specific at any point in the year by logging into your account through and clicking on a link to the store you want to shop at. Some of these bonuses are actually higher than 5%. You can earn 10% back at,, and, for example. You earn 5% back with most of the retailers they offer.

Here’s the way the “up to 1% Cashback” works: You earn 0.25% back on your first $1,500 of purchases, 0.5% on your second $1,500 of purchases, and only after you pass the $3,000 threshold do you start earning 1% back. There is another catch, though: any purchases that you earn 5% back on do not count toward the $3,000 threshold. Also, all purchases at warehouse stores only earn .25% back (except for March 2009, when they’re part of a special 5% back promotion-that is, if your local warehouse store accepts Discover). Warehouse purchases also do not count toward the $3,000 threshold. Because of the difficulty of reaching the 1% back threshold, your best bet may be to use this card only on purchases where you’ll earn 5% back and use a different rewards card for the rest of your purchases.

Cashback rewards are redeemable in $20 increments, which is fairly generous (the Chase Freedom card’s rewards are redeemable only after reaching $50, for example). You can redeem your Cashback for cash or gift cards. If you already shop at the stores they offer gift cards for, redeeming your Cashback for gift cards can be a great deal because you can increase your rewards this way. For example, you can redeem $20 Cashback for a $25 gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond or $40 Cashback for a $45 gift card to Chili’s. That means you can effectively turn the $100 Cashback bonus into $125 if you redeem it for gift cards that will turn $20 into $25, making this an even better deal. And, if you spent all $500 on purchases that earn 5% Cashback, you would earn an additional $25 in Cashback rewards, and you could again redeem $20 for a $25 gift card, making your total rewards for this card $150.

To help you determine whether you’ll be able to take full advantage of this signup bonus, here’s a list of all the stores where you can turn $20 into $25:

  • AMC Theatres
  • Ace Hardware
  • Amazon MP3 ™
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Banana Republic
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Black Angus/Cattle Company Steakhouse
  • Borders Books and Music
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Buca di Beppo
  • Cabela’s
  • Champs Sports
  • Chico’s
  • Crutchfield
  • DSW Shoes
  • Destination Maternity®
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Express
  • Fandango
  • Foot Locker
  • Footaction
  • Gap
  • J. Jill
  • LL Bean
  • Lands’ End
  • Lids
  • Lobster Gram
  • Men’s Wearhouse
  • Motherhood® Maternity
  • Nike
  • Pep Boys
  • Pier I Imports
  • Sally Beauty
  • Sephora
  • Shutterfly
  • Staples
  • Talbots
  • The Children’s Place
  • Timberland
  • Waldenbooks
  • White House | Black Market

You can also double your reward with some retailers, but most of these are not places that most people people shop at frequently:

  • Alamo® Rent A Car
  • Big City Chefs
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Crabtree & Evelyn
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Great American Days
  • Holland America
  • Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
  • Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet™ Grills
  • Mrs. Fields
  • National Car Rental
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Samsonite
  • Sandals® Resorts
  • Ultra Diamonds
  • Universal Orlando® Resorts

To get the bonus, you can either go to or call 1-800-210-9022. You’ll also need an invitation code. I’ve collected the following invitation codes from Discover’s inserts in the Sunday paper over the last several weeks. It appears that the program terms are the same for any code-the only difference is the date the promotion ends.

  • DBMX – must be approved by June 1, 2009
  • DBML – must be approved by May 22, 2009
  • DBMM – must be approved by May 22, 2009
  • DBLC – must be approved by May 8, 2009
  • DBLD – must be approved by May 8, 2009

The ad says this offer is “valid for new cardmembers only,” and it’s not clear whether a new cardmember is someone who doesn’t yet have a Discover More card or someone who doesn’t have any Discover card. And as always, if you don’t use your credit card responsibly, you’ll quickly eat up any signup bonus in late fees and interest, so take your credit card habits into consideration before applying.

3 thoughts on “Discover More Credit Card Signup Bonus

  1. If I wasn’t all about getting rid of my credit card debt right now and living without it I would love the free money.

  2. Credit Card debts are one of the bigger culprits for the poor shape of this economy. They always encourage people to spend much more than they should. This has ensured that America has a saving rate of -1%, and most of the American treasury bonds are purchsed by China!

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