Discover Just Announced Its 2022 Cash Back Card Rewards Categories: Save on Groceries, Gas, and More

Getty Images
We want to help you make more informed decisions. Some links on this page — clearly marked — may take you to a partner website and may result in us earning a referral commission. For more information, see How We Make Money.   This page includes information about Discover products that are not currently available on NextAdvisor and may be out of date.

Some offers on this page have expired or may no longer be available.

Discover’s 5% cash back calendar for 2022 offers a range of everyday categories for eligible cardholders.

Discover cash back credit cards that earn rewards in eligible categories include the Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Student Cash Back. These cards earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter in rotating categories when you activate, then 1%. And because Discover announces the entire year’s calendar in advance, it’s easy to plan your budget ahead of time to maximize your spending.

Here’s what you need to know about upcoming categories, and how to make sure you get the most value from your Discover card year-round:

Discover Quarterly 5% Categories 2022

Discover’s quarterly cash back categories for the upcoming year are centered on everyday spending. Here’s what you’ll get in 2022:

  • January to March (Q1): Grocery stores, fitness club and gym memberships
  • April to June (Q2): Gas stations and Target
  • July to September (Q3): Restaurants and PayPal
  • October to December (Q4): and digital wallet spending (applies to purchases you make with Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or Garmin Pay)

Each quarter you activate, you can earn 5% cash back on up to a combined $1,500 spending in these quarterly categories. You’ll also get 1% cash back on every other purchase. And if you’re a new cardmember, you can qualify for Discover’s Cashback Match offer: the issuer will match all the cash back you earn within your first 12 months after opening an account.

You must remember to activate the category each quarter before you start spending, though. You’ll only earn the 5% rate after activation. That means if you wait until May to activate your Q2 categories, you won’t earn the 5% rate on any eligible spending in April.

If you already have an eligible Discover card, you can go ahead and activate your Q1 categories now, and begin earning rewards on Jan. 1, 2022.

Discover 2021 vs. 2022 Categories

Rotating categories offered by Discover are generally focused on everyday spending, like restaurants or gas, but there are a few differences to note for next year’s categories. Here’s a look at what Discover offered in 2021, and how that compares to next year:

Q1: January to MarchGrocery stores, Walgreens and CVSGrocery stores, fitness club and gym memberships
Q2: April to JuneGas stations, wholesale clubs and select streaming servicesGas stations and Target
Q3: July to SeptemberRestaurants and PayPalRestaurants and PayPal
Q4: October to,, and and digital wallet spending (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Garmin Pay)

2022 Discover it vs. Chase Freedom Categories

Unlike Discover, Chase only announces quarterly categories on its 5% rotating cash back card — Chase Freedom Flex℠ — one quarter at a time. But reviewing past categories can give a good idea of what to expect.

These are the categories Chase offered in 2021, as well as the categories for 2022 so far:

  • January to March (Q1 2021): Select streaming services, wholesale clubs, phone, cable, and internet services
  • April to June (Q2 2021): Gas stations, home improvement stores
  • July to September (Q3 2021): Grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart), select streaming services
  • October to December (Q4 2021): Walmart, PayPal
  • January to March (Q1 2022): Grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart), Ebay

Like Discover, Chase’s 5% rotating quarterly categories apply to up to $1,500 spent each quarter then 1% cash back. You must also activate rewards each quarter. However, you can activate the categories anytime before the quarterly deadline and your 5% rewards will apply retroactively to any eligible spending, unlike Discover.

If you’re on the fence about which rotating cash back card might be right for you, look back at your spending and how it aligns with previous categories. While the issuers offer similar rewards for everyday spending, there may be slight differences that can make one more valuable for you over the other.

Editorial Independence

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.