A reader recently posted an irate comment that accused Discover of lying about the reward program for its More credit card.
We don’t think that’s the case.
All of the rules are spelled out on the card’s Web site.
But we understand why he’s angry because Discover has made its reward system needlessly complicated and confusing.
The rebates it promotes to new customers – 1% on everything you buy and a 5% bonus rebate on some types of purchases – come with too many strings attached.
So let’s grab a magnifying glass and take a look at the fine print:
You’ll actually earn 0.25% cash back, not 1%, on the first $3,000 in non-bonus purchases each year.
That’s because you must charge $3,000 before the 1% rebate kicks in.
Each year, on the anniversary of your account, you’ve got to start all over and charge another $3,000 before you begin earning your 1% rebate.
Discover publishes a calendar of categories that will earn 5% each quarter of the year.
From October through December, for example, cardholders earn 5% on restaurant bills and clothing purchased at department and specialty stores.
You don’t earn that 5% automatically. You must register each quarter on the Discover Web site.
You start earning the full bonus immediately, even if you haven’t reached the $3,000 minimum required to trigger the 1% general rebate.
Unfortunately, that 5% rebate is capped at anywhere from $200 to $800 in purchases, which limits your bonus on those types of purchases from $10 or $40 a quarter.
Purchases within those categories that exceed the limit go back to earning 0.25%, unless you’ve spent enough to qualify for the 1% rebate. In that case, you’ll receive 1% cash back.
Discover urges customers to “See how it all adds up.”
Unfortunately you’ll need some patience and a calculator to do that.