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I got an offer from Discover for an extra $400 cash back bonus, if we spend $xxxx dollars with Discover for each of the next 5 months, . . .

I got a couple from Discover structured as $100 cash back bonus for spending $XXX dollars with Discover for each of the next Y months. To do that, I would have had to shift all my credit card spending to Discover, and still have a chance of having to spend extra to clear all the monthly hoops. I ignored those offers.

Then recently Discover sent me a richer offer, $100 bonus cash back for spending $1000 with them before March 31. I can do that by shifting spending from my 2% cash back Fidelity Amex and my spending at Sam's Club that would otherwise be 1% back on the Sam's MasterCard. I can also shift restaurant expenses that would be 3% back on the Sam's MasterCard to 2% base back on Discover (Open Road version). So I took that one.

My take on the multi-month requirement is, if it looks iffy to clear the hoops for every month you should ignore the offer. In a few months they are likely to send you a better offer. I would not stock up on stuff just to get the cash back; if I let cash back change what I would spend money on, I walk onto a slippery slope of more spending than planned. I don't want to go there. I'm fine with shifting spending that would happen anyway to Discover.

Then when I've charged my $1000, Discover will go back into a locked file drawer. Their base cash back package is inferior to my other cards. I'll take it out again when I get another offer rich enough to be worth shifting away from better base cash back. Or not, if the Discover marketing people get smart enough to stop sending me offers that are rich enough for my taste.

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