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The date I would like to use for my payment due date in the future on my Discover Card account warns me with a tooltip:

Selecting this date will reduce the number of days in the current anniversary year and may impact your Rewards earnings.

Nothing in their contextual help or payments FAQ tells me what that means. What's an "anniversary year", and should I worry about this?

  • Would be nice if whoever downvoted both the question and my answer could explain why. I'd be happy to improve either if you'll just tell me what you thought lacking. :) – dgw May 6 '17 at 2:16
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No, there's no reason to worry.

I called Discover's customer service line about this and got a great explanation from Alex in Salt Lake City. To paraphrase/summarize:

The website shows that warning because not all Discover cards earn Cashback Bonus in the same way. Your Discover it® card always earns 1% (plus more for rotating bonus categories), but the older Discover More® card rewards program earned only 0.25% for the first $3,000 in purchases every year, then bumped the percentage up (but still excluded certain discount stores like Walmart). Reducing the number of days in the "anniversary year" means that the period during which the More card earned 1% would be reduced due to when the statements close.

So, the warning might not apply to your card type, but the website still shows the warning to avoid even the possibility of affecting your rewards without knowing it.

This was a fascinating bit of historical trivia for me, since I had no idea that older Discover cards had such complicated reward structures. Every card I've ever held (starting in 2008) has had a base reward rate not dependent on spending, so I was unaware of spending tiers and how billing dates might affect them.

  • Remains the question why the website does not know whether or not those interesting details apply to your contract ... – Hagen von Eitzen May 5 '17 at 17:08
  • Indeed. I suspect the development team simply decided their time was better spent elsewhere (improving payments by adding the outstanding current and statement balances, for example). – dgw May 5 '17 at 17:10
  • From the other side I didn't know Discover had started offering a card that offered a flat 1% on everything. The card I'd had since 2006 or 7 used to offer periodic >1% deals in a specific category along with 5% on gas; all of those have gone away (gas might still be at 2% if they didn't eliminate that tier too) but had been keeping above 1% effective back due to getting gift cards at the $20 gets $25 and $45 gets $50 tiers. Going to have to find out if I can switch to the newer program or not. – Dan Neely May 5 '17 at 17:22
  • I think mine still has this (0.25% for a while). I use it only for Amazon where I almost always am getting 5% and otherwise don't really care about the rewards, though, so I've never bothered to upgrade. – Joe May 5 '17 at 17:33
  • @Joe Amazon partnered with Chase to offer an Amazon Prime rewards VISA card, which might interest you for its 5% back at Amazon all the time, plus 2% and 3% in certain categories (restaurants, gas stations, things like that). (Someone please let me know if recommending cards like this is out of bounds, haha, I'm on my phone.) – dgw May 5 '17 at 17:37
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It would still affect Reward earnings for new cardmembers in their first year.

Discover currently has the double cashback promotion for new card member, effective for the first 12 billing cycles. Change due dates could shorten (or lengthen) the number of effective days of this promotion.

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