Discover Deals Portal Issues
This has really been a crazy year with Discover. First, they launched the Discover It miles with 1.5X cashback that was doubled at the end of the first year. Then they began offering double cashback on the regular Discover It card. At first it was available on existing accounts, but eventually it became only available on new accounts. Then of course we have the Discover Apple Pay 10% promotion. On accounts with double cashback, that is like 22% cashback on all purchases!
One other cool thing about the Double Cashback promotion is that it works alongside the Discover Deals shopping portal. Whatever you earn through the portal is also doubled at the end of the first year. For example Dell is paying 10% back through Discover, so that will/should be doubled at the end of your Double Cashback year to 20%!
Discover Deals Portal Is Terrible
Sounds good right? It does! The only problem is their portal is terrible! There is nowhere to track your clicks and nowhere to track your cashback earned. The only time you see anything is when cashback is paid on your statement and even then it isn’t broken down. Sometimes they will send you an email when cashback is earned, but that doesn’t always happen and that isn’t easy to track either.
Even with all of that said, I have often dealt with the limitations of Discover’s portal, because it does generally work and often has high payouts. Unfortunately with so much on the line, Discover has started to tighten and that has altered the value proposition for me. For example, there are numerous reports of Discover clawing back cashback for people who defy the rules and use the portal without paying with a Discover card. This has been against the rules for a long time, however it has never been enforced. While not the friendliest thing to do, I sort of understand it.
Aggressive Unfriendly Moves
So I guess I can understand them enforcing long standing rules, but I just don’t like the customer unfriendly way they are going about it. Before you would receive an email confirming your cashback whenever they tracked the purchase. Now you get this:
I don’t want to wait 30 days for a confirmation. Why not build a decent portal that shows cashback pending? You make it so hard to track my purchases and now have made it even more complicated. This email doesn’t reference an order #, dollar amount or anything else. It is about as customer unfriendly as it gets and I don’t like it.
The Way It Should Be
I buy a lot of stuff online and use a variety of portals. All of the portals now have built in tracking. Purchases post fairly quickly and can be seen as pending until they are confirmed. Many portals even have the date that the money is payable. Great! Why doesn’t Discover have this? I was willing to deal with their crappy portal, but with these recent moves, it just isn’t worth it most of the time now.
When I Will Use Discover Deals
There are times when I plan to still use Discover’s portal. For example, I will always use another portal if it is close, but when Discover is significantly better, then it is probably worth the hassle. Since I still have double cashback, that has to factor in as well. With that said, I won’t always use Discover when they are higher. Since I now have to pay with a Discover card, I can find other ways to make up the savings.
For example, earlier today I purchased a television from Dell. Discover Deals is paying 10% at Dell. That means it would be 20% after doubling. Instead of doing that, I went through Ebates for a 13% payoff up front and then used a $100 off $599+ Amex Offer. Even though Discover’s portal was better, I saved more going the other way. Don’t have an Amex Offer? Look at discounted gift cards to makeup the difference. Since you are forced to one payment method with Discover and can use pretty much any payment with the other portals, the comparison isn’t even.
This post has been in my head the past few days because I am frustrated with Discover. It is clear they bit off more than they could chew with these promotions. Between clawing back portal cash and auditing most Apple Pay promotions, Discover has lost sight of what made them great. I was willing to look past their crappy portal because they paid well and the experience was clunky but good. I can honestly say I don’t think that is the case anymore.