Discover Student Card vs. Discover Student Open Road CardAugust 17, 2011 - 9:58 am
Two of the student credit cards issued by Discover are the Discover® Student Card and the Discover® Student Open Road Card. The two cards are very similar when it comes to pricing, but there’s a big difference in the rewards. If you’re a student trying to decide between these two cards, consider which rewards you’d rather earn.
Credit Card Pricing
Both cards have a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 9 months, if you qualify. The regular APR for purchases is between 12.99% and 19.99% depending on your credit history. Neither credit card has an annual fee. Credit card APRs are variable based on the Prime Rate.
Discover More Student Card Rewards
The Discover More Student card’s big reward is 5% cashback in categories that change throughout the year. Categories include travel, gas, groceries, restaurants, and department stores. For June through September this year, you’d earn 5% cashback on gas, hotel, movies, and theme park purchases. October through December, the restaurants and fashion purchases earn 5% cashback. There is no limit (other than your credit limit) on the amount of 5% cashback rewards you can earn.
Purchases that don’t qualify for 5% cashback, earn rewards at .25% until you’ve reached the $3,000 annual threshold. After that, purchases earn 1% cashback.
Discover Open Road Student Card Rewards
The Student Open Road card’s big reward program is that you earn double cashback (2%) on your first $250 of gas and restaurant purchases each month. That means you can earn a total of $5 each month on gas and restaurant purchases each month, or $60 a year. Once you reach the $250 limit, rewards earn .25% or 1% depending on whether you’ve met the $3,000 purchases threshold.
Which Program is Better?
Discover More Student credit card gives you the opportunity to earn more rewards, but you have to pay attention to the categories for each month to make sure you’re spending in the right places. But let’s say you have the Discover More and purchased $250 of gas each month during the three months that gas earns 5% cash back. You’d earn $37.50 with the Discover More versus just $15 with Discover Open Road.
If you managed to make $250 of monthly purchases in the appropriate categories, you could earn up to $150 each year based on the 5% cashback alone. On the other hand the Open Road Student card only lets you earn $60 in its feature rewards program.
If you have the Discover More Student card, you also risk missing out on the 5% cash back bonus if you don’t make qualifying purchases in a particular month. If you have a car and the Open Road Student card, you’ll always have the opportunity to earn rewards, because you’ll always need gas.
The Discover More Student card gives you the opportunity to earn more rewards, but only if you keep up with the reward categories. If you’ll forget or you think you won’t make purchases in enough of the categories to make a difference, then the Discover Open Road Student card is a better option.