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NHL® Discover it® Card Review – 10% Off NHL Merchandise

At a Glance
nhl discover it card
4.0 / 5
Rating

NHL® Discover it® Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: None
  • Rewards: 5% cash back in select quarterly rotating category purchases, up to $1,500 in combined category purchases per quarter; unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, including favored category purchases above the cap
  • Benefits: Double cash back during the first 12 months your account is open; 10% off NHL merchandise purchased through Shop.NHL.com; Freeze It security feature
  • Intro APR: 0% APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Fees: $0 foreign transaction fees; balance transfers 3% of the transferred amount; cash advances 5% of the advanced amount ($10 minimum)
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Credit Needed: Very good to excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The NHL® Discover it® Card is a cash back credit card with no annual fee, a solid rewards program, and attractive fringe benefits for National Hockey League fans. It’s basically identical to the regular Discover it card, except it has a branded face with your choice of NHL team logos and an NHL.com merchandise discount. And it’s just one of several other Discover it family cash back including Discover it Chrome and Discover it Miles.

NHL Discover it earns unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases, with no caps or restrictions. Select quarterly rotating categories, such as gas stations and restaurants, earn more: 5% cash back, up to $1,500 total spending per quarter.

NHL Discover it has a number of popular competitors, including fellow sports-themed cards such as the MLB BankAmericard Cash Rewards. It also competes with general-purpose cash back cards, including (among many other) Citi Double Cash CardChase Freedom, and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.

NHL Discover it lets you customize your card face with the logo and color scheme of your favorite NHL team. However, unlike many other cash back cards, it doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus. Instead, all cash back earned during your first year as a cardmember is automatically doubled.

Key Features

First-Year Double Cash Back

On every new cardholder’s first cardmember anniversary, NHL Discover it doubles all cash back earned during the previous year, no matter how much or how little was earned. For instance, first-year cash back earnings of $150 become $300 after this bonus. If you spend heavily during your first year, this could be more lucrative than a traditional, fixed-amount sign-up bonus.

Cash Back Rewards

NHL Discover it earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly spending on select rotating categories. Category examples include department stores, restaurants, specific online retailers (such as Amazon), and gas stations. Once you reach the $1,500 quarterly spending limit, additional purchases in the rotating categories earn an unlimited 1% cash back. In addition, all other purchases (not in the rotating categories) earn an unlimited 1% cash back. NHL Discover it requires you to manually activate your 5% cash back categories each quarter. Following activation, your earnings are retroactive to the beginning of the quarter.

Cash Back Redemption

You can redeem your earned cash back rewards at any time and in any amount for statement credits and direct bank account deposits. You can also redeem for physical and electronic gift cards starting at a $20 minimum redemption threshold.

NHL Merchandise Discount

NHL Discover it comes with a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased through Shop.NHL.com, the NHL’s official gear website.

Freeze It

NHL Discover it comes with Discover’s Freeze It feature, which you can use to lock your account with a single click from any web-enabled device or terminal. Freeze It prevents anyone from using your card to make purchases or cash advances, though it doesn’t halt interest accumulation or previously scheduled payments (such as recurring bills). It’s useful if and when you lose your card or suspect that your account has somehow been compromised. Once the threat passes, you can unfreeze your account with a single click.

Introductory APR

NHL Discover it has a 14-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. Qualifying balance transfers must be made by the 10th day of the third month following account opening. For instance, if you open your account in February, you have until May 10 to transfer a balance without incurring interest charges.

Free FICO Score

NHL Discover it gives you a free FICO credit score with every monthly paper or electronic statement. You’re also able to see your FICO score in your online account dashboard at any time.

Important Fees

There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost a flat 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances always cost the greater of $10 or 5%, while late and returned payments cost $35.

Credit Required

Like the regular Discover it card, this card requires very good to excellent credit.

Advantages

  1. No Annual Fee or Foreign Transaction Fee. NHL Discover it doesn’t come with an annual fee or a fee on foreign transactions.This is great for people who don’t spend enough to justify any kind of recurring levy, as well as those who travel out of the country. Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® (note: this offer is no longer available) and Citi Double Cash both charge foreign transaction fees, as do many other cash back cards.
  2. First-Year Double Cash Back Can Be Huge. If you spend heavily during your first year as a cardmember, NHL Discover it’s unlimited first-year cash back double bonus is a potentially huge perk. This benefit basically raises your baseline cash back rate from 1% to 2%, leapfrogging competitors such as Barclaycard CashForward and Capital One Quicksilver in the process. The first-year bonus boosts your 5% cash back earnings to 10%, a truly impressive rate compared with competing cash back cards.
  3. Customizable Card Face. If you’re looking for ways to brighten up your wallet, NHL Discover it has you covered. You can decorate your card face with any of 30 NHL team logos and backgrounds, letting everyone you meet (or at least pay for things with) know that you’re a committed fan.
  4. No Minimum Threshold for Cash Redemptions. You can redeem your accumulated cash back rewards for bank account deposits and statement credits at any time, in any amount.
  5. Nice Intro APR Period. NHL Discover it’s 0% intro APR period lasts for 14 months and covers both purchases and balance transfers. That’s great news for new cardholders who need to make big upfront purchases or transfer existing high-interest balances from other accounts.
  6. No Penalty APR or Late Fee for First Missed Payment. NHL Discover it doesn’t charge penalty interest. It also waives the late fee on your first missed payment as a cardholder. Both are very nice perks for people who occasionally miss payments. Other cash back cards, including BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card and Chase Freedom, don’t extend the same courtesies.
  7. Ongoing NHL Merchandise Discount. If you’re an NHL fan who’d be interested in purchasing official gear anyway, the 10% discount on Shop.NHL.com purchases is a very nice sweetener that can really add up. Few other cash back credit cards offer ongoing discounts on specific types of merchandise.
  8. Reasonable Underwriting Standards. Discover doesn’t position NHL Discover as a credit card for people with bad credit, nor for those interested in building a credit history. However, its underwriting standards are more lenient than many competing cash back credit cards’, including American Express Blue Cash Preferred and American Express EveryDay Preferred (which both have $95 annual fees). Those cards require excellent applicant credit and aren’t suitable for first-time cash back card applicants.

Disadvantages

  1. Baseline Cash Back Lower Than Some Competing Cards. NHL Discover it earns a base cash back rate of 1% on all purchases, with no caps or restrictions. That’s lower than Capital One Quicksilver and Barclaycard CashForward, both of which come with 1.5% baseline cash back rates. If you don’t take full advantage of the 5% categories’ $1,500 quarterly spending limits ($6,000 annually), you’re unlikely to make up the difference.
  2. No Traditional Sign-up Bonus. NHL Discover it doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus, an unusual shortcoming in the cash back category. Many competing cards, including Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited, do have sign-up bonuses. If you can clear their relatively low spending thresholds, that’s easy money.
  3. Manual Cash Back Activation Required. NHL Discover it asks cardholders to manually activate their 5% cash back categories every quarter, either online or by phone. This is an annoying, though not incredibly time-consuming, step. Worse, it raises the chances that busy cardholders will simply forget to activate one or more quarters, forfeiting potential cash back earnings in the process. Other category-based cash back cards, including Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, don’t require quarterly activation.

Final Word

The NHL® Discover it® Card is basically the same as the regular Discover it card, except for the 10% merchandise discount and branded card face. If you like Discover it, but want the opportunity to represent your favorite NHL team and earn a 10% discount on its merchandise, this card is a no-brainer.

If you’re not a fan of the regular Discover it card, the NHL version’s perks probably aren’t enough to move the needle. Then again, it’s nice to add a little (team) color to your wallet – and give yourself a ready-made conversation topic around fellow fans. Your team is sure to appreciate the thought.

Verdict
nhl discover it card
4.0 / 5
Rating

NHL® Discover it® Card

If you’re a moderate spender who regularly purchases NHL merchandise, will remember to sign up for rotating categories, and can spend at least $1,500 in those categories each quarter, the NHL® Discover it® Card is a great cash back card choice – even if you don’t have perfect credit. This card isn’t ideal for people who have the credit and income to qualify for more generous cash back cards, those who don’t want to keep track of spending categories that change quarterly, and those who have no need for an NHL merchandise discount.

No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, first-year double cash back bonus, customizable card face, few redemption restrictions, and ongoing NHL merchandise discount are all nice benefits. The missing sign-up bonus, manual activation, and low baseline cash back are drawbacks. Overall, a great general spending cash back card for hockey fans.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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