Discover’s Strange Classification of Travel Merchants

The way merchants are classified varies by credit card issuer, and each bank has its idiosyncrasies that people in this hobby have exploited to generate points and miles at an accelerated rate. For example, Chase used to classify Card Cash as an office supply store, meaning Chase Ink Plus cardholders could earn 5 points per $1 spent on gift card purchases. Wells Fargo classifies Walmart as a grocery store, so during the brief period when I had a Wells Fargo cash back card, I was able to earn 5% cash back by purchasing Visa gift cards at Walmart. The strangest merchant categorization I’ve seen to date has got to be Discover’s travel classification.

A few weeks ago when my nephew was born, my younger sister went to the mall to buy some gifts. I gave her the Discover It Miles credit card, which I’ve been using to generate cash back through giftcards.com purchases. I knew she’d put quite a dent on the card and went online to check the damage. After verifying the charges, I checked the Travel Redemption page. I had used  my sister’s Discover card to cover some small hotel charges and wanted to redeem miles to cover the charges. To my surprise, the hotel charge did not appear but a $21.50 charge from the Disney store did. 

Discover classifies The Disney Store as a travel merchant

Discover classifies The Disney Store as a travel merchant

I went back to the transaction section, found the $21.50 Disney Store charge and clicked on it to reveal the details. It turns out Discover codes The Disney Store as a Disney Resort, which is categorized as a travel merchant. So you could use your Discover It Miles to off-set purchases made at The Disney Store, just as you would with any other travel charge. It also means if the Discover It Credit Card’s rotating 5% cash back category bonus includes travel, you can earn 5% cash back on Disney Store purchases.

The Disney Store is classified as a travel merchant by Discover

The Disney Store is classified as a travel merchant by Discover

Now I have no idea how to exploit this for maximum miles (I doubt the Disney Store carries PIN-enabled Visa gift cards) and it’s been many years since I’ve stepped into a Disney Store, but if someone out there has ideas about maximizing this bonus, it might be useful information. Maybe around the holidays it can come in handy if you’re a reseller and can manage to buy in-demand toys and resell them for a profit. 

Keep in mind the Discover It Miles card does allow cardholders to convert their miles to cash back via bank deposits at the same rate as travel redemptions. So this information isn’t going to be super useful for point redemptions. It may, however, come in handy for those with a Discover It Credit card during quarters when the 5% cash back bonus includes travel merchants. 

What are some of the strangest merchant categorizations you’ve come across on your credit card statements?

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Ariana Arghandewal


  1. What happened to your Wells Fargo card? I have never had one. Our grocery stores don’t take credit for vgc but a Walmart supercenter does.
    Is it worth applying for a Wells Fargo card?

    • It got shut down after a very minimal amount of ms. You can apply, but make sure you do the majority of your ms near the end of your statement closing date and cash out your rewards immediately.

  2. In Bora Bora there is a Pearl store called Albert that also rents cars (wierd I know). So you can buy pearls and get 2x on travel. I saw it after I got home and saw the earrings I bought coded x2 ultimate rewards.

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