Manganese dioxide cathodes are inexpensive and have high theoretical capacity (based on two electrons) of 617 mAh g-1, making them attractive for low-cost, energy-dense batteries. They are used in non-rechargeable batteries with anodes like zinc. Only ~10% of the theoretical capacity is currently accessible in rechargeable alkaline systems. Attempts to access the full capacity using additives have been unsuccessful. We report a class of Bi-birnessite (a layered manganese oxide polymorph mixed with bismuth oxide (Bi2O3)) cathodes intercalated with Cu2+ that deliver near-full two-electron capacity reversibly for >6,000 cycles. The key to rechargeability lies in exploiting the redox potentials of Cu to reversibly intercalate into the Bi-birnessite-layered structure during its dissolution and precipitation process for stabilizing and enhancing its charge transfer characteristics. This process holds promise for other applications like catalysis and intercalation of metal ions into layered structures. A large prismatic rechargeable Zn-birnessite cell delivering ~140 Wh l-1 is shown.