Discover it® Miles
Apply Now On Discover's Secure Website

Pros

  • 1.5x miles per $1
  • Discover miles match
  • $0 annual fee
  • Flexible rewards redemptions
  • FICO® Score for free

Cons

  • Promo balance transfer APR

Updated 9/5/17

Discover is perhaps best known for its cash-back credit cards, and the Discover it® Miles card puts the company squarely in the mix of a competitive travel cards market. We value Discover it® Miles for its flexible rewards program, which earns 1.5x miles per $1, and for the fact it cuts routine fees. As an added bonus, Discover matches all miles you earn in the first year. No caps!

What we like about Discover it® Miles

  • 1.5x miles per $1– All purchases earn the same base rate. This isn’t an astounding rate, but is competitive with $0 annual fee cards and Discover’s innovative rewards-match feature can help dish out more miles in the first year.
  • Miles match – Discover will match all the miles earned during the first year for qualifying new cardholders, which could mean pocketing a sizable prize just after their one-year anniversary. For example, spending $20,000 in the first year will haul in $600 worth of travel-related statement credits ($300 from purchases, $300 matched by Discover), working out to a sky-high travel rewards rate for a no-annual- fee card of 3%.
  • $0 annual fee – Credit cards packed with valuable features tend to charge high fees or APRs. Discover it® Miles balances this relationship well and doesn’t charge an annual fee, making it a good fit for cardholders with modest credit needs, who won’t see their rewards get wiped out by an annual fee.
  • 0% intro APR - Purchases qualify for a promo 0% rate for 14 billing cycles which increases the versatility of this card in a crowded marketplace.
  • Statement credit redemptions – The Discover it® Miles credit card is a busy traveler’s friend. Miles can be redeemed for travel statement credits with a minimum redemption of just $1. Many cards allow for redemptions only in $25 increments.
  • No foreign transaction fee – Discover it® Miles has nixed the typical 3% foreign transaction fee many card issuers charge. That’s a savings of $60 on $2,000 worth of international spending!

What could be improved about Discover it® Miles

  • Balance transfer APR - The card includes a lackluster 10.99% promo APR for 14 billing cycles for balance transfers, compared to a common practice of including a 0% intro APR. All cards have their tradeoffs and this is one of the main ones for Discover it® Miles. More than anything, it highlights the importance of focusing on a card built for your needs and a pure balance-transfer credit card will be best for indebted cardholders wanting to pay off balances fast.
  • Bonus rewards – Many travel credit cards include bonus rewards within niche travel, gas, restaurant, and other categories that allows for points transfer strategies but Discover it® Miles flies the flat-rate route. Travel hackers would view this as a knock on the card but others with more straightforward travel needs would value its simplicity. Figuring out what type of cardholder you are ultimately tells you whether this feature is a "pro" or "con."

How to best use Discover it® Miles

  • Travel rewards cardholders will generally be better off paying balances by the due date every month to avoid interest charges. It’s a losing strategy to rack up debt to earn rewards at single-digit rates only to watch as they get eaten up by double-digit interest charges.
  • Book travel via your preferred method. Miles are can be redeemed for travel-based statement credits, including for airfare, hotels, and car rentals, and on online travel sites. You don’t have to worry about being tied to a card issuer’s travel portal.
  • Leverage free access to your FICO® Score. Discover provides free access to your FICO® Score, and we think this perk is a huge value! In fact, myFICO charges upwards of $350 per year to receive, track, and monitor your comprehensive credit history.

A massive new cardholder bonus worth up to $625

With Discover it® Miles, you’d need to spend $20,000 in the first year to land travel rewards worth $600 ($300 earned plus $300 with the miles match bonus). Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers qualifying cardholders 50,000 bonus points when spending at least $4,000 on new purchases in the first three months from account opening, worth up to $625 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, or $500 cash. Travel and restaurant purchases also earn 2x points per $1 while all other purchases earn 1 point per $1. The higher bonus-category earnings rates and lower new cardholder bonus hurdle may make the card a better fit for some. But it’s worth noting that Chase Sapphire Preferred® does charge a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) and requires excellent credit. Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® review to learn why it’s widely considered a must-have card for travel and also why we think it’s one of the best travel credit cards.

2x miles for all purchases and a $400 sign-up bonus

Individuals who also want a higher base rate for travel rewards than Discover it® Miles may find Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard® to be a better option. All purchases earn 2x miler per $1, can be redeemed for travel-statement credits, and the card carries a new cardholder bonus worth $400 when you spend at least $3,000 in the first 90 days. The primary difference from Discover it® Miles is that Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® carries an $89 annual fee (waived the first year). Cardholders who spend an average of at least $1,483 per month may be able to justify the card’s annual fee in exchange for a higher rewards rate. The math is as follows: $89 ÷ (0.02 – 0.015) = $17,800; $17,800 ÷ 12 = $1,483. Read our full BarclaycardArrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard® review to learn more.

Final take

Modest credit card spenders who value simplicity, flexibility, and low fees will find that Discover it® Miles is a solid credit card worth placing at the top of their wallets. Travel hackers maximizing payouts through points transfer strategies won’t be fans of Discover it® Miles. But that’s not whom the card is designed for. Discover prefers to go the everyday-cardholder route to deliver solutions that work for the many by balancing convenience with features. If this sounds like what you’re looking for, applying for Discover it® Miles may be a good choice.

Apply Now On Discover's Secure Website

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