Updated January 2, 2018
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!
- 1.5x Miles per $1
- Discover Miles match
- $0 annual fee
- Flexible rewards redemptions
- FICO® Score for free
- Promo balance transfer APR
|Bonus Offer||Discover matches all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, 30,000 Miles turns into 60,000 Miles.|
Intro: 0%, 14 months
Reg: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable
|Balance Transfer APR||
Intro: 10.99%, 14 months
Reg: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable
|Credit Requirement||Excellent, Good|
- We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
- Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
- No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
- Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
- Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
- Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
- New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
- No Annual Fee.
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.
An alternative travel credit card with a massive bonus
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.
An alternative travel credit card with a $400 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.
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.