Updated April 2nd, 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: 13.49% - 24.49% Variable
|Balance Transfer APR||
Intro: 10.99%, 14 months
Reg: 13.49% - 24.49% 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.
- 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.
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.