Discover it Miles Credit Card Review

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The Discover it Miles credit card offers an unusual amount of value for a travel card with no annual fee. It’s a good pick for those who want to earn free travel, but who don’t want to break a sweat figuring out how to collect and redeem miles.

Discover it® Miles

overall rating
4.7
Discover it® Miles
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases
Intro Purchase APR 0%
Intro Purchase APR Length (number of months) 14
Foreign transaction fee 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.7
for Fees
4.3
for Rewards
4.1
for Credit
4.0

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Top Rated For

  • 0% APR Credit Cards
  • Low Interest Credit Cards
  • Rewards Cards

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things
    Adventure Seeker
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker

With a flat rewards rate and simple redemption process, the Discover it Miles card is best for cardholders with good to excellent credit who feel restricted by narrow bonus categories and want control over how they use rewards they’ve earned. This card is an especially strong option if you plan to spend a lot in your first year as a cardholder, given the card’s sign-up bonus and intro purchase APR.

If you frequently travel abroad, you won’t pay foreign transaction fees. But know that Discover isn’t accepted in every country. In some places, Discover says its acceptance rate is “medium” or “low,” meaning only some merchants will let you use the card. Check Discover’s acceptance map and consider a different card, or bring along an alternative card, if you travel to places where Discover isn’t widely recognized.

Pros

  • Easy-to-earn rewards

  • Unlimited match on miles earned in the first year

  • Flexible reward-redemption options

  • Relatively long 0% APR intro period

Cons

  • Limited acceptance internationally

  • Few additional travel benefits

  • No miles-transfer options

Pros Explained

  • Easy-to-earn rewards: You don’t have to track category bonuses or strategize your spending with this straightforward rewards card. You’ll receive flat-rate rewards on everything you buy. 
  • Unlimited match on miles earned in the first year: Discover will automatically match all your rewards earnings at the end of your first year, so you’ll effectively earn 3 miles for every dollar you spend in that time. There’s also no limit on the number of bonus miles you can earn.  
  • Flexible reward-redemption options: Unlike some travel rewards cards, Discover lets you book rewards-funded travel yourself and get reimbursed for it. If you’d rather use your miles for a future purchase, you can also redeem them for cash back at the same rate as travel reimbursement.
  • Relatively long 0% APR intro period: It’s rare to find a travel card with such a long promotional period. The card currently offers one of the longest interest-free periods you’ll find on a travel card without an annual fee.   

Cons Explained

  • Limited acceptance internationally: Discover isn’t as widely accepted abroad as Visa or Mastercard, which is an inconvenience if you travel internationally a lot. 
  • Few additional travel benefits: Discover also doesn’t offer certain benefits you can get through other travel cards that don’t charge an annual fee, such as secondary rental car insurance and travel accident insurance. 
  • No miles-transfer options: You can’t transfer miles to airline loyalty programs, which, for instance, the Capital One VentureOne card allows. The only way to redeem your miles for travel is to turn them in for a statement credit  

Discover it Miles Sign-Up Bonus

The Discover it Miles card doesn’t offer a traditional sign-up bonus. Instead, Discover matches all the miles you earn in your card’s first year, which could be more lucrative. 

Say you charge $1,000 a month for the first 12 months and earn $180 worth of miles. Discover will credit your account with an additional $180 within one or two billing periods after the end of your first year, so you’ll have earned $360 worth of miles total. Other travel cards with no annual fee, by contrast, only award sign-up bonuses that are worth $200 to $250 in travel rewards.  

Note

This structure may also make it easier for those who aren’t big spenders to get a bonus, since it’s not dependent on reaching a certain spending threshold.

Earning Points & Rewards

Every purchase you make will earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent. Each mile is worth 1 cent, which is a pretty good value. And, unlike cards that give you the best rate when you book through an issuer rewards portal, you can also purchase the lowest-priced ticket you can find.

There are a number of cards available that offer the same rewards rate. However, the Discover it Miles leads the competition in its first year, when cardholders earn an unlimited 3 miles per dollar spent (which you can redeem for travel or cash).

The Discover it Miles card loses its edge after the first year, though. The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, for example, offers the same rewards rate to all cardholders and a higher rate for Bank of America customers. Meanwhile, the Citi Double Cash card offers a flat 2% cash back rate on every purchase cardholders repay in full.  

On the plus side, Discover Miles never expire. Discover will credit your account with your earnings if you close it or leave it dormant for 18 months. 

Redeeming Rewards 

It’s easy to redeem rewards on the Discover it Miles card. Log in to your Discover account and choose which travel purchases you want reimbursed. Or you can ask for cash to be deposited directly into your bank account. 

Travel purchases that qualify for a statement credit include airfare, hotel rooms, car rentals, cruise tickets, travel agent purchases, vacation packages, purchases through travel websites, taxis, limousines, and public transportation.

Tip

You may get more value from your miles with this redemption structure than you would with other travel cards, since you can sometimes find cheaper flights on a third-party website than on an issuer’s travel portal. 

No matter how you redeem them, each mile is worth 1 cent each.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

You’ll get the most value out of the Discover it Miles card if you use it for all or most of your purchases in the first year to get the Discover Match and take advantage of 0% APR. 

After the first 12 months, the Discover it Miles card can work well as a companion credit card, rather than your primary card. For example, try pairing it with another rewards card that earns more points on certain purchases, such as restaurants or airfare.

Any time you make a purchase that doesn’t earn a higher rewards rate on other cards, you can charge your purchase to the Discover it Miles card and earn 1.5 miles for every dollar you spend. And, if you travel abroad often, make sure your other card is widely accepted in the countries you visit if your Discover card isn’t.

Customer Experience

Discover is a customer-service favorite: According to J.D. Power’s most recent Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Discover ranked first out of 11 issuers in customer satisfaction. It offers 24-hour, U.S.-based customer service, and the ability to chat with an agent online.

Discover provides free access to your FICO credit score so you can monitor your credit, plus a highly rated mobile app that lets you check your balance, pay your bill, and review your rewards.

Security Features

If you can’t find your Discover card, you can instantly freeze it so that someone can’t use it without your permission. 

Discover also offers multiple security alert features. It will scan the dark web and notify you if it detects that your Social Security number is being circulated online. It will also alert you if a new account shows up on your credit report. Other Discover security features are on par with industry standards.

Discover it Miles’ Fees

This card doesn’t charge an annual fee or a late fee the first time you miss a payment. After that, Discover charges up to $39. There’s also no penalty APR, so you don’t have to worry about an interest rate increase if you fall behind on payments.

For Discover it® Miles

Compare This Card

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CURRENT CARD
Discover it® Miles
overall rating
4.7
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases
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Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.