Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
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 bonus for new cardholders 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 to see if your frequently-traveled countries accept Discover. Or bring along an alternative card if you travel to places where Discover isn’t widely recognized.
Unlimited match on miles earned in the first year
Flexible reward redemption options
Relatively long 0% APR intro period
Limited acceptance internationally
Few additional travel benefits
No miles transfer options
- 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 earn three 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. You can also purchase the lowest-priced ticket you can find, since Discover allows reimbursement for travel booked on third-party websites. 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, let alone any other type of credit card. The card’s 14-month 0% offer is, according to The Balance’s data, two months longer than the average card.
- Limited acceptance internationally: Discover isn’t as widely accepted abroad as Visa or Mastercard, which is an inconvenience if you often travel overseas.
- 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 frequent flyer 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 Bonus for New Cardholders
The Discover it Miles card doesn’t offer a traditional welcome bonus of a lump sum if you can spend a certain amount of money in the first three months. Instead, Discover doubles all the miles you earn in the first year and awards them to your account after your twelfth month of card ownership.
Compared to conventional bonuses, there's far more upside based on average household spending ($24,297 in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). We estimate you'll earn a welcome bonus of $728 ($364 in rewards spending plus $364 match). By comparison, other cards with no annual fee have welcome bonuses that are worth $200 to $255 in statement credits or travel reimbursements. 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.
This structure may 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 and Rewards
Every purchase you make will earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent. Compared to other travel cards that have no annual fee, the card’s rewards rate and yearly rewards total are above average. There are a number of cards available that offer the same rewards rate. However, the Discover it Miles is the best among them its first year, when cardholders earn an unlimited 3 miles per dollar spent (which you can redeem for travel or cash).
Discover Miles never expire. Discover will credit your account with your earnings if you close it or leave it dormant for 18 months.
Each mile you earn with the card is worth 1 cent, which is right at the threshold The Balance considers necessary for a good rewards card.
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 reimbursement for via a statement credit. Or you can ask for cash to be deposited directly into your bank account.
Travel purchases that qualify for a statement credit include:
- Hotel rooms
- Car rentals
- Cruise tickets
- Travel agent purchases
- Vacation packages
- Purchases through travel websites
- Taxis, limousines, and public transportation
You can reimburse your rewards miles for any travel purchases made within the previous 180 days.
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 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.
If you travel abroad often, bring a Visa or Mastercard companion card. They’ll likely be accepted in the countries you visit if your Discover card isn’t.
According to J.D. Power’s 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Discover ranked second out of 11 issuers and fourth out of 11 in the Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study.
Discover offers 24-hour, U.S.-based customer service, and the ability to chat with an agent online. You also get complimentary access to your FICO credit score so you can monitor your credit. And, through Discover’s mobile app, you can check your balance, pay your bill, and review your rewards.
Discover 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.
Fees to Watch For
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 $40. There’s also no penalty APR, so you don’t have to worry about an interest rate increase if you fall behind on payments.