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 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.
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 effectively earn 3 miles for every $1 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: The card currently offers one of the longest interest-free periods you’ll find on a travel card without an annual fee.
- 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 doubles all the miles you've earned once your first year is over.
While this makes the incentive less concrete than conventional bonuses, there's far more upside. Based on average household spending in the U.S. ($24,297 in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), we estimate you'll earn about $365 in rewards each year you have the card. That would make the first-year cash-back match worth $365 as well. By comparison, other cards with no annual fee have sign-up offers worth $200 to $300 in travel rewards.
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 & 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 as much as 2% cash back on every purchase.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.