Discover it Miles Credit Card Review

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The Discover it Miles credit card offers solid 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
4.8
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 (%) 11.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 14 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
3.5
for Fees
3.5
for Rewards
3.0
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

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

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 See more cards
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure 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 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.

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 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. 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.

Cons Explained

  • 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 in the ($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.

Note

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. 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. 

Redeeming Rewards 

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:

  • Airfare
  • 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.

Customer Experience

According to J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Discover ranked first out of 11 issuers in customer satisfaction. J.D. Power ranks Discover’s app first out of nine credit card issuers, too.

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.

Security Features


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.

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Discover it® Miles
overall rating
4.8
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 (%) 11.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent.
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.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Discover. "Discover it Miles." Accessed May 11, 2020.

  2. Discover. "Important Information." Accessed May 11, 2020.

  3. J.D. Power. "2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study." Accessed May 11, 2020.

  4. J.D. Power. "2019 U.S. Banking and Credit Mobile App Studies." Accessed May 11, 2020.