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Travel rewards credit cards can be some of the most valuable additions to a personal finance strategy because they help cardholders travel at a discount (and sometimes even for free).
However, there are many hurdles involved with finding the optimal travel credit card for your budget, and the Discover it® Miles credit card stepped in to help narrow the gap.
Discover is known for its streamlined banking and cash-back credit cards, and they also have a compelling travel credit card for the right consumer.
The world of travel rewards can seem daunting to those who are unfamiliar with leveraging points, working with travel transfer partners, and optimizing airline loyalty statuses.
Sometimes a simple solution is the most effective, and the Discover it® Miles credit card offers a powerful yet approachable option for consumers interested in learning about rewards travel.
In this review, we will discuss how the Discover it® Miles credit card works and help you decide if it is a good fit for your personal finances.
The Discover it® Miles credit card is offered by Discover as a counterpart to its cash back credit card (Discover It Cash Back).
Consumers who are interested in exploring travel rewards credit cards without committing to a card with a high annual fee or complex rewards system.
Along with competitive earning potential with the Discover it® Miles card, cardholders receive flexible redemption options, a lucrative bonus, and an extended 0% APR period depending on their financial situation.
Additional benefits of working with Discover include access to free monthly FICO scores and Social Security number protection.
The Discover it® Miles credit card generates rewards in the amount of 1.5x miles per dollar spent.
There are no rotating spending categories and no bonus spending months to manage, making this a compelling card, especially in its price point.
Cardholders can use the Discover it® Miles card at 99% of all merchants that accept credit cards across the United States.
However, if you plan on using your accumulated travel miles to go abroad, you may want to bring a secondary payment method just in case.
Many international vendors prefer Visa or Mastercard and may not accept your Discover card once you are there. However, if they do accept Discover, there is no foreign transaction fee to worry about.
Once you earn your miles, you can redeem them whenever you want with no minimums up to your total miles balance. You can redeem your miles by using them to cover travel expenses on your Discover statement.
Since Discover miles are valued at 1 cent each, $1,000 in spending will result in 1,500 miles equating to $15 worth of free travel.
However, if you don’t have any travel expenses coming up, you can opt to use your miles balance as cash and have the cash value directly deposited into your bank account.
Many travel-exclusive credit cards do not enable cardholders the ability to choose between travel and cash, which makes the Discover it® Miles card one of the more compelling choices in its market.
Along with flexible redemption options, the Discover it® Miles credit card offers a few enticing benefits for its cardholders:
The Discover it® Miles card charges no annual fee, which is a large relief for many people who want to see what travel credit cards are all about but are hesitant to pay an annual fee.
The Discover it® Miles’s earning rate is impressive for a no annual fee travel credit. The card earns 1.5x miles per dollar on every dollar spent, regardless of the category.
Most travel credit cards in this bracket and in higher luxury tiers only generate higher rewards on specific categories such as dining or grocery stores.
Consumers who desire a straightforward travel credit card with generous earnings will enjoy the simplicity offered by the Discover it® Miles card without the stress of shifting your spending to suit your credit card.
Discover offers one of the most unique introductory bonuses on the market, which other credit card companies are beginning to adopt.
Instead of a static bonus after spending a set amount of dollars, the Discover it® Miles card will issue a one-time bonus at the end of the cardholder’s first year, equal to the number of miles earned.
This essentially doubles total overall points, and it is a powerful way to turbocharge your points bank if you are planning a trip and would benefit from more miles.
Finally, the Discover it® Miles credit card offers a generous introductory APR for new cardholders and balance transfer
New customers receive 14 months of 0% APR on purchases which are competitive with some of the best intro
APR credit cards on the market.
Cardholders who enjoy this benefit can finance all new purchases interest-free for the promotional period, and once the initial 14-month promo ends, their regular APR will kick in.
Balance transfer customers receive a 10.99% intro APR for 14 months, and then it will shift to the variable APR of 11.99%-22.99%.
The Discover it® Miles credit card is unique because it offers many flexible travel points without an annual fee, but it does not offer any luxury perks, making it a great fit for some and lackluster for others. Let’s see how it stacks up against other popular travel credit cards:
The Discover it® Miles credit card is an entry-level travel credit card ideal for consumers who want to venture into the travel card space without paying annual fees.
Since the Discover it® Miles card earns unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar spent, with a 100% point bonus at the end of the first year, it is an excellent introduction to travel rewards cards with a straightforward structure.
Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a mid-tier travel credit card that most authorities consider the gold standard for travel cards that charge an annual fee.
For $95 annually, cardholders generate 5x points per dollar spent on Chase Travel, 3x points per dollar on groceries and dining, and more, including hotel credits.
Consumers who want a straightforward introduction to travel credit cards without paying annual fees may want to opt for the Discover it® Miles card to learn how points and booking travel works, but people who want a powerful one-size-fits-all travel card will enjoy the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is an ultra-premium travel rewards credit card that carries an annual fee of $695. Along with this Fee, cardholders receive annual credits to Uber, Amex travel, airlines, Saks 5th Avenue, and much more.
Consumers who can leverage the 5x points per dollar on hotels and airfare booked through American Express will thoroughly enjoy the host of luxury perks provided by the Platinum Card® from American Express.
This card is a luxury rewards card, and if you want the absolute best travel experience and can stomach the steep annual fee, it’s hard to compete with Platinum Card® from American Express.
On the other hand, the Discover it® Miles card has no annual fee, very few bells and whistles, and a straightforward rewards system. Each dollar spent equates to 1.5 miles which can be redeemed in any increment.
Compared with the Platinum Card® from American Express, the Discover it® Miles card is targeted at new travelers or spenders who prefer simple rewards without enrolling in reward programs and managing monthly credits.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is another premium rewards credit card that holds a $550 annual fee.
For this Fee, cardholders receive a $300 annual travel credit (effectively bringing the cost down to $250), 5x points per dollar on flights booked through Chase, 3x points per dollar spent on all travel and dining, and 50% bonus points redemption when you book travel through Chase with their Ultimate Rewards program.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a Visa Infinite credit card that comes with luxury hotel perks and credits, in addition to what Chase offers.
If expensive annual fees and luxury perks are not your priority, then the Discover it® Miles card may be a promising alternative, especially for the points bonus during the first year.
Whereas many credit cards have a set introductory spending bonus, the Discover it® Miles card does not. However many points you earn during the first year, Discover will give you as a bonus at the end of the year, essentially doubling your earning potential.
Here are some of the most common questions asked about the Discover it® Miles credit card:
The Discover it® Miles credit card strikes a happy balance between cash back and travel rewards opportunity without an annual fee. While higher-earning cards are on the market, most carry annual fees and are not as flexible in their rewards redemption. Cardholders can redeem their Discover miles for travel or cash back without a minimum redemption amount.
The Discover it® Miles credit card is worth it for consumers who are new to rewards credit cards or prefer the simplicity provided by Discover. Since there is a lot of potential upsides for earning points during the first year without an annual fee, it is certainly worth considering.
Travel rewards credit cards generally require higher credit scores from applicants, and consumers interested in the Discover it® Miles card should have credit scores ranging from good to excellent.
No, the Discover it® Miles card does not carry an annual fee.
The Discover it® Miles credit card hits the sweet spot for many consumers who are interested in learning how travel rewards work without paying annual fees for luxury perks.
Since cardholders can redeem their miles as cash back or for travel, they can quickly get a feel for how they prefer to use their rewards. This card is especially valuable to consumers who can leverage the first-year spending bonus.