The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Discover it® Miles Review

Eric Bank

By: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Editor: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Reviewer: Danielle Spurlin

Danielle Spurlin
Danielle Spurlin

With more than 10 years of accounting experience, Danielle Marshall has a deep understanding of many financial disciplines, including personal and commercial lending, retirement annuities, financial forecasting, and general bookkeeping. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida's Fisher School of Accounting and currently manages all accounts receivable and payable for the parent company of CardRates.com. She works directly with credit card issuers and advertising partners to ensure our content meets compliance expectations and regulatory standards.

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Discover it® Miles Review

Rated 4.8 /5.0 ★★★★★

The Discover it® Miles belongs to a relatively small group of cards that offer rewards in the form of generic miles, i.e., miles unaffiliated with any particular airline. Typically, travel credit cards offer points, but this card’s miles are pretty much the equivalent.

The card’s simple reward structure, introductory offers, and low overall cost make it a favorite for travelers who don’t want to commit to a specific airline’s frequent flyer program. We review it and three competing travel cards that offer similar versatility.

Because it’s a Discover card, you know you’ll get good value when you own one.

What to Know About the Card

The Discover it® Miles lets you earn unlimited 1.5X miles on every dollar of every purchase — from groceries to online shopping, and your rewards never expire. The card does not charge foreign transaction or annual fees and does not charge a fee for your first late payment.

You can redeem your rewards to pay for travel expenses, including airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agent fees, commuter transportation, online travel sites, dining, and gas purchases. If you prefer, you can cash out your miles for a statement credit or electronic deposit to your bank account. You can also take advantage of the card’s Pay with Miles feature for Amazon.com and PayPal purchases.

The card offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, 0% Intro APR (15 months) on purchases and 0% Intro APR (15 months) on balance transfers, after which the standard 17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR kicks in. New cardmembers receive a Mile-for-Mile match on all rewards posted during the first year of account ownership.

Your airline miles have a fixed value and never expire, and you’ll receive a check for unused miles if you close the account. All Discover cards provide multiple security features to keep your account safe and your data private.

How to Qualify & Apply

You must have good to excellent credit (i.e., a FICO score of 670 or higher) to qualify. You also must be a US citizen, 18 or older, with enough income to afford your monthly minimum payments. You can apply directly on Discover’s website and learn more about the card detailed in the bullets below:

Disclosure: When you apply through links on our site, we often earn referral fees from partners. For more information, see our ad disclosure and review policy.

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CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Unlimited Mile-for-Mile match for all new cardmembers—only from Discover. Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. You could turn 35,000 Miles to 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase
  • No annual fee
  • Turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 17.24% - 28.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR will apply.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

During the application process, you can request one or more balance transfers. You should get an immediate decision from Discover, although there may be a delay if the credit check uncovers discrepancies between your application and your credit reports.

You can e-sign the cardmember agreement if Discover approves your application and expect the card to arrive in the mail within five business days.

You may be eligible for multiple Discover credit cards, but the card issuer permits only two cards per individual. You need to own your first Discover card for at least 12 months before you can apply for a second.

Benefits & Drawbacks to Consider

The Discover it® Miles card offers many benefits despite its $0 annual fee. The following chart summarizes the card’s benefits and drawbacks.

BENEFITS
Simple Travel Rewards You earn unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar on all eligible purchases.
Mile-for-Mile Match Discover matches all the miles posted in the first year.
Flexible Redemption Options Redeem miles for travel, cash back, Amazon.com, or PayPal purchases.
No Foreign Transaction Fees Ideal for international travel.
No Late Fee on First Late Payment The card waives the first late payment fee.
Free FICO® Credit Score You receive monthly access to your FICO score.
Free Social Security Number Alerts You receive alerts for potential fraud when your SSN appears on the Dark Web.
U.S.-Based Customer Service Discover’s 24/7 Customer Support is top-rated.
Complimentary Card Design You can choose your card design when you apply.
0% Introductory APRs 0% Intro APR (15 months) on new purchases and 0% Intro APR (15 months) on balance transfers, after which the regular APR applies.
Freeze it® Feature Temporarily prevent new purchases if your card is lost or stolen.
Mobile App Discover provides a highly-rated mobile app for easy account management, available on Google Play Store and Apple Store.
DRAWBACKS
Limited Acceptance Outside the US Discover may not be as widely accepted internationally as Visa or Mastercard.
End of Mile-for-Mile Promotion The Mile-for-Mile match promotion ends after the first year.
No Transfer Partners You can’t transfer miles to airline frequent-flier programs.
Balance Transfer Fees Apply to all transfers. See terms.
Cash Advance Fees Fees apply for cash advances.
Credit Score Requirement The card generally requires a good to excellent credit score to qualify.
Late Payment Penalty A fee applies for late payments after the first waived instance.
Lack of Travel Benefits This card doesn’t offer the same travel benefits available on other cards, such as rental car insurance.

The Mile-for-Mile match can be quite lucrative, but it is only available in your first year of card membership.

More Travel Cards Worth a Look

These three cards are excellent alternatives to the Discover it® Miles. One charges an annual fee, but the other two deliver many perks without the yearly fee. All three are from different banks, so one may make more sense if you already do your banking with one of these institutions.

    Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Review

    at Bank Of America'ssecure website

    BEST OVERALL RATING

    ★★★★★
    4.9

    OVERALL RATING

    • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
    • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
    • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
    • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
    • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
    • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
    • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
    Intro (Purchases)
    Intro (Transfers)
    Regular APR
    Annual Fee
    Credit Needed
    0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
    0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days (Balance Transfer Fee 3% for 60 days from account opening, then 4%)
    19.24% - 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
    $0
    Excellent/Good

    Additional Disclosure: Bank of America is a CardRates advertiser.

    The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers customers an extended period of 0% intro APRs on purchases and balance transfers. The card delivers a flat rewards rate, denominated in points, on all eligible purchases. Your rewards never expire while the account remains open. This Visa card doesn’t charge annual or foreign transaction fees.

    You can redeem your points for a statement credit for dining and travel purchases without blackout dates or booking restrictions. You earn up to 75% more points if you belong to the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.

      BEST OVERALL RATING

      ★★★★★
      4.9

      OVERALL RATING

      • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
      • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
      • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
      • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
      • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
      • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
      • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
      • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies
      Intro (Purchases)
      Intro (Transfers)
      Regular APR
      Annual Fee
      Credit Needed
      0% for 15 months
      0% for 15 months
      19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
      $0
      Excellent, Good

      The miles you earn from the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card allow you to fly any airline, anytime, without restricting you to a particular travel schedule or carrier. This no-annual-fee card provides new cardmembers with an introductory 0% APR promotion for purchases and balance transfers. It also offers a lucrative signup bonus.

      This travel credit card pays a bonus rewards rate on rental cars and hotels you book through Capital One Travel. You can redeem your rewards to receive reimbursement of travel expenses, pay for bookings on the Capital One Travel portal, or cash them in for a statement credit, check, or gift card.

        BEST OVERALL RATING

        ★★★★★
        4.9

        OVERALL RATING

        • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
        • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
        • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 75,000 points are worth $937.50 toward travel.
        • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
        • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
        • Member FDIC
        Intro (Purchases)
        Intro (Transfers)
        Regular APR
        Annual Fee
        Credit Needed
        N/A
        N/A
        21.49%-28.49% Variable
        $95
        Good/Excellent

        Unlike the other reviewed credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card charges an annual fee, but its rewards and benefits justify the yearly charge. The card offers a generous signup bonus and a tiered rewards plan, denominated in points worth 25% more when redeemed through Chase Travel.

        You can also redeem your points for cash or pay for Amazon.com and Apple purchases. In addition, you can transfer your points 1:1 to any participating loyalty rewards program. The card provides a broad array of travel insurance and consumer protection benefits.

        Cardholder Reviews on Reddit

        Here are a couple of thoughtful reviews posted on Reddit about the card which may help sway your decision one way or another.

        This positive comment is from soundboythriller:

        “I got this card in January, and I’m pretty happy with it. They started matching my miles in February, so I assume they’ll continue doing it until next February. With their matched miles, I’m already set to earn $215 off my next trip (although, as other people have said, you can convert it to money too), and I’ve still got a few months of matching left.”

        For partial_to_fractions, the card is a big yawn:

        “It’s probably a “travel card” because all the issuers have one, and the marketing department decided they needed one too. There are so many 1.5X Visa/Mastercard cards with no foreign transaction fees that would make a better “travel card” lol. I kind of wish Discover would revamp most of its lineup to be competitive.”

        The Discover it® Miles card does not evoke much excitement on web forums. Many see it as a cash back card since you can easily cash in your miles.

        FAQs: What is the Card’s Credit Limit?

        All the Discover cards for good to excellent credit share the same credit limit policies. You cannot request a specific amount, but the reported minimum credit line is $500. Some cardowners report credit limits of $50,000 or more.

        Discover bases its credit limits on the information in your consumer reports and your application. It may also check other sources bearing on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers you request while applying do not impact your credit line.

        How Much are 50,000 Discover Miles Worth?

        Discover miles are worth a penny each regardless of how you redeem them, so 50,000 miles translate into $500. To earn that many miles, you’ll have to spend (50,000 miles / 1.5 miles per dollar), or $33,333 on eligible purchases. But in the first year, you need to spend only $16,666 thanks to the Mile-for-Mile match.

        Your miles never expire. Discover will send you a check for your miles balance if you close your account or leave it dormant for 18 months. Most other issuers simply confiscate your unredeemed rewards.

        Can I Use Discover Miles for Flights?

        You can use your Discover miles for flights and other travel-related expenses. But the truth is that you can redeem your miles for a statement credit for any purchases, so there’s really nothing special about using your miles for travel.

        You can redeem your miles for airline flights without using a specific travel portal. The card imposes no blackout dates or capacity controls. All you have to do is find the flight you want, book it with your Discover it® Miles, and pay for your trip by redeeming your miles.

        The card does not charge foreign transaction fees, but it also doesn’t provide travel insurance or other travel-related perks. You may want to consider more beneficial travel cards (such as the trio reviewed above) — some offer many more perks with no or modest annual fees.

        How Does it Compare to the Discover it® Cash Back Card?

        You would think that a cash back and miles card would have little in common, even if they come from the same issuer. But in this case, the Discover it® Miles and Discover it® Cash Back card differ only in their reward denominations and rates. Otherwise, they are pretty much the same.

        Discover it® Miles Discover it® Cash Back
        Card Type Travel Cash Back
        Annual Fee $0 $0
        Rewards Earning 1.5 miles per $1 spent on everything Rotating 5% categories you activate each quarter on up to $1,500 spent per quarter; 1% on everything else
        Sign-up Bonus Mile-for-Mile match in the first year Cashback Match™ at the end of the first year
        Rewards Redemption Statement credit for travel, cash as an electronic deposit Statement credit, direct deposit, charities, Amazon/PayPal, gift cards
        Foreign Transaction Fee None None
        Intro APR on Purchases 0% Intro APR (15 months), standard APR after. 0% Intro APR (15 months), standard APR after.
        Freeze it® Feature Yes Yes
        U.S.-Based Customer Service Yes Yes
        FICO® Credit Score Access Yes Yes
        Social Security Number Alerts Yes Yes
        First Late Payment Fee Waiver Yes Yes
        Other Notable Features No penalty APR No penalty APR

        Frankly, we would like the Discover it® Miles card to provide more travel-specific benefits, such as trip insurance or free baggage check. Ultimately, the choice comes down to whether you prefer a rotating-category cash back plan or a simple, flat rewards rate.

        Is it Worth Getting the Discover it® Miles Card?

        This card saves you money through its rewards program, providing a flat rate for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases. New cardmembers receive additional value through the first-year Mile-for-Mile match of all the miles posted during the first 12 months.

        The introductory 0% APR eliminates interest on purchases and transferred balances during the promotional period. After which, the regular APR applies. For identity protection, the card offers free Social Security number alerts and the ability to freeze your account instantly. Additionally, this no-annual-fee card includes fraud protection and no penalty for the first late payment.

        But the card’s benefits are no match for travel cards that charge an annual fee. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card gives you many travel and consumer perks missing from Discover it® Miles. You should consider whether paying an annual fee is worth the extra benefits you receive.

        This Card May Be For You If…

        The Discover it® Miles card may belong in your wallet if you value the following benefits:

          • Rewards and savings: It offers an unlimited 1.5X rate on all purchases. The Mile-for-Mile match for new cardmembers doubles your first-year rewards. There are no annual or foreign transaction fees, penalty APRs, or fees on the first overdue payment.

          • Security features: The card’s free Social Security number alerts, Freeze it®, and $0 fraud liability protect your identity and financial information. Instant account freezing can prevent unauthorized purchases on lost or stolen cards.

          • Consumer-friendly policies: The card’s top-rated, US-based customer service is available 24/7. Additionally, the card offers an introductory 0% APR for an extended period on purchases and balance transfers (after which the regular rate applies), providing flexibility for large expenses or credit card consolidation.

        Discover it® Miles belongs on your short list of no-annual-fee travel cards. But it may not be your first choice, given the stiff competition it faces from other miles and points cards. We suggest you carefully compare the card to the other credit cards in this review.

        About the Author

        Eric Bank
        Eric Bank Finance Expert

        Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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        Eric Bank