Discover it® Miles review

Discover it® Miles review

Updated: February 28, 2023

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Updated: February 28, 2023

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For a card with no annual fee, the Discover it Miles card packs a punch – at least for the card’s first 12 months. New Discover cardholders enjoy a promotional rewards rate that rivals high-end cards that have pricey annual fees. Cardholders also get a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the card’s first 15 months (16.49% to 27.49% variable APR thereafter). But once the card turns 2, the rewards go from stellar to ho-hum, and the Discover it Miles card becomes a tougher sell for frequent travelers.

Unusual bonus offer

The Discover it Miles card forgoes the traditional sign-up bonus in favor of a more unusual promotional offer, that, depending on how much you spend, can be substantially more generous. For the card’s first year, Discover offers 1.5 miles for every dollar spent, and then matches those miles at the end of the card’s first year – effectively making every dollar you spend worth three miles instead. The triple rewards rate rivals those offered by higher-fee cards, but it doesn’t last forever. At the end of the card’s first year, cardholders go back to earning just 1.5 miles per dollar spent, which is just slightly better than average for similar no-annual-fee cards.

Solid rewards value

At approximately 1 cent per mile, the redemption value for miles earned through the Discover it Miles card is about average for a rewards card. But if you take into account the card’s generous bonus offer, cardholders can potentially earn a pretty good return for a no-annual-fee card. For example, we estimate that if you spend roughly $1,325 a month, you’ll rack up nearly $500 worth of rewards in just one year.

Flexible redemption

The card bills itself as a travel card, but you can opt for cash back or even redeem miles to pay any part of your bill including your minimum payment. Unlike many other travel cards, you also aren’t limited to flying with certain airlines or booking travel through a card issuer’s portal. Because Discover redeems miles by crediting your travel purchases directly to your account, you can fly any airline you want, when you want. You can also choose any hotel, car rental, cruise or vacation package. You can book your travel yourself and use your miles to pay for everyday expenses, such as public transportation and taxis.

A good value for less frequent travelers

In addition, the card offers a number of premium travel perks that help make traveling potentially less expensive. For example, cardholders aren’t charged a foreign transaction fee. Cardholders can’t transfer miles to airlines’ frequent-flier programs, though, which is a disappointment for frequent travelers.

Consumer-friendly practices

Along with American Express, Discover has earned a reputation for keeping its cardholders happy with exceptional customer service, making it a good choice for cardholders who want more customer-friendly service.  Discover is famously forgiving of cardholders who accidentally forget a payment, making it a good choice for consumers who want a safer credit card. Rather than charge a late fee or hike your APR when you miss your first payment, Discover automatically forgives it (after your first late payment, the late payment fee is up to $41).

Why get the Discover it Miles credit card?

  • You want a simple rewards card with a high rate of return.
  • You want a travel card with fewer restrictions.
  • You want rewards, but don’t want to pay an annual fee.
  • You want a safer, more consumer-friendly rewards card.

How to use the Discover it Miles credit card:

  • Use it as your primary credit card – at least for the first year.
  • Take advantage of the card’s free credit score feature and track your FICO® score with each statement.
  • Maximize the flexibility of the travel redemption by shopping for the cheapest flights.
  • For additional advice, check out our complete guide to transferring a balance to your Discover card.

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