The Discover it® Miles Card doesn’t offer a typical sign-up bonus, but rather a bonus match of all the rewards you’ve earned during the first year. Depending on your usage, this can actually be much more rewarding, as we’ll review below.
This card has no annual fee and earns an ongoing rewards rate of 1.5% on all purchases. There are no categories to keep up with, and no cap on the amount of rewards you can earn.
While this card competes well with other no annual fee Travel and Cash Back credit cards, one inconvenient drawback is that Discover isn’t as widely accepted as Visa or MasterCard.
The Discover it® Miles Rewards Match
At the end of your first year, Discover will match all the rewards you’ve earned over the course of that first year only. To put things into perspective, the best competitor no annual fee credit cards typically have sign-up bonuses of $150-$200 (e.g. Chase Freedom®). If your credit card usage is at least $10,000 during that first year, you’ll have earned $150 in matched rewards with the Discover it® Miles Card. Spending $10,000 at a rate of 1.5X miles for every dollar will net you 15,000 miles, which are worth $150 when redeemed.
The good news with the rewards match is that you’re in control of the bonus potential. Spend $15,000 during that first year with the Discover it® Miles Card and you’ll earn 22,500 miles that are worth a $225 rewards match.
Redeeming The Miles
You have two options of redeeming your miles:
- Via statement credits for travel purchases made within the past 180 days. Travel Purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation.
- Via an electronic cash deposit directly into your bank account.
Previously, redeeming for a cash deposit would make your miles worth less. Now, you’ll always get $1.00 for every 100 miles you’ve earned. Because of this change, there’s not much reason to worry about keeping track of your travel expenses within the past 180 days for redemption purposes. You can basically view it as a cash back card with extra travel benefits.
With this change, the Discover it® Miles card competes better with both Travel cards and Cash Back cards. Also, unlike many other cards, there’s no redemption minimum so you can technically redeem at just one Mile if you wish.
After the 3% for the first year, the Discover it® Miles Card earns an ongoing 1.5% rewards rate. This is a good rate for a no annual fee credit card, and you’ll want to compare it with other no annual fee cards like the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards (1.5% & has a bonus) and the Citi Double Cash (2%, but no bonus). Both of those cards are more widely accepted than the Discover it® Miles card.
- No foreign transaction fee. Normally, this would be a great and expected benefit of a travel credit card. However, you’re going to come across many situations abroad where Discover simply isn’t accepted.
- FICO® Credit Score. Other card issuers (the Barclays Arrival® card is a good example) are starting to offer this benefit, and it’s a great tool to help you keep track of your credit.
- In-flight $30 Wi-Fi credit. This is a small unique benefit where you’ll receive $30 in in-flight Wi-Fi credits on your statement every year, valid for any Wi-Fi service in the sky.
- 0% Intro APR for 14 months on purchases. A Standard Variable Purchase APR applies afterwards.
Who’s this card good for?
- Someone who spends more than $10,000 the first year of cardmembership to make the rewards match worth more than $150.
- Someone who doesn’t spend much on an ongoing basis after the first year (there’s no annual fee to worry about).
- Someone who needs time to pay off purchases and takes advantage of the 0% intro APR on Purchases benefit.
Who’s this card bad for?
- Someone who spends primarily on travel and dining out, where cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® will earn better rewards despite the annual fee.
- Someone who spends enough annually to justify an annual fee, where cards like the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® will earn a higher ongoing rate.
What’s The Competition?
Here’s a bit more about the cards we mentioned earlier that you’ll want to compare the Discover it® Miles Card with.
Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
|The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® doesn't have an initial sign-up bonus offer. This card is targeted to high spenders that plan on carrying a good travel card for the long term. Instead of a bonus available upon account opening, cardholders are able to earn 25,000 loyalty bonus miles each and every year that they spend at least $25,000 in purchases. These 25,000 bonus miles are worth $250 in travel credits. The card also earns unlimited miles at the rate of 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases regardless of category. With the miles earning rate taken into account, spending $25,000 a year will net you 75,000 miles worth $750 in travel credits, and you'll be able to earn that amount yearly.As expected with any good travel card, there are no foreign transaction fees to be concerned with and you'll get the higher worldwide acceptance of a Mastercard, which is nearly equivalent to that of Visa and much better than Discover or American Express. If you're not a high spender who travels often, this likely will not be a suitable card option for your needs. Full Review|
|The Chase Freedom® credit card is going to earn you a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You can also earn another $25 bonus when you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase within this same 3 month period. People like this card because it earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories that change every quarter. The downside is you have to keep up with the quarterly categories, and activate the category each quarter before you can earn the 5%. You'll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.There's also a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on both Purchases and Balance Transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR will take over. The Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5. Many people have this as a supplemental card to use specifically on the 5% category spending, and use other other cards when it's more beneficial. The categories change each quarter, but historically they have included things like gas stations, grocery stores, and holiday shopping. There's no annual fee to be concerned with, so it fits well with such a strategy. Full Review|
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards
|The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards card will earn a $150 bonus when you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months.The bonus offer is comparable to its top competitors, but this card earns a respectable 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limit on how much you can earn. There are no spending categories to keep up with.|
There's a 0% introductory APR on both Purchases and Balance Transfers for the first 9 months with this card. After the introductory period, the rate will be a variable 13.99%-23.99% APR. The Balance Transfer fee is 3% on the amounts transferred within the first 9 months. People like this card because of the cash back rate, the flexibility to redeem your cash back for any amount, and there's no annual fee. Full Review
Citi Double Cash
|The Citi Double Cash Card now has a $100 sign-up bonus offer and also earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases. You'll earn 1% cash back for all purchases charged to the card. You'll then earn an additional 1% cash back when you pay off those purchases, as long as you pay at least the minimum due. There are no spending categories to keep up with.|
There is no longer a 0% introductory APR on Balance Transfers offer for this card, but the sign-up bonus is a great substitute. There's no annual fee with this card. Full Review
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
|The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card currently has an offer for 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Redeeming these bonus points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, which is praised by users, will get you $625 in value towards travel. |
The 50K bonus points are worth $625 because you get 25% more value whenever you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Ongoing rewards with this card include earning 2 points per $1 on Travel and Dining at restaurants. The annual fee is $95, but it is waived for the first year. Full Review
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