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- Discover it® Miles Bonus
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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 Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® 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 Barclaycard Arrival® Plus 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® / Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards
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 the 50,000 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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