Discover it® Miles
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If you want a credit card used for earning travel awards, you can do better than Discover it® Miles. In that regard, this card is fairly unremarkable.
But as a card for earning cash-back, Discover it® Miles is tops with a rate of 1.5% back for every $1 spent. And, since it’s a Discover card, they’ll match your rewards at the end of the first year, effectively turning that 1.5% into a whopping 3% Year 1 rewards rate.
The Discover it® Miles card is a cash-back credit card with identity issues. Although Discover calls it a travel credit card — and calls its rewards points as a travel card might — it really behaves more like a cash-back card. The only real travel perk with this card is the ability to apply your reward earnings as a credit toward airline purchases.
You also get an interest-free period of 14 months on purchases, so if you’re going to splurge on a trip that includes pricey airline tickets, this card could save you some money. Discover it® Miles charges no foreign transaction fees, so it could be a good choice to use if heading abroad.
As a stand-alone cash-back card that charges no annual fee, the 1.5% is about average. The end-of-year match makes it a top choice among cash-back cards – at least during your first year of ownership. The only other card that pays 3% back the first year is the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card, but that has a $59 annual fee (waived the first year) and you have to be a member of Alliant Credit Union to be eligible.
Travelers who are big spenders and road warriors might be better off with a card that pays bigger rewards on travel. There are cards that pay as much as 3% to 5% back on travel purchases and come with other plush perks like hotel upgrades.
The best plan with this card is to skip the miles and take the cash.
Who should own this card
Ignore the fact that this card has “miles” in its title, Discover it® Miles performs best as a cash-back card. If you’re looking for a high return without having to pay an annual fee, you should consider this card.
Fees and APR
- This card charges no annual fee.
- There are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the United States.
- On balance transfers, you’ll pay 10.99% APR for 14 months from the date of the first transfer. After the intro APR expires, you’ll pay a variable 13.74% to 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
- On purchases, you’ll pay a 0% intro APR for 14 months from the date of account opening. After the intro APR expires, you’ll pay a variable 13.74% to 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
- See Rates & Fees
Extras, perks and using rewards
There is no minimum amount required for redemption, and there’s no fee to redeem points for cash or airline miles.
Miles redeemed for cash can be electronically deposited into a bank account of your choice, starting at one mile. Miles redeemed for cash are paid at the same rate as they are when you redeem them to reimburse travel purchases.
Redemption is available for travel purchases only if the purchase was made within the last 180 days.
Discover warns that purchases made using mobile wallets, like Apple Pay, may not be eligible for reimbursement.
How this card compares
The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card includes some intriguing perks available to cardholders who have a banking relationship with Bank of America, but those extra goodies aren’t enough to make this a first-tier travel rewards credit card.
On the other hand, this is a good pick for any travel fan who wants to earn points, but doesn’t want to pay for the privilege.
The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card pays 3% back during the first year of card ownership, then 2.5% thereafter. You have to be a credit union member to be eligible for the card.
When it comes to rewards value, the Citi Double Cash Card ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards that charge no annual fee.
The card earns an unlimited 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay for those purchases. Big spenders may find this nets more cash-back overall as there’s no ceiling on what you can earn back.
Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid, straightforward cash-back rewards card that’s ideal for cardholders who just don’t have the time or energy to track spending categories. It ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards we track.
There are other cards that offer better rewards, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash-back on everything is an excellent reward coming from a no-annual-fee credit card.