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Is the Discover it Miles an ideal card for travel?

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Earning an unlimited 1.5X miles on all purchases, the Discover it® Miles is a great streamlined rewards card for occasional travelers. Since the card offers a 1:1 value for all redemption options, it still has the potential to bring value to cardholders in between travels.

Also featuring a few other useful benefits, the Discover it Miles could be a great travel credit card for you to have on hand.

Details of the Discover it Miles

One of the best benefits of the Discover it Miles card is that it has no annual fee, so you won’t have to worry about offsetting a yearly cost. You’ll also receive an automatic welcome bonus—coined Cashback Match—where Discover will match all of the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Another perk that’s unusual for most travel cards is that it offers a 15-month 0 percent introductory APR period on both purchases and balance transfers (followed by a variable APR between 11.99 percent and 22.99 percent). There are no foreign transaction fees associated with the card, to boot.

Is the Discover it Miles a good travel credit card?

Simple, flexible rewards

Earning rewards with the Discover it Miles is simple—you’ll rack up 1.5X miles for every purchase you make, which equals 1 cent per mile in value.

Redemption options are flexible; you have the option to redeem miles for cash back sent directly to your bank account, Amazon or PayPal purchases and even to cover your card’s minimum payment. You can also redeem for statement credits toward past travel purchases.

So, while the card is marketed as a travel card, the flat-rate rewards and redemption possibilities make it flexible enough to use as a standard cash back card. This is a good option for those who aren’t necessarily traveling often.

Solid welcome bonus

The Discover it Miles’ generous Cashback Match welcome bonus brings stress-free added value to cardholders during year one. All the miles you earn in the first year of opening your Discover it Miles card will be matched with no limit, even if you’ve redeemed a portion of them before the year is through.

If you earn 15,000 miles in the first year, for example, Discover will match that—meaning you’ll end the year with 30,000 miles (worth $300 in cash back). This welcome bonus is unique as it allows you to space out your spending over the course of a whole year as opposed to the span of a few months.

Introductory 0% APR period

With this Discover credit card, you’ll receive an introductory 0 percent APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. The ongoing variable APR after the introductory period is over is between 11.99 percent and 22.99 percent.

This perk is exceptionally beneficial to travelers looking to book a vacation they plan on paying off over a period of time. Because of the intro APR offer, you won’t have to worry about paying off interest accrued for travel expenses or balances you know won’t be paid off right away. If you’re planning on maximizing your spending in the first year of opening the card to get the most out of the welcome bonus, you can take advantage of this zero-interest offer for a full year and three months.

International travelers might look elsewhere

Discover cards aren’t as widely accepted outside of the United States when compared to other card issuers, so if you’re planning on using the card for purchases around the globe, you may want to consider a card on the Visa or Mastercard network.

However, if you’re set on opening a Discover card and are planning travels abroad, you can at least rest easy knowing you won’t be charged foreign transaction fees (wherever the card is accepted).

Cardholders can’t use miles to directly book travel

As noted above, the Discover it Miles card allows you to redeem miles for statement credits toward past travel purchases—like hotel stays, flights and rental car purchases—but you’re unable to directly book travel with the card (like with most traditional travel cards).

In the same vein, Discover doesn’t offer a list of hotel or airline transfers partners, meaning you won’t be able to transfer miles to a partner program for a potentially higher value.

Should I get the Discover it Miles?

The Discover it Miles card can definitely be an ideal card for travel, but it’s not necessarily suited for every traveler. Overall, the Discover it Miles will be most valuable for people who don’t travel very frequently or those who only plan on spending modestly for travel.

Because there’s no annual fee, cardholders won’t have to worry about losing money or offsetting a yearly fee. Also, because there’s a 1:1 value for all redemption options, you can use this card as you would a cash back credit card.

If you know you’re going to pay off a vacation over time, or carry a balance for your travel expenses, this card can definitely be a valuable choice. More frequent travelers could probably benefit more from opening a travel card with a higher rewards rate and the ability to transfer rewards to partner programs.

The bottom line

While the Discover it Miles card may not have as much value for larger spenders or more frequent travelers, it’s a good choice for those looking to spend modestly on travel while still earning miles.

The card offers a simple rewards rate—1.5X miles on all purchases—and flexible redemption options. Along with its zero-interest offer and Cashback Match welcome bonus, the Discover it Miles is a great card for occasional travelers.

Written by
Erin Bendig
Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing credit card information and personal finance advice with others.
Edited by
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Reviewed by
Associate Editor