- Rewards rate: Unlimited 1.5X miles on all purchases
- Welcome offer: All miles earned at the end of your first year will be matched
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent intro for 15 months
- Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent intro for 15 months
- Regular APR: 17.24 percent to 28.24 percent (variable)
Current welcome offer
Instead of a traditional sign-up bonus, Discover will match all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
While this may seem like a clear disadvantage compared to an upfront welcome offer, cardholders who spend highly in their first year could potentially get more value out of this offer than they would with a traditional sign-up bonus.
For example, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card earns 20,000 miles after you spend $500 on purchases within your first three months, worth $200 if you redeem Capital One miles for travel through the issuer’s portal. By comparison, spending just over $13,000 by the end of your first year with your Discover it® Miles card would earn you about 20,000 bonus miles, worth at least $200 in rewards. Discover would match those miles, giving you a total of 40,000 miles in your first year, worth $400 in travel.
As you can see, you’ll certainly need to maintain a decent spend over the first year to make the Discover it® Miles card’s welcome bonus comparable to other card offers, but the earning potential is unlimited.
You’ll earn unlimited 1.5X miles on all purchases. Although this is Discover’s only travel card, earning and redeeming Discover miles may be familiar if you’re used to flat-rate cash back cards.
How you earn
Given that the Discover it® Miles is a no-annual-fee travel card, its 1.5X bonus mile rate could be hard to beat if you’re sticking to flat-rate rewards. One of Discover it® Miles’ closest rivals is the Capital One VentureOne card (See Rates and Fees), since it doesn’t have an annual fee, but it only earns a flat 1.25X miles. Although other flat-rate rewards cards earn at slightly higher rates, the Discover it® Miles stacks up pretty well as a middle-of-the-road option. Plus, it has the added benefit of retaining the value of your points across a range of different redemption options.
How to redeem
Rather than using your miles to book travel accommodations such as flights, hotels, vacation packages or rental cars, you use miles to reimburse yourself for travel purchases via statement credits.
Discover’s definition of travel is very broad, and you can earn credit to cover purchases including airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, travel website bookings, travel agents, commuter transit and gas stations — as long as they’re made within the past 180 days. You can’t get much more flexible than that.
Since miles are used for reimbursement and not for booking, you won’t have to worry about seat restrictions or blackout dates when you can’t use travel rewards to book accommodations. For this flexibility, you will have to sacrifice the ability to transfer miles to other loyalty travel programs.
The upside to Discover’s program is that it offers a unique 1:1 value for all redemption options. With many other cards, your mileage value usually plummets when you redeem for anything outside travel, but with the Discover it® Miles card, you’ll still get a value of 1 cent per mile when you redeem at checkout on Amazon.com or PayPal.com and for cash back via direct deposit. Plus, Discover now allows you to pay your credit card bill with your miles — even the minimum payment.
Unfortunately, you can’t redeem miles for gift cards like you can with Discover's cash back credit cards, which add an additional 5 percent to 20 percent value to the gift card balance. But the big takeaway is that you can use this card as a flat-rate cash back card if you’re unsure when you’ll travel next. That’s an excellent backup option to have if you’re looking for a starter card.