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Updated July 21, 2017

Discover It Miles Review: Best Way to Travel More?

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
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Discover it Miles credit card rewards users with 1.5x miles and no annual fee (a rarity among travel credit cards). Even more appealing, as a promotion, the card will match the miles you earn at the end of your first year.

Overall Score

4.4

Rewards

4.5

Interest Rates

4.0

Fees

4.5

Benefits

4.5
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • 1.5x miles on purchases
  • No annual fee
  • First year promotional miles offer
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Some merchants don't accept Discover

Bottom Line

Excellent credit card with no annual fee for domestic travelers

Think the it Miles might be the travel rewards credit card for you? Read on to find out.

In this article, we'll explain the pros and cons of the Discover It Miles including the 7 reasons to consider the card and 3 reasons to look elsewhere.

Who This Card Is Best For

  • You like to travel: With this card, you earn miles every time you shop and you can save them to use towards a vacation one day.

  • You want a simple travel credit card: You’re not interested in all the airport lounge and upgrade offers made by other cards — in fact, talk of miles and frequent flyer programs confuses you. This card is simple to follow and simple to use: you can use your miles for statement credit for a travel-related purchase.

    Discover defines a travel purchase as: airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation.

  • You’re a fan of Discover and want to try something new: This card is fairly new but has many similar perks as other Discover cards (including the Freeze It security option and free FICO score).

Reasons to Get This Card

  • No Annual Fee: Travel reward cards usually have an annual fee, so it’s a pretty big deal that the Discover it Miles card has no annual fee whatsoever.

  • Reward Structure: The reward structure of this card is very simple — all spending earns 1.5 miles per dollar. At a conversion rate of 100 miles to $1 in reward redemptions, that’s an effective rewards rate of 1.5%.

  • Promotional Miles Offer: New cardholders get a special perk at the end of their first year as cardholders: Discover matches all the miles you’ve earned during that entire first year. So if you earned 20,000 miles, you’d get an additional 20,000 credited to your rewards account as a bonus. And there’s absolutely no limit to the amount of bonus miles you can get. This means an effective reward rate of 3% on purchases for the first year.

  • No Foreign Transaction Fee: International travelers will appreciate the lack of a foreign transaction fee. Many other credit cards charge a 3% fee on purchases made outside the United States.

  • WiFi Fee Reimbursement: Discover will issue a statement credit of up to $30 a year for in-flight WiFi fees paid with your It Miles card. This is a pretty good perk for a card with no annual fee.

  • Intro APR for 14 Months: There is an intro 0% APR period of 14 months for purchases (after that, variable APR of 11.99% - 23.99%). Perhaps you’re planning to book a large trip soon? You’ll get some breathing room before you have to pay it off.

  • Free FICO Credit Score: As with other versions of Discover it credit cards, the it Miles card includes your credit score on your statement each month — completely free.

    And Discover offers cardholders a free identify theft alert service. This service sends you an alert if your social security number is being used on the dark web and/or if any new credit cards, mortgages, car loans, or other accounts have been opened in your name. This helps protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.

Reasons to Look Elsewhere

  • You Could Find a Better Rewards Rate: Many travel rewards cards offer opportunities to earn extra miles or points on your regular spending, which can up your effective rewards rate to north of 2%. There are no such opportunities with the Discover it Miles card — you’re locked in to the 1.5% rate. That’s pretty good for a card with no annual fee, but depending on your spending patterns, you may be able to earn more rewards elsewhere.

  • No Transferring of Miles: Even though you earn “miles” with this card, they’re more like points. And you can only redeem them for statement credit toward travel purchases. You cannot transfer miles to a frequent flyer program, which oftentimes offer the best value for each mile.

  • Acceptance May Be Limited: Discover cards are not as widely accepted by merchants as Visa and MasterCard. That might be an issue when you shop at smaller, locally owned businesses that are less likely to be part of Discover’s network. And though there is no foreign transaction fee, some overseas merchants may not accept it.

Our Opinion: Is the Discover it Miles Worth It?

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Overall, this is a good general, all-purpose travel rewards credit card, especially if you really want one with no annual fee (which is not common for travel rewards cards). It also has a generous promotional offer of matching all miles earned at the end of the first cardholder’s year. Some other travel cards offer a better effective reward rate, but they have annual fees. The 1.5% flat rate offered by Discover it Miles is excellent, considering it has no annual fee.

Tip: If you travel frequently enough that you know you’ll be spending enough to make the annual fee worthwhile, then you may want to look into a travel rewards credit card with a higher rewards rate.

One serious downside of the Discover it Miles card is that you’re pretty much limited to only using it to redeem travel-related purchases. You are able redeem miles for straight-up cash back, but it’s hardly even worth mentioning, because the redemption rate is only half as great (0.75%).

So considering that the highest reward rate you get is 1.5%, you may feel like you’d be rewarded better with just a straightforward cash back card. The Citi Double Cash might offer more rewards, but it has no sign-up bonus. However, you’ll have greater flexibility in how you use it, not to mention that it’s more widely accepted by merchants. Even cards like Chase Freedom Unlimited or Barclaycard CashForward offer a flat 1.5% cash back rate.

The bonus miles match is a huge draw, but let’s do the math: If you spend $10,000 on your card in the first year, that equals 15,000 miles ($1 = 1.5 miles). Discover will match that 15,000 miles, which equals $150 in statement credit (100 miles = $1). This is a HUGE amount to spend to get $150. In comparison, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has a 1.5% cash back rate and offers a $150 bonus after just spending $500 in the first 3 months.

It really depends on what you want this card to be used for. It’s actually a very good basic travel rewards card with no annual fee, and the 1.5% reward rate is very decent. But considering that you’re limited to what you can redeem points for, you may want another card that offers more back. The thing that makes this card good for travel is that there is no foreign transaction fee (assuming overseas merchants will accept Discover).

How it Compares

If you’re still not sure whether Discover it Miles if right for you, let’s look at some other cards that may suit your needs better.

If you like Discover but prefer cash back:
Discover it credit card: The sister card of the it Miles is the regular Discover it card, which is more of a general purpose rewards card as opposed to a travel rewards card. Like the it Miles, the regular Discover it card has no annual fee, but the reward structure is quite different. Instead of a flat 1.5% rate, the Discover it earns rewards at a base rate of 1%, with the opportunity to earn up to 5% when you buy things that fall under the “bonus” spending categories that rotate quarterly throughout the year. It will also match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of the first year for new customers.

 

Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Cashback Match™

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% introductory APR for 14 months0% introductory APR for 14 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers10.99% introductory APR for 14 months0% introductory APR for 14 months
Purchase APR11.99% to 23.99% (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors11.99% to 23.99% Variable* based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR11.99% to 23.99% (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors11.99% to 23.99% Variable* based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Introductory Bonus Cash Back Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers).
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsIntroductory Bonus Airline Rewards: Discover will match all the miles you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers). 
Cash Back Rewards Cash Back Rewards: 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Bonus Cash Back Bonus Cash Back: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in rotating categories that change each quarter (requires free and easy sign-up for 5% Cashback Bonus)*
Limitations apply*. See issuer's website for additional program details.
Bonus Categories for 2017:
January - March 2017: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations, Ground Transportation & Wholesale Clubs
April - June 2017: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Home Improvement Stores and Wholesale Clubs
July - September 2017: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Restaurants
October - December 2017: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Amazon.com & Target
Travel RewardsTravel Rewards: 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases. Redeem Miles in any amount to credit travel purchases from your statement, or get cash at any time. 
Airline RewardsAirline Rewards: 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases. 
Bonus Airline RewardsBonus Airline Rewards: Discover pays you back for your in-flight Wi-Fi fees-up to $30 a year-with an automatic statement credit.* 
 Learn MoreLearn More

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

Discover it Miles: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees was obtained on July 3, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Discover It: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees was obtained on July 3, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Discover it® Miles and Discover it® Cashback Match™ has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you spend a lot on travel and dining out:
Chase Sapphire Preferred: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with a host of travel and purchase protections, and boasts a 1:1 point transfer rate to many popular frequent flier programs. There’s an annual fee (Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95) attached to it, though. The Sapphire Preferred lets you earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. But if most of your spending is outside of travel and dining, the 1.5% effective rewards rate of Discover it Miles will still be your best bet.

That said, depending on how you value transferring miles to airline transfer partners, the Sapphire Preferred might still be worth your consideration.

 

Discover it Miles

Chase Sapphire Preferred

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% introductory APR for 14 monthsN/A
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers10.99% introductory APR for 14 monthsN/A
Purchase APR11.99% to 23.99% (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.99% to 23.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR11.99% to 23.99% (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.99% to 23.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual feeIntroductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
 

Benefits and Features

Airline DealIntroductory Bonus Airline Rewards: Discover will match all the miles you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers). 
Points Deal Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
TravelTravel Rewards: 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases. Redeem Miles in any amount to credit travel purchases from your statement, or get cash at any time.Travel Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
AirlineAirline Rewards: 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases.Airline Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Bonus Airline RewardsBonus Airline Rewards: Discover pays you back for your in-flight Wi-Fi fees-up to $30 a year-with an automatic statement credit.* 
Hotel Hotel Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Points Point Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Restaurant Dining Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Airline Transfer Partners Airline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.
 Learn MoreApply Now

Discover it Miles: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees was obtained on July 3, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Discover it® Miles has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom Line

To review, here are the main pros and cons when considering the Discover it Miles:

Pros:

  • Flat 1.5% reward rate on all purchases
  • Matching of all miles earned at the end of the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Wifi fee reimbursement of up to $30/year

Cons:

  • No transfer of miles
  • Not a Visa/MasterCard

For a travel rewards card with no annual fee, the Discover it Miles is a pretty good card with a simple rewards structure and a great bonus opportunity. We’ve already talked about our opinion at length, so to recap:

It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use travel rewards card. The 1.5% reward rate is pretty good and you don’t need to keep track of your spending patterns. However, you are limited to only redeeming for travel purchases, so if you want more flexibility, you may find a better reward rate and more value in a straightforward cash back card.

Leah Norris is a research analyst at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Leah Norris at leah@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped travelers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Discover. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Discover.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on April 6, 2015. This content may have been updated on July 21, 2017. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check Discover website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Discover it® Miles, Discover it® Cashback Match™, and Citi® Double Cash Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Compare Discover it Miles to:

Compare Discover it Miles vs Chase Sapphire Preferred
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.99% - 23.99% Variable
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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