Updated Oct 20, 2021 | Published Mar 11, 2020 • 9 min read
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The Discover it Miles provides 1.5X miles per dollar on all your purchases. While not the most rewarding option, it is fairly simple, and Discover will double what you earn in your first year to make it a bit more lucrative.
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Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
Although the Discover it® Miles card doesn’t have a lot of flashy features and a bevy of luxurious travel benefits, like some travel credit cards, it’s a good offer overall.
Why We Like It
1.5X miles for every purchase
Double miles in your first year
A lengthy introductory rate for purchases
Free FICO Score 8 from TransUnion
No annual fee
Why It Could Be Better
Limited benefits, no travel-specific perks
When redeeming for statement credits, redemptions must be for travel, gas station, or restaurant purchases within the past 180 days
The Discover it® Miles is a simple, no annual fee travel credit card that offers 1.5X miles per dollar for every purchase you make, no matter where you shop. That will be the equivalent of 1.5% cash back.
It doesn’t have a lot of extra perks and benefits, though it’s quite flexible compared to most travel cards because it provides the full value of 1 cent per mile no matter how you redeem your rewards.
Discover makes this card more rewarding by doubling the total number of miles you earn in the first year to 3X miles per dollar, or 3% cash back, a unique offer that will scale up to fit however much you spend. You can take advantage of the introductory interest rate on purchases to help fund a trip, a nice feature that not all travel cards share.
The Discover it Miles is a solid offer when it comes to travel cards with no annual fee. Read on to learn more and see what makes it so good.
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
Use it everywhere, or combined with other cards: Use the Discover it Miles to earn the equivalent of 1.5% cash back (or 3% in the first year). If you have multiple cards, use this card whenever you won’t earn more rewards with a different card.
Deposit rewards into a bank account: Redeem your miles directly into a bank account for the simplest way to access your rewards. This will let you redeem them even if you don’t have any travel/gas/restaurant expenses to use them for.
Be aware of Discover availability abroad: Take the Discover it Miles along with you outside the country because you won’t be charged any extra fees for foreign transactions. But take note that Discover has limited acceptance outside the U.S., especially in Canada and Europe.
With this travel rewards card you’ll earn 1.5X miles per dollar for every purchase, which is the equivalent of 1.5% cash back.
After your first year of card use Discover will double the rewards you earned, so you would get 3X miles per dollar in that first year— equal to 3% cash back.
1.5X miles per dollar spent on all purchases
Discover Match: Double miles earned during the first year, awarded at the end of the first year
You can earn an unlimited number of miles, and they won’t expire as long as your account is open.
The regular rate of 1.5X miles per dollar is pretty good but Discover will double the miles you earn after one year, meaning you’ll effectively be earning 3X miles per dollar for that first year after account opening. That’s a great deal!
You’ll always get a value of 1 cent per mile, no matter how you redeem. This is a handy feature compared to many cards, where you’ll only get the best rate for one or two redemption methods.
Miles can be redeemed in three different ways:
Deposit into a bank account (best option)
Statement credits to pay for eligible travel, restaurant, and gas purchases within the past 180 days
Pay With Miles at select merchants like Amazon.com
The simplest method would be to designate a bank account, and have the rewards redeemed directly into it on a periodic basis. This is a nice feature to have on a travel credit card, because it means you can access your rewards even if you don’t happen to have any travel expenses in a given year.
You can also redeem your miles for statement credits to pay for past travel, restaurant, and gas purchases, which will reduce the balance of your account.
Eligible travel purchases include:
Commercial Airline Tickets
Taxis and Limousines
Local and Suburban Commuter Transportation
Charter Tours, Bus Lines
FICO Credit Scorecard: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
Cash at Checkout: At eligible retailers you can get cash at checkout, a handy way to get some money without going to an ATM. The extra cash will be counted as part of your purchase.
Refer a Friend bonus: Earn a $100 statement credit bonus for every friend you refer who’s approved, up to 10 friends per year. If your friend makes a purchase within three months of opening the account, he or she will earn a $100 bonus too.
Free Social Security number alerts: Discover searches for your Social Security number on thousands of risky sites and will alert you if your information was compromised.
New account alerts: Get notified of credit inquiries and new accounts on your Experian credit report.
$0 Fraud Liability Guarantee: If your card is lost or stolen, you are not liable for any fraudulent charges made to your account. Contact customer support immediately if you suspect fraud.
Fraud Protection: Discover monitors your account around the clock for suspicious or unusual activity.
The Terms & Fees
Balance Transfer APR
Cash Advance APR
See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
Foreign Transaction Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Cash Advance Fee
Returned Payment Fee
This is a pretty affordable card, with no annual fee to worry about. It can be completely free to use as long as you avoid interest and fees by always paying off your balance in full each billing cycle.
The Discover it Miles has no foreign transaction fee, which is a great feature to have on travel credit cards. This means you can bring it with you anywhere in the world and you won’t have to worry about an extra charge, as long as Discover is accepted.
The Bottom Line
The Discover it® Miles is a contender if you’re looking for a simple credit card that will reward you for traveling. While not the most rewarding card for travelers, its simplicity can be attractive to some.
It’s a general-use travel card, offering its 1.5 miles per dollar for every purchase you make no matter what type. This means you can earn miles at a pretty fast rate, especially because Discover will double the total miles you earn at the end of your first year.
Overall, it’s not the most rewarding travel card but it has no annual fee, and Discover makes it easy to redeem your rewards either for travel expenses or otherwise. This means it’s a good option if you want to optimize your rewards with multiple cards because you can easily earn the equivalent of 1.5% cash back for every purchase with this card, making it good for any spending when you would otherwise only earn 1% cash back.
How Do I Apply for the Discover it Miles Credit Card?
What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Discover it Miles?
It’s recommended that you have good credit before applying.
Having good credit means your FICO scores are at least 670, or your VantageScores are at least 700.
That said, don’t count yourself out if your scores aren’t exactly there. Credit card issuers look at more information, including income and monthly rent or mortgage payments, when deciding your creditworthiness. The extra info could lead to your approval even if your scores aren’t at the recommended level. However, that means you could be denied even if they are.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Discover it Miles a good credit card?
It’s pretty good. While not the most rewarding, it’s a simple travel card that’ll provide a cash back equivalent of 1.5% for all of your purchases. It doesn’t offer much in the way of benefits, but it doesn’t have an annual fee, so you could pair it with another, more rewarding card that does have strong benefits, like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ (Review).
What is the credit limit of the Discover it Miles?
The minimum credit limit for the Discover it Miles is $500. Credit limits will vary from person to person; they’re determined by your credit scores, credit utilization, past payment history, income, and other factors.
How do Discover miles work?
You earn miles for every purchase, and you can redeem them in one of three ways. No matter how you redeem, your Discover miles will be worth 1 cent.
Deposit into a bank account
Statement credits to pay for eligible travel, restaurant, and gas purchases within the past 180 days
Pay With Miles at select merchants like Amazon.com (an option will automatically appear where eligible)
Capital One has a selection of airline partners to which you can transfer miles, giving you a way to earn a higher return on spend. With Discover, you’re stuck with 1 cent per mile.
The VentureOne has stronger benefits, especially if you qualify for the Visa Signature version of the card.
These cards are alike in most ways. If you’re wondering between them, the main question to ask would be if you want to earn miles at a slightly higher rate with the Discover it Miles, or get better benefits and transfer opportunities with the Capital One VentureOne Rewards.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
For that price you’ll be able to earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides and travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You’ll get 3X points on dining, streaming services, online grocery store purchases, and 2X on other travel purchases. That’s more rewarding than the Discover it Miles, but only for those purchases.
You’ll get a nice bonus of 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. To earn that much with the Discover it Miles in your first year, when Discover will double your earnings to 3 miles per dollar, you’d need to spend a whole lot of money.
The Sapphire Preferred has the definite edge on extra benefits, and also provides extra points at select retailers through the Shop Through Chase program, along with more discounts through Chase Offers.
This card will cost more annually, but it provides a more lucrative rewards program along with flexible redemption options. You’ll have to choose which card best suits your spending habits.
Online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for other Travel purchases
1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
The travel category includes the types of expenses you’d expect, along with some others you might not expect. In all, it covers:
Car Rental Agencies
Discount Travel Sites
The Sapphire Preferred has a few redemption options, one of which allows you to transfer points at a 1:1 rate to a variety of frequent traveler programs, like the British Airways Executive Club or Marriott Bonvoy. This is one of the best ways to use your points because you can often get the equivalent of upwards of 4%, 5%, or even 6% cash back. The Discover it Miles does not allow you to transfer rewards to other programs.
10% annual point bonus: Get a 10% bonus on all points earned in the past year; awarded on your account anniversary.
25% redemption point bonus: Get 25% more value when redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards; that means each point is worth 1.25 cents. Chase may give a 25% bonus for other redemption types as well.
Point transfer: Transfer points at a 1:1 rate to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs, like Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus.
DoorDash membership: Get a free membership (DashPass) for at least a year, which provides free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12.
$60 Peloton credit: Enroll to get up to $60 back for an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership (through 2021). No fitness equipment is required.
Shop through Chase/Chase Offers: Earn more points by shopping at participating retailers with the Shop through Chase and Chase Offers shopping portals.
Visa Signature Concierge: Call to speak with your Visa Signature Concierge any time, day or night.
Primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Get primary coverage on eligible rental vehicles so you don’t have to pay for rental insurance and your premiums won’t go up after an accident.
While it does have an annual fee of $99, it comes with a higher rewards rate than the Discover it Miles. You’ll earn 2X points on groceries and at restaurants, and a far superior 9X points on JetBlue airfare (6X from the card, 3X or more from the flight).
You’ll also receive 10% of the points you redeem back, along with a few extra perks. These include a 50% in-flight discount on purchases, a yearly credit when you purchase a JetBlue Getaways vacation package, and your first checked bag will be free.
So if you enjoy flying with JetBlue, you’ll earn quite a bit for your loyalty and get a few extra traveling perks over the Discover it Miles.
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
$200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
$240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
$155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
$200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
$200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
$300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
$179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
If the Discover it Miles is on the low end of travel cards, it’s good to see what the high end looks like.
Some of the elite benefits include awesome lounge access, $200 in yearly Uber credits (limited to $15 per month and $35 in December), and an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. You’ll also have access to a wide variety of discounts and special offers at hotels through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, coming to an average value of $550 per year.
And that’s not even all of the perks and benefits. The Discover it Miles really can’t compete with a high-end card like this, and while it costs quite a bit more, it has plenty to offer in recompense.
Flights booked directly through airlines or through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year, then 1X)
Prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel
2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through Amex Travel
1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on other eligible purchases
100,000 bonus points for spending $6,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months
You’ll be earning rewards at a pretty fast rate as long as you travel often enough, and those points can be transferred to a variety of frequent traveler programs where they might be even more valuable. The value of your points will vary quite a bit when you transfer them, depending on where and how you use them, but if you can get 2 cents per point you’ll be getting the equivalent of 10% cash back (when earning at the 5X rate).
$300 Equinox credit: Pay with your Platinum card to get up to $300 in statement credits annually with Equinox (up to $25 per month), for Equinox All Access, Destination, E by Equinox, or Equinox+ membership fees.
$240 digital entertainment credit: Pay with your Platinum card to get up to $240 in statement credits annually for digital entertainment (up to $20 per month), only for eligible purchases from Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times.
CLEAR credit: Up to $179 in statement credits annually for CLEAR biometric security, enough for a membership.
Uber VIP status: Add your Platinum card to the Uber App to get Uber VIP status where available.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four and a half years)
Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay
Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more at eligible properties
$100 annual Saks credit: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December
Global Dining Access by Resy: Resy provides access to exclusive reservations and dining experiences.
Point transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel loyalty programs
Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection; Extended Warranty; Return Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance; Trip Delay Insurance; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $695
Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.
Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
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