Updated Feb 25, 2021 | Published Mar 11, 2020 • 11 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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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.
Discover it® Miles
Min. credit levelGood
Regular APRSee Terms
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
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.
Pay off expenses over time at zero interest: Use the intro purchase APR to pay for new purchases over time. Be sure to pay the minimum payment every month or you could lose your intro rate.
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 on all purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
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:
By an electronic deposit into the bank account of your choice
By a statement credit to pay for eligible travel, restaurant, and gas purchases within the past 180 days
By using Pay With Miles at select merchants like Amazon.com (an option will automatically appear where eligible)
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.
We recommend that you avoid the Pay With Miles option because you won’t earn any miles when you pay with rewards. Instead, pay with your Discover card as normal to earn miles, and then redeem your miles with a different method.
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 to Apply for the Discover it Miles Credit Card
You can apply for the Discover it Miles securely on Discover’s website. Discover will check your credit reports from the major credit reporting bureaus. Keep in mind your credit might take a small hit from the hard credit check.
Good credit scores will give you the best shot at approval, though credit decisions rely on more than just credit scores.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18 to apply
Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship status
Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage or rent payment
One of the differences between the two, however, is in their introductory APR periods. The Discover card offers an intro period for both purchases and balance transfers, while the VentureOne only features a purchase APR period.
The VentureOne credit card offers a welcome bonus of Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel, which is pretty good.
Capital One also 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 yourself 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.
For that price you’ll be able to earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides and 2X points on travel and dining purchases. That’s more rewarding than the Discover it Miles, but only for those purchases.
You’ll get a nice bonus of 80,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months; up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery purchases in the first year. 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.
5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides
2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
80,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months; up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery purchases in the first year
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.
DoorDash membership: You’ll get a free DoorDash membership for at least a year, known as a DashPass. This gives you free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12, which could help you save quite a bit if you tend to order out.
Refer a Friend: You can invite friends to apply for the Sapphire Preferred, and for every friend who’s approved you’ll get 15,000 bonus points. You can earn up to 75,000 bonus points per year in this way.
Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection is provided by Chase, and includes benefits at over 900 locations around the world. In addition to hotels and resorts, many lodges and spas can be found in the collection as well. Certain blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.
Shop through Chase/Chase Offers: Cardholders can get more points at select retailers with the Shop through Chase marketplace, and discounts through Chase Offers.
Chase Preferred Experiences: As a Sapphire Preferred cardholder you’ll have access to exclusive events and experiences provided by Chase. There aren’t very many available at a time, and they’re only available at select locations around the world.
Visa Signature Concierge: You can call 1-800-953-7392 to speak with your Visa Signature Concierge, 24/7.
Travel protections: Trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and more.
Shopping protections: Purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
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.
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.
5X Membership Rewards points per dollar (on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year, then 1X) on:
Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
75,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, in 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).
Amex Global Lounge Collection: Cardholders get complimentary access to over 1,000 airport lounges across 120 countries, including Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club, and more.
Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Global Entry ($100 every four years) and TSA PreCheck ($85 every four-and-a-half years) are programs that provide expedited screening at airports, and Amex will refund the application fee for one of these programs.
Hilton Honors Gold status: Enroll in this benefit and get some nice perks when staying at hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio. These include room upgrades, your 5th night free on reward stays, and an 80% bonus on Hilton Honors Base Points you earn.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status: Enroll in this benefit to get a number of convenient services when staying at Marriott Bonvoy properties.
$200 in Uber credits each year: You’ll get a statement credit for up to $15 in Uber rides each month, except for December, which has a $35 credit.
Fine Hotels & Resorts Collection: Book through Amex’s FHRC to get a daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, late checkout, early check-in, and more. Certain blackout dates may apply.
Platinum Dining program: Perfect for a night out on the town, American Express holds a reservation for you at over 1,000 top restaurants. Just call your concierge service and select “Dining” from the menu.
Amex Offers: You’ll have access to discounts at a wide variety of merchants — currently there are 73 different offers available, and the selection changes now and then.
Annual fee: $550
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
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 and Additional Centurion Cards only.
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
$550 annual fee.
American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.
Looking for some more rewarding cards to take with you around the world? Check out our picks for the Best Travel Credit Cards.
Have you used the Discover it Miles credit card? How do you like it? Let us know by leaving a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
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