If you’ve been looking for a simple way to earn travel rewards on all of your purchases, the Discover it® Miles might be exactly what you’re looking for. Unlike other popular cards that force you to keep track of rotating categories, the Discover it® Miles card will match all the miles you earned at the end of your first year.
Here’s how it works: With this card, you’ll earn 1.5 Miles for every dollar you spend, plus match all the Miles you earned after 12 months. These Miles are good for travel statement credits – which leaves you with plenty of ways to use them.
The Simple Dollar’s Key Takeaways
- This card offers excellent earning potential. You earn 1.5 Miles per dollar spent on all purchases, followed by an additional 1.5 Miles per dollar spent at the end of your first year. And unlike other rewards programs, there is no cap on how much you can earn.
- You’ll earn flexible rewards. Each mile you earn is essentially worth 1 cent that can be redeemed for travel, a direct cash deposit to your bank account, or a combination of the two. Even better, the rewards you earn will never expire.
- This card comes with no annual fee, plus additional perks. Enjoy up to a $30 credit good for free in-flight wifi each year, plus no foreign transaction fees on purchases made overseas.
Discover it® Miles
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
- We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
- Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
- No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
- Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
- Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
- Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
- New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
- No Annual Fee.
Review: The Perfect Card for Anyone Who Wants Travel Rewards with No Annual Fee
If you’re looking for an easy way to earn Miles on everything for an entire year, then sign up for the Discover it® Miles. Not only can you earn 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases, but you will also enjoy perks like no foreign transaction fees, up to $30 in-flight wifi credit each year, and a free FICO score on your monthly statement and online.
Even better, Miles with Discover are easier than ever to use; redeem your Miles in any amount to cover travel purchases. There’s no need to worry about confusing award charts or black-out dates either; simply redeem your rewards whenever you feel like it.
The best part is, all of these benefits can be yours without an annual fee. If you’ve been waiting for the perfect deal without any “gotchas,” the Discover it® Miles card is as close as you’ll find.
Discover it® Miles: Where It Falls Flat
While the Discover it® Miles credit card is a top contender for anyone who wants travel rewards without an annual fee, it comes up short in several key areas. For starters, the “miles” you earn with the Discover it® Miles aren’t transferable to any frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs, which means there are fewer redemption options overall. While this can be beneficial in some cases, you generally get a lot more value out of hotel loyalty points and frequent flyer miles.
Further, the Discover it® Miles offers you to redeem your Miles as statement credits towards travel purchases. While this option is a good one, it puts this card at a disadvantage when compared to many other top travel rewards cards.
Sadly, the Discover it® Miles doesn’t offer a signup bonus either, which makes signing up rather uneventful. Worse, you won’t get your “matched miles” until the end of the first year, making this card a bad option for anyone who wants to use their credit card rewards right away.
Who This Card is Good For:
- People who want to earn unlimited Miles without confusing categories or conditions
- Those who want to redeem your Miles as statement credits towards travel purchases.
- People who don’t want to pay an annual fee
Who Should Pass:
- Anyone who wants to transfer points to frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs
- Big spenders who could benefit more from a top travel rewards card
- People who are loyal to specific airlines or hotel loyalty programs
How Does It Compare to Other Travel Credit Cards?
While the Discover it® Miles offers a unique set of benefits, we wanted to see how it stacked up to another no-fee rewards credit card. This chart shows how the Discover it® Miles compares to the popular Chase Freedom® card when it comes to long-term benefits, perks, and rewards:
|Discover it® Miles||Chase Freedom®|
|Point Earning Structure||Discover Matches 1.5 Miles on all purchases at the end of the first year||Earn 1X points on all purchases, plus 5X points on categories that rotate every quarter|
|How to Redeem for Travel||Redeem your Miles as statement credits towards travel purchases.||Redeem points for travel at one cent apiece|
|Other Redemption Options||Redeem your rewards for statement credits at one cent apiece||Redeem points for statement credits or gift cards, normally at one cent apiece|
|Earning Limits||Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.||5X points are limited to the first $1,500 spent in bonus categories every quarter|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||0%||3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars|
As you can see, both cards offer exceptional rewards without charging an annual fee. The key to finding which card is best for your needs is nailing down your spending pattern and picking the option you can maximize most.
If you don’t want to keep track of rotating categories, the Discover it® Miles is the clear winner since it offers 1.5 Miles for every dollar you spend during the first year and Discover will match that amount after 12 months. So that is 3X Miles on everything the first year. Earning 3X Miles is nothing to shake a stick at, and that’s especially true since you earn this high rate of return on everything you buy.
But if you’re huge on the rotating category bonuses the Chase Freedom® card offers, you may be better off signing up for it instead. It’s important to note, however, that the 5X points the Chase Freedom® card offers every quarter are only good on the first $1,500 spent, whereas you can earn an unlimited number of Miles with the Discover it® Miles. The Discover it® Miles also gains an edge as a travel card since it comes with no foreign transaction fees.
Best Strategy with the Discover it® Miles: Use “it” for Everything
If you’ve decided the Discover it® Miles is the perfect card for your needs, your best bet is to maximize its benefits and rewards as much as possible. In other words, you should use your card to pay for anything and everything, all while paying your bill in full every month to avoid interest. Since Discover is accepted by 9.2 million merchants nationwide, you should have no trouble using your card for the bulk of your bills and discretionary spending.
Since you’ll earn 1.5 Miles for every dollar you spend during the first year and Discover will match that amount after 12 months, you should focus on using your card as much as possible for the first 12 months especially. By doing so, you will earn 3 Miles per dollar spent on everything – a sum equal to 3% back. In the competitive world of rewards credit cards, earning 3% on everything is a pretty sweet deal.
Want a Signup Bonus Plus 2X Miles on Everything? Consider This Card Instead
If you desperately want a signup bonus and want to earn 2X miles indefinitely, you might want to consider the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® instead. With this card, you’ll earn 2X miles on everything you buy as long as you’re a cardholder – not just the first 12 months. The only caveat is, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® does charge an annual fee after the first year.
Like the Miles you earn with the Discover it® Miles, the miles you earn with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® are extremely flexible. Once you start racking up miles, you can book any type of travel you want and redeem your points as a statement credit at a rate of one cent per point. With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, you’ll never have to worry about blackout dates or rewards availability – and you can shop around until you find the best price.
As we already mentioned, this card also comes with one huge perk the Discover it® Miles simple does not – a huge signup bonus.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
- Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
- Earn 2X miles on all purchases
- Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
- Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 17.24%, 21.24% or 24.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
- There is a fee for balance transfers.
If you want a card that offers 3 Miles per dollar spent your first year, the Discover it® Miles should be a top contender. With this card, you can redeem your Miles as statement credits towards travel purchases – and all without paying an annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
If you can’t decide or aren’t sold on this card, researching additional cards is one way to narrow down your choices. The credit card directory below can help you sort cards and compare options based on signup bonuses, cardholder perks, and rewards programs.
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