Straightforward earning and redeeming: Discover it Miles card review

Dec 18, 2019

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This page includes information about the Discover it Miles that is not currently available on The Points Guy and may be out of date.


The Discover it Miles provides 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Your miles are worth one cent each regardless of how you decide to redeem them. And, Discover will match the miles you earned during your first year so you’ll earn an effective 3% return on purchases you make in your first year. The Discover it Miles card doesn’t charge an annual fee, foreign transaction fees and even waives the late fee on your first late payment. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

I tend to look at the cards my friends and family use, and I recently noticed a relative use the Discover it Miles card at a cafe. The Discover it Miles card isn’t on our list of best cards for dining purchases, but I understand why he has and uses the Discover it Miles card: he’ll earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and will get a redemption rate of one cent per mile regardless of how it decides to redeem his miles.

He’s happy to get a consistent 1.5% return on all of his purchases and appreciates some of the free alerts and included features of the card. But, you can get an even better 3% return on purchases made in your first year as a cardholder, since Discover matches all the miles you earn during your first year. The Discover it Miles card is a good fit for many people, so let’s consider whether it’s a card you should add to your wallet.

In This Post

Who is this card for?

The Discover it Miles is for anyone who is looking to earn rewards on their spending, but doesn’t want to worry about maximizing redemptions or remembering which purchases earn bonus miles. This is because the Discover it Miles card earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and offers one cent per mile regardless of how you decide to redeem your miles.

Some of the benefits provided by the Discover it Miles make it ideal for beginners, such as waiving the late fee on your first late payment and the ease of earning and redeeming miles. Users with lower credit scores may have a better chance at being accepted for this card than for similar cards offered by other issuers. Other benefits, such as being able to choose your card design and being able to easily freeze your account in second, can make this card attractive for families.

Further reading: 5 reasons why families need a Discover it Miles card

Introductory offer

The Discover it Miles doesn’t offer a standard sign-up bonus, but it does offer a few introductory offers to new cardholders.

New cardholders will get all of the miles they earn during their first year matched. Specifically, Discover will match all of the miles you earn during the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open. The match occurs at the end of the 12th consecutive billing period, as opposed to throughout your first year.

Further reading: The best balance transfer credit cards

Main benefits and perks

The Discover it Miles has benefits and perks that are well-suited for first-time or less experienced cardholders. The card’s most appealing benefit is the ease and simplicity of earning and redeeming — but since earning and redeeming will be discussed in detail in subsequent sections, let’s focus on the card’s other benefits in this section.

One key benefit of the Discover it Miles card that can especially benefit new cardholders is that you won’t be charged a late fee on your first late payment. So, if you accidentally forget to pay your bill on time or have an issue with auto-pay, you can avoid paying a late fee once. Plus, paying late won’t raise your APR.

Other benefits and perks of the Discover it Miles card include:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No overlimit fee
  • No pay by phone fee
  • You can pick the color and style of your card
  • Free alerts that notify you if your social security number is found on any of thousands of dark web sites
  • Free alerts that notify you when any new credit card, mortgage, car loan or other account shows up on your credit report
  • Free overnight shipping for card replacement to any U.S. street address at your request
  • Freeze your account in seconds to prevent new purchases with an on/off switch available on both the mobile app and website
  • Get a free credit scorecard with your FICO credit score, number of recent inquiries and more
  • 100% U.S.-based customer service available any time
  • Pay your bill up to midnight Eastern Time the day it’s due by phone or online

Further reading: Your ultimate guide to Discover cards

How to earn miles

The Discover it Miles has a straightforward earning structure: you’ll earn 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on all purchases. There’s no cap to the miles you can earn. Plus, your miles will never expire (although Discover will credit your account with your miles balance if your account is closed or has not been used in 18 months).

However, note that you will not earn miles immediately after each purchases. Instead, miles are calculated at the end of each billing period based on your purchases made during that billing period. Discover will then round the miles you earned during that billing period to the nearest whole mile before adding the miles to your account.

Further reading: When to use the Discover it Miles card

How to redeem miles

Redeeming miles with the Discover it Miles is easy and straightforward. You don’t need to worry about selecting the best or more valuable redemption since your miles are worth one cent each regardless of which redemption method you choose. You can choose from the following redemption options:

  • Credit to your account for travel purchases made within the last 180 days (starting at one mile)
  • Electronic deposit into an account you designate (starting at one mile)
  • Pay with Miles at select merchants (starting at one mile)

Discover defines travel purchases as:

A purchase made within the last 180 days on commercial airline tickets; hotel rooms; car rentals; cruises; tour operators; vacation packages purchased through airlines, travel agents, online travel sites; local and suburban commuter transportation, including ferries; passenger railways; taxicabs and limousines; and charter/tour bus lines. Purchases made using third-party payment accounts, tap-and-pay, mobile or wireless card readers, virtual wallets or similar technology may not be eligible.

Further reading: How to redeem Discover it Miles

How does the Discover it Miles compare?

The Discover it Miles card provides straightforward earning and redeeming, so you don’t have to worry about whether a particular purchase will earn bonus miles nor whether you’re maximizing your miles when you redeem them.

However, there are other cards that earn a 1.5% return (or better) on all purchases. And, some of these cards provide multiple redemption options. So, let’s compare the Discover it Miles to some similar personal cards.

Discover it Miles Citi® Double Cash Card Chase Freedom Unlimited Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Sign-up bonus Miles earned in your first year are matched None $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening 50,000 bonus points after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Annual fee None None None $95 (waived your first year) $95
Earnings rate 1.5x miles on everything 2% cash back on purchases (1% cash back when you buy, plus 1% cash back as you pay) 1.5% on everything 2x miles on everything 2x points on travel and dining

1.5x points on everything else

Cash-back redemption rate on everyday spending 1.5% 2% 1.5% 2% 1.5%
Foreign transaction fee None 3% foreign transaction fee 3% foreign transaction fee None None
Notes None Rewards can be transferred to a linked ThankYou points account for an effective 3.4% return Rewards can be transferred to a linked Ultimate Rewards account for an effective 3% return Miles can be transferred to partner airlines

Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years (up to $100)

$100 annual airline incidental statement credit

Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years

Trip insurance protections including trip delay, baggage delay and trip cancellation / interruption

Preferred Rewards members earn an additional 25%-75% more points on every purchase.

Each of these cards has a particular type of person for which the card is best. For example, here are some ways each of these five cards stand out:

Further reading: The best credit cards for everyday spending

Bottom line

The Discover it Miles provides 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, and allows you to redeem your miles for one cent apiece regardless of how you choose to use them. This means you don’t have to worry about maximizing your miles when redeeming them or remembering to use a particular card for certain types of purchases.

The Discover it Miles card is a particularly good choice if you don’t want to pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fees and prefer earning cash back instead of transferable points or miles. Plus, Discover will match all the miles you earn on your card in your first year.

Here’s the link to apply now for the Discover it Miles.

Featured image by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 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
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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