Best Discover Credit Cards: Which One Is Right For You?

Best Discover Credit Cards: Which One Is Right For You?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Discover's lineup of credit cards offers fantastic rewards and features. Our analyst broke out the best Discover credit cards and categorized them to help you choose the right one.

Recommended cards

Best for
Credit needed
unavailable credit card
Discover it® Cash BackCash backExcellent/GoodRead Review
unavailable credit card
Discover it® MilesTravelExcellent/GoodRead Review
unavailable credit card
Discover it® Student Cash BackStudentsFair/LimitedRead Review
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Read on for a detailed look at the benefits and features of each credit card. You can also skip to our card comparison tool at the bottom of the article to see which Discover card works best for your spending habits.

Best Discover Card for Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back has one of the highest rewards potentials of any Discover credit card. It offers 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. For 2021, the categories include grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March), gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com (October-December). If you take full advantage of the 5% rotating categories, you'll earn up to $75 in cash-back rewards each quarter. All other spending with the card gets you 1% cash back.

What makes the card even better is that it has a $0 annual fee or and a foreign transaction fee of None. This means you'll be able to earn cash-back rewards even if you swipe your card while traveling abroad. Additionally, for new cardholders, Discover will match all the cash back you earn during your first year. For example, if you earn $300 in cash-back rewards, Discover will give you an additional $300.

Best Discover Card for Travel

The Discover it® Miles is a great card for travelers because you'll Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee. This means you won't have to worry about activating categories or think much about which card to use for a specific purchase. The miles you earn in your account can be redeemed as a statement credit toward travel purchases without any blackout dates, keeping your travel plans flexible.

Since the Discover it® Miles effectively gives cardholders a constant 1.5% rewards rate (we value each mile on this card to be worth 1 cent), it's best for people whose spending doesn't fit into any of Discover's 5% bonus categories. If you find earning up to 5% cash back intriguing, we recommend you read up on the Discover it® Cash Back.

Best Discover Card for Students

Students have two options if going with Discover, and the Discover it® Student Cash Back is the best choice. It shares a lot of the same features as the Discover it® Cash Back, namely 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. For 2021, the categories include grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March), gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com (October-December).

Not only is the Discover it® Student Cash Back the best Discover card for students, it's also one of the best student credit cards in general. That's because the rewards don't hold back. Most student credit cards will give cardholders some truncated version of a rewards program that is much worse than what non-student cards offer. The Discover it® Student Cash Back is, in many ways, just as good as its non-student counterpart.

Discover Credit Cards and What They Offer

We want to give consumers the opportunity to quickly compare all the Discover credit cards and their rewards at a glance—including cards we didn't directly discuss above. The table below gives you everything you need to know.

Discover card
Best feature
Discover it® Student Cash Back$20 statement credit each school year that your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to five years
Discover it® chromeEarn cash back on your next road trip with 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Discover it® MilesAutomatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.
Discover it® Secured Credit Card2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Discover it® Student chrome2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

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The information related to the Discover it® Cash Back, the Discover it® Miles, and the Discover it® Student Cash Back has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards prior to publication.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).