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Discover it® Miles Review

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Discover it® Miles Review

One of the best no-annual-fee travel rewards credit cards, that provides decent returns on all purchases.

Editor's Rating

{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

4.5/5.0

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

The Discover it® Miles isn’t so much a travel rewards card as a cashback card. Although you can use your miles to pay for travel purchases, you can also convert them to cash at the same rewards rate, which is unusual for these types of cards. The flexibility of the Discover it® Miles makes it an appealing option for those seeking a rewards card without an annual fee.

Discover it® Miles Review: Good, no-annual fee cash back card

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Discover it® Miles

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UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • 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.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • 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.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent/Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

As a hybrid type of rewards card, the Discover it® Miles may appeal both to customers looking to accumulate travel rewards and those seeking cash-back. The ability to earn unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all of your spending is attractive, as you won’t have to deal with signing up for rotating cashback categories to earn the top rate.

The card has appeal for those looking for a card with minimal fees as well, since there are no foreign transaction fees, no annual fees and no interest for the first 14 months of purchases (after that 13.49% - 24.49% Variable).

Unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything

With the Discover it® Miles, you can earn unlimited 1.5x miles for every dollar spent on all purchases. These miles also never expire as long as the card remains open. This type of rewards structure is unique, as many rewards cards pay bonus miles or points in certain categories but revert to a flat 1% rewards payout on the majority of spending categories.

Although the Discover it® Miles doesn’t offer bonus categories, the unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar rate on everything is an enhancement over many rewards cards. You can use this card to get a better return on day-to-day spending for things like insurance, medical bills or auto repairs that typically don’t earn bonus miles with traditional rewards cards.

Discover it® Miles match for first year

For new cardholders, Discover will automatically match all the miles you’ve earned in the first year. This effectively doubles your earnings rate for the first year to 3.0% in all categories, and this bonus is unlimited. For example, if you spend $20,000 in your first year, you’ll earn 30,000 miles just from your own spending. Discover will then automatically credit you with an additional 30,000 miles, bringing your total haul to 60,000. As miles can be redeemed at a rate of 1 mile = $1, your $20,000 spend will translate into $600 in rewards cash in your first year.

In some ways, this is even better than the traditional sign-up bonus offered by many other cards, as there is no minimum spend requirement on the Discover it® Miles. Rather than having to charge $3,000 or more in the first three months of card ownership, as many travel rewards cards require, you can spread your spending out over the entire year with the Discover it® Miles and still earn a significant bonus.

0% interest on purchases for 14 months

The Discover it® Miles offers a generous 0% APR on all purchases made in the first 14 months of card ownership. Once the promotional period is over, the standard APR kicks in, which can be from 13.49% - 24.49% Variable. If you have a large purchase you need to finance over time, you can use your new Discover it® Miles to effectively get an interest-free loan for 14 months.

No annual fee or foreign transaction fee

The Discover it® Miles has no annual fee, which helps bump it up in the rankings since many travel rewards cards carry annual fees of $95 or more. Combined with the card’s 0% interest rate for the first 14 months (then 13.49% - 24.49% Variable), this means you can easily enjoy all the features and benefits of the card while paying minimal fees. This is true even if you use the card overseas, as the Discover it® Miles has no foreign transaction fee either.

Flexible redemption options

Since the Discover it® Miles isn’t an airline-specific credit card, you don’t redeem the miles you earn for flight awards. Essentially, you can liquidate those miles at a rate of $0.01 per mile. You have the flexibility to redeem your miles either for a statement credit to offset travel purchases or as cash back. The card advertises this redemption feature as “no blackout dates,” meaning you can “fly any airline, any time,” but in reality the cardholder can simply apply miles to cover airline or other travel purchases made with the card. Still, it makes for an easy way to get “award” flights without having to deal with mileage redemptions and award seats directly with airlines.

ValuePenguin's Verdict: Good for a no-annual fee card

The Discover it® Miles doesn’t pay the highest rewards rates in the travel card world, nor does it have the highest cashback rates. What it does have is above-average miles-earning potential of 1.5 miles per dollar for all purchases made with the card.

Typically, rewards cards offer bonus miles or points in categories such as hotels, dining and airfare but pay just 1% for other categories. With 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, the Discover it® Miles can prove rewarding for many day-to-day spend categories. Additionally, the Discover it® Miles has no annual fee, which is a rarity among the higher-paying rewards cards. The first-year match on all earned miles makes for an interesting first-year sign-up bonus (this is for new cardmembers only), adding to the attractiveness of the card for at least the first year of card ownership.

Alternatives to the Discover it® Miles

The Discover it® Miles does a good job for a travel rewards card with no annual fee, but it does have competitors in the space. One thing to note is that Discover is not as widely accepted on a global basis as cards from other issuers like Visa and Mastercard. You may want to check on Discover’s website where the card is accepted. Here are three alternative choices that also carry no annual fee and pay some version of cashback rewards.

Discover it® Cash Back

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Discover it® Cash Back

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INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent/Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Discover it® Cash Back is very similar to the Discover it® Miles, but with a gimmick. For most purchases, the card simply acts as a 1% cashback card, which isn’t a great earnings rate. However, every quarter the card offers a generous 5% cash back on a rotating variety of categories on up to $1,500 in purchases when you activate. The category for October to December 2019 is Target, Walmart.com and Amazon.com purchases. As with the Discover it® Miles, the Discover it® Cash Back has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees and offers a first-year match of all of the cash back you’ve earned for new cardmembers.

While not ideal as a primary credit card for daily purchases, the Discover it® Cash Back can provide a nearly unprecedented rate of return for purchases in the quarterly bonus categories.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74% - 23.74% variable APR after that

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One and is not part of our independent analysis.

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74% - 23.74% variable APR after that
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is a competitor that is very similar to the Discover it® Miles. Both cards earn rewards on every purchase, with no bonus categories, although the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is currently offering 10x points on thousands of hotels through a partnership with Hotels.com, at least through January 2020. However, for typical daily purchases, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card earns at a rate of 1.25 rewards points per $1 spent, which is less than the 1.5 miles per dollar spent offered by the Discover it® Miles. Currently, both cards have no annual fee or foreign transaction fees as well.

In terms of sign-up bonus, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card offers 20,000 miles after $1,000 of spend on the card in the first three months of ownership. Unlike the Discover it® Miles, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card offers the ability to transfer miles to 12 travel partners. Depending on the value you can get out of your mileage redemptions with these airlines, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card points might prove more valuable.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

In terms of basic structure, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is nearly identical to the Discover it® Miles, as the Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases and the Discover it® Miles earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® also offers a 0% APR on all purchases for the first 15 months (then 16.74% - 25.49% Variable), besting the Discover it® Miles by one month. Additionally, neither card has an annual fee.

The sign-up bonus for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a bit different, offering $150 cash back after spending just $500 in the first three months of card ownership. This contrasts with the Discover it® Miles’s first-year matching program for new cardmembers, which can prove more lucrative if you’re a heavy spender.

Comments and Questions

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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).

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