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Discover it® Miles Review: Is It Worth It?

Discover it® Miles Review: Is It Worth It?

The Discover it® Miles credit card is a good option for occasional travelers who like the flexibility of being able to redeem their rewards for travel purchases or cash back.

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.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Citi is an advertising partner.

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Quick facts

  • Cashback Match: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Earning rate: Earn a high flat rate of rewards on every dollar on every purchase
  • Redeeming miles: Redeem for cash, or as a statement credit towards a travel purchase. Miles are unlimited and never expire.

Pros

  • 99% acceptance in the U.S.
  • Solid earning rate
  • Flexible redemption options
  • No minimum spending requirement on your card
  • Cashback Match bonus
  • Free access to your FICO Score

Cons

  • Limited acceptance abroad
  • No traditional sign-up bonus
  • Few additional benefits
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Is the Discover it® Miles worth it?

The Discover it® Miles card is worth it for infrequent travelers who want a hassle-free, no-frills reward card with flexible redemption options.

Notably, Discover's version of a travel card isn’t so much a rewards card as it is 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 — that's unusual for this type of card. The flexibility of the Discover it® Miles makes it an appealing option for those seeking an affordable rewards card.

The ability to earn a flat rate of miles on every purchase is also attractive, as it keeps things simple — you won’t need to deal with signing up for rotating cashback categories to earn the top rate.

That said, this card is low on additional travel perks, and can't compete with others on the market — for example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or American Express® Gold Card, both of which offer stronger rewards rates and more travel-related perks and benefits.

Who is Discover it® Miles best for?

The Discover it® Miles is best for consumers who prefer to earn flexible rewards with a respectable flat earning rate and don't want to worry about activating rotating bonus categories each quarter. This card is great for people who travel sometimes, but not often enough to warrant a more serious travel rewards card that comes with more bells and whistles.

Earning rate

The Discover it® Miles credit card takes a straightforward approach when it comes to earning rewards.

Cardholders will Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase. These miles are unlimited and never expire.

Though it's a lower earning rate than what many other available travel cards offer, the flat rate of 1.5X miles for all purchases isn't bad. Plus, you have flexible options when it comes to redeeming your miles, which makes these points more valuable.

Discover Cashback Match

The Discover it® Miles card lacks a traditional sign-up bonus, but makes up for it with it's unique Cashback Match program:

Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.

If you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. This effectively doubles your earnings rate for the first year to 3.0% in all categories, and this bonus is unlimited. For example:

  • $20,000 in spend in the first year = 30,000 miles
  • Total miles earned in first year including cashback match = 60,000 miles
  • 60,000 miles = $600 in rewards
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In some ways, this is even better than the traditional sign-up bonus offered by many other cards, as there’s 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 your Discover it® Miles card and still earn a significant bonus.

Redeeming rewards

The Discover it® Miles offers a number of 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.

  • Flexible redemption: You have the flexibility to redeem your miles for either a statement credit to offset travel purchases or cash back.
  • Covers a variety of travel purchases: Eligible travel purchases include airfare, hotels, restaurants, gas stations and more.
  • No blackout dates: 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.
  • Other redemption options: You can also use your miles at Amazon.com checkout and when you pay using PayPal.

Other Discover it® Miles benefits

A nice benefit the Discover it® Miles card offers is the ability to check your FICO Score for free. View your score in the Discover mobile app, online and on your statements.

Drawbacks

  • No traditional sign-up bonus: The Discover it® Miles card is missing a traditional sign-up bonus, but instead offers its Cashback Match system. While Cashback Match can end up being more lucrative overall than a regular sign-up bonus, the drawback is that you'll have to wait until the end of your first year of card membership to receive it.
  • Few other perks/benefits: Other travel rewards cards typically include features like airport lounge access, travel credits, elite status with hotel programs and other perks that frequent travelers would find valuable. The Discover it® Miles card, however, offers a more straightforward, no frills rewards program for those who prefer simplicity.

What credit score is needed for the Discover it® Miles card?

The Discover it® Miles card requires a 660 - 850 credit score. If your credit isn't up-to-par, you should check out the Discover it® Secured Credit Card — it offers many of the same features and is easier to qualify for.

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Alternatives to the Discover it® Miles

When choosing a travel rewards card, you'll want to take a look at Discover it® Miles competition. One thing to note is that Discover is not as widely accepted globally as cards from other issuers like Visa and Mastercard — as such, you may want to check on Discover’s website where the card is accepted.

Here are three alternative choices:

Discover it® Miles vs. Discover it® Cash Back

Verdict: A great option for consumers who can keep track of rotating bonus spending categories

The Discover it® Cash Back is a top cashback card for those willing to put in a little work. For most purchases, the card simply acts as a 1% cashback card, which isn’t a great earnings rate. However, the card will let you earn 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. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically. The only downside is that you have to remember to activate each quarter in order to get the bonus rates.

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)

As with the Discover it® Miles, the Discover it® Cash Back 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 its quarterly bonus categories.

Discover it® Miles vs. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

Verdict: Discover it® Miles is superior to this card in nearly every way.

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is very similar to the Discover it® Miles card. Both cards earn rewards on every purchase, with no bonus categories. However, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card earns at a rate of 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, which is less than the 1.5 miles per dollar spent offered by the Discover it® Miles. It also doesn't offer the option to redeem rewards for cash back, only letting you redeem as statement credits toward travel purchases.

In terms of a sign-up bonus, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card lets you Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel. Unlike the Discover it® Miles, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offers the ability to transfer miles to 15-plus 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 could prove more valuable. Still, depending on how much you spend on your card annually, the Discover it® Miles card will likely result in the greater bonus.

Discover it® Miles vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: More to offer both travelers and average consumers

You may want to consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited® for earning Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which offer true flexibility on cash back and travel rewards. Thanks to its new earning categories, you'll Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases These bonus categories offer impressive rates, and the flat rate on all other purchases equals that of the Discover it® Miles.

The sign-up bonus for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a bit different: Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases. This contrasts with the Discover it® Miles’s first-year matching program for new cardmembers, which can prove lucrative if you’re a heavy spender. Overall, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® will end up being the more valuable card for most consumers.

Should you get the Discover it® Miles card?

The Discover it® Miles doesn’t have the highest earning rates in the travel card world, nor does it include the most travel benefits or perks — what it does have is above-average miles-earning potential.

Typically, rewards cards offer bonus miles or points in categories such as hotels, dining and airfare but pay just 1% for other categories. Discover it® Miles, on the other hand, gives above-average rewards across all spending categories. 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 card's value for at least the first year. All that said, if you're a frequent traveler looking for a card with higher rewards rates on travel purchases and more travel-related benefits, check out our picks for the top travel rewards cards.

Discover it® Miles FAQs

How hard is it to get a Discover it® Miles card?

In order to get a Discover it® Miles card, you'll need to have a 660 - 850 credit score. However, once you're approved, there’s no minimum spend requirement on your card, so you can take your time and earn rewards at your leisure.

Are Discover miles actual miles?

No, Discover miles are not actual miles. The miles earned with the Discover it® Miles card can only be put towards statement credits to reimburse you for travel purchases or redeemed as cash back.

What can Discover miles be used for?

Discover miles can be redeemed as either cash back or a statement credit towards travel purchases. You can also use your miles at Amazon.com checkout and when you pay using PayPal.

How many Discover miles for a flight?

The amount of Discover miles it takes for a free flight will depend on which airline you're booking with. Because the Discover it® Miles’ rewards can be used as cash back or put towards travel purchases as a statement credit, you can use your miles to cover the cost of any flight, but the flight won't necessarily be discounted.

The information related to Discover it® Miles and Discover it® Cash Back has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

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).