Discover it® Miles Credit Card Review

The Discover it® Miles credit card is a travel card focused on earning miles that can be redeemed for airfare, hotel stays and rental cars with no blackout dates. Miles may also be applied directly to statement balances as credit for travel purchases and miles never expire — if you close your account, any remaining miles will be credited to you within 18 months.

For occasional travelers looking to offset the overall cost of vacation or business trips, the Discover it® Miles card makes it simple to earn bonus miles and redeem them as needed. For cardholders who prefer more card-specific perks or need a travel card that delivers greater miles multipliers, this middle-of-the-road miles card may not fit the bill. It’s also worth noting that while Discover’s credit card options are widely accepted within the United States, travelers may face some challenges internationally.

The Essentials of the Discover it® Miles Credit Card

  • APR: 13.49% – 24.49% Variable based on creditworthiness. This APR will fluctuate along with the prime rate
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Primary Feature: 1.5x bonus miles on every dollar spent
  • Introductory Bonus Offer: All miles earned at the end of your first year are matched automatically by Discover, with no limit on total miles.

What’s Interesting about the Discover it® Miles Credit Card

The Discover it Miles credit card focuses on earning and redeeming miles. Every dollar spent on your card — from airfare and hotel purchases to groceries and online purchases — will earn 1.5x miles. In addition, you earn a one-time miles match at the end of your first year and won’t be faced with blackout dates for hotel or airline bookings. Miles can be redeemed for cash and/or used to pay for travel purchases made on your card.

This card has no annual fee and no late fee for the first late payment; a second late payment incurs a fee of up to $39. Discover also makes it easy to turn off access to your account with their “Freeze it” service. Available via their website or mobile application, Freeze it lets you instantly prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers if you suspect fraud or misuse — and then reactivate your card once your account is secure. In addition. Discover providers free access to your FICO credit score on monthly statements and mobile devices, and via their online web portal.

Things to Consider

While this card comes with moderate miles-earning potential, it doesn’t offer the 3x or 4x bonuses of other travel-focused cards. The Discover it Miles credit card also lacks the travel-specific perks of similar competitors, such as the ability to upgrade flights or earn hotel credits with partnered hospitality groups. Other cards may also offer the ability to exchange membership points or miles for points with affiliated organizations; Discover offers travel redemption and cash-back only.

The Discover it Miles credit card comes offers below-average APRs based on creditworthiness, but is challenging to use outside of the United States since some international merchants may not accept this card. Although Discover has earned a reputation in America for reliable card services and reasonable rates, it hasn’t managed to achieve the same reputation worldwide thanks to competition from more established providers.

How to Get the Most from this Card

Getting the most from the Discover it Miles card means aligning spend and miles redemption with the card’s design. With the 1.5x bonus covering all spending, this is a card for travelers who take the occasional trips for business or pleasure and want to earn miles on everything they purchase, from airfare to hotel stays to car rentals and dinners. The lack of blackout dates also makes this a great card if you want to redeem miles without the fear of not getting the airline or hotel you prefer.

In addition, Discover makes it easy to get cash back from travel purchases with a direct miles-to-money conversion: every 100 miles earned equals $1 that can be redeemed for cash in the form of a direct deposit or as a statement credit.

Other Card Options that Might Interest You

If the Discover it Miles credit card doesn’t seem like a good fit, consider other options such as:

Discover it® Cash Back

Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back in various categories on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1%. Specific purchases include groceries, dining out or online shopping, with the types of qualifying purchases varying with each quarter. In addition, Discover will automatically match all cash back earned at the end of your first year, with no limit on the total amount matched. Your cash never expires and can be redeemed in any amount at any time.

This card is a great option if you’re more interested in direct and consistent cash back instead of earning and converting miles.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

This travel-focused card offers 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. You’ll also earn 2x points on all travel and dining expenses and 1x points on all other purchases. In addition, points redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program for travel purchases offer a 25% bonus redemption rate. If you’re interested in referring friends to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can also earn 15,000 per referral, for up to 5 total referrals.

This card makes it easy to earn and redeem travel miles with spending and redemption bonuses.

The Final Word

If you’re an occasional traveler looking offset the cost of hotel stays, airfare and dining with the benefit of no blackout dates for redemption, the Discover it Miles credit card offers a way to earn miles at a steady pace and enjoy bonus miles at the end of your first year. Lacking the high bonus earnings of a travel-focused card or the cash back of other Discover options, this card provides an excellent middle ground for steady miles earning and occasional miles redemption; if you’re looking for high-value travel bonuses or larger cash-back options, other cards may better suit your needs.

Doug Bonderud

Personal Finance Contributor

Doug Bonderud is an award-winning freelance writer with the unique ability to translate complex financial concepts into approachable, actionable content that both captures reader interest and delivers key brand messaging.