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Discover it® Miles Review [2024]: A Solid Starter Travel Card

Its flat-rate rewards are more flexible than you might think.

Updated June 20, 2024
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Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles
4.0

OUR VIEW

The Discover it® Miles(Rates and fees) card lets you use the rewards it offers to cover travel expenses, but overall, it functions similarly to a flat-rate cash back credit card — and that’s not a bad thing.

Its 1.5X on all eligible purchases is competitive, but where it really shines is its welcome bonus, as Discover will match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. That doubles your rewards. And while this card’s rewards are called Miles, you can actually redeem them in a variety of ways — not just for travel.

Its weak spot? The Discover it Miles card lacks travel perks like lounge access and trip insurance. But I’ve found that those perks are difficult to find in any $0-annual-fee card.

Pros

Simple, flat-rate Miles make it easy to know how much you’re earning in rewards
Discover will forgive your first late payment (late payment fee of if you miss a subsequent payment)
No foreign transaction fees

Cons

No bonus categories
No travel perks
How we evaluate products

Card basics

Card type Travel
Card issuer Discover
Annual fee $0
Welcome offer Discover will match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
Intro APR Intro APR of 0% on purchases for 15 months, then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable

Intro APR of 0% on balance transfers for 15 months, then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable

Reward rate Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee 0%

Who should get Discover it® Miles?

I think this card could be a good fit for someone just dipping their toes into earning Miles for the first time. For one, it has a $0 annual fee, so you’re not out any funds just for adding it to your wallet. It’s not co-branded with a specific airline or hotel, so you have flexibility. And the earning rate is simple at 1.5X on all eligible purchases, so that’s uncomplicated as well.

But all of those criteria are also met by the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, so why the Discover it Miles card?

The welcome offer. Given that Discover will match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year., there’s a lot of value in that offer. For example, if you earned $250 in Miles over the course of your first year, you’d receive another $250 as a match at the end of the year, for $500 total.

For comparison, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card allows you to earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases. That’s a decent offer, although the spending requirement is a bit high.

There’s no limit to the potential of the Discover it Miles card’s welcome offer, though. That’s what makes it a good value, especially if you’re on the fence about getting a travel card.

Who shouldn’t get this card?

Points and miles maximizers are likely going to give this card a pass, and they should. This card doesn’t have any categories that allow you to earn a higher rate. And it doesn’t allow you to transfer your Miles to an airline or hotel transfer partner and book travel through the partner.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows you to transfer points to several partners, including JetBlue, United, and Southwest. From there, you can book an award flight with one of those airlines directly. That has the potential to boost the value of your points, depending on how much the flight is.

So if you’re looking to get into the points and miles game, this card won’t be right for you.

It also won’t be right for you if you’re looking for perks like lounge access, trip interruption insurance, and car rental insurance. For those perks, you typically need to pay an annual fee. And lounge access, in particular, typically requires a hefty one. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® includes it, but it comes with an annual fee of $550.

Other notable benefits

Introductory APR periods

The Discover it Miles card offers:

  • An intro APR on purchases: New cardmembers can take advantage of a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months after account opening (then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable).
  • An intro APR on balance transfers: Intro APR of 0% on balance transfers for 15 months, then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable.

These aren’t the longest intro APR periods available (you can find balance transfer intro APR periods for 18 months or more). And while they’re helpful, I’d be cautious about using the balance transfer one if your plan is to use this card for rewards.

After all, your welcome offer applies to purchases you make during your first year. And like any card, you’ll have a credit limit. If you take up some or all of your available credit with a balance transfer, you won’t have room to make purchases to earn rewards.

Let’s say you start with a credit limit of $5,000. If you do a balance transfer of $4,000, you’re left with $1,000 for purchases. That puts a dent in your ability to use this card to its full earning potential, and you’ll miss out on Miles that could count toward your first year Cashback Match®.

If you’re looking to transfer a balance, I’d consider a card that’s primarily designed with balance transfers in mind. Personally, I like the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card and its 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 21 months, then 18.24% - 28.99% (Variable).

First late fee forgiveness

Early in my credit card journey, I struggled with staying on top of my payments. An option like getting my first late fee forgiven would have been helpful. After all, mistakes do happen. You might forget about the automatic payment and not have enough in your account, or simply forget to pay manually.

That said, that is a one-time courtesy, and from there, you’ll need to pay a late payment fee of up to $41 if you miss a subsequent payment. In related news, there are also no over-the-limit fees charged — your card will just be declined if you exceed your credit limit.

Earning & redeeming miles

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your miles can add up with the Discover it Miles credit card. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1 cent per mile.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $1,275

Year two earnings: $638

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus, and the annual fee.

Best ways to earn

There’s no one best way to earn Miles with this card, given that you automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase with no limits. You could use it for one large purchase to earn miles and take advantage of the intro APR period on purchases. Or you could shift some or all of your day-to-day spending to the card to earn more Miles.

Maximizing your redemptions

Discover it Miles can be redeemed for:

  • Travel purchases
  • Purchases on Amazon.com
  • Purchases when you pay using PayPal
  • Cash deposited into your bank account

No matter how you redeem your miles, they’re worth around one cent each. Since you don't get any more bang for your buck by redeeming against a specific category, you can simply redeem them on anything you wish.

Redeeming Miles for travel purchases is especially simple, as you can use them as a statement credit to cover purchases.

There’s no minimum number of miles required to redeem either, so you can use your miles as soon as you earn them. You can also let them build up and use them to finance a family vacation or a big purchase. This makes for very flexible redemptions.

Other cards to consider

If the Discover it® Miles doesn’t feel like the best credit card for you, there are other options to consider from other credit card issuers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best travel credit cards. It does have a $95 annual fee, but I’ve found it to be worth paying since this card gives me access to various travel-related benefits, including travel insurance, up to $50 in annual statement credits for hotel stays booked via Chase Travel, point transfers to Chase's partner loyalty programs, and more.

Learn more in our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card provides the chance to earn miles with a simple rewards program like the Discover it Miles card while offering various travel benefits. You automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase. Additionally, you can earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

This card has a $95 annual fee. But you also get extra perks, including up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® and travel insurance.1

Learn more in our Capital One Venture Card review.

FAQ

Is the Discover it Miles a good credit card?

The Discover it Miles card is a good option if you want a simple travel credit card that you can automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase.

If you'd prefer a card that offers more travel-specific benefits — such as access to airline lounge access, statement credits for purchases on airlines, or extra rewards for travel spending — there are others that would be a better fit.

However, be aware that some cards with the most generous travel rewards charge high annual fees, while the Discover it Miles card has a $0 annual fee. If you like the idea of the Discover it Miles but prefer a cashback card.

How much are Discover it Miles worth?

Discover it Miles are worth one cent per mile, regardless of how they’re redeemed.

What can you do with your Discover it Miles?

You have a number of redemption options available to you with this card. You can use miles earned with your Discover it Miles credit card to buy airfare, pay for hotel rooms, and even rent a car. You can also use the miles on Amazon.com to make purchases or you can redeem them for cash back.

Do Discover it Miles expire?

Discover it Miles don’t expire. You can use your miles whenever you like with no worry about blackout or expiration dates.

Can I convert my Discover card to a Discover it card?

It may be possible to convert your Discover card to a Discover it card if you qualify for the Discover it. Call 800-DISCOVER to ask whether you can change your current card to the Discover it Miles or another "it" card of your choosing.

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

To qualify for a Discover it Miles card, you typically need a good to excellent credit score. A good FICO score starts at 670. Keep in mind that your credit score is only one factor that card issuers consider, and having a certain credit score is not a guarantee of acceptance.

Bottom line

The Discover it® Miles(Rates and fees) is a good fit for people who want a simple and easy-to-keep travel credit card. With a $0 annual fee and the ability to automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase, this card offers a solid base for travel rewards.

However, as a $0-annual-fee card, it doesn’t offer many travel benefits and perks. Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or review our list of the best travel credit cards.

Earn 2 Times the Miles in Your 1st Year

4.0

Discover it® Miles

Current Offer

Discover will match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Melinda Sineriz, ABFP™

Melinda Sineriz is a Lead Editor at FinanceBuzz and an Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional™ designee. Melinda has a B.A. in English from Miami University and a master’s degree from Bard College. Before focusing on personal finance content, she worked in insurance for six years, educating clients on Medicare supplements, life insurance, long-term care, and annuities.