Discover it® Miles review: A flexible travel rewards card

A couple kayaking in the Caribbean after maximizing their use of the Discover it® Miles cardImage: A couple kayaking in the Caribbean after maximizing their use of the Discover it® Miles card

In a Nutshell

Discover it® Miles is a simple, flexible travel card that earns you a flat rewards rate on all purchases with no annual fee.

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Are you looking for the best Discover credit card for travel? The Discover it® Miles card could be a good option.

If you compare all the travel credit cards on the market, you may find that many come with tempting perks and bonuses, but they can also saddle you with a steep annual fee. If you’re not sure you’ll spend enough on travel to make a pricey card worth it, or if you don’t want to worry about math, this travel card from Discover may be what you’re looking for.

You’ll earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent, and at the end of the first year, Discover will match all the miles you’ve earned.

With all of these perks and no annual fee, Discover it® Miles could be a great card to add to your wallet.


  1. The rundown: Everything we like about Discover it® Miles
  2. Heads up: What you should consider before applying for Discover it® Miles
  3. Do the math: How to get the most out of Discover it® Miles
  4. The competition: How Discover it® Miles stacks up against similar cards
  5. Bottom line: Is Discover it® Miles right for you?

The rundown: Everything we like about Discover it® Miles

The Discover it® Miles card is a refreshing change from travel credit cards that have high annual fees and complicated rewards. Instead, Discover it® Miles is a simple-to-use travel rewards card with no annual fee. Here’s what we like about it.

1.5 miles on every $1 you spend

Unlike some cards, which offer different earnings rates on different categories (sometimes even rotating quarterly), the Discover it® Miles card earns you a flat rate of 1.5 miles per $1 on every purchase, regardless of category. If you hate thinking about managing your category spending to make the most of your rewards, you’ll love this simplicity.

It will match the miles you earn for your first year

Discover will match all the miles you earn in your first year with the Discover it® Miles card. For instance, if you earn 30,000 miles on your card in the first year, you’ll receive another 30,000 at the end of your first year even if you’ve redeemed a portion of what you earned.

Many credit card sign-up bonuses are based on an amount spent within the first few months of opening the account, so this could provide additional flexibility if your spending is more spaced out over the year.

Flexible redemption options

Even though it has miles in the name, you can redeem your earnings for cash back as an electronic deposit to your bank account or as a statement credit, at a rate of 1 cent per mile.

No minimum redemption requirements

Even if you only have one mile in your account, you can redeem it, unlike some credit cards that require you to have a certain number of points or miles before you can redeem them.

No foreign transaction fees

As with most travel cards, there’s no foreign transaction fee. If you travel overseas or make purchases in a foreign currency, this can add up to significant savings. But note that Discover isn’t as widely accepted abroad as other credit card networks, such as Visa or Mastercard.

Heads up: What you should consider before applying for Discover it® Miles

The Discover it® Miles is a fairly simple card to understand. But there might be better cards out there for you. Here are a few things to note.

You may need a backup card

Some merchants don’t accept Discover, so if you’re looking for one credit card to use in all situations, this might not be the best bet for you.

You could be earning more rewards

Earning 1.5 miles per $1 with no annual fee is nothing to sneeze at, but some travel cards do earn higher rewards rates or come with more generous perks. If you travel regularly and spend thousands of dollars on travel each year (particularly if you’re loyal to certain airlines or hotels), you may get more out of another travel rewards card.

You generally need good credit to be approved

If you’re still building your credit, you might be better off waiting or going with another card.

Do the math: How to get the most out of Discover it® Miles

If you’re new to travel cards and not sure if you’ll actually redeem the miles regularly, Discover it® Miles could be a good way to test the waters. Its flexible redemption option means you can treat it like a travel card or a cash back card, redeeming each mile for 1 cent deposited straight into your bank account or toward statement credit.

If the idea of travel sounds appealing but you know you might need extra cash to buy Christmas presents, this card is a solid option.

One way to get the most out of this card is to maximize the mile-to-mile match offered at the end of the first year. But remember not to spend more than you can afford to repay each month.

The competition: How Discover it® Miles stacks up against similar cards


Bottom line: Is Discover it® Miles right for you?

The Discover it® Miles card is more flexible than some of its competitors. With a flat rate of 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all purchases, you’ll never have to think about spending by category to make the most of your rewards.

So if you’re looking for a simple, flexible travel rewards card, Discover it® Miles could be a great fit for you.

On the other hand, if you find yourself spending thousands of dollars on travel each year, you might be able to squeeze more rewards and perks out of another travel card.


About the author: Ken Saathoff is a personal finance writer with a bachelor’s in English and American Literature from Harvard. In his free time, he likes to cook and play tennis. Read more.