Discover it® Miles Credit Card Review – 1.5 Miles + 2X Bonus
The card accrues miles at a rate of 1.5 per $1 spent, with one mile always equivalent to $0.01. Accrued miles never expire and can be redeemed in any amount, either as a statement credit for travel-related purchases or a cash deposit to a linked bank account. And, the Discover it Miles card comes with generally reasonable fees and rates – particularly, the lack of an Annual fee and foreign transaction fee set this card apart from many competitors.
That said, if you’re looking for 5% cash back on purchases in rotating categories like gas and grocery stores, a perk of the original Discover it credit card, you’re liable to be disappointed. And on certain metrics, the Discover it Miles card fares poorly in a head-to-head comparison with its competitors. However, for anyone considering adding a new travel rewards card to their wallet, Discover it Miles deserves a closer look.
When you sign up for the Discover it Miles card, you enjoy a 14-month introductory APR of 0% on all purchases and 10.99% on balance transfers.
There is no Annual fee. Late payments typically come with a $35 fee, regardless of the size of the late balance, though the first late payment fee is always waived. Cash advances carry a transaction fee of 5% of the total advance amount (or $10, whichever is greater). Balance transfer fees are 3% of the transferred amount. There’s no foreign transaction fee with this card.
For every $1 you spend with your card, you get 1.5 miles, with no maximums or restrictions. Each mile is worth $0.01, regardless of how it’s obtained or redeemed. You can redeem your miles in any amount (in one-mile increments) as an electronic cash deposit to any bank account, or as a statement credit against qualifying travel purchases. You don’t get any bonus for redeeming your miles as a statement credit against travel purchases – redeeming one point in this way simply knocks $0.01 off the purchase.
As soon as your account has been active for 12 months (12 consecutive billing periods), Discover doubles all the miles accrued thus far, regardless of whether you’ve redeemed them. For instance, if you accrue 5,000 miles during your first year as a cardholder, you receive an additional 5,000 miles on your 12th statement.
Discover never levies an interest charge of less than $0.50. In other words, if you run a very low short-term balance on your card and the monthly interest charge amounts to less than $0.50, it won’t appear on your statement. However, you’re charged the full amount once your balance accrues more than $0.50 in interest – for instance, if you hold that very low balance for three consecutive months.
This feature online or through the mobile app allows you to easily switch off new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers. This is useful if you ever lose your card or see any suspicious activity in your account.
Like other Discover credit cards, including the original Discover it card, the it Miles card includes your up-to-date FICO credit score on every monthly statement at no additional charge.
This card requires good to excellent credit.
No matter how attractive their terms, certain travel rewards cards simply aren’t suitable for some of us. For instance, an airline-specific card like the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card doesn’t make sense if you don’t live near an airport served by Delta. Likewise, a card that restricts your redemption options with travel blackout dates or minimum cash back redemption amounts might not cut it if you value travel flexibility or don’t use the card all that much.
With highly flexible redemption options, including no redemption minimums or carrier or date restrictions, the Discover it® Miles card definitely takes care of such problems. Plus, the lack of rotating categories makes it easier to manage and maximize your rewards.
However, there’s no shortage of travel rewards credit cards out there, so it doesn’t make sense to apply for the first one you come across. Ultimately, you must choose the card whose features and benefits best fit your lifestyle, travel patterns, and overall spending habits.
The Discover it® Miles card has a highly flexible redemption framework, including the ability to redeem miles for cash in any amount and no blackout dates or carrier restrictions. No rotating categories is a huge perk for hands-off cardholders. Plus, Discover it Miles is a decent option if you occasionally run a balance on your credit card, as it has no penalty APR and the first late payment fee is waived.
However, Discover it Miles doesn’t offer special discounts or bonuses on purchases made with accrued miles. Also, due to a high cash advance APR relative to other travel rewards cards, you want to avoid using this card at an ATM.
High marks for very flexible redemption options (including no redemption minimums), no travel restrictions, no rotating categories, and a generally attractive rate schedule. Drawbacks include a high cash advance APR and low rewards after the first year.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
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Discover it® Miles Credit Card Review – 1.5 Miles + 2X Bonus