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Credit Cards

Discover it Miles credit card review: A unique welcome bonus, no spending categories to track and no annual fee

The Discover it Miles card's welcome bonus doubles your rewards at the end of the first year.

ArtMarie | E+ | Getty Images

The Discover it® Miles card is a solid credit card if you're looking to earn travel rewards without an annual fee. However, the unique feature of the card lies in its welcome offer, where you get to determine how much you can earn. So if you have a significant amount of spending planned, the first year of card membership can be quite fruitful.

And with no annual fee, you can earn without fear of your overall value being dinged.

Below, CNBC Select reviews the Discover it Miles card, looking at the welcome bonus, rewards program and APR, so you can decide if it's the best card for you.

Discover it® Miles

On Discover's secure site
  • Rewards

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

  • Welcome bonus

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

  • Annual fee


  • Intro APR

    0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    17.24% to 28.24% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee


  • Credit needed

    Good / Excellent


  • Miles program
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • No blackout dates
  • No limit to the amount of miles you can earn and miles never expire


  • No Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit offerings
  • Travel spending does not receive additional rewards
  • No airport lounge access

Discover it Miles credit card review

Welcome bonus

The welcome bonus of the Discover it Miles card is unique as you determine how much you can earn by your spending.

As you spend on the card, you will earn 1.5X miles per dollar spent. So if you spend $1,000 per month, or $12,000 per year, you will earn 18,000 Discover miles.

However, the real value in this card is that Discover automatically matches all of the miles earned at the end of the first year of card membership.

For example, if you earn 18,000 miles over the course of the first year, Discover will automatically match that, giving you an additional 18,000 miles, for 36,000 miles total. Those 36,000 miles are worth $360.

This makes the card extremely valuable for someone who plans on spending a significant amount during the first year of card membership. You're effectively earning 3% back on all spending in the first year.

Earning and redeeming rewards

How to earn rewards

The Discover it Miles card has a simple earning structure: Cardholders will earn 1.5X miles per dollar spent on all purchases. There's no need to keep track of any bonus categories, and earning 1.5X miles per dollar on all purchases makes this a solid card to use for non-bonuses spend.

Cardholders can begin earning points as soon as they receive the card.

How to redeem rewards

With Discover miles, you can redeem them for several different types of rewards, including: travel, cash back, Amazon purchases or PayPal purchases.

Discover miles are worth 1 cent per point, regardless of which redemption you choose, giving consumers flexibility, without sacrificing value.

If travel is the preferred way to use your miles, it is simple to redeem them for said purchases. Simply log into your Discover account, and you will be able to "erase" your travel purchases within the last 180 days.

If cash back is the easiest way, you can have the funds sent directly to your bank account within three business days.

As for Amazon or PayPal purchases, by linking your Discover it Miles card to your Amazon account, you will be able to use the miles to offset the costs of your purchases during checkout.

The largest difference between Discover miles and other reward currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards is that Discover miles are not transferrable to travel partners. Instead of that framework, Discover miles can directly erase travel expenses off of your Discover statement.

Benefits and perks

The Discover it Miles is a great product for consumers wanting a simple way to earn travel rewards. On top of the simple but effective earnings, the card comes with several features:

Rates and fees

The Discover it® Miles is a great travel credit card to keep long term as it charges no foreign transaction fees when swiping abroad and has no annual fee. But note, Discover cards aren't widely accepted outside of the U.S. since they run on the Discover network. Mastercard and Visa cards will likely be more useful when traveling abroad.

Additionally, cardholders can take advantage of a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases from date of account opening. After the intro APR expires, it will increase to a variable, 17.24% - 28.24%.

There are late payment fees up to $41. However, Discover will waive the first time you pay late as a courtesy.

See rates and fees for the Discover it Miles here.

Card comparison

The Discover it® Miles card is not the only no annual fee travel credit card. If you enjoy earning credit card rewards without any spending categories to track, or simply earning miles to offset your travel expenses, the Discover it Miles card is just one of several to consider.

Here are a few similar cards to the Discover it Miles to see how they compare.

Discover it Miles vs. Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a very similar product to the Discover it Miles. It earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, has no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee.

It differs from the Discover card as it has a more rigid welcome offer: 25,000 points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.

However, if you become a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can raise your points earnings up to 2.62 points for every $1 you spend.

Discover it Miles vs. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is nearly identical to the Discover it Miles card. (See rates and fees)

You will earn 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, with no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. While it earns slightly less than the Discover card, the VentureOne may prove to be more valuable.

With Capital One miles, you can transfer them directly to various airline and hotel loyalty programs to redeem them for free flights. The different partners are:

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • ALL Accor Live Limitless
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Choice Privileges
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Infinity MileageLands
  • Finnair Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • TAP Portugal Miles&Go
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Wyndham Rewards

Additionally, the card comes with an easy to earn welcome offer: Earn 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.

Bottom line

The Discover it® Miles is an excellent option for consumers looking for a simple-to-use travel card. However, it is even more valuable for people who plan on spending a significant amount of money in the first year of card membership because of the uncapped welcome bonus.

And because Discover miles don't fluctuate in value, it makes earning and spending them that much easier.


How many Discover miles are needed for a flight?

Discover miles are worth 1 cent per point. So if your flight is $100, you will need 10,000 Discover miles to cover the cost completely.

What is the value of a Discover mile?

Discover miles are worth 1 cent per point. With the Discover it Miles card earning 1.5 miles per $1 spent, this means you are effectively earning 1.5% back in value on all your purchases.

What credit score do I need for Discover it Miles?

To be approved for the Discover it Miles card, you will need at least a good credit score. However, an excellent credit score will likely improve your approval odds.

For rates and fees for the Discover it® Miles, click here

Information about the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuers prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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