Author: Mike AndersonDiscover Escape is one of few cards that has a 2% base rewards rate, which is why it ranks so well in terms of rewards.
You earn 2 miles per $1 spent, which we believe is effectively a rewards rate of 2%.
Despite the reward being called Discover Miles, you can effectively redeem it for 1% cash (5,000 miles for $25 in cash), or 2% when redeemed to offset a travel expense on your card (eg 10,000 miles to reduce a travel expense by $100).
Discover states, "Redeem for a direct deposit to your bank account or a Discover account credit starting at 5,000 Miles". That's a bit misleading. The truth is, 5,000 Miles gets you $25 in cash or $50 when redeemed to offset a travel expense on your card, so it is worth 1% when redeemed for cash and 2% when redeemed for travel.
When considering the Escape versus miles from other point programs, keep in mind that often times other miles programs are not transferable - for example, you can not add your 5,000 Capital One miles to your 20,000 American Airlines miles to get a ticket. This forces you to spend 25,000 on the card before you can collect a ticket.
Unusually good car rental insurance
A great feature of the Discover Escape card, that almost no other credit card has (other than the Chase Continental OnePass Plus
card), is primary auto rental insurance. When you wreck a rental car, your normal auto insurance is your "primary" coverage - or first line of defense - and the credit card insurance gives you "secondary" coverage after the fact, which may cover things such as deductibles. The problem with that is that you have to report damages to your auto insurance company, which may result in increased premiums and additional headaches.
Best Rewards Card? We still give the edge to Capital One
Discover Escape is quite possibly the best card out there, if you ignore the very similar but slightly more attractive Capital One Venture Rewards Visa
Why Venture is better:
- Merchant Acceptance. Although Discover acceptance rates are on the rise - in the United States Discover is accepted at around 90% of the retailers that accept Visa/MasterCard, blowing the socks off of American Express.
- Foreign Transaction Fee. Capital One Venture Rewards, like most other Capital One cards, has a 0% foreign transaction fee (here's our list of no foreign transaction fee credit cards), which bests the 2% offered by Discover Escape. However, most other banks charge 3%, so Discover Escape really isn't too shabby.
- Annual Fee. Capital One Venture's annual fee is only $59, and it's waived the first year. On the other hand the Discover Escape fee is $60, from day one.
- Signing Bonus is Upfront. Both cards offer a 25,000 mile, or roughly $250 signing bonus. The difference is that Discover Escape's bonus is 1,000 miles per month, whereas the Venture's bonus comes in a lump sum after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.
- Concierge. You get one with an Visa Signature card, including Venture, but not with Escape
- BUT. Venture does not have primary car rental insurance coverage. Instead, you get only secondary coverage. This is where Escape tops Venture.
If you do decide to go with Discover Escape, be sure to hold your Discover Escape card for at least 25 months. Escape has what is effectively a $250 sign up bonus (1,000 points or ~$10 per month for the first 25 months you hold the card). You get this same 25,000 bonus on the Venture Rewards card after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Or - Get the Capital One Venture Card