Making the Most of Discover it Miles: Use Everything It Offers

No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, free FICO score, 1.5 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, and earn even more if you use every feature.
Ellen Cannon
By Ellen Cannon 
Edited by Erica Harrington

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The Discover it® Miles has a lot going for it: $0 annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, free FICO score, an unlimited 1.5 miles per $1 spent on every purchase, and maximum flexibility in rewards redemption. But you can squeeze even more value out of this travel card if you use every feature it offers.

Earn your miles

Newcomers to the Discover it® Miles can grab one of the best promotional offers available. As Discover puts it: UNLIMITED BONUS: Unlimited Mile-for-Mile match for all new cardmembers - only from Discover. Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.

To take full advantage of Discover's matching bonus, pay for everything you can with your new card to earn as many miles as possible in the first year. Here's why: Say you spend $1,000 a month in that first year, or $12,000 total. You'll earn 18,000 miles. But with the match, that becomes 36,000 miles, worth $360. That's a whopping 3% rewards rate in the first year. There's no limit on the number of miles you can accrue, and they never expire.

The card's introductory APR — 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 17.24%-28.24% Variable APR — makes this card an option for financing a large purchase in the first year, which will boost your bonus. The Nerds advise that you never spend money you otherwise wouldn't just to claim credit card rewards. But if you have a large expense looming, such as a new refrigerator, the Discover it® Miles lets you pay it off over the course of a year without paying interest, with 3% back as rewards.

More about this card

Discover it® Miles
NerdWallet rating 

Redeem your way

As a general travel card, the Discover it® Miles gives you a lot of flexibility. You can redeem your miles for credit against any travel purchase made with the card — flights on any airline, stays at any hotel, car rentals from any company. But if you'd rather have cash, Discover it® Miles won't let you down. Whether you redeem for travel or for cash back (as a direct deposit into a bank account), each mile has the same 1-cent value. This gives it an advantage over many other travel cards, where you often get less than a penny per point or mile if you redeem for cash.

how to redeem rewards on the Discover it® Miles

You redeem your miles by logging into your card account online. Unlike with many other rewards credit cards, you can redeem in any amount, with no minimums.

Manage your credit

A lot of credit card issuers offer free credit scores for their cardholders, and Discover was one of the first to offer free FICO scores. You can track your score month to month on your credit card statement or online. Keeping close watch on your credit score and credit report will help you manage your credit and alert you to any problems like identity theft.

While no one wants to pay a credit card bill late, Discover gives you a break if you do it once. There is no charge for the first late payment, and a single late payment won't raise your APR. But if you do it again, it'll cost you up to $41.

If you misplace your card, Discover has you covered. Discover lets you turn your card off in case you misplace it or lose it or it's stolen. If you find it, you can reactivate it using the Discover app or website. If it's stolen, the thieves won't be able to use it because Discover will decline most charges while your card is in frozen mode. If your card is lost or stolen, Discover will replace the card within 24 hours.

With no annual fee and a potentially sky-high sign-up bonus, it's easy to get started with Discover it® Miles. Be a power user in the first year, and you'll be the master of this card.

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

See more travel cards

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