How to Maximize the Discover it Miles Travel Credit Card

Thanks to its simple rewards structure, getting the most of this card comes down to using it for most purchases.
Oct 14, 2020
How to Get the Most from the Discover it Miles Travel Credit Card

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The Discover it® Miles card makes earning and redeeming miles for travel simple with its flat-rate rewards structure. While it doesn't offer as many premium features and benefits as some travel cards, it could be a good option if you're looking for a $0 annual fee alternative. If you're thinking of applying for the Discover it® Miles card (or already have one), these tips can help you make the most of it.

Make it your go-to card for purchases

The flat-rate rewards structure of the Discover it® Miles card means you earn unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar on all purchases, whether that includes travel or filling up on gas or making your weekly grocery run. Charging $1,000 per month to the card, for example, would yield 18,000 miles in rewards annually.

You can squeeze even more value out of this card during your first year of membership thanks to the introductory bonus. Instead of a traditional miles bonus, you'll get: UNLIMITED BONUS: Only 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. Not too shabby for a $0 annual fee travel rewards card.

That's a solid incentive to bump the Discover it® Miles card to the top of your wallet for all purchases. Just remember that this bonus only applies the first year, so you have a limited time to earn those extra miles.

Choose cash back or travel without sacrificing value

With some travel rewards cards, your miles are worth more when redeeming them for specific things, like flights or hotels, and less if you redeem them for cash back or gift cards.

A nice feature of the Discover it® Miles card is that your miles are worth 1 cent each no matter how you spend them. For example, you can redeem your miles as statement credits for travel purchases. Simply pay for travel with the card and you can redeem miles to erase those charges at a rate of 1 cent per mile. And Discover defines travel very broadly. Charges you can offset with miles include purchases made within the last 180 days for:

  • Plane tickets.

  • Hotel rooms.

  • Gas.

  • Restaurants.

  • Rental cars.

  • Cruises.

  • Tours.

  • Vacation packages purchased through airlines.

  • Travel agent fees.

  • Online travel site bookings.

  • Taxis, limousines and public transportation.

  • Ferries.

  • Railways.

  • Charter or tour buses.

You can just as easily redeem your miles for a cash deposit into a bank account if you've scratched your travel plans because of coronavirus. You don't have to worry about sacrificing value if you redeem one way instead of another, and miles earned with this card never expire even if you close your account.

Shop Amazon using your miles

In addition to using miles earned with your card for travel or cash back, Discover gives you the option to use them to pay at checkout when shopping at Amazon.

Just sign in to your Amazon account, link your Discover it® Miles card, then select pay with Discover at checkout to apply your miles to the purchase, with every 1 mile offsetting 1 cent of the purchase.

The bottom line

The Discover it® Miles card takes the stress out of earning and redeeming miles for travel. And its flexible redemption options can put cash back in your hands if you don't have travel plans on the horizon. To make the most of this card, utilize the points match in the first year by using the card for everyday spending as well as any large purchases you might have coming.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

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