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Some rewards cards charge high annual fees in exchange for premium travel perks. If you need a more affordable travel-friendly rewards card, however, you still have options. The $0-annual-fee Discover it® Miles travel credit card doesn’t offer swanky travel benefits, like lounge access or an annual travel credit, but its other features are valuable for cardholders who travel less frequently.
Double your bonus miles the first year
The Discover it® Miles card will pay you 1.5 miles for every dollar of qualifying purchases in every spending category. Discover will then match the miles you earned in your first 12 billing periods or 365 days. For example, if you spend $1,000 each month on your Discover it® Miles card, your 1.5 cents per dollar adds up to 18,000 miles for the year. Discover matches that with an additional 18,000 miles for a total of 36,000 miles in your first year. Because those miles are worth about 1 cent each, you’re getting $360 in value.
You don’t have to hit a $2,000, $3,000 or higher minimum spend required by other cards to earn a welcome bonus. It’s up to you how much to spend to maximize this first-year bonus.
A simple way to earn miles
Cardholders who are looking for an easy-to-use travel card will appreciate Discover it® Miles card's flat 1.5x miles per dollar regardless of what you buy. There’s no need to track bonus reward categories every quarter the way some other cards make you. There’s also no cap on how many miles you can earn.
Lots of ways to redeem miles
When you’re ready to redeem your miles, you can request cash back, turn miles into a statement credit for travel or use them for Amazon.com purchases.
Plane tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, online travel sites, travel agents, public transportation, gas stations — and even restaurants — are eligible for the travel statement credit when you pay with your card. And there’s no minimum for how many miles you can redeem at a time.
No foreign transaction fees. Feel comfortable using your card internationally without foreign transaction fees, wherever Discover is accepted.
No blackout dates. You can redeem miles for any flight on any airline, anytime. There are no restrictions.
First late fee waived. Discover forgives your first late fee on your first late payment, and late payments won’t result in an interest-rate increase.
You’ll never lose earned miles. Your rewards will never expire. If your account is closed or inactive for 18 months, Discover will give you credit for your remaining miles.
Free FICO score. Discover customers receive a complimentary FICO score.
Complimentary Social Security number monitoring. You can activate free alerts that will let you know if your Social Security number is found on the dark web.
Freeze it feature. If you lose your card, you can turn on Discover’s Freeze it to stop new charges without blocking your recurring bill pay.
» Learn more: Discover’s best credit cards
Who is this card right for?
The Discover it® Miles card is especially worthwhile in the first year of membership when points match is active. That can be lucrative if you plan on making large purchases in your first year of card membership, for example paying wedding vendors or making purchases for costly home renovations.
Occasional travelers not looking for travel frills will find this card useful, too. But it’s not ideal for travelers who enjoy a premier experience at the airport like lounge access, early boarding or other VIP perks.
The bottom line
With its unlimited year one bonus and a $0 annual fee, the Discover it® Miles card doesn’t disappoint. If you’re a casual traveler, this card can fit your needs. But if you’re a frequent traveler you might get more value elsewhere.
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 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card