There’s nothing quite like wanderlust to motivate someone to pack a bag and hit the road. That desire to travel is prompted by a myriad of sources, though, from stress related to the constant grind of work, family pressures or the simple desire to sip a fruity cocktail on a faraway beach without a worry in mind. With a reported average of over 100,000 passenger flights taking off each day, individuals have the opportunity to escape to the getaway of their choice with relative ease. But traveling requires cash-flow, and in some cases, a lot of it. The Discover it Miles credit card is here to help.
Discover’s Miles credit card is a travel rewards card with a number features that makes it stand out among the rest. As a recent spin off of the Discover It rewards credit card, this travel card affords cardholders the opportunity to earn 1.5x unlimited miles on every dollar spent on purchase. The card has both advantages and disadvantages that should be weighed, all outlined below, but it certainly is in the running for individuals seeking a solid travel rewards card to help offset the cash burden of hitting the skies.
The Discover It Miles credit card allows cardholders to earn an unlimited number of miles equal to 1.5% of each dollar spent on the card. It is considered a flat rate rewards program, meaning there are no categories to track or limits to total rewards earnings – a great feature when compared to other cash-back or travel rewards credit cards. While the Discover It Miles card may have a lower rate of rewards crediting than comparable cards, cardholders have the opportunity to earn double the 1.5 miles per dollar spent in the first 12 months of account opening. This essentially means 3 miles are credited for each dollar of purchases, which is applied to the account at the end of the 12-month mark.
One of the attributes that makes the Discover It Miles credit card attractive is its introductory offer. Cardholders who qualify experience a 0% APR on purchases made within the first 12 months after the card is opened, after which the standard APR applies. Current standard rates for the Discover It Miles card range from 11.24% to 23.24%. The 0% introductory offer is not applied to balance transfers, although a reduced rate may be available for well-qualified applicants. For cost-conscious travelers, the Discover It Miles credit card is a great choice as it has no annual fee for as long as the account remains open. That’s a challenge to find in the travel rewards card universe!
The Discover It Miles credit card offers some flexibility in redeeming accumulated rewards, which also differs from other travel credit cards. Cardholders can request a redemption of earned miles at any time as a credit for travel-related purchases made within the previous 180 days, including airfare, hotels or rental cards. Alternatively, rewards may be redeemed for cash back on non-travel related charges, albeit at a lower credit rate. For instance, 100 miles translate to $0.50 of credit for ancillary purchases, compared to the $1 credit when applied toward travel expenses for the same number of miles redeemed. The flexibility in rewards redemption makes the card attractive, but clearly benefits the traveler more so than an individual looking for a pure cash-back rewards card.
While the average credit score necessary to qualify for the Discover It Miles card is not specified by the card provider, all new credit card applicants must be able to provide proof that they are a low risk borrower. Generally, this includes a strong credit history in terms of on-time repayment, no collection accounts and responsible use of other credit accounts. Applicants should be aware that while the introductory rate is 0% under the current promotion, the standard APR that applies after the first 12 months of billing cycles may be near the higher end of the spectrum if credit history and score are less than ideal.
Unique Card Perks
The Discover It Miles credit card offers some unique perks in addition to cash-back travel rewards. Cardholders who use the credit card to purchase in-flight Wi-Fi are eligible to receive a statement credit equal to the purchase price of that service, credited with seven business days. The in-flight Wi-Fi credit is capped at $30 per anniversary year, and unused credits are not carried over from year to year.
Discover also offers cardholders the ability to review their FICO Credit Score on each statement or through the use of the online or mobile log-in. Key credit factors compiled from TransUnion are used to determine an individual’s FICO Score as reported by Discover, which may differ from other credit bureau score reporting methods. The FICO Credit Score availability is free of charge to all Discover It Miles cardholders.
Discover also offers free overnight card replacement should the Miles reward card be lost or stolen, as well as a unique feature called Freeze It. When a cardholder freezes a credit card account, Discover essentially stops all future transactions from going through, including new purchases, cash advances or balance transfer requests. The Freeze It feature is incredibly helpful for travelers who may have temporarily misplaced the credit card or who are concerned with fraudulent activity.
Finally, the Discover It Miles credit card allows cardholders the ability to earn and use travel rewards without the annoyance of blackout dates. Most other travel rewards cards have restrictions on how and when a traveler can use earned miles.
The Discover It Miles credit card is a strong contender in the sea of travel credit cards for those always on the go. However, the Discover It Miles credit card is not a great fit for everyone. A strong credit history is required to qualify for the card, and the potential for earning rewards as a travel credit or cash-back are not nearly as high as comparable rewards cards.
But with no annual fee, bonus miles earned within the first 12 months after account opening, and a 0% introductory interest rate, frequent fliers would be hard pressed to find another credit card as appealing as the Discover It Miles offer. The additional perks like in-flight Wi-Fi statement credits and no blackout dates also make the card attractive for cost-conscious cardholders.