While most of us look for big sign up bonuses and great transfer options, Discover does something a little different with their “travel” card. For the first year, it is definitely one of the best cards to use for non-bonus spending. This isn’t a top option for most people, but with great earning rates, especially for year 1, this might be a card you should consider.
Credit Score Needed:
If you have a credit score less than 700, I advise against playing this game. There are credit cards out there to help build your credit, so you can eventually have a premium credit card.
According to Credit Board, the lowest credit score approved for the Discover it® Miles card was 648. This should give you some guidance if you choose to apply with a credit score less than 700, but ideally a score of 700 or better and you have free range of the reward credit cards.
Discover is pretty good about helping people get started with their credit and improving it. Doctor of Credit just recently talked about Discover graduating their secure cards starts now at 7 months.
This is never a reason to get a card or keep a card, but I think it is always fun to see a card that looks cool. The Discover It® Miles, is pretty boring when it comes to design. It comes in 3 colors: Blue, Neon Green, and Pink. I personally have the neon green, as I do like fun looking cards :-).
Sign Up Bonus:
This is where Discover has an interesting approach to their credit cards. Rarely will Discover give an front sign up bonuses for their credit cards. They have been currently running a “Double Miles” promotion for a while now. Currently, they have the double promo for their Discover It card as well. They have been running this promotion for over a year now. I assume they’ll keep this going, but this could be pulled at any time.
It is important to know that even though Discover markets these as “Miles,” it is really a cash back card. There is no transferring of miles to airlines or hotels, and you can actually just deposit them into your checking account as well.
Discover shows you how many miles you will receive at the end of your first year of using the card. This adjust at the end of each statement. There is no cap to the number of miles you can earn in the first year. This approach by Discover makes sure you are keeping their card in the front of your wallet. Instead of hitting the the minimum spend then tossing the card in the sock drawer.
The Discover It Miles credit card earns 1.5 miles (1.5% cash back) on every purchase. Since Discover will double all the miles you earn in year 1, this card earns 3 miles (3% cash back) on all purchases for year 1. After year 1, this card doesn’t keep up with other cash back earning credit cards. Although, it has one perk that is worth keeping the card around.
After year 1, I would look for a card that earns 2% or more on daily purchases, like the Citi Double Cash, or Fidelity 2% Visa.
The Discover It® Miles credit card has NO annual fee, so there is no reason to cancel this credit card.
Foreign Transaction Fees:
While Discover might not be widely accepted internationally, this card does come with NO foreign transaction fees. It is worth bringing along with you, especially if you don’t have a premium travel credit card that has no foreign transaction fees.
Since this card has no foreign transaction fees, this makes this an easy one to keep, even if it means it stays in the sock drawer.
This is very straight forward as well. You can use your “miles” to either credit a travel charge, or deposit directly into a bank account.
If you choose to redeem against a travel charge, you have 180 days from making that charge to erasing travel expense. This is very similar to Capital One Venture Miles and Barclay Arrival Plus Miles, with the next option, this is not necessary to use this redemption option.
Redeeming for cash back into your account would be a better option. There is no minimum amount of cash back needed to redeem and there is no restriction to use for only travel purchases.
Since this is a cash back card, I would also like to see Discover add gift card redemptions the list. With their Discover It®, this can add on anywhere from 11 % to 100% more value from your cash back.
An important note, although your miles don’t expire, Discover will credit your account if you have closed your account or not used it within 18 months. So, if you plan to not use the card after the first year, just cash them out and deposit them into your account.
Probably my favorite perk of this card is the fact you get a $30 Wi-Fi credit each year. You must use your Discover It Miles credit card to purchase the Wi-Fi, and Discover will credit you the amount up to $30 per year.
- EMV Chip Technology- Still Chip and Signature, hoping it’ll become Chip and PIN soon
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Free FICO Score
- Flight Accident Insurance- Up to $500,000
- Auto Rental Insurance- Secondary Coverage, up to $25,000
- Purchase Protection- Protection is for 90 days and up to $500 on lost or stolen
- Extended Warranty Protection- Extends the warranty up to 1 additional year on warranties of 36 months of less.
- Fraud Protection
- Freeze- Get benefit to freeze your card if you are to misplace it. Citi has started doing this and I expect other banks to follow suit.
- Price Protection- If you find price lower within 90 days of purchase, Discover will refund the difference up to $500.
- Return Guarantee- return your purchase within 90 days of the original purchase date if the store will not accept your return and Discover will refund you up to $500
- Cash at Checkout-Take out cash back at the register. This does not code as a cash advance, so not only will you have cash back, you’ll earn cash back for this too.
Discover Purchase Protection is not nearly as generous as American Express. American Express will cover the cost up to $10,000, so it might be worth it to forgo the extra points or cash back for the extra protection on big ticket items. Just something to consider if you do have an American Express card and a Discover card.
My Issues with Discover:
When we applied for this card, we applied under Kristin. She has a Discover It® credit card, that she actually has had for years. One thing I wish I would have read before we applied was that if you have a card with Discover, they will split that credit limit between the 2 card. They will not increase your credit limit when you apply for another one of their cards.
This has been an issue, because the limit was initially $500, and for our spending, that isn’t high enough to be an everyday card. After asking, Discover was able to increase her limit to $1,000, which still doesn’t fit our spending needs, but they wouldn’t budge. So for a chunk of time, this card was sitting around not getting much use.
Since I have started my new credit card strategy, this has come back into our wallets, even though for large ticket items, we can’t use this card.
One other issue with Discover is their lack of a large credit line. Discover is by far my lowest credit limit when compared to other banks. Although they will increase it if you use your cards frequently, it isn’t even in the same ball park of credit limit when looking at Chase or American Express.
Overall, the Discover It® Miles card is a solid addition to anyone’s collection of cards. Especially for year 1 where Discover will double your miles to earn 3 miles per dollar (3% cash back)! The Wi-Fi credit is a nice benefit, especially if you consider this card has no annual fee. When you add the fact of no foreign transaction fees, the protection of freezing your account if you misplace your card.
Do you have the Discover It Miles card? What do you think of Discover’s Doubling Promo?