The Discover It Miles Card is a lesser known alternative to the flagship Discover It Card. However, that does not mean it’s a better alternative. The Discover It Miles is one of a few remaining “travel cash back” credit cards. It is closer in nature to the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card than the Capital One Venture Card, which became a transferrable points card in the late 2010s.
Furthermore, the Discover It Miles is a poor option for most travelers and cash back enthusiasts. Travelers are better off with a transferrable points credit card while cash back lovers are better off with an ordinary cash back card.
Like all Discover credit cards, the Discover It Miles has no annual fee. It earns a flat 1.5x miles on all purchases instead of 5% cash back. Don’t be fooled by the name of the currency. Discover’s miles are not airline miles or transferrable points. They are “travel cash back”, which effectively makes the Discover It Miles a 1.5% flat rate cash back card.
Instead of a normal sign-up bonus, Discover will match the cash back you earn in your first year of card-membership. In other words, you will earn 3% cash back on all purchases for the first year. To Discover’s credit, not many other no annual fee credit cards can earn that much value in rewards.
Furthermore, redemption on the Discover It Miles is deceptively simple. Discover gives cardholders just one way to redeem your miles: via statement credit. Having a statement credit as the card’s only redemption option makes redeeming quite limited. This is like the Capital One Venture Card before Capital One started their transfer partner program.
The Discover It Miles Card’s sole redemption option is unimpressive compared to most other credit cards. But Discover’s vision to have It Miles cardholders redeem their miles for travel expenses is understandable. This lack of flexibility makes a transferrable points or a cash back credit card better options than the Discover It Miles.
The Discover It Miles has a few perks for its cardholders, despite having no annual fee.
Monthly TransUnion Score
Everyone can use their credit score. Discover provides cardholders with their official TransUnion score every month for no additional cost.
This feature lets you see how much cardholders have spent on your Discover card. Cardholders can also break down their expenses by category or view a specific time period.
US Based Customer Service
US Based customer service is becoming increasingly rare. Many issuers want to save money and outsourced customer service is usually one of the first ways large companies do so. Discover prides itself on keeping their customer service in the United States and it’s paying off for them and their cardholders.
Discover won the 2019 JD Power US Credit Card Satisfaction Survey primarily because of its customer service. They were also the runner up by just one point in the 2020 survey.
Rules & Regulations
Cardholders cannot product change their Discover It Miles to a regular Discover It unless they have had their card open for at least 12 months. Plus, cardholders cannot get a second Discover card unless they have had your first one open for at least 12 months. This means that cardholders need to choose between the Discover It and the Discover It Miles wisely.
Check out these alternatives if the Discover It Miles is not for you:
Chase Freedom Unlimited
This card is Chase’s response to the Discover It Miles. Both cards earn at a 1.5% cash back on non-bonus purchases. However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is the more flexible card. It earns Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points instead of Discover Miles. But that’s not all! The Freedom Unlimited also earns 5% cash back on travel booked with the Chase Travel Portal as well as 3% on dining and pharmacies.
Furthermore, the Freedom Unlimited is the better option if you also have either Chase Sapphire card or a Chase Ink Business Preferred Card. That’s because all points earned can be transferred to Chase’s transfer partners or redeemed using their portal. Without the premium Chase cards, UR points can only be redeemed for cash back.
Furthermore, Chase is offering a more traditional sign-up bonus with the Freedom Unlimited. New cardholders can receive 20,000 UR points ($200 cash back) after spending just $500 within the first three months. The Freedom Unlimited has the better bonus for the short-term. However, the Discover It Miles wins for the long-term.
Citi Double Cash
The Citi Double Cash is one of the best alternatives to the Discover It Miles for cash back lovers. Cardholders can earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases. The first 1% is earned upon making a purchase and the second 1% is earned upon paying the card’s bill.
Plus, the Double Cash gives cardholders multiple options to redeem cash back. Cash back can be redeemed for a statement credit, cash back, a gift card, or a check in the mail. But the best option for travelers is transferring cash back into Citi Thank You (TY) points. This effectively makes the Citi Double Cash earn 2x TY points per dollar for all purchases!
However, the Double Cash does not have any significant perks because Citi Dropped them from all their cards. The Discover It Miles is the better card for perks, despite not having that many of them.
The regular Discover It Card is the best of the Discover credit card lineup. It earns 5% cash back (not miles) on purchases from rotating categories as well as 1% on non-bonus purchases.
Discover is offering the same sign-up bonus for both the It and the It Miles. Discover will double all cash back earned with the Discover It during the first year. That means the 5% categories become 10% categories and non-bonus spend earns 2% for the first year. That’s better than the Discover It Miles!
Plus, the Discover It comes with the same perks as the Discover It Miles. However, you can choose your card design from over 140 designs when you first get your card. The It Miles comes in just three colors.
Unfortunately, the Discover It Miles is not the best option for travelers or cash back lovers. Its lone redemption option leaves much to be desired compared to most other credit cards.
Cash back lovers should consider a straight cash back credit card, such as the Discover It or the Citi Double Cash. Meanwhile, those who want to travel should consider any Chase, Citi, or American Express credit card that earns transferrable points.