Discover it Miles travel card: 2021 review

Gabriela Peratello

Travel credit cards can be useful tools both to manage your money and earn rewards while you spend. If you’re a frequent traveler, choose a card which offers bonus points, discounts and perks for tickets, hotels and trips so you can do more and still save money.

This guide covers everything you should know about the Discover it Miles travel card. We’ll also touch on another smart way to save money when you travel — the Wise Multi-currency Account and card.

📑 Table of Contents

Read more about saving money abroad

Overview: the Discover it Miles travel card

The Discover it Miles card¹ has no annual fee and some great bonus earning opportunities for new card holders. For the first year or so, you’ll get both an unbeatable APR on new spending, and an effective reward rate of 3 points per dollar spent. However, on an ongoing basis the reward rate per dollar spent isn’t the best out there. The Discover it Miles card is a good no-fee option — but if you’re expecting to spend frequently with your travel card and don’t mind paying an annual service charge you might find better options out there.

    🔑 Below you can find some of Discover it Miles’ key features:
    • Earn 1.5 points per dollar on all spending — Discover doubles your points earning at the end of your first year of card use
    • 14 months of 0% APR on new purchases — there is interest to pay for balance transfers and cash advances
    • Redeem points at 1 penny per point, as cash to a bank account or statement credit against travel spend
    • No annual fee or foreign transaction fee
    • Some transaction fees apply, for services like balance transfers and cash advances

    Pros & Cons

    ✅ Pros❎ Cons
    • Opening 0% APR for new customers, potential to get a great ongoing rate if you have a strong credit score
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Flexible ways to redeem points including statement credit and cash back
    • Check acceptance of Discover cards in countries you travel to — it’s not as common as Visa and MasterCard in some areas
    • Point earning opportunities are better with some other travel cards

    Compare the Discover it Miles travel card with other providers

    There’s a broad range of different travel card options out there, so doing a bit of research will help you find the best one for you. Don’t forget to check out the features and fees of different card providers, and pick one which balances costs with the opportunity to maximize your rewards.

    We’ll take a full look at the way the Discover it card works in just a moment, but as a starting point, here’s a side by side comparison of the travel cards on offer from some major card providers.

    Discover it Miles Travel Card¹Chase Sapphire Preferred²Bank of America Travel Rewards³American Express Platinum Travel Card⁴
    FeesNo annual fee95 USD annual feeNo annual fee695 USD annual fee
      Intro purchase APR of 0% and balance purchase APR of 10.99% for 14 months
      11.99% - 22.99% variable
    15.99% - 22.99% variable
      Intro APR of 0% for 12 months
      13.99% - 23.99% variable
    15.99% - 22.99% variable
    Foreign transaction feeNo foreign transaction feeNo foreign transaction feeNo foreign transaction feeNo foreign transaction fee
    Recommended creditGood - excellentGood - excellentGood - excellentGood - excellent

    Another alternative for international travel: meet Wise

    While you’re looking for the best card for your international travel, check out the Wise Multi-currency Account as a smart, simple way to manage your money across borders.

    Open your Wise account online, and order your linked debit card for easy spending and cash withdrawals at home and abroad. Because it’s a Multi-currency Account you can top up your balance in dollars and then convert to the currency you need for traveling, using the real mid-market exchange rate.

      🚀 With Wise you can also:
      • Hold dozens of currencies all in the same account
      • Spend while you travel using your Wise card
      • Manage your money using the Wise app
      • No hidden costs, no sneaky exchange rate markups, no hassle.

      Create your free Wise account now

      Discover it Miles travel credit card card full review

      If you’re not sure if the Discover it Miles card is your perfect match. Here are the features, fees and benefits you need to know about.


      • Earn 1.5 reward miles for every dollar you spend
      • Redeem your reward miles as a cash payment to your bank account, or to offset against travel spending using your card
      • Discover will match your first year’s reward points, doubling your earning potential in year one
      • No annual fee
      • No foreign transaction fee
      • Variable APR — you’ll have a 0% APR for 14 months but will then be offered an APR which is based on your credit score

      Advantages of the Discover it Miles credit card

      • Good opening offers for new card holders
      • Unlimited point earning opportunity
      • Points don’t expire and can be redeemed flexibly as cash or credit
      • No annual fee

      Disadvantages of the Discover it Miles credit card

      • After the initial period you may find there are better APRs available depending on your credit score
      • Relatively high fees and APR for cash advances
      • Discover network is not accepted as widely as Visa or MasterCard
      • Reward earn rate isn’t as high as some other cards on the market


      How to earn rewards

      You’ll earn 1.5 miles for every dollar you spend on the Discover it Miles card. This doesn’t apply to cash advances or balance transfers⁵.

      At the end of your first year, Discover will match the points you’ve earned in the preceding 12 statement periods — so you double the amount of reward miles you have.

      How to redeem rewards

      1 mile can be redeemed at the value of 1 penny. You can redeem your reward miles as a cash deposit to your bank account, or as a statement credit against travel purchases made with your card. Travel spending credit can be applied to purchases made in the preceding 180 days, and includes vacation packages, travel tickets, suburban travel and more.

      Fees and charges

      The Discover it Miles card doesn’t have any annual fee, but that doesn’t mean there are no costs at all. You’ll need to pay off your balance every statement period to avoid interest, and there are extra charges for services such as cash advances and balance transfers. Here’s what you need to know.

      Fee typeDiscover it Miles Travel Card cost⁶
      Annual feeNo annual fee
      • Intro APR of 0% for 14 months
      • Standard APR: 11.99% - 22.99% variable
      • 10.99% APR on balance transfers for 14 months, the APR will then revert to 11.99% - 22.99% variable
      • 24.99% APR on cash advances
      • No penalty APR used
      Foreign transaction feeNo foreign transaction fee
      Balance transfer fee3% of the transfer value for 14 months; subsequent transfers have a 5% fee
      Cash advance fee10 USD or 5% the value of the advance, whichever is greater
      Late payment penaltyNo charge the first time; up to 40 USD for subsequent late payments
      Returned payment penaltyUp to 40 USD
      Recommended creditGood - excellent

      International spending: coverage and exchange rate

      You can use your Discover card when you’re abroad with merchants who accept the Discover network. There’s no international transaction fee to pay — although you’ll want to avoid making ATM withdrawals if you can because there are steep cash advance costs.

      It’s important to check coverage levels in your destination country before you travel⁷, as Discover cards aren’t as widely accepted outside of the US compared with other networks like Visa and MasterCard. You’ll also need to register your travel plans with Discover in advance to ensure you have uninterrupted use of your card as you travel.

      When you spend in a foreign currency, your purchases will be converted back into dollars using the Discover exchange rate — as long as you avoid dynamic currency conversion (DCC). DCC is where you’re asked by a merchant or when making a withdrawal if you’d rather pay in dollars instead of the currency wherever you are. That might seem like a great service, but actually DCC is a headache for travelers. The exchange rate and fee structure used for DCC is set by the merchant, and can mean you’re paying more than you need to for international spending. Always opt to pay in the local currency to avoid excessive DCC fees.

      With a bit of research you’ll be able to find the perfect travel card for your personal needs and preferences. The Discover it Miles card could be a good fit if you want a low cost card for occasional use, although there are other cards out there which offer higher redemption rates if you’re planning on charging high ticket items to the card. Take a look through the range of travel credit and debit cards on the market, including modern alternatives like the Wise Multi-currency Account and card to get the right one for you.


      1. Discover - Travel credit cards
      2. Chase - Pricing
      3. Bank of America - Credit cards terms and conditions
      4. American Express - Platinum card
      5. Discover - Discover it Miles
      6. Discover Card - Application
      7. Discover - International use

      Sources checked on 08.17.2021.

      *Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

      This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

      We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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