Travel Rewards With No Annual Fees
Travel credit cards that earn you miles makes sense for travelers. The catch is the annual fee that accompanies many of them. Fortunately, you're not limited on credit card choices. Discover offers the Discover it® Miles as a no annual fee option. Each purchase earns you 1.5 miles per dollar. As a bonus, you receive double your earned points at the end of the first year. The card has a simple flat rate that’s easy to remember. You earn unlimited 1.5 miles on every purchase. Use your miles to credit travel purchases such as airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals or for cash. You can redeem starting with as low as one mile. Miles will never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing
Card perks include no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. The purchase intro APR is 0% for 14 months and then your APR will be 13.74%-24.74% Variable, based on your creditworthiness and the Prime Rate. Balance transfers start at a 10.99% APR for the first 14 months. After that, your APR will be 13.74%-24.74% Variable, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers will incur a 3% transaction fee. Cash advance APR is 26.74% Variable and has a fee of either $10 or 5%, whichever is greater.
Your first late payment has no penalty fee. After that, it's up to $37 but carries no penalty APR with it.
Discover offers FICO® credit scores free on monthly statements, mobile and online. You can track recent scores and monitor your credit on the go.
You also always reach live customer service each time you call. Discover features 100% U.S. based customer service.
No annual fee - No annual fee with this travel card.
No foreign transaction fee - Take this card with you as you travel without any fear of transaction fees.
0% intro APR - The intro APR for purchases will be 0% for the first 14 months of having the card.
1.5x unlimited miles - Earn unlimited miles with each purchase counting toward miles.
Discover Match® - You get matched for the miles you’ve earned in your first 12 consecutive billing periods.
Who It Benefits
The casual domestic traveler interested in a basic travel miles card is an ideal match for the Discover it® Miles. The rewards bonus is simple at 1.5 miles per purchase, and the first year match is a great perk. With no annual fee, you won't lose money with this card. However, if you're a frequent flyer, you may benefit from a higher fee card that offers more miles per purchase.
International travelers might find that this card isn't accepted as widely as Visa and Mastercard. The Discover it® Miles really benefits a domestic traveler who wants to earn unlimited miles in an easy way.
How It Works
The Discover it® Miles earns you miles with each purchase. And as a travel card with no annual fee, the barrier to entry is low. You won't have to worry about getting hit with an annual fee down the line, like many other cards. However, keep in mind you will need good to excellent credit to qualify for the card.
Each purchase earns you 1.5 miles per dollar spent. There's no cap on how many miles you can earn, it's unlimited. Instead of a sign-up bonus, Discover offers a year-end match for miles. You could benefit from this if you spend a lot in your first year. For example, say you spend about $1,400 each month. That'll earn you roughly 25,000 miles by your 12th billing cycle. After the match, you'll have 50,000 miles - not a bad deal.
You can redeem your points online or by calling Discover 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One mile equals 1 penny, and you can receive an electronic deposit starting at one mile. You can use your miles to credit travel purchases on your statement or for cash.
This card offers no foreign transaction fees. The purchase introductory APR is 0% for 14 months, after that the APR is 13.74%-24.74% Variable, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers come with a 3% transaction fee and an APR of 10.99% for the first 14 months. After 14 months, balance transfers APR is 13.74%-24.74% Variable, based on your creditworthiness. Cash advance APR is 26.74% Variable and has a fee of either $10 or 5%, whichever is greater.
There's no penalty APR. Additionally, your first late payment is a pass. After that, you'll pay up to $37 for later or returned payment.
Whats the Catch
This card is best for an occasional traveler. If you travel often, you'd earn more with a card that doubles or triples travel purchases. With the Discover it® Miles travel card at 1.5 miles regardless of type of purchase, you have no purchase incentives with this card. You could even switch to a flat 1.5% unlimited cash back card and get basically the same amount of rewards
Additionally, Discover cards are not as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard. This is especially important to note if you're planning on using your card on trips abroad. Many vendors in foreign countries only accept the two industry giants: Visa and Mastercard. If you usually travel with a back-up card, then it won't be an issue for you, but for others that may be the tipping point to shop around for a different card.
Just the Math Please
The Discover it® Miles comes with 1.5 miles with every dollar you spend on purchases. One mile equals 1 penny and you can redeem miles in any amount at any time. After the first 12 consecutive billing periods, Discover will match all the miles you've earned as a one-time bonus.
Balance transfers are 3% of the transfer amount.
Balance transfers come with 10.99% intro APR for the first 14 months. After 14 months, it will be 13.74%-24.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness.
Rates and Fees
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases
0% intro APR for the first 14 months that your account is open. After 14 months, your APR will be 13.74%-24.74% Variable, based on your creditworthiness. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
APR for Balance Transfers
10.99% intro APR for the first 14 months that your account is open. After 14 months, your APR will be 13.74%-24.74% Variable, based on your creditworthiness. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
APR for Cash Advances
26.74% Variable and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Penalty APR and When it Applies
How to Avoid Paying Interest on Purchases
Your due date is at least 25 days after the close of each billing cycle.
Discover will not charge you interest on purchases if you pay your entire balance by the due date each month. You will be charged interest on balance transfers and cash advances on the transaction date.
- Balance Transfer 3% of the amount of each transfer.
- Cash Advance $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
- Foreign Purchase Transaction None
- Late Payment None the first time you pay late. After that up to $37
- Returned Payment Up to $37
How It Stacks Up
Curious what other cards compare to the the Discover it® Miles? There are plenty to choose from.
Another travel card featuring no annual fee or foreign transaction fees is the Capital One VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card. You can earn unlimited miles with this card as well, but at 1.25 miles per dollar rather than 1.5. If you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months you will receive a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles. That equals to $200 in travel credit. There’s an introductory 0% APR for 12 months on purchases. After that, the APR is 13.74%-23.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness. Unlike the Discover it® Miles, the Capital One® VentureOne® has no introductory balance transfer APR. Your APR will be 13.74%-23.74% Variable. However, there’s no balance transfer fee with this card. You earn 0.25 miles less than the Discover it® Miles with the VentureOne®, but you have access to Visa Signature® Benefits. These benefits include travel upgrades and savings, auto rental collision damage and complimentary concierge service.
Bank of America also offers a comparable card. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. And similar to the Discover it® Miles you earn an unlimited 1.5 points on each purchase. Additionally, you can earn 20,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of owning the card. On top of that, you can earn an extra 10% points bonus if you have an active checking or savings account with Bank of America®. And you stand to earn three miles for every dollar for purchases made through the Bank of America Travel Center if you have an active Bank of America® consumer account. You can redeem miles for statement credits or cash reward starting at 2,500 miles. Gift card redemptions start at 3,125 points. The introductory APR is 0% for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases, after that it’s 16.49% to 24.49% variable, based on your creditworthiness when you open your account. The balance transfer APR does not have an introductory offer; it’s offered at 16.49% to 24.49% variable, based on your creditworthiness and comes with a charge of 3% or $10, whichever is greater.
If you’re not afraid of annual fees, take a look at Capital One’s Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Your first year annual fee is at an intro rate of $0, after that it’s $95. Each purchase earns you unlimited miles at two miles per dollar rate. If you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening, you receive a bonus of 50,000 miles. With those offerings, the card is best for those who spend a fair amount per month. If you don’t use your card all that often, you’ll want to avoid a card with annual fees and bonuses based on reaching purchase thresholds. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card purchase and balance transfer APR is 14.74%-24.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness. The introductory APR is 0% for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases, after that it’s 16.74% to 24.74% variable, based on your creditworthiness when you open your account. The balance transfer APR does not have an introductory offer; it’s offered at 16.74% to 24.74% variable, based on your creditworthiness and comes with a charge of 3% or $10, whichever is greater.
A simple rewards structure and no annual fee make this card a good option for those just starting out in the travel card space. The first year miles match is a great bonus to factor in. You’ll make 1.5 miles per purchase with no limits for how many miles you can earn. It keeps things simple. You just have to consider your spending habits and how involved you like to be when calculating points.
You should calculate how often you travel before committing to this card. You stand to earn more points with other cards, even if those cards charge annual fees. It all depends on your situation. And if you want to go abroad with this card, you’ll benefit from no foreign transaction fees, but only if the merchant accepts Discover cards.
The 14 month purchase introductory 0% APR is another perk to this card. However, the balance transfer introductory APR is 10.99% for 14 months, which is something to consider. Before you decide this is the card for you, just be sure to consider the options and make a decision based on your specific travel and spending habits as well as financial situation.