Whether you’re planning a very special trip next year or just travel a lot, there’s currently a limited-time offer you really ought to think seriously about. The Discover it® Miles-Double Miles your first year card is effectively offering double miles for the first year after new cardholders (but not existing ones) open their accounts.
Here’s how it works: After the first consecutive 12 billing periods that your new account is open, Discover® will double all the miles you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the next billing cycle. Cardholders earn 1.5x miles per dollar spent on purchases, then double all the miles you’ve earned at the end of the first year.
A good travel rewards card
This would be of less interest were the Discover it® Miles not a pretty good travel rewards card already. But it is, because:
- You can fly any airline at any time — with no blackout dates.
- You can redeem any number of miles you want, from one up, at any time.
- You can redeem miles against travel purchases made on the card within the previous 180 days. These travel purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation.
- You can also redeem miles for cash as an electronic deposit to your bank account.
- It has no annual fee.
- There are no foreign transaction fees.
- Discover® pays you back for your in-flight Wi-Fi fees (up to $30 a year) with an automatic statement credit.
- There’s no cap on the miles you can earn.
- Rewards never expire, although Discover® will credit your account with your rewards balance if your account is closed or has not been used in 18 months.
- You get a 0 percent APR introductory rate on purchases for 12 months.
- There’s no fee for your first late payment, and paying late won’t increase your APR.
All this, and Discover® has just introduced the Freeze ItSM on/off switch, which lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.
Getting the most out of this offer
If you’re planning a big trip and want your rewards to cover part of the cost, you’re probably going to want to use your card for most or all your travel and non-travel purchases prior to departure. The tricky bit is timing when you buy your tickets and pay for other upfront travel-related expenses.
Remember, you can only use rewards to pay or partially pay for travel items purchased within the previous 180 days. Discover® doubles all the miles you’ve earned in your first year during your 13th billing cycle, so depending on the timing of your plans and the purchases you make on the card, there may be a bit of a gap when it comes to redeeming all of your miles.
One possible solution is to buy tickets and so on less than six months before you travel, taking advantage of the Discover it® Miles card’s zero percent introductory APR. That way, you can avoid interest and maximize the contribution your points make to the final cost — although you are going to have to make at least minimum payments during the months between buying the tickets and redeeming the rewards. Ideally you probably want to clear the balance during that 13th billing cycle, which is not only when your bonus rewards become available, but also when the variable APR kicks in.
By all means use your card while you’re on your trip to build up more rewards, and provide triggers (hotel bills, car rental, rail tickets …) for other rewards redemptions. After all, it doesn’t charge the foreign transaction fees — typically 3 percent — that many cards do.
However, you should note one possible drawback. This concerns Discover’s® acceptance by merchants in certain countries. You need to check the map on the company’s website before you travel to make sure your card’s going to work at your destination. Oh, and don’t forget to call Discover® with your itinerary details before you set off or there’s a good chance your international activity will set off fraud alarms and see your plastic temporarily frozen.
Not looking for a travel card?
There’s no doubt the Discover it® Miles-Double Miles your first year is currently exceptional, but not everyone’s on the hunt for a travel rewards card.
Indeed, you may find cash back more desirable than miles, in which case you probably should explore Discover’s® other offerings. Discover® is currently offering to double all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year automatically (again, only for new cardmembers) on cards including:
- Discover it®-Double Cash Back your first year
- Discover it® card-Double Cash Back your first year
- Discover it® chrome for Students-Double Cash Back your first year
As always with credit cards, the trick is to match the plastic available to your personal requirements, desires and spending patterns.
Visit CardRatings.com to learn about these limited time Discover® credit card offers and to read a full review of Discover it® Miles-Double Miles your first year.
Updated December 4, 2016 and originally published July 21, 2015.