I just applied and was approved for the Discover it Miles Card, which offers unlimited 1.5x miles per dollar on all purchases. For the first year you have the card, it offers double that–3x miles per dollar on all purchases.
Miles earned on the Discover it Miles Card are worth a penny each toward any flight with no blackouts or toward a deposit in your bank account, so for the first year the card basically offers me 3% cash back on all purchases.
That is the best return of any card on the market for everyday purchases.
Here are some quick facts about the Discover it Miles Card:
- Sign Up Bonus: none
- Annual Fee: none
- Return on Spending: 3 miles per dollar for first year, 1.5 miles per dollar after that
- Miles are worth 1 cent each toward any flight or toward depositing them into an account you designate
- Up to $30 spent on inflight wifi per cardmember year is credited back to your account
- Free access to your real FICO credit score
I applied online and got a minor thrill out of being able to pick my card color.
I got no instant decision. Because I recently moved, I was asked for follow up information that was basically proof of my address. I saved the email and planned to follow up, even though it would be an annoying chore, when Discover pro-actively called me.
Instead of having to mail in anything, they were able to verify my identity with those multiple choice questions based on public records that you’ve probably answered to prove your identity to a bank before. Once my identity was verified, I was approved, and my card is in the mail.
Sign Up Bonus
The Discover it Miles Card offers no bonus miles for signing up. I normally go for cards with big sign up bonuses, but not always. I have the Chase Freedom, which only offers a 10,000 point sign up bonus for its 5x rotating categories.
Similarly I looked past the lack of a sign up bonus on the Discover it Miles Card because I want to earn 3x miles on all my purchases.
Rewards for Spending
The Discover it Miles Card offers 1.5 miles per dollar on all spending with no cap on miles you can earn. During the first 12 months you have the card, that is doubled. I’ll earn 3 miles per dollar on all spending with no cap until April 2016. That’s an unmatched return.
No cash back card that I know of offers better than 2.28% back, and this is nearly a third better.
Redeeming the Miles
Here are the terms and conditions for mileage redemptions. From the terms:
Visit Discover.com or call 1-800-347-3085 24 hours a day/7 days a week and choose how to redeem your Miles.
One of the options is “you can redeem for cash as a electronic deposit to your bank account.” That means for every dollar in purchases on the card in the first year, I can later deposit three cents back into my bank account.
For the first year, the card is a 3% cash back card. For future years, it is a 1.5% cash back card.
Using the word “miles” obfuscates that fact, but the terms make it very clear. I’ll cut out the intermediate step of redeeming these miles for flights and just deposit them into my bank account.
The Discover it Miles Card has no annual fee ever. There’s certainly no other card with no annual fee that offers anywhere close to 3% back on purchases. There’s not even a card with an annual fee that offers anything like that on all purchases.
The first $30 you spend on inflight wifi during your cardmember year will be credited back to your statement.
When you use your Discover it Miles card to purchase wireless internet access on an aircraft, we will issue a statement credit in the amount of that purchase in U.S. dollars within seven (7) business days, up to a maximum of $30 each Anniversary Year. An Anniversary Year consists of 12 consecutive months following your account open date, and each subsequent 12-month period thereafter. You will lose any unused Wi-Fi credit at the end of each Anniversary Year.
I will be sure to max out this benefit and get $30 in statement credits this year.
The Discover it Miles Card entitles cardholders to a free real FICO score. This is a valuable benefit to me.
Because you can redeem 1 mile for 1 cent in your bank account, I’m going to think of the Discover it Miles Card as a cash back card that offers 3% back on all purchases–with no cap–for my first year.
For a card with no annual fee and $30 in free inflight wifi per year, that’s an unbeatable deal!
Application Link: Discover it Miles Card
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.
Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.