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Discover’s New Travel Rewards Credit Card: How Does It Stack Up?

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Can you earn rewards “miles” without stepping on an airplane, or using an airline’s credit card? Several major credit card issuers are hoping that you will want to, and they’re offering rewards cards that offer miles not associated with any airline. To join this increasingly competitive segment of the market, Discover has just announced the release of its Discover it Miles card that offers triple miles on all purchases during the cardholder’s first year.

How This Card Works

For each dollar spent, cardholders earn 1.5 miles in Discover’s program. In addition, cardholders will have all of their miles doubled at the end of their first year of card membership, including any bonus miles earned from Discover Deals offers from featured retailers. This means that cardholders will earn at least a 3% return on all purchases in their first year. In addition, new applicants will receive 12 months of interest-free promotional financing on new purchases.

Miles can be redeemed for a penny each as statement credits toward travel-related expenses such as airfare, hotels and car rentals. Alternatively, cardholders can request cash back from their cards (at the same penny-per-point exchange rate), just as they do with other versions of the Discover it card, although gift card redemptions are not an option. Further, Discover will credit cardholders for up to $30 in charges for in-flight WiFi purchases. As with other versions of the Discover it card, the Miles card will have no annual fee and will waive a cardholder’s first late payment fee automatically and provide a free FICO credit score each month.

According to Julie Loeger, Discover’s senior vice president of brand and acquisition, “Discover believes that loyalty goes both ways” and cardholders can earn an unlimited number of miles from this card with no thresholds or restrictions. She confirmed that this card is available to new customers now, and existing Discover cardholders will be able to convert their cards to Discover it Miles later this year.

How It Compares With Competitors

Other credit card issuers are offering rewards in the form of miles that can be redeemed for travel statement credits. While some of these cards have an annual fee, others are offered in fee-free versions. (Here are some of the best travel credit cards on the market, too.)

Barclaycard Arrival

This card offers new applicants 20,000 bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of card membership. Cardholders earn double miles on all travel and dining purchases, and one mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. In addition, cardholders receive a 10% bonus on the miles they redeem, making each mile worth 1.1 cents each. New cardholders receive 12 months of 0% APR promotional financing on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, and there is no annual fee.

Capital One VentureOne

New cardholders receive 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 on their card within three months of account opening. For each dollar spent, customers receive 1.25 miles, and each mile is worth one cent as a statement credit toward travel expenses. There is no annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees imposed on charges processed outside of the U.S.

Citi ThankYou Preferred

This card offers 30,000 ThankYou points to new applicants who make $2,000 in purchases within four months of account opening. Cardholders also earn double points on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment, and one ThankYou point per dollar spent on other purchases. ThankYou points are worth a penny each when redeemed for travel reservations, gift cards, or merchandise. There is no annual fee for this card.

It’s important before you apply for any rewards credit card that you make sure that card is a good fit for you. People who carry balances from month to month may find that interest charges cancel out the rewards they earn. You should check your credit before you apply to make sure you know where you stand. You can get your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

At publishing time, the Barclaycard ArrivalCapital One VentureOne and Citi ThankYou Preferred cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

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  • Christy

    Found the article to be very helpful. Thanks!!

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

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