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Discover Miles bonus: Double to 3x rewards your first year with no fees

by on Thu February 19, 2015 • No Comment


Discover has just launched a new no annual fee travel rewards card, the Discover Miles card.

It offers an intriguing first year deal…

Double your reward miles earned for the first year your account is open, credited to you at the end of your first year.


What does that mean?

The base earning on this card is an unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar you spend. So that means you end up earning 3x miles on that first year spending with no limits once the year-end bonus hits. You get 1.5x miles after each month’s spending, and then get a bonus of the same amount at the end of your first year as a card member.

The miles are pretty simple. Every mile is worth a penny toward travel expenses, so 3x miles is like 3% back on all of your spending.

There are no annual fees on the card, and no foreign transaction fees.

Just a dead simple 1.5x miles doubled for the first year, which could earn you 3x on your first year spending.

Better yet they never expire, and if you close your account you don’t lose your points. Discover will credit the remaining points to you and cut a check.

Note that Discover has fine print that says this double your earning for the first year deal could be pulled at any time, so if you’re interested consider getting it before any potential quota is filled. If you get in on it while it’s active, no need to worry, but just beware this is a deal that Discover might decide is too lucrative and close out to new applicants.

How much can you earn in travel rewards?

After your first year, here’s how 1.5x points doubled adds up:

  • $1,000 / month: 36,000 points ($1,000 in travel rewards)
  • $2,000 / month: 72,000 points ($720 in travel rewards)
  • $3,000 / month: 108,000 points ($1,080 in travel rewards)

To use the rewards, you just book a flight with your card and use the points to offset the purchase. Here are examples of what they’re worth:

  • 1,000 miles = $10
  • 10,000 miles = $100
  • 50,000 miles = $500

Use as few or as many miles as you want each time you redeem. There are no minimums, so you can save anytime.

If you’re tired of airline mile devaluations, it’s hard to beat this kind of very simple earning in your first year with no hassles come redemption time.

Possible to earn more online

Discover Deals lets you shop at many online stores and earn extra Discover miles. And those miles earned in the first year are doubled as well. So keep an eye open for deals that are relevant for things you’re already planning on buying to earn more.

How does this compare to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Capital One Venture?

It depends on whether you have the cards yet, which earn 2x points on all spending, but carry annual fees.

If you already have a Barclaycard Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture, and are done earning their intro bonuses, a new Discover Miles card is worth considering.

You’ll bump up from 2% to 3% travel rewards for a year, and not have to deal with any annual fees.

If you don’t have one of them yet, it’s a little more complicated. They offer intro bonuses of 40,000 points, or $400 after you spend $3,000 on the cards, so for the first $3,000 you’re earning 13x points on every dollar you spend.

Let’s say you spend $2,000 a month. Here’s what you’ll earn in your first year:

  • Discover Miles: 72,000 miles ($720 in travel)
  • Capital One Venture: 88,000 miles ($880 in travel)
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus: 88,000 points ($880 in travel, plus 10% point rebate)

So the Discover Miles earns a bit less than either of them because they have 40,000 point bonuses on your first $3,000 in spending.

If you happen to spend more than $3,300 or so a month, the Discover Miles alone will earn more than either of them.

And if you’re a small spender who can’t meet the $3,000 in 3 month requirement for the Arrival Plus or Venture, then the Discover Miles is an outstanding deal.

But the better strategy is to use the Discover Miles as soon as you’re done with bonuses on either of them, which maximizes both the 40,000 point bonus and the Discover Miles double earning.

Who does Discover pull?

Unlike Capital One, Discover generally pulls only one credit bureau when you apply, and it can be any one of Experian, Equifax, or Transunion.

More important, if you are into trying out different cards, this is a way to take a break from other bank applications, and try a fresh relationship.

What are the downsides?

Discover acceptance in Europe tends to be less universal than with Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, though over 9 million merchants accept them.

And there is no Chip + PIN feature on this card, so it may be less convenient than an Arrival Plus, which includes full Chip + PIN.

But if you’re a domestic traveler, you’re not giving up much convenience, and will find this card rewarding.

We only wish it offered 2x points after the first year, rather than 1.5x.


The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived


Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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