In my most recent travel hacking experience, I found myself redeeming some of those hard earned miles on a Discover card.
I have to say, I was impressed.
The Discover it Miles is definitely something you should look into, especially for the low-maintenance hacker. Currently, Discover is still offering to double all your miles earned in the first year (only for new card members). In addition to some other minor benefits, double miles, no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and a base 1.5% earn rate, the Discover Miles card isn’t something to ignore. Sure, Discover doesn’t have as many horses in the stable as their neighbors (looking at you Chase), but they do have a few decent products. Not to mention excellent customer service, in my opinion.
Anyway, redeeming Discover Miles (read: “points“) falls right in line with Discover’s approach to a simple user interface. Having just paid for some AirBnB stays (here I come Mexico!) I thought it would be an excellent time to use the Discover card, and burn some miles. Redeeming is surprisingly easy.
Redeeming Discover Miles
The whole process is very simple. Just like the cash back version of the Discover it card, there will be a box to the right of the main screen.
Click “Redeem,” and you’ll be brought to the page below. You’ll see options to redeem for cash or against travel charges to your card.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. If you choose to redeem for cash, you’ll simply be prompted to enter in the amount of your redemption. There’s no devaluation for pure statement credits (unlike most other point-based currencies). Whether you redeem for cash or for travel, every Discover Mile is worth 1 cent. It may not sound like much, but it’s an important distinction.
If you opt to redeem directly against travel purchases made on your Discover it Miles card, you’ll be brought to the following screen:
Simply fill in the number of points you want to use, and hit “Continue.”
“Confirm” and you’re done! It’s really a simple way to use your miles. And if the charge you want to erase isn’t on your list of travel purchases, just redeem for cash, and pay your card off!
Everybody has some miles to discover…
To be fair, this card isn’t mine. I’m limited in how much freedom I have to use and experiment with it. So far though, Discover seems generous with it’s description of “travel” purchases. As you saw in the screenshot above, we could redeem for AirBnB, Disney travel agents (from our trip back in February), and even a short taxi ride. Discover doesn’t have a minimum redemption value, as opposed to the BarclayCard Arrival+ (10,000 point for $100 minimum), which makes this an excellent choice for those cheap taxi rides.
Don’t underestimate the value of redeeming Discover Miles for pure cash, either. Redeem for 1 cent apiece, and deposit that cash right back into your bank account. Show me another card that effectively earns 3% cash back on everything, and I’ll sign up.
Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite cards for everyday spend right now, due to the sheer simplicity. For the first year, the card is essentially a 3% cash back card. That’s huge! 3% cash back on everything. No matter what. Your miles never expire, and there’s no limit to the double miles promotion. Could you make out better on a category bonus card?
Maybe. But for most, the Discover it Miles card is an excellent option for the first year, at the very least. After the first year, keep it for the flexible points and the in-flight WiFi credit, but shift the bulk of your spending to a flat 2% card, and you’ll do a bit better.
Keep in mind that the “double” promotion is currently out there for the regular Discover it cash back card too. So if you’d rather take a categories card, that may be a good option. For the folks that want a bit more of a challenge, there are definitely better deals out there with some of the airline specific cards. But for those that want a no-frills approach to a fuller passport and a fatter wallet, the Discover it Miles may be the card for you.
Either way, Discover is clearly trying to win some new customers, and make a few friends in the process.
I think it might be working.