Discover introduces a new card and a potentially VERY lucrative 1st year offer

Discover has just unveiled a new credit card: Discover It Miles.

Discover It Miles

While this card earns “miles” it appears to really be indistinguishable from a cash back card.  Points are redeemable for travel expenses or for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point.

Overall, this card is very similar to the Bank of America Travel Rewards card.  Both cards earn 1.5 “miles” per dollar.  Both have no annual fee.  And, both have no foreign transaction fees.  Where they differ greatly is in the way consumers can do better than 1.5 miles (AKA 1.5% cash back) per dollar.  For details about maximizing the BOA Travel Rewards card, please see this post.

The Discover It Miles card distinguishes itself in a couple of ways.  For one, the card will reimburse cardholders up to $30 for in-flight wifi per year.  That’s a nice little perk for a no-fee card.  Secondly, the first year bonus is potentially incredible…

The Discover It Miles card offers to double your miles earned at the end of your first year.  That means you’ll average 3 points per dollar, or 3% cash back, for all spend.  That will easily catapult this card to the top of my “Best rewards for everyday spend” page.  But it gets better…

Let’s look at the terms of the double miles offer:

After the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open, we will double all the Miles you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the next billing cycle. You will not receive Double Miles if your account is closed or is no longer in the Miles reward program as of the award date. This promotional offer may end. This promotional offer may not be offered in the future. See Rewards Terms and Conditions for additional details on earning and redeeming Miles.

The key term is that they “will double all the Miles you’ve earned…”  I haven’t received confirmation from Discover about this yet, but I believe that means that points earned through Discover Deals will also be doubled!  Discover Deals is already my go to portal / savings engine for a vast number of opportunities.  Can you imagine how lucrative it could become if all points earned were doubled at the end of the year?

How do we know that Discover Deals will be available for this product?  Click here for the “Miles rewards terms & conditions”.  There, you’ll find the following paragraph:

Discover DealsSM Purchases

With Discover DealsSM you can shop at top merchants and earn additional Miles, a statement credit on your Discover account or instant savings at checkout both online and in stores. Miles will take approximately 8 weeks to show up on your account, statement credits will take approximately 14 days, and instant savings immediately reduce your amount due at the merchants point of sale.

More information about the Discover It Miles card can be found here.

Questions remaining to be answered:

  • Will Discover really double all points earned including those earned through Discover Deals?  Note: Please see an update here: Discover It Miles not as lucrative as I had hoped.
  • What about current Discover It cardholders? Can they sign up for this card too or do they have to choose one or another?
  • Will customers have the ability to redeem points for merchant gift cards the way they can currently with Discover It cash back?

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. Terms say you can redeem for cash at 1 to 1 ratio. 1 to 1 for cash/travel/etc. so I’ll take the cash.

    Question, never got a Discover card before, do you or your readers find that it’s just as easy to MS compared to Citi or hard like WF/AMEX(recently) etc? Thoughts?

      • “How do I Redeem My Miles?
        Visit Discover.com or call 1-800-347-3085 24 hours a day/7 days a week and choose how to redeem your Miles, including.
        Credit to your account for travel purchases-starting at 1 mile.
        Electronic deposit into an account you designate-starting at 1 mile.
        Any way you redeem, 1 Mile is the cash equivalent of 1 penny.”

        • It doesn’t say anywhere there about cash, it says credit to your account for travel purchases and electronic deposit into a miles account. 1 mile is the cash equivalent to 1 penny to credit a travel purchase.

        • I don’t think so, I believe it is a mileage account. Have you contacted them to be sure it’s a bank account. I hope you are correct, but that would defeat the purpose a mileage card.

        • They don’t transfer miles to partners.

          “Redeem Miles: Starting at 1 Mile, you can redeem for cash as a electronic deposit to your bank account or for a credit for Travel Purchases on your statement made within in last 180 days. Travel Purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation. Redemption may be delayed up to 48 hours if your card is lost or stolen. See Miles Terms and Conditions for details.”

  2. Agree with David. Assuming we can set cash advance to zero I wonder if we can MS(especially RedBird for nada). Won’t put down my calculations but it seems lucrative.

  3. Another Q: any chance those “first year bonus” terms will be available to existing Discover cardholders who convert their card to this one?

    I have the old Escape card I was planning to convert to Discover it, but I’d convert to this card instead if that bonus is available.

    • Just called Discover to switch to this card. I was told they cannot covert existing Discover customer to the DiscoverIt Miles card yet. You can only get the Miles card as a new account as of now. I asked to be notified when a transfer to this card is possible. Not sure if they will still offer the double miles promotion when they finally do allow transfers, but I sure hope they do! Side note, calling and transferring my Bonus card to a Discover It card got me 0% APR for the next year, so I guess it wasn’t a complete bust!

  4. This has a Diners club fiasco written all over it….potentially. They’re settings themselves up for an uncapped 1st year loss to hopefully get back that money after the first 12 cycles.

    So big question is, what view do they take of MS activities. Their terms don’t explicitly mention GCs. It would suck to do 12 months of work and lose it all to a shutdown.

  5. It seems like you have to have a LOT of ms to make this work. Is there a sign up bonus? I could see for a really big spender this might be great, but lets say I spend 24k a year on this card. That would be 72k miles at the end of the year. If I get a barclays arrival and spend 24k, I’m thinking I’d get the (40k bonus + 48K) * 1.1 (10% back) = 96.8 k. Seems like I’m better going for sign up bonuses than spending it all on a 3%card.

  6. It all boils down to opportunity cost. For those with existing cards that are not exactly churnable ( Discover More, it, etc), it becomes a comparison of your 2+% card with Discover it Miles (DiM), in which case, DiM should win. For those without the aforementioned though, they might be better options.

    And if Discover Deals (under DiM) stacks the way that FM has interpreted it, this could make DiM very lucrative.

  7. Hmmm,

    I had stopped spending my regular discover card that I have had for 15 years. I had been averaging 3k per month and then a year ago discovered miles and churning etc.

    They sent me a targeted offer: spend 3k per month for six months and earn $500 bonus to account.

    So right now, I’m already MS more than normal for that 3k per month in addition to the sign ups for other cards.

    If there are no bonus categories then my calculations go like this:

    2 * 500 VGC + 2+4.94 fee +0.70 for WM MO = 11.28 per 1000 of MS on this new Discover card. Initial 1.5% back on card =15.17. Minus the MS costs of 11.28 = Profit of 3.89 per 1 MO.

    At the end of the year, add in another 15.17 per MO.

    Thus if you do 2 MO per day, 5 days a week 48 weeks a year (a few weeks of bora bora and hawaii travel right?) then when all is said and done you have bought 480 MO:

    Initial profit accumulated through the year: 1867.2
    At the end of 1 year added as a bonus: 7281.6

    Total return = 9148.8

    That is assuming you can move 2 MO per day and deposit in your credit union/bank without problems etc.

    9k is pretty nice.

      • Reran the numbers and both you and I were wrong:

        cost discover end year
        500 4.94 504.94
        500 4.94 504.94 9.88
        1009.88 10.58 15.1482 15.1482

        2 5078.4 7271.136 7271.136
        5
        48 2192.736 7271.136 9463.872

        Assuming 2 cards = 1 Mo, 2 Mo per day (4 cards), 5 days per week, 48 weeks per year
        Assuming 4.94 fee per card.
        Assuming 0.70 per MO

        Then 2 cards cost 1009.88 for which 1.5 % initial and 1.5% end of year gets figured from.
        Out of pocket costs of 9.88 + 0.70 = 10.58 cost per 1 MO.

        For 480 MO per year, $5078.4 cost
        Initial 1.5% return of (480* 15.1482) = 7271.136
        For initial net of 2192.736

        End of Year and additional 7271.136 is added for a net total of

        9463.872

        More of less 😉

    • Carl,

      Or you just need 4 RB cards and you would get exactly that with less risk and fewer trips to Target and no need to buy GC therefore no cost = Pure Profit of 5000 X 4 X 12 X 3% = 7.2K a year.

      I need a replacement for Old Amex Blue (too risky) and the previous Citi Preferred at 5X for a year(Thanks FM!). I can go WF but heard thats not exactly scalible.

  8. Applied. Had to call in. Seems if you have an existing card, you will have to call in to see if you want your old discover card canceled or if you want both.

    I said both. At that point they were not willing to extend more credit, but required transferring credit line from existing card (15k) to new one. I left 5k on the old and 10k on the new.

    Asked the rep and he said he believed “any miles earned even if from discover deals” count for doubling at the end of the year. This could be potentially lucrative if we find some good discover deals.

    He said they just launched today and there phones have been off the hook approving the cards and “working out some snags” in the process.

  9. After the Amex beatdown people should be wary of having to wait an entire year for bonus points if they plan on doing MS on this card.

  10. This might be a good everyday card, but I’d be very nervous of waiting the whole year hoping that they will send me a $20,000 check or something instead of just shutting me down. I wonder if there is a benefit to starting your 1 year period on the early side.

  11. I just got the Discover IT card a few weeks ago, mostly to gain access to Discover Deals. Sounds like I applied too early. I’m going to call tomorrow morning to see if I can convert. I’m really not interested in applying for another card at this point. However, I highly doubt they’ll honor doubling DD “miles” earned, especially since this is an end of year thing. DD already offers some of the best payouts around. For example, I just cashed in on 15% on Saks purchases. And of course Apple Store is at 5%. I just don’t see how they can sustain that.

  12. The main question I think needs answering is how the Miles card fits in with Discover Deals? For example, Apple Store is 5% cash back via DD. So if I don’t have the regular IT card and go through DD portal to buy an iPad, will I get 5x “miles”, or just 5% cash back? Right now when I log on to my Discover account, they separate the cash back earned via CC from the cash back earned via DD. My guess is that they’ll do the same if you have the Miles card. We’re all hoping that Discover will double the DD earnings at the end of the year (5 “miles” from DD + 1.5 from CC, doubled to 13 “miles”), but I think that’s highly unlikely. More realistically, buying an iPad will get 5% cash back and 1.5 “miles” that doubles to 3 “miles” after 12 months.

  13. I was wanting to get a Discover It card so I got this card today instead. Thanks, Greg!
    I already have a Discover (the original) card so they asked me to decide how I wanted to split my credit line between the two cards ($15k). The rep did not know anything about how Discover Deals would be handled and said since this was the first day of offering this new product, they were all learning (and a bit overwhelmed).

  14. lol MMS took my comment off….it explained my disbelief that Discover would offer the same redemption value of 1 cent pp for cashback. As with BOA, Arrival, and Venture travel mile cards call for redemptions at .5cpp and only offer full value against travel related expenses, within a few month timeframe, either by statement credit (or refund to your bank account, if charge has been paid)…if it were truly a 1st year 3% card they would advertise it as such and kill the competition. why convolute it with miles and limited time/category redemptions?!? I think it is a poorly worded intro and they leave all kinds of room to pull the rug out and adjust the terms as needed with FM’s mentioned T&C….at best it will be a competitor to the aforementioned cards if they include other discovercard network perks…I seriously doubt it will turn out to be a true 3% CB card.

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