If you are new to the “simple art of traveling nearly free” here on Go to Travel Gal, you may be wondering where to start your journey toward free travel. To travel free, you must first start by seeing credit cards no longer as something bad, but as a tool you can leverage to your advantage.
A great place for beginners to explore how to use credit cards to your benefit is with the Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card.
Note: To apply for the credit cards included in this post and to help support Go to Travel Gal at NO COST to you, please start at TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS in the Go to Travel Gal main menu shown in the image below. My blog depends on affiliate income, and these links allow me to earn a commission and pay the blogging bills :), so that I may continue to bring you great information free. I sincerely appreciate you taking this step!
Why Discover it® Miles Is Great for Beginners
I like Discover it® Miles for newbies to the world of free travel for a lot of reasons, including the fact that it’s incredibly simple and doesn’t cost a thing.
This is a great card to dip your toe into the “travel free waters” without taking much time or effort. See how you like it. I’m guessing your hooked after you see the major benefits!
1. No Out of Pocket Cost
Signing up for the Discover it® Miles travel credit card doesn’t cost you a dime. Most travel credit cards that net you significant travel benefits DO charge an annual fee, which is where most of the “nearly” in “nearly travel free” comes from :).
BUT, this card charges no annual fee, so even if you’re broke, you can start here without a worry and begin accumulating “miles” for your next trip simply by making your everyday purchases on the card and then paying them off if not every few days, then monthly.
2. Earn 3X Miles on Everything You Purchase the First Year
Again, a no brainer here. Discover it® Miles earns you 1.5X miles (which means 1.5 cents or 100 miles=$1) for every dollar you spend. But for first-year card holders, they DOUBLE that earn at the end of the first year. That means you will earn 3X miles (or 3 cents) for every dollar you spend within the first year.
If you spend $10,000/month on the card, at the end of the year you will have $300 to put toward travel. While that’s not huge, it’s certainly better than $0 and it requires little to no effort aside from charging your expenses to the card and then paying them off.
3. No Set Categories for Earning Miles
Another big thing I like about Discover it® Miles is that you earn 1.5X miles (or 3X miles in the first year) on EVERYTHING you purchase.
Most travel credit cards have set categories like dining, travel or gas that allow you to earn double or triple points/miles when you pay for them using the card, but aside from those categories, you generally only earn 1 point/mile on everything else.
Discover it® Miles does not limit your ability to earn more than 1 point/mile to set categories.
4. Ease of Use for Travel Expenses
For newbies, it does not get any easier to use your earnings from the card on travel expenses. Simply charge your travel expense, which includes airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation, to your Discover card. Then you can redeem your points in the form of a credit to your card balance for any travel purchases made within the last 180 days.
That means you don’t have to look for award availability at all. Simply book your ticket — at whatever cost — pay with your Discover it® Miles card and request the credit.
This is about as easy as it gets folks!
5. Discounts Exclusive to Discover Including Amazon
One of the big reasons that I hold the Discover card is that it allows me to earn exclusive discounts at select stores where coupons are sometimes hard to come by. For example, I use my Discover it® Cashback Match™ card to save 5% at Amazon.com for holiday shopping.
Through Discover Deals, to which Discover it Miles cardholders have acccess, cardholders get exclusive coupons and discounts at stores like Walmart (5% cashback), Target ($10 off $50), Wayfair and UnderArmour when using their Discover card.
6. No Late Fees or Over Limit Fees
While you don’t want to make it a practice to pay late or go over your credit limit, because that will harm your credit score (check your credit score free with Credit Sesame — Note: This is an affiliate link for which I may earn a commission), if you do it by accident, you won’t be charged some outrageous fee. Hooray!
7. $30 Airplane Wifi Credit
I always use Wifi on the plane if it’s available and so I love this perk. Discover will credit you for $30 spent on in-flight Wifi purchases each year made with your Discover card. Southwest only charges $8 per day, so that would get you Wifi across almost four different flights.
Before You Apply for Discover it® Miles
Here are a few things you should know before applying for Discover it® Miles.
Think about your goals for travel for the coming year.
If you plan to apply for a Chase travel credit card, such as the Rapid Rewards Chase cards that help earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one person fly free with you for up to two years, or Chase Sapphire Preferred (one of my FAVORITE travel credit cards), you should develop a plan that includes what card you will apply for when.
Chase WILL NOT approve you if you have applied for more than 5 credit cards in the last 24 months. Discover it® Miles will count as ONE of those applications.
If you have not applied for any other cards recently, you could still easily apply for the cards in the following order without hitting that 5 total limit:
- Discover it® Miles – See how you like the travel free hobby
- Southwest Chase Rapid Rewards personal (Premier or Plus) – Start earning your Southwest Companion Pass
- Southwest Chase Rapid Rewards business (Premier) – Finish earning your Southwest Companion Pass
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – Earn more points that can be use on Southwest or other airlines or for hotel stays
If your goal is to begin to dip your toe into the hobby of flying free, this is a good card to show you — in a FREE and EASY way — how to earn a return on your everyday expenditures that can be used toward travel.
To Sum It Up
Discover it® Miles is a great card for beginners to the hobby of traveling free, because it costs nothing up front, earns you triple miles on every dollar you spend and is simply to redeem for travel expenses.
Thanks again for starting at my TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS link in the main menu above to support Go to Travel Gal if you decide to review or apply for any travel credit cards!
- Discover it Card Lets You Earn 5% Back at Walmart
- How to Save 5% at Amazon October-December for Holiday Shopping
- The Current Discover Cashback Calendar: How to Save 5% on Rotating Quarterly Categories
- Go to Travel Gal’s Travel Credit Card Plan for Beginners