Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Let’s compare both cards.
Discover it Cash Back
Link: Discover it Cash Back
Note: This offer is for 1st time cardholders and NOT available on the Discover home page.
Emily and I don’t earn a commission for this card but we always tell you about the best offers because of the mother-in-law rule!
Discover it Miles
Link: Discover it Miles
You get 1.5 miles (or 1.5% back) on all purchases (doubled the 1st 12 months), up to $30 credit for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases, and pay no annual fee with the Discover it Miles card.
This is a great card because it is the only card that earns effectively unlimited 3% back on everything for the 1st 12 months!
And you can redeem miles against travel purchases made within the past 180 days.
Which Discover it Card Is Right for You?
- Earn cash back, or miles that can be redeemed for cash
- Have no annual fees
- Have no foreign transaction fees
- Give you a free FICO Score
Although, there are a few slight differences between the two cards:
Card Sign-up Bonus How You Earn Cash Back Double Miles - 1st Year Up to $30 Back Each Year for In-Flight Wi-Fi Redeem Cash Back for Any Amount, Any Time Redeem Miles Against Travel Purchases Use Cash Back at Amazon.com Overlimit Fee Free FICO Credit Score Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
Discover It Cash $100 Amazon digital card 1% on all purchases; 5% on rotating categories every 3 months (registration required) No No Yes No Yes No Yes $0 $0
Discover It Miles $0 1.5% on all purchases Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes $0 $0
But folks who want to earn the most back should get the Discover It Cash Back card. That’s because each quarter you can earn 5% back (worth $75 back on up to $1,500 in purchases) in the bonus categories.
So if you spend $10,000 a year with your Discover It Cash Back card and maximize your 5% cash back each quarter, you’ll earn $340 back. (Because you get $300 back for spending $1,500 in the 5% bonus categories each quarter. Plus $40 for earning 1% back on the other $4,000 you spent.)
Using the same example of spending $10,000, with the Discover it Miles card, you’d get $300 back your 1st year (3% back the 1st year). But only the regular 1.5% back in the 2nd and subsequent years ($150 cash back in years 2 and onward).
Although, you’ll get less back, the Discover it Miles card is better for folks who don’t like to fuss with remembering the rotating 5% back categories.
And with the Discover it Miles card, you get up to $30 back for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases each card anniversary year.
So if you’re NOT going to maximize the 5% quarterly bonus categories with the Discover it Cash Back card, then the Discover it Miles card might be the better option for you. Because you get 1.5% back instead of the 1% back with the Discover it Cash Back Card.
Link: Chase Freedom
That’s because you can get a $100 sign-up bonus, 5% cash back (or 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points) rotating bonus categories, and can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to partner airlines and hotels:
|Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfer Partners|
|British Airways||Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)||Korean Air|
|Singapore Airlines||Southwest||United Airlines|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners|
Or you can use the Chase Freedom as a cash back card if you want. Plus with no annual fee, it’s a great card to keep to build your relationship with Chase (which has lots of great miles & points cards).
Of course, you could get both a Chase Freedom AND a Discover it card!
But I would NOT recommend trying to get the 2 Discover cards at once. Because usually banks will only allow you to get 1 new personal card at a time.
Folks who want the most cash over the long run and will NOT be maximizing their 5% category bonuses should get the Discover it Miles card. While folks who will maximize their bonuses will likely earn more back with the Discover it Cash Back card.
However, I prefer the Chase Freedom card over both cards. That’s because you get a better sign-up bonus, earn 5% back on bonus categories each quarter, and earn cash back or Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 20,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!