How the Discover it Miles Card Can Help You Afford Next Year’s Vacation

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[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

If you’re already daydreaming about next year’s vacation, take notice: the Discover it Miles credit card could help you make it happen. Discover’s flexible rewards program and impressive sign-up bonus can take a big bite out of your travel expenses.

Here’s how you can use the Discover it Miles card to splurge on an epic vacation next year.

All Purchases Earn Miles

To save on your trip, you’ll need to earn miles, which can be redeemed for travel expenses.

All purchases automatically earn 1.5 miles per dollar, with no confusing restrictions or spending categories to keep tabs on. You also have the opportunity to earn additional miles when shopping at more than 100 merchants on the Discover Deals platform.

Miles are unlimited and don’t expire as long as your account stays open. You can even earn miles using mobile wallets, as the card is compatible with Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay.

If you begin earning miles now, you’ll have a head start saving up for your vacation.

The First-Year Matching Bonus

Here’s how Discover can really make a big difference on your next trip.

After the first 12 consecutive billing periods, Discover will match all the miles you’ve accrued, posting them to your account within a month or two. This automatically doubles the miles you earn. Essentially, you’ll be earning three miles per dollar (rather than 1.5) for a full year.

After you make a year’s worth of purchases and receive your first-year matching bonus, you should have a sizeable stockpile of miles to redeem for your trip.

Redeeming Miles for Your Vacation

Redeeming miles is simple and flexible. You won’t have to deal with special travel booking platforms, and you aren’t limited to certain travel providers.

You can redeem miles at any time for travel purchases made on your card within the past 180 days. Simply select the desired purchase(s) you wish to redeem for, and your miles will be posted in the form of a statement credit.

Qualifying travel purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, cruises, local and public transportation, and more. There are no blackout dates.

One mile has a cash value of one cent, so every 100 miles is worth $1 in travel redemption.

The Costs

The card has no annual fee. There’s an introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases for 14 months, and then a variable 11.99% to 23.99% APR applies. Balance transfers get an introductory 10.99% APR for 14 months for transfers that post to the account by January 10 in 2018, after which the standard purchase APR applies.

Balance transfer fees are 3% of the transfer amount, and there are no foreign transaction fees.

How to Use the Card to Your Advantage

The quickest way to earn miles is to use your card for all your everyday purchases. That way, you’ll earn miles as you spend and get rewarded with a big sign-up bonus after a year.

Of course, you should always try to pay down your balance in full each month. Miles are great, but they aren’t much help if you can’t afford to make timely payments. And even though you won’t incur interest on purchases for 14 months, you don’t want your balance to become unmanageable.

When booking your next vacation, timing is important. You don’t want to make travel purchases too early, as your miles can only be redeemed for purchases made in the last 180 days. If you plan on making travel purchases ahead of time and redeeming miles later, make sure to check your calendar first. Keep in mind that the first-year matching bonus may take a month or two to show up.

Discover also provides up to $500,000 in flight accident insurance and up to $25,000 in auto rental insurance. So feel free to decline the extra insurance offered at the car rental agency.

If the Discover it Miles card isn’t right for you, review our other featured travel rewards credit cards. But before you apply for any credit card, you should be reasonably confident that you will be approved, as hard inquiries can lower your credit score. Review your credit report for free on Credit.com for the best chance of successful approvals.

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At publishing time, the Discover it Miles card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

The post How the Discover it Miles Card Can Help You Afford Next Year’s Vacation appeared first on Credit.com.

Discover’s New Social Security Alert Feature: What Does It Do?

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[Disclosure:  Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

Earlier this summer, Discover rolled out a free service to help protect its cardholders from identity theft. This service alerts cardholders when their Social Security numbers have been compromised and left vulnerable to criminals.

This feature is a natural fit for a credit card industry that increasingly prioritizes security. But if you’re a Discover customer (or you’re interested in becoming one), you may be curious why that security is so important and what the new feature actually does.

The Dark Web Threat

According to Javelin Strategy & Research, over 15 million Americans were victims of identity fraud in 2016, with losses amounting to $16 billion. Consumers are particularly vulnerable to identity theft after a data breach leaves their personal information—like Social Security numbers and credit card information—exposed.

After a data breach, stolen information may be listed for sale on illegal websites on the dark web, an area of the internet that can’t be indexed or located by search engines like Google. Some dark web marketplaces exist solely to traffic in illegal goods and information, including stolen consumer data. If personal information is compromised in a breach, a stolen Social Security number is up for grabs.

Thieves can then use acquired Social Security numbers and other private information to create accounts and take out loans, which can wreak havoc on a victim’s credit.

Discover’s Social Security Alerts

Discover Social Security alerts can help fight against identity theft by monitoring the dark web for your Social Security number.

“Once a cardmember signs up for our new free alerts, Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites that are known to illegally sell or trade information and will notify cardmembers if their Social Security number is found,” says Laks Vasudevan, Discover’s VP of global products and solutions. “In [addition], we’ll monitor cardmembers’ Experian credit reports and notify them if any new credit accounts—such as credit cards, mortgages, or car loans—are opened in their name.”

If Discover finds a customer’s information on one of these sites, the customer will be notified via email or text alert.

Beyond the Alert

Being aware of a security risk is an important first step in the battle against identity theft. But addressing identify theft will require further action.

If a cardmember receives a Social Security alert, Vasudevan said they should call Discover so agents can help them identify the right course of action. Agents may advise cardmembers to put a freeze on their credit report or put them in contact with an Experian fraud expert.

Prioritizing Security

“Helping Discover cardmembers protect their personal information is one of our highest priorities,” says Vasudevan. “We know that identity theft and fraud is a concern for people everywhere, including our cardmembers, which is why we expanded our monitoring features beyond our cardmembers’ Discover accounts.”

Whether you’re a Discover cardholder or not, you should always take precautions to safeguard your personal information and fight identity theft. You can start by checking your credit report for free at Credit.com.

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At publishing time, some Discover cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

The post Discover’s New Social Security Alert Feature: What Does It Do? appeared first on Credit.com.