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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs Discover it® Miles

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Rewards Rate Details 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day
Sign Up Bonus Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Discover will automatically match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year*
Foreign Exchange Fee $0 None
Annual Fee $0 for the First Year, then $95 $0
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. 3%
Card Details Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Credit Card Details Discover it® Miles Credit Card Details

Comparison Summary

Credit Card Matchup: Chase Sapphire vs. Discover IT Miles

The Chase Sapphire and Discover IT Miles cards are arguably two of the best travel cards on the market, because they both offer some extraordinary benefits, superior customer service support, and the kind of flexibility that cardholders really appreciate. That can make it difficult to figure out which of these two exceptionally good cards are the best choice for your situation and unique financial needs. To help resolve that question, it helps to have a keen grasp of what each offers – and to see the kind of direct card-to-card comparison offered in this credit card matchup.

Best Ways to Use the Card

The best way to use the Chase card is to spend in the categories of travel and restaurants, and to redeem for travel rewards – since those are worth 20% than rewards redeemed for gifts or cash. The best way to use the Discover card is to spend as much as you can in any category you want, and redeeming for whatever rewards you prefer.

Math Breakdown

Chase Sapphire Math

With Chase Sapphire, if you earn all the available sign-up bonuses they are worth close to $675 in total travel redemption value. That is enough to compensate for the $95 annual fee for more than seven years (7 X $95 = $665). The fee is waived in the first year, so earn all the available first-year bonuses and redeem them for travel and you can basically have the card for eight years with the annual fee justified.

Now let’s ignore the free first-year and bonuses to see what the math looks like.

  • You must spend at least $7,600 dollars at the 1X per dollar level to cover the $95 annual fee.
  • Spend only in the 2X per dollar categories of travel, dining, and restaurants, and you cover the annual fee after spending at least $3,800.
  • That’s if you redeem for travel, which pays 20% more. Redeem for gifts or cash and you’ll have to earn 20% more in order to break-even on the annual fee.

Discover IT Miles Math

  • Each dollar spent is worth a penny and a half.
  • There is no annual fee to calculate.
  • At the end of the first year your points are doubled.

Which Credit Card is Better?

In the categories of travel and restaurants, Chase pays half a penny per dollar more than Discover. Chase pays a penny per dollar vs. a penny and a half per dollar with Discover, for all other categories.

With Chase you can maximize your rewards by using it for travel and dining and then redeeming rewards for travel. But you also have to spend enough or earn enough of the bonus rewards available from Chase as a new cardholder to cover the cost of the annual fee.

Bigger spenders who spend on travel and restaurants and redeem for travel will likely find the Chase Sapphire better. Those who spend less or don’t spend on travel and restaurants will be better served by the Discover IT Miles card.

Unique Features

The Chase Sapphire card offers customer service that is first-rate. When you call the customer service phone number, for example, Chase promises that you will always have your call answered by a “real person” versus a voicemail system. The most unique feature of this card is that it offers a 20% discount – which can also be described as an increase in value of 20% - when you redeem rewards for travel.

The Discover card is quite unique with its offer to double all the points you earn during your first year of membership. Other unique features with the Discover card are perks like a free FICO score each month and the ability to freeze your account immediately if you lose the card or think it’s been hacked.

How do You Redeem

With Chase Sapphire you can redeem for cash starting at 2,000 points through an account statement credit or electronic deposit into a checking or savings account. You can also redeem for gift cards or travel. In that case each point is worth one cent, so 100 points equals $1 in redemption value. When you use points to redeem for travel, each point is worth one and a quarter cents, which means that 100 points is worth $1.25 in redemption value.

To redeem rewards with Discover IT Miles, just access your account and redeem at any time, in any amount, for whatever rewards you want.

Is this the Card for You?

Those who travel and spend a lot on travel and restaurants and want to earn travel rewards will find the Chase Sapphire card most rewarding. If you don’t want to have to worry about expense categories or spending a certain amount to justify the annual fee, you’ll likely be happiest with Discover IT Miles.

Expert Review

Pro's of the Chase Sapphire

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • $625 in travel value when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, travel rewards redeem at a 20% discount.
  • Earn 2X points on travel and restaurants.
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Your points don't expire and there are no blackout dates.
  • $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • Late payments don't raise your APR.

Con's of the Chase Sapphire

  • $95 annual fee.
  • Balance transfer surcharge of either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater.
  • APR for purchases and balance transfers is between 16.74% - 23.74% Variable

Pro's of the Discover It Miles

  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.
  • There is a 0% purchase APR for the first 14 months.
  • There is a reduced balance transfer APR of 10.99% if you complete the transfer by July 10, 2016.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 reward miles on every dollar you spend.
  • During your first year of membership all the miles you earn are doubled at the end of the year, as a bonus.
  • Redeem miles in any amount, at any time, for a travel credit or cash at a redemption rate of one mile equals one cent.
  • There are no blackout dates and points don’t expire.
  • Discover reimburses up to $30 for your purchases of in-flight Wi-Fi.
  • Check your monthly FICO score for free.
  • No late payment penalty fee.

Con's of the Discover It Miles

  • The purchase and balance transfer APR is between 11.74% - 23.74% Variable, based on your credit worthiness, and the balance transfer fee is 3%.
  • The cash advance APR is 25.74% Variable, and there is a cash advance surcharge of $10 or 5%, whichever is greater.

*General Disclaimer: See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. We make every effort to maintain accurate information. However, all credit card information is presented without warranty. To confirm terms and conditions, click the "Apply Now" button and review info on the secure credit card terms page.

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Picture of Kip Richard

By: | May 3, 2017

How do the cards compare for ability to use outside of the USA?

1 Reply

By: CompareCards | May 5, 2017

Since the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a Visa Signature credit card, it will generally have a broader acceptance than the Discover it Miles outside of the United States.