Discover it® Miles Card
- match all the rewards at the end of first year
- 36,000 miles for everyday spend.
While it’s easy to focus on the big perks offered by rewards credit cards, like sign-up bonuses, free checked bags, bonus categories for purchases, lounge access and outsized redemption values, there’s one often overlooked benefit that can easily save you hundreds of dollars. If you frequently rent a car, or even rent one just once or twice a year, you’re going to want to get a credit card that offers rental car insurance. If you do, you can skip the expensive add-on insurance offered by the rental agency and save a ton of cash.
Whenever you rent a car, you’ll be offered some sort of insurance by the agency. Depending on who you rent from, they’ll call it either a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). Getting this added coverage is important because it can protect you financially in the case of an accident. But it can be expensive, sometimes adding $30 or more per day to a rental. Luckily, there’s no reason forego the coverage and the peace of mind it offers. Some credit cards will give you this insurance for free. You just have to pay for your rental with the right credit card.
Unlimited 1.5X rewards on every purchase
The Discover it Miles card is wonderful for two types of people. The first, and most obvious, is for someone looking for a single credit card that’s easy to use and that can do it all. The Discover it Miles card is a great option because it earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and redemptions areone cent per mile toward any purchase. Plus thereare a couple of other nice benefits, like $30 in annual Wi-Fi credits and no foreign transaction fees. As a no-fee card, all of that is essentially free.
The second type of person that the Discover it Miles card is a great option for is someone who is looking to truly maximize rewards. The Discover it is basically a no-brainer for the first year because all miles are doubled , meaning that it effectively earns 3 miles per dollar spent (1.5 when you purchase and 1.5 at the end of the year). After the first year it deserves a spot in the wallet of someone who wants to maximize rewards for purchases not included in the bonus earning categories of their other rewards credit cards.
Up to 5% cash back
Discover it is a solid credit card that should be in just about everybody’s wallet. The card offers a great five percent return on categories that rotate quarterly, and one percent back on all other purchases. The first year as a cardholder can be really good for your bank account because all the rewards you earn will be doubled by Discover, with no limit!
In addition to being a great everyday earner, the Discover it card doesn’t have an annual fee and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees if you want to use the card abroad. Redeeming cash back is super simple with no minimum redemption amount and no restrictions about what you can use the cash back for.
50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
With a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles and the ongoing earning power of two miles for every dollar spent, there’s a good case for owning the Venture card. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year and you’ll have $460 to spend on travel once you’ve made the required $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. That makes this card a solid contender for your everyday spending. However, if you’re not going to be able to spend a minimum of $3,000 a year on the card, you would be better off selecting a card that has no annual fee.
20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
If you’re looking for a no-fee rewards card that offers a solid sign-up bonus and hassle-free redemptions, than the the VentureOne card from Capital One is a great option. You’ll get 20,000 miles worth $200 for spending just $1,000 in 90 days, plus you’ll earn a generous 1.25 miles per dollar for every purchase.
Getting the card is a risk-free proposition because it won’t cost you a penny. Whatever miles you earn with the card are pure profit because there aren’t any fees. You can even use the card while traveling internationally, since there are no foreign transaction fees either.
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days
The short answer is absolutely. Depending on your travel and spending habits, this card may or not make sense for you after the first year when you start paying the annual fee, but earning 40,000 miles after meeting the minimum spend and earning 2X miles on all purchases are tremendous benefits. Not only that, but if this becomes your go-to card, miles will rack up fast, and with the 5 percent redemption bonus, that’s like earning 2.1 percent back on every purchase, every day. This card is just as good as any other cashback card currently on the market.
50,000 bonus points after you make $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
You can get excellent value out of ThankYou points, particularly if you transfer them to airlines and redeem for expensive premium cabin tickets. If you are a traveler that often books the cheapest economy class ticket, then there can also be strong value in redeeming points through the ThankYou program’s travel portal thanks to the 25 percent discount offered by this card.
If you are interested in domestic award travel or simple award redemptions, this card may prove to be too complex. Instead, consider cards with more domestic transfer partners. You may not get quite the same value for your points, but there will be more availability and easier redemptions.
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
If you’re looking for a great sign-up bonus to help you book free flights with United or one of its Star Alliance partners, the MileagePlus Explorer card might be just what you need. With a 40,000-mile sign- up bonus, you’ll be well on your way.
Since the annual fee waived for the first year, you have time to see if the card is right for you before making a long-term decision. After the first year, the annual fee will be 95 .
50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for just about everybody. Whether you’re just getting started with travel rewards cards or you’re a frequent business traveler, this card offers many great benefits including a big sign-up bonus, a great earning rate on spending and a host of other travel benefits.
On top of that, 2 bonus points are a great way to pad your Ultimate Rewards balance or to get you started. And because you always earn double points on travel and dining purchases, the mid- range annual fee of $0 first year, then $95, makes this a great card to keep beyond the first year and to also keep at the top of your wallet.
Compare all credit cards by RE® Value, which is an estimate of how much you will earn during first year of credit card use minus annual fees.
As with any insurance, nothing’s simple when it comes to rental car coverage. To help you navigate this potential minefield, we’ve put together a little guide covering the basics. What’s covered? Do you really need to worry about added insurance? Is it worth getting a card just for rental cars? What if you don’t have your own personal insurance? Let’s take a look.
If you have car insurance on your own car, you’re most likely already covered for your rental, particularly if you have comprehensive and liability coverage. If you aren’t sure, you definitely need to check with your insurance company. This is very important if you decide to decline the CDW or LDW offered by the rental agency and coverage is not supplemented by your credit card. You could be in serious trouble financially if you’re in an accident and don’t have any coverage at all.
There are two types of car rental insurance offered through credit cards: secondary and primary. Secondary insurance kicks in after your personal car insurance coverage is exhausted. It’s essentially added insurance that pays for the costs not covered by your primary insurance, which in this case would be your personal auto insurance. If a credit card includes auto rental coverage, it’s most likely secondary insurance. Check with the card issuer to figure out what coverage they offer, if any.
If you add CDW or LDW coverage through the rental car company, it will become your primary insurance. That means that your personal insurer won’t see a claim if you have an accident and damage the rental. This is the most expensive option, but also the most hassle-free.
While you may have to pay $30 or more a day, you’re personal insurance rates won’t go up if you have an accident. It also means that if you damage the rental card, you can simply hand off the keys to the rental company and have them deal with the details. You won’t have to negotiate coverage with your personal insurer or your credit card issuer.
There is another way, though. There are some credit cards that actually offer primary rental insurance as a free benefit. If you rent often, you’re going to want one of these cards. We’ll get into the specific cards to look for at the end of the article, but Chase is the major issuer offering this perk. Most other banks, if they offer any rental coverage at all, will give you secondary insurance.
If you’re getting auto rental insurance through your credit card, it probably does not include liability coverage. That is, it will only cover damages done to the rental car itself. So if you’re at fault, and you cause damage to other cars and personal property or injuries to yourself and others, you’re liable for those expenses.
In many cases, you’re personal auto insurance will kick, but not always. And many states require some liability coverage to be built into the cost of the rental itself, but this is usually a small amount that wouldn’t be enough to cover a major accident.
So what do you do? You can ask the rental company for the amount of liability coverage included with the rental. If it’s not enough, make sure your personal car insurance offers additional coverage. Some rental companies will offer supplemental liability coverage, too. Be sure to ask about this if you need it. It’s different than the standard CDW and LDW they offer.
If your credit card offers secondary auto rental insurance, it will become primary coverage when you rent internationally as long as your personal auto insurance does not cover you while traveling abroad. Most policies don’t.
That’s great, but you might still want to consider buying insurance through the rental agency. If you do, then you won’t have to deal with the hassle of contacting the card company and waiting for the process to work itself out.
If you’re on vacation abroad, you probably don’t want to spend your time dealing with insurance. If you bought through the rental agency, it becomes their responsibility to work out the details of the coverage. Depending on the cost and your schedule, it might be worth the extra cost to avoid any hassle that could potentially ruin your big vacation.
Another issue with international rentals is that many cards don’t offer coverage in specific countries. Presumably there are legal reasons for this, but the important part is to make sure you have some sort of coverage. The list of excluded countries sometimes varies, but often includes Australia, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Jamaica and New Zealand.
Credit card car rental insurance doesn’t typically cover every type of car. You’ll be safe with the standard categories of rentals, such as compact, intermediate and full-sized cars, but you might not be covered for specialty cars.
If you plan to get a passenger van, pick-up truck, antique car, motorcycle or any sort of high-end luxury vehicle, be sure to contact your card issuer to see if you’ll be covered. If not, contact your personal auto insurance company. You may not be covered there, either. Many insurers won’t cover cargo trucks, like U-Hauls, either.
Believe it or not, some people don’t own a car. If you don’t, then you won’t have any coverage through personal car insurance. The good news is that, like international rentals, any secondary coverage through a credit card will automatically become primary coverage.
The bad news is that the coverage probably won’t include liability. Again, check with your card issuer and the rental agency. If you’re not going to be covered for liability, you may be stuck getting rental agency’s extra coverage.
Unfortunately, most cards won’t offer protection unless you pay for at least one full day, if not the entire rental, with the card. That means that if you pay for a rental entirely with points or miles, you won’t get coverage through your card.
There is one exception to this rule, though, and that’s the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you get a rental through the portal with your Ultimate Rewards points, you will have rental coverage through your Chase credit card.
Another limit to credit card auto rental insurance is the length of the coverage. Some cards limit their insurance to a maximum of 15 consecutive days or less, while others offer over 40 days. Check with your card issuer if you’re planning on renting for a long period of time. Remember, you can always return a rental and get a different car part way through your vacation, thus resetting the time limit.
If you ever rent a car, you’re going to want a credit card that has the best auto rental insurance benefits. That means you should look for a card that comes with primary coverage. Most just offer secondary, which kicks in only after you personal auto insurance, which means that the accident will go on your record and your rates will likely go up.
While it’s harder to find a card with primary rental coverage, there are still plenty of options. Let’s take a look at some of these cards.
Both of the Chase Sapphire cards — Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ — offer primary car rental coverage for up to 31 days. That’s a fantastic benefit, making these already great cards even more appealing.
These cards are part of the excellent and flexible Ultimate Rewards program. You can either transfer the points you earn to a variety of travel partners, including seven airlines, or redeem them directly through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you do that, you can still get rental coverage even if you pay with points. That’s something no other credit card allows you to do.
The Sapphire Preferred is the more affordable of the two cards. It has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year. You’ll get a 50,000-point sign-up bonus, double points for travel and dining purchases and 25 percent more in travel redemptions made through the UR portal.
That means that your points would be worth 1.25 cents each through the UR website, instead of the standard value of one cent. That’s not bad considering that the prices are competitive with other websites and that you can get just about any travel you want, including hotels, airfare and car rentals.
The Sapphire Reserve is notably more expensive with a $450 annual fee that is not waived the first year. While the sign-up bonus is the same as the Preferred’s, you’ll get a lot of other perks with this card that can justify the added cost.
Right off the bat, you’ll get an annual $300 travel credit that will automatically be applied to your account, covering any travel purchases you’ve made. That alone brings down the net cost of the card to just $150. You’ll also get complimentary airport lounge access with a Priority Pass Select membership, reimbursement for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees and triple points for travel and dining purchases.
Your points are worth more, too. You’ll be able to get 50 percent more travel through the UR portal, which translates to 1.5 cents per point. So the 50,000-point sign-up bonus is worth $750 in travel through the portal with the Reserve card. This card definitely pays for itself if you use all of the perks and benefits.
In addition to the Sapphire cards, small business owners might consider the Ink Business Preferred℠credit card or Ink Business Cash℠сredit card. They both offer primary rental coverage, though you must be using the car for business purposes in order to qualify.
Both are excellent cards that have some nice bonus earning categories for purchases and solid sign-up bonuses. If you travel enough, though, the Ink Business Preferred will be more lucrative since you’ll be able to squeeze more value out of your points through travel redemptions. The Ink Cash has no annual fee, and the Ink Business Preferred costs $95 a year.
Yet another option from Chase that offers primary rental coverage is The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card. This is definitely more of a niche product, with a hefty $450 annual fee and co-branding with a high-end hotel chain, but it has a lot to offer.
You’ll get two free nights at a Ritz-Carlton as a sign-up bonus, which can be quite valuable if you choose the right hotel, plus an annual $300 travel credit, $100 hotel credit with any two-night Ritz stay and Priority Pass Select membership for free airport lounge access. When you stay the Ritz-Carlton, you can upgrade to Club Level three times every year. You’ll also get instant Gold Elite Status the first year you have the card.
If you stay at the Ritz, this card will pay for itself. If you don’t, or you don’t very often, then the Sapphire Reserve is probably a better choice for a premium card because of its added flexibility.
It may seem strange at first that all of the United MileagePlus credit cards offer primary auto rental insurance, but it makes a lot more sense once you realize that Chase issues the cards. Obviously these cards are designed for frequent United customers. If you don’t use the carrier, they probably won’t do you much good since they earn United miles that can only be redeem through United’s frequent flyer program, MileagePlus.
Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Card is the base offering from United. It has a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year and offers free checked bags, priority boarding, two United Club passes and a solid sign-up bonus.
The MileagePlus Club card offers complimentary United Club lounge access, a slightly bigger sign-up bonus, more free checked bags per passenger and slightly more earning potential. You’ll get 1.5 miles per dollar spent, instead of one mile per dollar with the Explorer card. It comes with a sizable $450 annual fee that is not waived the first year.
If one of the Chase cards aren’t a good option for you and you still want primary coverage for car rentals, consider getting an Amex card. You’ll have to pay extra—either $19.95 or $24.95, depending on the level of coverage you want—but that’s a flat fee for a rental of up to 42 consecutive days. Just go to the Amex Premium Car Rental Protection webpage and elect to upgrade your secondary insurance to primary.
Like other credit card rental car insurance programs, American Express does not offer liability coverage. Don’t let the extra cost fool you into thinking it’s somehow better.
You have to have an American Express card to get this coverage, but there are a lot of options. Any Amex card will do, including American Express® Platinum Card®, American Express® Gold Card, American Express® Green Card or American Express® Blue, Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and more.