Discover Open Road Credit Card Review

If you travel quite a bit, and want a cash back credit card to help you offset some of the costs, you might consider the Discover® Open Road credit card.

The Discover Open Road card follows the rewards program offered by Discover, but offers a bonus for spending on gas and restaurants.  It’s basically a travel rewards credit card that offers up some nice non-travel benefits.  It’s especially good if you travel by car, hence the “open road.”

Here’s Our Review of the Discover Open Road Card…

First of all, here is a quick look at the basic features of the Discover® Open Road credit card:

  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months, then the variable standard purchase APR of 10.99% – 20.99%*
  • 2% automatically at gas stations and restaurants all year long*
  • Plus, up to 20% Cashback Bonus at popular online retailers when you shop through Discover.com
  • Discover is ranked #1 in customer loyalty–16 years in a row! (2012 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index report)
  • 24/7 access to a U.S.-based Account Manager within 60 seconds
  • Great rewards with no annual fee, no rewards redemption fee, and no additional card fee
  • *Click apply to view rates, fees, rewards, limitations and other important information

Discover Rewards Program

The Discover Open Road credit card makes use of the regular Discover rewards program, which means that you end up with 1% cash back on all your purchases, along with bonuses for making certain purchases.

The Open Road card comes with a 2% cash back bonus on gas and restaurant rewards, on up to $250 in spending each month.  You can also receive bonuses of up to 20% from making purchases from certain retailers by shopping through the Discover site.

It’s a nice touch that there is no cap on spending.  However, you should realize that the regular Discover rewards program actually only pays 0.25% on the first $2,999 that you spend each year.  If you want the full 1% cash back, you need to spend $3,000 a year, and then you will only receive the 1% cash back on any amount $3,000 and above.

In order to maximize your rewards spending with the Discover Open Road card, you need to plan to use the credit card on a large number of your purchases.  If you create a plan to use your card on most purchases, and then pay it off each month, you can add your rewards faster.

If you travel a lot, buying gas and eating at restaurants, you can boost your cash back rewards with bonus spending each month.  This is really where this particular Discover card is most beneficial.

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Instead of redeeming for cash, you can actually do better by redeeming for gift cards.  Your redemption level starts at $20.  However, you can get more than the face value of your reward when you choose certain gift cards.  You can get a $50 Chili’s gift card for $45 in rewards, or a $25 gift card for $20 in rewards at other retailers.  Check into this option before making your rewards decision.

0% APR

Discover® Open Road CardThe Discover Open Road Card is offering up a special deal of 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 14 months.

If you have a big purchase coming (or a big trip where you can really maximize your 2% on gas and restaurants) then this card gives you over a year to pay your balance off with no interest (make sure you pay it off before your introductory period ends to avoid interest charges).  Or if you have a balance with another card you atre trying to pay off you can transfer it and get over a year of 0% APR, which can go a long ways to pay off your balance!  Be aware there is a 3% transfer fee for each balance transferred.

Other Great Benefits to the Discover Open Road Card

Adding to the travel rewards benefits of the Open Road card you will also get 24/7 travel assistance as well as free car rental insurance when you use your card for the rental (make sure to check the card site for details).

There is a Fraud Liability Guarantee to help protect you from fraudulent purchases.  You can even set up alerts to help you track the card and your spending.

Discover’s suite of financial tools are free to use and can help you pay your debt faster as well as track your spending.  Discover also offers a great education center.  If you want to learn about financial education, Discover can provide you with the information you need to make better decisions.

There is no annual fee for this card.

Discover has been ranked #1 for 16 years in a row by the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index report.

Bottom Line

In general, the Discover Open Road is fairly standard.

You can earn cash back with your purchases, and do so at a predictable rate.  The card comes with standard fraud protection.  Additionally, you don’t have to worry about an annual fee.  The late fee is fairly low, only $19 on balances of up to $250, and $39 on balances over $250 (not that you should ever pay late but hey, it happens).

With the right strategy, this can be a great card to use to earn rewards, especially on gas and restaurants — and if you redeem your cash back for gift cards you can maximize your rewards even further!

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Published or updated January 8, 2013.

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