Did I Misread Discover Miles Card’s Promotion?

A year ago, when I opened a Discover Miles card to use their 12-month 0% balance transfer, I thought I also get 12,000 bonus miles, except that that bonus never came.

As the promotion period is expiring, I called them last week to confirm the exact date that I will have to pay off the balance to avoid any financial charges and I was told it will be July 19th. Since in the past I had the experience of getting conflict information on the pay-off date with other cards (I remember I had once with Chase and another one with Bank of America), I thought it’d better call them again to get another person see if I get the same information.

Well, it seems that my doubt wasn’t wrong and I was told this morning that date I have to pay off the balance is not a month away but three days from now: June 19th. Fortunately, I already transferred the fund from my IGoBanking account to BoA account early this week, so I won’t face any shortfalls on June 19th.

When I asked about the 12,000 bonus miles, they told me that the promotion was actually getting 1,000 miles every month when I use the card, not an one-time bonus. I told them I had a screen shot of the page when I applied for the card:


Did I misread the offer? Maybe I did, but it indeed gives me the impression that I am getting both the headline promotion and all inside the fine print in a quick look.

Anyway, they asked me to mail back the screen shot so they can look at it. As for 0% balance transfer offers, here’s what I usually do when applying for a card with promotion:

  • Always make a screen shot of the promotion page (I print the page in PDF files), so I have a proof of what exactly was offered at the time should there be any dispute later;
  • Set a reminder at least one and a half months before the expiration date to remind me to give them a call;
  • Call multiple times to confirm the exact pay off date if it’s a long term promotion (for example, 12-month) and I can remember it myself.

If I get different answers, I always use the earliest to avoid any trouble. Here’s a quick summary of the card’s main benefits:

  • 12,000 Bonus Miles Earn 1,000 Miles each month you make a purchase for your 1st year
  • 1 Mile per $1 on every purchase
  • Plus, 2 Miles on travel and restaurant purchases on your first $3,000 each year
  • No limit on the Miles you earn and Miles dont expire*
  • Fly on any airline, book any hotel or car, with no blackout dates
  • Use Miles for travel, merchandise, gift cards or cash
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 6 months then the regular APR
  • No Annual Fee, No Overlimit Fee, No Redemption Fee

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6 Responses to “Did I Misread Discover Miles Card’s Promotion?”

  1. Tim |  Jun 16, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    yeah, i think you misread the promo. i hate the fact that they do the sneaky marketing things like these that show 12k miles in bold and in fine print make it difficult to comprehend what seems like 12k miles.

    i agree completely with what you said about documenting these promos. it saved me by getting transaction fees reversed at the end of my promo period with Chase.

  2. A Tentative Personal Finance Blog |  Jun 16, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    Credit Card offers are so convoluted it’s almost impossible for any normal person without intention to really know what they’re getting themselves into.

    That’s a great idea about screenshoting promos. I’ve never thought about that and sure enough there have been times when I was told I was wrong in interpreting a promo but had no proof to back it up.

  3. KMull |  Jun 16, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Sounds like you were suckered. The highlighted bullet point is the key. If you had used the card once a month, that would be different.

  4. rocketc |  Jun 17, 2007 at 12:34 am

    I signed up for the same card under the same misunderstanding. I have transferred $14000 worth of balances…and am trying to make one $1 transaction each month…

  5. MoneyNing |  Jun 17, 2007 at 11:45 am

    Sounds like you just mis-read or didn’t even read the bullet points like you said.

    However, try to talk them into giving you the points anyway. I found that the customer service of some credit card companies are very good and they might give it to you anyway if you tell them you plan to use the card.