A family in a hotel with two young children playing with balloons.

How can I make a staycation special using a travel card?

Published June 6, 2023
5 min read

Key Points About: Using a travel credit card for a staycation

  1. A staycation can be a cost-effective way to take time off.

  2. With the right travel card, like Discover it® Miles, you don’t have to be a super-savvy points guy to earn travel rewards right from home.

  3. The best credit cards for travel give you flexible ways to redeem your rewards, the way Discover does.

Most people get a travel card because they want to vacation across the world or United States. The dream is to rack up bonus miles and escape the mundane. But did you know that a travel credit card is good for more than just travel expenses?

Enter the staycation: an inexpensive way to escape from your daily life without the hassle of planning a big trip. When you use your travel rewards card from Discover for your mini-break purchases, you can collect and redeem Discover Miles without ever leaving home.

Collect Discover Miles with these staycation ideas

A travel rewards card from Discover® lets you earn rewards on all your credit card purchases, whether they’re related to travel or not. Then you can redeem your Miles later for things like cash or a travel statement credit.2

Here are some fun ways to earn rewards during your staycation:

  1. Play an arcade or arena game
    Laser tag, mini golf, trampolines, roller skating, bowling—let your inner child free and have some fun. When you use your Miles credit card to pay for admission, rental equipment, and snacks, you’re stockpiling rewards to use later.
  2. Make mealtime exciting
    You could try that new restaurant and earn rewards with your Discover it® Miles credit card. Or, if you’re watching your spending, make your kitchen “vacation meal central.” Find some unusual recipes online and have fun shopping for the ingredients. The groceries you purchase with your travel credit card also earn Miles. And getting the family together to make an unusual meal will be almost as fun as eating it.
  3. Catch a live event
    Sporting events, musical performances, festival or fair, live theater, comedy or stand-up…you might be surprised by the entertainment options within driving distance from your home. Purchase your tickets with your travel credit card to earn Miles during your staycation.
  4. Visit a museum, aquarium, or zoo
    Use your Discover credit card to buy tickets, snacks, and gift shop items commemorate your staycation, and earn Miles with every purchase.
  5. Change your surroundings
    Use your rewards to transform your home. Candles, throw pillows, new bedding, or even funky lampshades or tchotchkes, can make your home feel out-of-the-ordinary.

Did you know?

You don’t have to travel to enjoy your Discover® travel card. Check out the benefits that start with account opening: - Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles automatically on travel purchases and all your everyday purchases. - We’ll automatically match all the Miles you earn at the end of your first year.1 - An intro offer of 0 APR will help you save money on interest—on your purchases at home or away. - With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee, Discover it® Miles keeps is a smart choice for a travel credit card.

Five fantastic ways to redeem your Miles on staycation

Miles are a great way to have vacation-style fun on a budget at home. Just use your Discover it® Miles card to turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more.2

  1. Get a hotel room or home rental
    Stay at a vacation rental, hotel room, bed and breakfast, or other unique lodging to make it feel like you’re far away from home. Stay on the other side of town, or someplace that has amenities (steam shower and sauna, anyone?) that you don’t have at your place. Pay for your lodging with your Discover it® Miles Card and then redeem you Miles. However you redeem, Miles have the same value.2
  2. Rent a “splurge” car
    If you don’t usually drive, or if you want a unique car for your staycation, rent a vehicle to make getting around your hometown feel special. (Plus, you can redeem Miles for the rental AND for gas.)
  3. (or) Take a break from driving altogether
    Rideshares, commuter transportation, car rental, taxis…there are many ways to get around your own town that are eligible travel expenses.
  4. Outfit your retreat from Amazon.com or using PayPal
    With the Miles you’ve accumulated on your Discover Card, you can order items for a spa day, game night, craft-a-thon, or anything else. 100 Miles equals $1 to spend3 at Amazon.com4 checkout and with PayPal5.
  5. Take out cash for spontaneous fun
    Feel like going with the flow? Redeem Miles for cash.2 You can deposit the rewards from your Miles card into your bank account, and you can use them for expenses that come up as you enjoy your staycation.

Fun ways to staycation for free

Sometimes not spending any money at all can be the ultimate reward! If you decide not to use your travel card to earn or redeem rewards, you can try these free activities instead.

  1. Camp out (or in!)
    You don’t need fancy gear, bug repellant, or even a backyard to go camping. You can build a pillow fort, stream nature sounds on your smart home device, and cook up some classic camping food. Suddenly the indoors becomes an outdoors adventure.
  2. Hold a cook-off
    Can your family to make meals with ONLY the ingredients that you already have? Peanut butter and pasta? Ketchup and lettuce? Who knows what (hopefully) edible creations you cook up.
  3. Toss your schedule
    One of the best things about vacation is the break from normal. Your staycation can do the same! Sleep in, turn off your devices, have breakfast for dinner—see what kind of fun you can have when you take a break from your routines.
  4. Become a tourist in your own neighborhood
    Instead of your favorite parks, walking routes, and places, consider switching it up. Who knows what you’ll encounter if you take the long way home.
  5. Give back
    Whether you donate unused items to local charities or get involved with volunteer activities in your community, your staycation can be the perfect time to connect with organizations in your area.

If you’re ready for a vacation without the hassle of coordinating schedules and planning a trip, a staycation is an excellent choice. And you don’t have to sacrifice your ability to earn and redeem travel rewards just because you stay home. The Discover it® Miles credit card gives you flexibility with no annual fee. So you can enjoy time away without having to go away.

Next steps

You may also be interested in

Share article

Was this article helpful?

Glad you found this useful. Could you let us know what you found helpful?
Sorry this article didn't help you. Can you give us feedback why?

Was this article helpful?

Thank you for your feedback

  1. Discover Match®: We'll match all the Miles rewards you've earned on your credit card from the day your new account is approved through your first 12 consecutive billing periods or 365 days, whichever is longer, and add it to your rewards account within two billing periods. You've earned Miles rewards only when they're processed, which may be after the transaction date. We will not match: rewards that are processed after your match period ends; statement credits; rewards transfers from Discover checking or other deposit accounts; or rewards for accounts that are closed. This promotional offer may not be available in the future and is exclusively for new cardmembers. No purchase minimums.
  2. Redeem Miles: Starting at 1 Mile, you can redeem your Miles as a credit to your account to pay for all or part of your bill, for cash as an electronic deposit to your bank account, or for a credit for Travel Purchases made on your statement within the last 180 days. Travel Purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites, commuter transportation, restaurants and gas stations. Restaurant purchases include those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, fast-food locations, and restaurant delivery services. Gas Station purchases include those made at merchants classified as places that sell automotive gasoline that can be bought at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets, supercenters, and wholesale clubs may not be eligible. Even if a travel purchase on your statement appears to fit in a Travel Purchase category, the merchant may not have a merchant category code (MCC) in a Travel Purchase category. Merchants and payment processors are assigned an MCC based on their typical products and services. Discover Card does not assign MCCs to merchants. Certain third-party payment accounts and digital wallet transactions may not be eligible for credit redemption if the technology does not provide sufficient transaction details or a qualifying MCC. See Terms and Conditions for more information.
  3. Cash and Miles products: You earn rewards which are stored in your rewards balance and must be redeemed in order to spend. Cashback Bonus® can be redeemed via statement credit, electronic deposit to a linked account, paying at select merchants, purchasing gift cards, or donating to charity. Miles can be redeemed via travel credit, statement credit, electronic deposit to a linked account, or paying at select merchants.
  4. Use Rewards at Amazon.com: For complete details on how to Pay with Rewards at Amazon.com see Amazon.com/DiscoverRewards. Amazon is not a sponsor of this promotion. Amazon, the Amazon.com logo, the smile logo and all related marks are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. To redeem your rewards at checkout, you must select the Discover Card from which you want to redeem rewards. If you do not pay for your full purchase with rewards, you may use the Discover Card from which the rewards were applied or an Amazon.com Gift Card to pay for the remainder of your purchase. You may not use a credit card from an issuer other than Discover or another Discover credit card enrolled in Shop with Points in conjunction with the rewards transaction.
  5. Use Rewards with PayPal: For complete details on how to Pay with Rewards with PayPal see PayPal.com/Discover. Pay with Rewards with PayPal will be available for eligible credit cards on eligible purchases or rewards can be donated to support a charitable cause with PayPal Giving Fund. To learn more about Pay with Rewards, see terms and conditions.
    All reward redemptions are subject to Discover’s reward program terms. To redeem your rewards at checkout, you must select the Discover Card from which you want to redeem rewards. If you do not pay for your full purchase with rewards, you must use the Discover Card from which the rewards were applied to pay for the remainder of your purchase. You may not use a credit card from an issuer other than Discover or another Discover credit card enrolled in Pay with Rewards in conjunction with the rewards transaction.
    PayPal, and the PayPal logo are trademarks of PayPal and its Affiliates.
  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.