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Are you a college student (or a parent of one) wondering what’s the best travel credit cards for students? Can students earn travel points and miles? It’s possible for student credit cards to build credit and earn rewards. These travel credit cards for students help you save for weekend road trips, spring break, or studying abroad.
Parents can add their child as an authorized user to their own travel credit card. However, the below suggestions can help students build credit while aspiring to be world travelers.
Best Travel Credit Cards for Students
Citi Rewards+ Student Card
The Citi Rewards+ Student Card earns 2 points per $1spent at gas stations and supermarkets for the first $6,000 spent annually (then 1x point per $1 thereafter). All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
While students might enjoy the gas rewards when traveling, they may benefit more from the point Round Up feature. Citi rounds each purchase reward up to the next 10. For example, instead of earning 5 points on a $5 purchase, you get 10 points instead. A $21 purchase earns 30 points instead of the standard 21 point award.
Your points are redeemable for travel, cash and gift cards. Plus, Citi gives you a 10% redemption bonus on the first 100,000 points redeemed each year. Redeeming the full 100,000 points means you get 10,000 points back to redeem a second time. If each point is worth one cent, this bonus can be worth up to $100 in bonus rewards.
There is no annual fee but the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card does have a 3% foreign transaction fee. The current signup bonus is 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
Chase Freedom Unlimited (Expired)
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year of account opening, up to $20,000. After spending $20,000, you will earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Although it isn’t on our best cash back credit cards 2019, cash back credit cards are also redeemable for award travel.
Each point is worth 1 cent whether you redeem for cash or travel rewards. This card doesn’t have an annual fee. However, the 3% foreign transaction fee means the Freedom Unlimited might only be used for domestic trips.
It’s recommended to have a 680 credit score for the best approval odds for this card. Students who already own a credit card might qualify for this card. Otherwise, parents may need to co-sign.
As Chase Ultimate Rewards don’t expire, the points not redeemed in college can be worth more when the student qualifies for a Chase Sapphire Preferred. The Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits are great for travel as each point can be worth 25% more for award travel.
Learn more: Cash Back Credit Cards
Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students
Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent using the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students. Bank of America customers can earn 10% more points, as long as they have an active Bank of America checking or savings account. New cardholders can earn 25,000 bonus points (worth $250) by spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.
Points are worth 1 cent each and redeemable for a variety of award travel. Your options include flights, hotel nights, and rental cars as a travel statement credit. There are no blackout dates or restrictions.
There is also no annual fee or foreign transaction fee.
Tip: If you’re interested in other cards with no annual fee or cards that are good for travels abroad, check out our post on the best no annual fee travel credit cards 2019 and the best credit cards for international travel.
Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students
Students may earn more with the 3-2-1 tiered purchase rewards the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students offers.
The 3% cash back bonus category can be gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. Grocery stores and wholesale club purchases both earn 2% cash back. You get 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined quarterly spending, then 1%. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
Note that you do have to choose which 3% category you wish to earn rewards in. You are allowed to change the category once a month for future purchases. Or, you can leave it and keep earning in that category. Cash rewards don’t expire and are redeemable in any amount for statement credits or direct bank deposit.
New cardholders can earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. There is no annual fee. However, unlike B of A’s Student Travel Rewards Card, the cash version has a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Learn more: Cash Back Credit Cards
Capital One Journey Student
The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Every purchase earns 1% cash back. However, you can get 1.25% cash back when you pay the bill on-time. For a flat-rate rewards card, this 25% boost means you can earn more if your non-bonus spending exceeds your bonus category spending.
Capital One may also increase your credit limit after the first 5 monthly payments. This increase can boost your credit score and give you more spending power so you can purchase plane tickets, hotels, or other large travel expenses. Some of the best Capital One credit cards can help you reach your travel goals.
The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® can get you on the way to building your credit and eventually applying for the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card, one of the best travel credit cards for beginners.
Deserve Edu Mastercard for Students
The Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students earns 1% cash back on all purchases. Deserve also gives you a free year of Amazon Prime for Students (a $59 value). Both the annual fee and foreign transaction fee are $0. Getting approved for this card can also be easy as you only need to be 18 years old. You don’t need to have a credit history.
ProTip: These cards are also excellent for international students. Students will simply need proof of a U.S. bank account balance (which you can often get through your university), a passport, their student visa, and their I-20 form.
This card also features Mastercard Platinum benefits including $600 in cell phone insurance and travel assistance service when traveling at least 50 miles from home. Although Mastercard can help you find help for free, you will most likely need to pay the service provider for their assistance.
Credit limits up to $5,000 are available, plenty for a trip of any length.
Before applying for the Deserve Edu, it can be worth seeing if you qualify for the Deserve Pro. It to doesn’t have an annual fee but earns 3% back on travel and entertainment and 2% on dining. Your first year of Priority Pass membership is also free, although college students may not travel enough to maximize this perk.
Learn more: Student Credit Cards
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card
The Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card lets you earn 3% cash back on up to $2,500 spent on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first 6 months and 1% cash back for all other purchases. Every purchase earns unlimited 1% back after the promotional period.
Rewards are redeemable as a cash statement credit. You can then apply the bonus cash to offset your travel purchases.
There is a 3% foreign transaction fee but no annual fee. Like most Wells Fargo credit cards, an existing Wells Fargo relationship is necessary to apply online for this card. Otherwise, you will need to visit a Wells Fargo location.
Summary of the Best Travel Credit Cards for Students
Most college students have little or no credit history and minimal income. As a result, their credit cards are not the best for maximizing award travel. But it’s still possible to earn at least 1% back on every purchase and build credit history. Those little awards can turn into bigger ones in a few short years.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.