Travel Rewards Cards for Students & Young Adults
College students and young adults can benefit from travel rewards credit cards tailored to their habits and lifestyles. The right starter card earns free flights and hotel stays on necessary spending while building credit histories. Comparing top student and young adult travel card options allows new borrowers to maximize value.
Benefits of Travel Rewards for Students
The main perks student travel credit cards offer include:
- Ability to earn points/miles that make study abroad, spring break, and getaways more affordable
- Access to discounted travel redemptions at lower point costs
- Builds credit history while earning rewards on college spending
- Can qualify with little or no existing credit history yet
- Low credit limits reduce overspending risks for new card users
Travel rewards provide invaluable education on managing cards responsibly for long-term benefits.
Evaluating Eligibility for Student Cards
To qualify for most student travel rewards cards, issuers consider:
- Enrollment status – Part-time or full-time enrollment
- College name and expected graduation date
- Income – Often need estimated $2,000+ in annual student loans or family support
- Credit history – No prior negative records ideal but not always required
Having some credit history like an authorized user account improves approval odds but is generally not mandatory.
Top Student Travel Credit Cards
Here are some of the best travel credit cards for students:
Bank of America Student Travel Rewards
- No annual fee and no foreign transaction fee
- 20,000 bonus points after $1,000 spent in 90 days
- Earn 1.5x points on all purchases
Capital One Journey Student Rewards
- No annual fee or foreign transaction fee
- Up to 10x miles on hotel bookings
- 1% back on all purchases
Deserve EDU Student Travel Credit Card
- No annual fee or foreign transaction fee
- No credit history required for approval
- Earn 3x points on travel purchases
Choosing Between Miles, Points, or Cashback
Compare card reward structures to match your planned usage:
Airline Miles – Best for loyal flyers who maximize flight redemptions.
Flexible Travel Points – Allows transfers between airline/hotel partners to maximize value.
Cashback – Provides guaranteed value easily redeemed towards any expense.
Pick the rewards format fitting your spending habits and expected redemptions.
Meeting Minimum Spend Requirements
Tips for new card users to meet sign-up bonus minimum spend thresholds:
- Use the card for essential on-campus spending like books, supplies, and dining
- Put shared costs like gas or grocery store trips on your card when approved
- Use for a large one-time student loan disbursement or tuition payment
- Meet over several months by making the card your daily spending default
Avoid manufactured spending; meet bonuses through necessary educational expenses already budgeted for.
Earning Bonuses on Study Abroad Programs
Study abroad trips offer bonus ways to earn travel rewards:
- Pay program fees and tuition with a student travel card
- Use card for airfare, group meals, weekend excursions
- Manage any shared costs put on your card and get reimbursed
- Take advantage of bonus categories like restaurants or travel
Big one-time study abroad spending helps rapidly earn sign-up bonuses.
Redeeming Points and Miles
Good redemption options for student travel rewards include:
- Domestic flights home for holidays from school
- Group weekend getaways like beach trips or city exploring
- Study abroad airline tickets and intra-Europe flights
- Hostel and discounted hotel bookings
- Rental cars for road trips and exploring new places
Look for low point cost Economy flights and budget-friendly hotel options.
Transitioning After Graduation
Once graduating or finishing school, consider your next steps like:
- Product change your student card to a regular version if available
- Apply for a new premium travel card aligned to your post-grad lifestyle
- Downgrade your student card to a no annual fee version
- Cancel student cards to simplify your financial portfolio
- Leverage established history and improved score for better approval odds
Earning travel rewards early establishes responsible habits that serve you well as you embark on new chapters.
Maintaining Student Card Perks After Graduation
Some issuers allow maintaining student cards benefits temporarily after finishing school like:
- Keeping the card up to 24 months post-graduation
- Retaining access to discounted redemptions or annual free nights
- Product change options to other no annual fee cards
Check issuer policies for the ability to extend valuable student card perks into early career.
Building Credit History with Student Cards
Responsible student card management helps:
- Establish length of credit history
- Demonstrate ability to manage monthly payments
- Mix different credit types like revolving and loans
- Maintain low credit utilization with small limits
- Qualify for better cards by improving scores over time
Making payments on time avoids derogatory marks while building advantageous records for post-college approvals.
Budgeting and Protection Tips for New Cardholders
- Only charge existing budgeted expenses you can pay in full
- Set text or email alerts for balances and due dates
- Avoid cash advances or carrying balances if possible
- Check statements closely and report unfamiliar charges
- Look for cards offering extended warranty, rental coverage, and other protections
Monitor spending diligently and leverage card protections as you learn real-world credit management.
Key Takeaways for Student Travel Rewards
- Great way to earn travel fund credits through essential school spending
- Opt for mileage, points, or cashback in line with redemption goals
- Transition to regular cards after college by leveraging established history
- Make payments on time and avoid overspending limits
- Take advantage of signup bonus opportunities requiring minimum spend
Choosing the right starter travel rewards card provides huge benefits through earning points on necessary expenditures while building credit early.