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The best travel credit cards for students

Bank of America’s student cards are excellent choices.

Updated

Fact checked
There are plenty of reasons to travel as a student, from study-abroad programs to vacations with friends. However, you’ll need to spend money along the way, which means getting a travel credit card can be wise.

In this guide, we’ll give you the scoop on the best travel credit cards for students — and how to pick the right one.

We evaluated cards on factors such as fees, rewards, signup bonuses, international acceptance and intro APRs. Standout credit cards in these areas made our list.

The best travel credit cards for students

While you’ll find many stellar travel credit cards for consumers with established credit, there aren’t many travel products aimed at students. Nevertheless, there are impressive picks among the few that are for students.

We highly recommend each of the following cards for students with a passion for traveling.

Our best overall pick
Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students

Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students logo
Finder Rating: 4.1 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (580-850)
Read review
580
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
1.5x
Points
25,000
Points welcome offer
This card checks all the right boxes for a strong student travel card: no annual or foreign transaction fees, solid rewards, an excellent signup bonus, worldwide acceptance and a market-leading intro APR.
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Rewards: Unlimited 1.5x points on all purchases.
  • Signup bonus: 25,000 bonus points after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account, redeemable for $250 in statement credit.
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases for 12 billing cycles from account opening. After that, 14.99% to 22.99% variable.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 billing cycles (then 14.99% to 22.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 22.99% variable
Welcome offer 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Rewards 1.5x points on all purchases

Great for road trips
Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 2x
Points
2,500
Points welcome offer
With this card, you'll earn accelerated rewards on gas, which you'll need a lot of for a rollicking road trip. You'll also like the bonus rewards at supermarkets — common stops for college students — and the solid intro APR on purchases. The card edges out the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card, a close competitor, with wider international acceptance and a slightly stronger intro APR.
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Rewards: 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to 6,000 per year, then the rate reverts to 1x points. 1x points on all other purchases.
  • Points boost: Round up to the nearest 10 points on each purchase. 10% points back on the first 100,000 points redeemed.
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases for 7 months from account opening. After that, 14.49% to 24.49% variable applies.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 7 months (then 14.49% to 24.49% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.49% to 24.49% variable
Welcome offer 2,500 points after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 annually, then 1x after that and on all other purchases
The information about Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.

Top rewards rate on travel
Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Students

Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Students logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (580-850)
Read review
580
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 3%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
You can choose to earn 3% cash back in travel on up to 2,500 in purchases each quarter, then 1, which is an excellent rewards rate. The signup bonus and intro APR are impressive benefits as well. Watch out for the 3% foreign transaction fee, which makes the card better suited for domestic travel.
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Rewards: 3% cash back in one category of your choice, and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on up to 2,500 in combined purchases each quarter, then a 1% rate applies. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Signup bonus: $200 cash bonus after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 statement closing dates after account opening.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 statement closing dates (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 billing cycles (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Welcome offer $200 after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Rewards 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category, grocery and wholesale club purchases each quarter, then 1%

How to choose the best travel credit card for students

If you’re unsure which student travel card to choose, here are a few things to consider depending on your needs:

  • Ditch the annual fees.
    Plenty of great student cards don’t have annual fees.
  • Check the rewards you’ll earn.
    Many of the best student cards offer some type of rewards on your purchases. For example, you might earn 1% cash back per dollar you spend on your card. You might earn points instead, redeemable for travel purchases.
  • Avoid foreign transaction fees.
    These are fees you incur when you use your card abroad or on international websites. Typically, this comes out to 3% of each transaction, which can quickly add up with many purchases.
  • Consider the card network.
    Visa and Mastercard are valid virtually anywhere credit cards are accepted. While you’ll find merchants abroad that take Discover and American Express, these networks lag behind in worldwide acceptance.
  • An intro APR might help.
    If you’re very careful about paying off your card bill, an intro APR travel card can help you finance your trip interest-free.

For example, your card might offer a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months. You can use your card to buy your $450 plane ticket, then slowly pay it off throughout the year before your intro APR expires. If you do, you won’t accrue any interest.

Be careful with intro APRs

Having an intro purchase APR can feel great: During a period of time, you’ll accrue no interest on what you buy. But every intro APR ends at some point, and cardholders who don’t pay off their balances by then often spiral into debt.

If you’re new to credit cards, now’s a great time to build strong financial habits. Consider this advice: If you’ll take advantage of an intro APR, do everything in your power to pay off your balance completely before your special interest rate expires.

Pros and cons of travel credit cards for students

Pros Cons
  • You’ll often pay no foreign transaction fees.
  • If your card offers points, you can use them for a variety of redemptions.
  • These cards are often great for everyday purchases too.
  • There aren’t many student cards intentionally geared toward travel.
  • Accelerated rewards specifically for travel are uncommon among student cards.
  • These cards are often great for everyday purchases too.

Is a travel student credit card right for me?

A travel credit card might be especially useful if:

  • You want to save your rewards for travel. Offsetting your trip cost with rewards can lessen the strain on your budget.
  • You’re taking a trip abroad or studying abroad. Look for a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • You want to pay less interest on your trip. Traveling can be expensive, which means you might not have the funds to pay for it up front. With great caution, you can leverage an intro APR to finance your trip.

Compare travel credit cards for students

If you’re looking for a side-by-side look at your card options, select your credit score below and click “Show cards” to start comparing.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Petal® 2
N/A
Up to 10% cash back from select merchants, on other purchases earn 1% back, 1.25% after six on-time payments and 1.5% after 12 on-time payments
$0
Build your credit with rewards and no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score of 600 or higher. See if you prequalify with no impact to your score.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See terms
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Deserve® Edu Card
Amazon Prime Student subscription credit up to $59
1% cash back on all purchases
$0
Designed for college students to build credit history and earn rewards.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

With the right credit card, you can earn rewards while seeing the world. Stay out of debt while watching your credit score, and you can eventually upgrade to more-powerful travel cards.

If the cards mentioned don’t seem right for you, compare more student cards until you find one that meets your financial and travel needs.

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