Best Travel Credit Cards For Students

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Updated: 6 days ago

College brings with it so many exciting opportunities – new cities, new friends, new interests. Perhaps you are planning your first study abroad semester (if so, check out our travel scholarships for college students!) or just putting together a spring break getaway south of the border. A credit card can be the easiest, safest, and smartest way to pay for your travels. However, when considering the best travel credit cards for students, it’s important to remember that at this stage, you should be less concerned with rewards and more concerned with investing in your future ability to acquire rewarding credit cards by building your credit.

If you use a credit card responsibly while you’re a student, it can help make your immediate and long term travel more affordable. We want to help students and recent college graduates with little to no credit history build their credit, and this list of best travel credit cards for students is a great place to start.

Best Student Travel Credit Card Offers of September 2020

As a student, it’s great to be looking for a credit card that rewards you for spending in your everyday life, and offers cash back or rewards points to make your next trip more affordable. Keep in mind that at first you are going to be limited to cards that are relatively easy to be approved for based on having little to no credit history. Thankfully, this doesn’t typically translate to zero rewards, it’s just something to be aware of. Utilizing a credit card responsibly as a student can help you achieve your travel goals not only in school, but for your entire professional career afterwards!

If you have no credit history at all (which is fine, you’re a student after all!), you are going to have to essentially build a case for yourself to the banks to allow you to acquire more rewarding cards. Our number one choice is the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, as it has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and earns you cash back.

These are all cards you probably won’t hold on to long-term, aside from maintaining credit history, since ultimately you will probably want to upgrade to more premium cards as your credit history builds. Looking ahead, Citi and Chase are two of the best banks for travel rewards credit cards, so they are worthwhile starting a relationship with early on. But, it is still smart to shop around and explore different introductory offers and benefits. Here are the best travel credit cards for students available today:

$50 Bonus Offer

Chase Freedom® Student credit card

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
Annual Fee: $0
The card details for the Chase Freedom® Student credit card have been collected independently by OMAAT and have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

Current Offer
$50 Bonus earned after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening.

Card Details
• 1% Cash Back: You’ll earn 1% Cash Back rewards for each $1 spent.
• $20 Good Standing rewards: You’ll receive 2,000 points, which can be redeemed for $20, after each account anniversary year for the first 5 years. To qualify for Good Standing rewards each account anniversary year, your account must be open and not in default, as defined in your Cardmember Agreement, at the time of fulfillment. “Account anniversary year” means the year beginning with your account open date through the anniversary of your account open date, and each 12 months after that.

on Chase's secure site

Best International Credit Card For Students Studying Abroad

The best travel credit cards for students are known for their minimal annual fees and ease of getting approved with little to no credit history. But, if you’re preparing for that semester abroad, your priorities may be changing. The number one benefit you may be looking for as you get ready to leave the country should be no foreign transaction fees. There is a slight trade-off with slightly less rewarding bonus categories, but the ability to save up to 3% on every transaction quickly balances out. Whether you’re buying a train ticket, a pint at the bar or just a coffee on the way to that one class, every cost-conscious student should be looking to save.

If you’re still building your credit, you may not be able to qualify for the best travel credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, but if you’re able to have a parent co-sign on your application the premium cards can be well worth it.

Something like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card would be an excellent choice, as it not only offers no foreign transaction fees and rewarding bonus categories like 2x points on travel purchases, but it also comes with Chase’s competitive trip insurance. The Sapphire Preferred does come with a modest annual fee, but if you have the credit history to be approved (or a co-signer!) and the means to pay the fee, the benefits can quickly work out in your favor. One severely delayed train ride on a weekend in Europe, and you’ll be thankful!

There are many advantages to using a credit card abroad, but ultimately, you’ll want to make sure you avoid foreign transaction fees to help make your money travel farther with you. If you can’t get approved for a card with more benefits or travel coverage, at least ensure you aren’t paying extra fees with every purchase. Here is the best international credit card for students studying abroad available today:


Traveling as a student can be one of the most rewarding experiences in terms of meeting new people and exploring new cultures. If you play your cards right, it can also be rewarding financially! Starting out in the points and miles hobby, your number one goal should be using credit cards responsibly and building credit history. Once you start building that foundation, there are plenty of options out there available to you as you look for the best travel card for students. Using the right card can be a great way to make your travel goals more attainable or your study abroad time more budget-friendly.

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