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Answers (5)

best cc for traveling college student?

best cc for traveling college student?

  1. Anonymous

    I am a junior in college (20 yrs old) and travel a considerable amount (90k+ miles on United last year), including a decent amount of international travel. I have the Wells Fargo College cc that is 1% cashback, as I try to build my credit (though it’s already pretty good 760-800. Through United (premier plat) status match I’m also SPG/Marriott Gold.

    In the next few months, I will spend around $5k on travel (mostly reimbursed, but still) and want to maximize points earning. I also want a card with no foreign transaction fees. I am pretty loyal to flying in the Star Alliance, though, so I want points that will work for that. It seems like the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be a good choice? But are there other no or low-fee options I should consider? I’d also like a card that makes sense to keep when I graduate and will work at a job that involves a lot of (reimbursed) travel.

  2. Rohit Deshpande

    [QUOTE=”Josie, post: 30111″]I am a junior in college (20 yrs old) and travel a considerable amount (90k+ miles on United last year), including a decent amount of international travel. I have the Wells Fargo College cc that is 1% cashback, as I try to build my credit (though it’s already pretty good 760-800. Through United (premier plat) status match I’m also SPG/Marriott Gold.

    In the next few months, I will spend around $5k on travel (mostly reimbursed, but still) and want to maximize points earning. I also want a card with no foreign transaction fees. I am pretty loyal to flying in the Star Alliance, though, so I want points that will work for that. It seems like the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be a good choice? But are there other no or low-fee options I should consider? I’d also like a card that makes sense to keep when I graduate and will work at a job that involves a lot of (reimbursed) travel.[/QUOTE]

    Yes I’d say the chase sapphire is the most ideal card for you to pick up. Chase points transfer to United at a 1:1 ratio so you can have points flowing in from there. Also they have no foreign transaction fees so that’s another green light for you. Since you will have a job that requires a lot of travel, that’s also a good card to have.

    Also I would look into the United mileage plus explorer card: same annual fee as chase sapphire preferred, same bonus of 50K in the same 3 month period, and no foreign transaction fees here as well. However you would only need to spend $3000 to get that on the United card whereas you would need to spend $4000 on the chase card to get that, which you will in both cases based off your travel spend if 5K and other spends. Back to the United card: On top of that you would get 2 annual united club passes to use. If you are for sure going to be loyal to star alliance and fly United a lot, this card might be better because there’s another benefit that the chase sapphire preferred doesn’t have: if you spend $25k in a given year on anything, you get an additional 10,000 bonus United points. So if that’s the case, you might come out on top with the United card. Though here’s the math you might want to look into: For the 5K you spend on travel, you get the same amount of points on both cards, but accounting for the 10K bonus in the United card after spending $25K, if you are going to spend $5000 on dining in a given year and you know that, then the chase card is better, becayse that 5,000 on dining becomes 10,000 chase ultimate rewards points.

    The reason I said chase initially, was because you get 2x points on travel, hotel, and restaurant purchases, and chase points are more flexible, but considering chase’s airline transfer partners apart from United, maybe not so much for you. So if you are looking to fly only United, and use points to fly award flights on star alliance flights, the United card would be better. However if you will be flying a lot of paid flights on other star alliance carriers, then I’d get the chase card so you can have the 2x points on travel purchases since the United card only offers 2x points on United flight purchases.

    Now since you will be traveling a lot, that means a lot of hotels, and you are an spg elite member you said? So we can have a conversation about that aspect of credit cards if you’d like. Hope this helps regarding the ideal card to pick up for now though. Please ask if you have any questions.

    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017

  3. Josie

    Thanks! Interesting. So I actually have a targeted offer for the United Explorer card of a 70K mile bonus after $3k spend. But I feel like it’s not a great card in general because the annual fee of $95 and then no real bonus categories besides United’s website. I also don’t value the checked bag or priority boarding at all, because I already get those through my status.

    Maybe, I should get the United card now (especially because I will be booking some considerable United travel), and then get the Sapphire Reserved next year?

    I’m just not sure how I should think about the credit score impacts as I get started?

  4. David W

    Well the 70k bonus alone is pretty compelling so it’s definitely a good option even if you wont be able to utilize all the perks of the card. Also remember that the card gives you access to a broader bucket of saver award space on UA metal.

    Totally speculating but you may not have enough of your own credit history (even if you have a high score) to be approved for the CSR, even in a year from now. In addition to the Sapphire Preferred that Rohit recommended above, look into getting the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards as well since those points can be combined with the Sapphire’s points and then transferred to UA or other partners of Chase.

  5. Rohit Deshpande

    [QUOTE=”David W, post: 30372, member: 29″]Well the 70k bonus alone is pretty compelling so it’s definitely a good option even if you wont be able to utilize all the perks of the card. Also remember that the card gives you access to a broader bucket of saver award space on UA metal.

    Totally speculating but you may not have enough of your own credit history (even if you have a high score) to be approved for the CSR, even in a year from now. In addition to the Sapphire Preferred that Rohit recommended above, look into getting the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards as well since those points can be combined with the Sapphire’s points and then transferred to UA or other partners of Chase.[/QUOTE]
    Yes I was going to say what David said, except to add to the list of benefits, with the UA card, if you spend $25k or more in a given calendar year with the card, you get 10,000 bonus United miles.
    So let’s do do some math now:
    with the UA card, you got the invite only offer, thankfully, so you get 70,000 bonus United points after spending $3,000. Let’s say you spend $5,000 on UA metal like you said you would, that’s 10,000 UA points. Now let’s say you spend $17,000 more to reach $25,000 in a year, you would get 10,000 bonus points on top of the 17,000 points you would get for spending that amount in a given year. So your total United miles to get from the card alone in one year should be 110,000 MileagePlus miles.

    Let’s do math on the Sapphire Card: spend $3,000 and get 50,000 bonus points. Spend $5k on United flights and you would get another 10,000 points right there. Now let’s say you spend the same $17,000 more,and out of that $17,000 let’s say that you spent $5K on dining to be generous, that’s another 22,000 points. So spending the same $25,000 per year, you get a max of 85,000 points. These numbers are assuming the details you gave in your first post, and some rough spending approximations.

    In conclusion, by spending $25K on the United card vs Chase Sapphire card, you get around 25,000 more United points which is significant. If some of these approximations are inaccurate, please let me know where, but otherwise I would say based on these, take the UA card like David said. If you decide to take the Chase card, not a problem, I have some tips to help you maximize the value the way I do it, but otherwise that’s all for now. Hope this helps as usual to give a kind of visual

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