With students just getting into the grind of the Fall semester, the last thing they are thinking about is traveling home for the holidays. Holiday travel can be expensive and coming up with the extra cash to pay for it might be hard to come by with all of the normal expenses that students have. But, there is a way to score free, or discounted, travel and you can get it by spending the money you are going to spend anyways with a travel rewards credit card.
Travel rewards credit cards offer rewards for the money that you spend with them in the form of points or miles. These rewards can be redeemed to cover travel costs that you may have in the future. The best part is that many of these credit cards offer signup bonuses when you open an account and spend a minimum amount, usually within the first 3 months – leaving you just enough time to earn your rewards and be home for the holidays at little to no cost to you.
Note: If you decide to utilize a travel rewards credit card to help offset future travel costs, you need to make sure to pay your bill on time and in full each month. Late fees and interest charges will greatly devalue any rewards that you earn.
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
The Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card is a great travel rewards card that students can take advantage of because of the benefits it offers. To start out you will earn a bonus of 25,000 points (up to $250 in free travel) when you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account. On top of that you will earn 3x points for every dollar you spend directly through airlines, 2x points for every dollar you spend at U.S. gas stations and restaurants, and 1x points for every dollar you spend on everything else. The Premier rewards also gives you an annual $100 American Express airline credit that can be used to offset the cost of baggage fees, inflight meals and entertainment, and more. Last, but not least, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card gives you the ability to transfer your rewards points to partnered loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. For example, you can transfer Amex Points to Delta Skymiles and use them to claim a free or discounted Delta flight.
Venture from Capital One
The Capital One Venture Rewards Card is one of the easiest and simple to use rewards credit cards available. You earn double miles for every dollar that you spend. Then you book your travel as you normally would and claim your miles as a credit on your Capital One statement to cover the cost. No worrying about blackout dates and unavailable seats. You can also get a signup bonus of 40,000 miles (up to $400 in free travel) when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account. The Venture Card comes with an annual fee of $59, but it is waived for the first year.
If you want to earn some Capital One rewards and never pay an annual fee then check out the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. You will earn 1.25 miles per dollar that you spend and can earn a bonus of 20,000 miles (up to $200 in free travel) when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
If you have found a way to put almost all of your college expenses on a credit card then you should take a look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. To start out you will earn 2x points on all travel and dining purchases and 1x points on everything else. What sets this card apart is that the current signup bonus is 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account. That’s up to $625 in free travel when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal due to the fact that you receive a 25% bonus when you redeem your points this way. The annual fee is $95, which is not bad considering the bonus and rewards that you can earn.
Now that you know some of your options to achieve free to discounted travel this holiday season it makes it seem like the end of the semester isn’t that far away. Getting a credit card while in college may not seem like a decision that you want to make. But, if you use it responsibly, you can take advantage of some great savings for using it to spend money that you are going to spend anyways. If you want to see if you and your credit profile are being targeted for any of the credit card offers above, a great place to check is the free to use CardMatch Tool.
This article was contributed by guest author Matthew Coan.