Congratulations, you’ve officially graduated university and are working in the real world. You’re a self-sufficient adult. And now, you want to use that hard-earned money to travel.
Here are some great ways to find a travel rewards credit card that fits your post-grad life, and a few tips to maintain and improve your credit score with one of these cards.
1. Starting out
If you don’t have a credit history or don’t have great credit, the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card is a secured travel rewards credit card that might be great for you.
A secured credit card means you deposit a cash amount to the credit card company, and that deposited amount becomes your available credit. For example, you deposit $250 when you open the account and your credit limit is $250.
Basically, you are prepaying your credit card, and while this may seem counterintuitive, secure cards can be a good option to build credit.
2. Find a card that rewards natural spending
Travel rewards are great, but overspending is not.
In order to maximize your rewards without creating a financial burden, find a card that rewards natural spending categories, such as gas, groceries or dining out.
Cards like the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card gives you 2X per $1 spent on dining and the Hilton Honors American Express Card offer 5X points for each $1 spent at U.S. gas stations. Terms apply. It’s a simple way to earn bonus rewards if you commute to work by car.
Make sure to pay your balance in full each month to earn the bonuses.
3. Opt for cards with no blackout dates on rewards
Working full time means you have more money to travel, but now you want to travel at the same time as everyone else. Holidays and three-day weekends are crowded travel windows and can be limited for travel rewards redemption.
In order to take advantage of the dates you do get off work, chose a rewards program with no blackout dates. Cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal with no blackout dates.
Another no blackout date option is the Discover It Miles card that offers 1.5 miles per $1 on all purchases. Keep in mind that no blackout dates does not mean guaranteed availability.
4. Don’t ditch the student credit card yet
Even if your student credit cards don’t build travel rewards, don’t close them out just yet. A longer credit length means a better credit score.
Contact your student credit card provider and see if they allow you to change the card without closing the account. To maintain your student card, put a small recurring bill onto this card, and set the card to auto-pay the full balance each month. Then use your new travel card for all other expenses to earn the most rewards.
You’re on your way to earning travel rewards with confidence in this new stage of life. Good luck and happy travels.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
4 ways college students can earn travel rewards
What really matters with your first credit card
This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards