How To Earn Travel Rewards as a College Student

“I am at the crossroads. I want to go to college but also I want to see the world. I’m so confused that I haven’t even started writing my admission essay yet. Is there any chance I will be able to afford to travel as a college student?” asked our reader Samantha.

Each year, students spend around $20,000 – give or take – just to cover tuition costs and afford food and accommodation on campus. And while the sum is whaling, there are always other obligatory expenses demanding attention. Thinking about traveling in such circumstances may seem unreasonable, if not unrealistic. But itchy feet still don’t let you sleep at night.

So how can a student afford to travel while studying in college?

The ways are many, but one of them is to turn your expenses to your advantage and start earning traveling rewards. Here’s how you can do it.

Start With Building A Good Credit Score

The best way to accumulate traveling rewards is to start paying with your credit card. Some bonuses may be as good as a couple of thousand dollars and this is a great opportunity to travel abroad almost free of charge. However, most of the perks are intended for individuals with long and positive credit history, which may be a problem for a student having none.

No worries! There’s still a way how you can build your credit score fast and easy. All you need to do is to start spending credit money and returning them in full on a monthly basis. This way you’ll show the bank that you’re a reliable client who can be trusted.

But don’t think of trying to earn rewards before you’re sure that you can cover the credit debt each month. The interest you’ll have to pay to carry a balance will bring to naught all the benefits. That said, be wise and responsible and you’ll manage to build a good credit score before you know it.

Get Rewarded for Buying Textbooks

Textbooks have become super expensive these days. An average check may go up to a few thousand dollars but this is not the reason to get upset. Turn this crazy spending into excellent earning by receiving travel rewards.

Some credit cards offer quite good travel bonuses for the first large purchase. With Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card for one, you can get 70 thousand bonus miles if you spend two thousand dollars from its balance in the first three months.

You don’t usually buy textbooks spontaneously. This is the item of expenses that requires some careful planning and perhaps even saving – the amount is huge after all. So if you have a couple of grand on hand, now is a good time to swap the payment methods. Buy textbooks with the credit card and then just cover the credit debt with the money you have.

But before you do this, make sure that you have money to make it work. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying a pretty large credit interest which will negate all the value from the bonuses.

However, if you get it covered, why not win some travel rewards in the process? Plus, you can sell the books once you don’t need them anymore.

Fill Up to Earn Travel Rewards

If you’re hitting the road way too often, this may be an excellent opportunity to accumulate some travel bonuses in the process. There are credit cards that offer bonuses each time when you pay for gas, so if you get to drive home every weekend, this may be an apt way to invest in your trip abroad. Furthermore, when you’re out on the road with your pals, you can offer to pay with your card. Just make sure they give you back their share.

Pay for Tuition and Invest in Your Travel

If there’s a chance to pay for a college year with your card, use it. Just check that it’s the right card. Tuition costs are usually super high so imagine how many bonuses you can get from this gamble.

But before you do, do the math to get the idea if it’s worth the effort. With a lot of money, there will be a large interest so you need to make sure that the fees won’t overscore the rewards you’re aimed to get.

Pay Utility Bills or Rent with Travel Rewards Credit Card

Many students choose to rent an apartment with their friends and roomies, and this may be a good option to build a solid travel rewards score too.

Your rent costs can be paid with a credit card but remember there’s a fee. It means that the idea is good as a one-time solution in order to reach the minimum spending amount but this may be of no use as a regular rent payment method. Furthermore, if there are utility bills you’re supposed to cover outside the rent, they can also help you collect rewards.

Anyway, it’s good to do some digging and calculations before you decide on this. You don’t want to get into more debts just because you weren’t meticulous enough.

Bottom Line

There are many great ways to afford to go abroad as a college student. However, one of the easiest ones is to use a wise and thought-through strategy of credit card payments to get numerous travel rewards.

There are many good credit cards that can help you with that, and sooner or later, you’ll have to start building your credit score anyway. So why don’t you start sooner and get a number of excellent bonuses on the way?