Best credit cards to study abroad

Editor’s Note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

If you are a college student and are planning to study abroad, then you are in for a real opportunity. There’s nothing like living outside the US and immersing yourself in a different culture — traveling and exploring different cities virtually every weekend.

But this adventure doesn’t come cheap. Studies show that that an average student spends between $2,000 and $5,000 during a four-month semester abroad in Europe.

Good news? If you’re using a credit card, you can earn some great rewards for your study abroad expenses. Plus, the right card will save you money and protect you if your travel plans go wrong.

Here’s what you need to know to choose the best study abroad credit card.

What to keep in mind when choosing a student card?

When you’re ready for your adventure, look for these qualities to help you choose the best credit card for studying abroad.

welcome bonus

Look for a card that offers a welcome bonus. The extra spending you’ll do during your semester abroad is a great way to meet Minimum spending requirement to earn bonuses on new credit cards.

Foreign transaction fees

Choose a credit card that doesn’t have one foreign transaction fees is the easiest way to save money when you are abroad. If you use a debit or credit card that charges them, you will be charged an additional fee of up to 5% for every purchase you make.


Avoid this extra cost by getting a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

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travel protection

Now more than ever, you want to be protected against travel delay, cancellation and other risks. Look for a credit card that comes with travel protection protect you when something goes wrong.

Become an authorized user

You may not have enough credits to qualify for one of these our favorite travel rewards card Not yet. If that’s the case, consider becoming a authorized user on a loved one’s account. This will allow you to benefit from the card’s protections and possibly have the added benefit of increase your credit score simultaneously.

Related: Best credit cards for college students

Best credit cards for international students

Discover it Student Cash Back card information has been independently collected by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: TPG Beginner’s Guide: Everything you need to know about points, miles, airlines, and credit cards

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card


Welcome Bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months. This bonus is worth $280 per TPG . valuation.

Annual fee: $0

What makes the card special: The risk a (see rates and fees) charge no annual fees and earn 1.25 unlimited miles per dollar on all purchases. You can redeem your miles as statement credits for travel purchases or travel bookings through Capital One travel portal. But what sets this card apart is that you can also transfer your mileage to any Capital One’s 14 hotel and airline partnersThis may be your most valuable redemption option.

You’ll also get travel accident insurance, car rental collision damage waiver, purchase guarantee, and extended warranty protection like card perks.* No foreign transaction fees which means you can use it abroad without paying extra to do so.

Not many free annual cards with the possibility change miles for travel partners, so this card is definitely worth considering by international students.

*Benefits apply only to World Elite Mastercard approved accounts. Terms apply.

Register here: Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Related: Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card Review

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card


Welcome Bonus: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee: $0

What makes the card special: The SavourOne from Capital One (see rates and fees) is a great way to earn cash back on all your purchases. With it, you’ll earn 3% on dining out, groceries (excluding supermarkets like Walmart® and Target®), online and entertainment purchases, and 1% cashback on all purchases. all other purchases. You’ll also earn 5% back on hotels and rental cars when you book through Capital tourism.

This card has no foreign transaction fees and is a good choice if you don’t want to pay an annual fee. While the $200 welcome bonus is not lucrative, it has relatively low spending requirements. And when you’re looking at the costs of studying abroad, every single thing counts.

Register here: Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards

Related: Capital One SavorOne review

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Annual fee: $95

What makes the card special: There’s a reason (or 10) everyone you know has this credit card.

The Chasing my favorite Sapphire might be out of scope if you’re just starting your credit card journey, but it’s definitely one of the goals you should aim for if you qualify. It’s great start card if you want points and miles because it earns you 3 points per dollar for dining out and 2 points per dollar for commuting — so every time you Ryanair flight booking or finish at Wok to Walk again, you’ll get fully transferable points.

The sign-up bonus is also very stable: 60,000 Chase the ultimate reward points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. There’s an annual fee of $95, but perks like trip delay insurance, trip cancellation insurance, purchase protection, and baggage delay insurance easily make up for that.

And when you’re ready to redeem your points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you have some great options. At its simplest, you can use your points to buy plane tickets, book hotels and even rent a car for 1.25 cents per point through Chase Ultimate Rewards Gate.

But you can get more value out of your rewards by taking advantage of the card’s ability to transfer points to any Chase’s hotel and airline partner. This route takes a little more time and energy to figure out, but it can help you unlock some incredible value from your rewards.

Register here: Chasing my favorite Sapphire

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Review

Platinum Card® from American Express


What makes the card special: If you have a relative who is a cardholder of Platinum Card® from American Express, you may have hit the jackpot. They can add you as an authorized user for an extra $175 per year (see rates and fees). While this may seem daunting, you can easily offset this (and then some) through the valuable benefits you’ll unlock.

As an authorized user, you will have access to American Express Centurion Lounge, Priority card waiting room And Delta Sky Club (although later only applicable when you travel on Delta). You’ll also receive TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credits for passing the lines before and after your trip, as well as receiving Marriott and Hilton Gold elite status. Enrollment is required.

You will not be eligible to earn 80,000 welcome bonus points (after you spend $6,000 on purchases during the first six months of your card membership) as an authorized user, but These travel perks will easily upgrade your study abroad game.

The annual fee for primary cardholders is $695 (see rates and fees), but it comes with a many more offers.

Register here: Platinum card from American Express

Related: Platinum card from American Express review

Explore it Student Cashback


Welcome Bonus: Get all your money back in the first year it was matched.

Annual fee: $0

What makes the card special: This is a student card and there are no foreign transaction fees.

With the Discover it Student Cash Back card, you’ll get 5% cash back on your first $1,500 on purchases on quarterly rotating portfolio after you register your card and then get 1% cash back on everything else. Defect? These bonuses only apply to purchases made with US merchants.

International students can still get value from this card as all first year earnings are doubled. The card also has no annual or foreign transaction fees, so you can use it abroad as you please without penalty.

Plus, you’ll get a little extra bonus in the form of a $20 statement credit for each academic year, your GPA is 3.0 or higher. This bonus can be earned for up to five years.

And you won’t have to worry about the minimum redemption, so you can withdraw your rewards at any time and make that money work for you again.

Related: Why Discover it Student Cash Back is my first student credit card

bottom line

Studying abroad is sure to be a significant expense, but with these tips you should be able to offset some of the costs – and maybe even score yourself some free flights or hotels along the way. this program. Hopefully you’ll find the one that’s right for you in this series of the best credit cards for study abroad students and make your adventure that much sweeter.

Read more:

For the Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Benefits Guide for details, where the terms and exclusions apply.

For Amex Platinum card rates and fees, click This.

Additional reporting by Samantha Rosen.


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