The 6 Best Credit Cards for Traveling Med Students

med school residency credit card

If you’re a medical student preparing for clinical rotations or residency then you’ll be traveling a lot. Finding the right credit card for your travels can make a difference in hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Here are the top 6 credit cards I recommend for your travel expenses.

For best travel point rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card https://creditcards.chase.com/rewards-credit-cards/sapphire This card allows you to redeem points for travel expenses such as flights, hotel stays, and rental cars. This is a higher dollar per point ratio than cashback rewards which is why a travel card could net you more money if you’re going to be doing a lot of traveling. You can use this card to redeem points with more than one airline which is a great advantage for choosing between different flights for your travels. $95 annual fee. 60,000 points sign up bonus. 690 credit score required.

For best travel rewards (first year fee waived): Venture® Rewards from Capital One® https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/venture/ This card is much like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® but the first year fee of $95 is waived. 50,000 points sign up bonus. 690 credit score required. These cards are almost identical in function. You can read more about them at https://www.nerdwallet.com/best/credit-cards/travel.

For best all-around point rewards: Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/cash-back/it-card.html This card offers the best all-around cashback rewards I’ve seen recently. From the website: “Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.” Remember that cashback rewards aren’t as high as travel point redemption so if you’re going to be traveling more you should consider one of the top two cards. 690 credit score required.

For best specific airline points: UnitedSM Explorer Card https://creditcards.chase.com/travel-credit-cards/united/united-explorer If you know you’re going to be flying United a lot then this card may be right for you. If you like to pick and choose between airlines and redeem points for hotels and cars, go with one the first two cards. If you fly a lot with another airline, check to see if they’re offering a promotional credit card, because oftentimes they are. For instance, I often fly with Allegiant Air and they offer a great credit card with bonus points and 3X points. There are deals everywhere out there. You just need to look in the right places. 690 credit score required.

For best safe travel rewards: AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Card https://www.creditcardinsider.com/credit-cards/bank-of-america/bank-of-america-aaa-member-rewards/ Pair this card with a AAA membership for safe traveling in your car or rental car. The cashback rewards for groceries and gas are very competitive as well. A membership with AAA will keep you safe when you get a flat tire or your car breaks down. You can simply log in to your AAA app, answer a few prompts and a tow truck or locksmith will be on the way, even if you’re in a rental car. With incentives to join and cashback rewards, the card itself will more than pay for your annual AAA membership.

For low/no credit history: Discover it® Student chrome https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/student/chrome-card.html This card is good for students who have low or no credit history. You can use this card to build credit and receive cashback rewards.

These are the best credit cards for students and travelers right now. As a med student flying back and forth from interviews and rotations you can benefit a lot by using a card that pays you back travel points.

Happy traveling!

As a financial advisor Daniel is passionate about helping people achieve their dreams and greatest potential in life. He enjoys strong coffee, thick books, and long bike rides in his hometown of Roanoke, VA.

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