There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a credit card as a graduate student. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which card is right for you.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the best credit cards for graduate students.
We’ve considered things like annual fees, card benefits, and rewards programs to come up with this list.
Take a look and see if one of these cards is a good fit for you.
1. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Best Starter Credit Card
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a good no-annual fee credit card option that offers 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back at restaurants, takeout, eligible delivery services, and on drugstore purchases. Plus it offers 1.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
The card also offers nice benefits such as purchase protection, extended warranty, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and secondary rental car insurance.
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Best Beginner Travel Card
- Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Bonus Points for Spending $4,000 in the First 3 Months
- 5x Points on Travel Booked Via Chase
- 3x Points on Dining and Eligible Delivery Services
- 3x Points on Select Streaming and Online Grocery (excluding Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs)
- 2x Points on All Other Travel Purchases
- 10% Anniversary Points Boost
- Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Primary Rental Car Insurance
- $95 Annual Fee
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best rewards cards for travelers who want solid earning rates for travel and dining expenses.
For only $95 per year, this card earns 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3x points on dining, online groceries, and streaming services, and 2x on all other travel purchases.
Cardholders will also get a 10% anniversary points bonus, a 12-month DoorDash DashPass subscription, and a $50- anniversary hotel statement credit.
Plus, it provides extensive travel protections, including trip delay, primary rental car, baggage, and purchase protection plans.
3. Bilt Rewards
Best for Rent Payments
- Pay Rent Without Fees and Earn 1 Point Per Dollar on Rent (up to 50,000 Points Per Calendar Year)
- No Annual Fee
- 3x Points on Dining
- 2x Points on Travel
- Transfer Rewards to Airlines and Hotels
- Cell Phone, Primary Rental Car, and Trip Delay Insurance
Bilt Mastercard® is a no-annual-fee credit card that allows you to pay rent without a transaction fee and earn 1 point per dollar on rent (up to 50,000 points per calendar year).
You also earn 3x points on dining, 2x points on travel, and 1x points everywhere else.
The Bilt Rewards card also has great benefits for a no-annual fee card, including cell phone insurance, primary rental car insurance, 90-day purchase protection, trip delay insurance, trip cancellation insurance, and no foreign transaction fees.
Plus, you can transfer your points to airline and hotel partners such as United Airlines, American Airlines, and World of Hyatt. Or redeem the points for travel or at Amazon.
4. Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
Best for Cash Back With No Annual Fee
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer boasts a strong 2% rewards rate on purchases, where you get 1% back when you buy and 1% when you pay.
This zero-annual-fee card offers a solid earning potential as long as you pay your balance on time, and it provides a simple way to rack up points with no bonus categories to track.
You can also boost your rewards by also holding the Citi Premier® Card (review), which allows you to transfer points to airline and hotel programs. This combination effectively allows you to earn 2 airline miles per dollar on all spending with the Citi Double Cash.
5. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Best for Earning Points on Everyday Purchases
- Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles After Spending $4,000 Within the First Three Months
- 5x Miles on Hotels and Rental Cars via Capital One
- 2x Miles Everywhere Else
- 2 Free Visits to Capital One Lounges Each Year
- Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Credit
- Hertz 5-Star Elite Status
- Rental Car Insurance and Extended Warranty
- $95 Annual Fee
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a travel rewards credit card that earns an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all purchases and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
The card also offers up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, and two free visits each year to the Capital One Lounge.
6. Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
Best for 5% Cash Back in Your Top Category
- Earn $200 Cash Back After Spending $1,500 in the First Six Months
- 5% Cash Back on Purchases in Your Top Eligible Spend Category Each Billing Cycle up to $500 (1% after that)
- 0% Intro APR for 15 Months on Purchases and Balance Transfers ($5 or 5% fee). After that, a variable APR of 18.74% – 28.74% applies.
- No Annual Fee
The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a no-annual-fee card that earns 5% cash back in your top spending category each billing cycle.
Eligible 5% cash back categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, home improvement stores, drug stores, select transit, select streaming, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.
This allows you to turn the Custom Cash into your 5% cash back card for gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, or several other categories.
7. Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best for Restaurants, Entertainment, and Grocery Stores
- Earn $200 Bonus Cash after Spending $500 in the First 3 Months
- 8% Cash Back at Vivid Seats
- 3% Cash Back on Dining, Entertainment, Streaming, and Grocery Stores
- No Annual Fee
The Capital One SavorOne is a no-annual-fee card that earns 3% cash back in four popular categories: dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
The SavorOne also has nice perks such as no foreign transaction fees and extended warranty protection.