Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®: Flat Rate Cash Back For Students

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®: Flat Rate Cash Back For Students

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Editor's Rating

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If you're applying for your first credit card, and value ease of use above all else, the Capital One Journey card is a good choice.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
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Editor's Rating

?
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers.","showIcon":false,"tooltipLabel":"?"}

If you're applying for your first credit card, and value ease of use above all else, the Capital One Journey card is a good choice.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is a cash back rewards card designed specifically for college students. It offers flat rate cash back on all purchases of 1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time. With the bonus, the card offers undergraduates (who typically don't have much credit history) a better than average rewards rate. Depending on the make-up of your expenses and how active you are at managing your spending, the Discover it® Student Cash Back may be a more rewarding alternative.

Good For…

Bad For…
  • Traveling abroad
  • Ease of use
  • Individuals who like to maximize rewards

Review: Is the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® Worth It?

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® should be thought of as a flatrate 1.25% cash back card. While the nominal rewards rate is 1%, you really shouldn't get a credit card unless you're going to pay off the balance in a timely fashion – and thus earning the 25% bonus which bumps this card’s rewards rate up to 1.25%. By comparison, other flatrate cash back cards tend to offer 1.5% (as seen in the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card or some 2% cash back card. However, both of those cards will be out of reach to most students, especially those who never had a credit card or the chance to build up credit history before.

Students who don’t mind keeping track of their spending may get better results with a card like the Discover it® Student Cash Back. Unlike the flat rewards rate on the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, the Discover it® Student Cash Back gives 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. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. If students manage to keep track, and have at least 6.25% of their total annual spending fall into the card's categories, we calculate that they will come out ahead compared to the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®.

Because it has None foreign transaction fees, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® credit card is great for those who study abroad, or do a lot of foreign vacationing. Whereas most credit cards would charge users a 3% fee for using them outside of the U.S., the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® has no such charges.

Bottom Line: If you value ease of use and flexibility over all else then the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® could make a fine first credit card. The rewards are above average for students with little credit history - making it a comfortable option, especially if you travel outside the United States. For someone looking to maximize rewards, however, the Discover it® Student Cash Back holds greater potential.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® Benefits and Features

As we've already mentioned, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® offers a flat 1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time. For cardholders that pay on time, the card bumps this percentage up to 1.25%, which slightly higher than what students can get on general spending in other cards. As we advise with all rewards credit cards, you should only consider a rewards card if you're paying the entirety of your balance each month. Otherwise the extra % in interest that you'll be accumulating with the card will easily nullify the value of any rewards you actually earn.

All Capital One cardholders have access to CreditWise® – a tool particularly useful for students getting their first card. It allows you to follow and check your credit score at all times using the Capital One® CreditWise®. This can work as a powerful learning mechanism to first time credit users, who get to see first hand how their actions (payments, credit utilization) affect their score.

The final feature of the card worth highlighting is its 0% foreign transaction fee, which is unique compared to other student credit card products. While you may not pay any extra fees for using the card abroad, keep in mind one of the limitations you might still face is when it comes to the card's EMV chip. The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® comes with an EMV chip equipped, though it is of the 'chip & signature' variety, and may not be accepted in certain countries. That means if you're backpacking through Europe, and buying train tickets from a machine, you may not be able to charge the expense to this credit card.

How Does the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® Compare Against Other Credit Cards?

As a credit card marketed to college students who are likely applying for their first credit card, it's only fair that we compare this card to other offerings of similar scope. The benefit of comparing the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® against its competitors is that we get a better sense of its worth and value relative to its peers.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® vs Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers students the potential to earn superior rewards to the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, provided they put in a little extra work. Every 3 months, Discover puts out a new set of shopping categories, in which shoppers can earn 5% cash back, on up to $1,500 in spending (activation required). For 2020, the categories include grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March), gas stations, Uber, Lyft and wholesale clubs (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com (October-December). All other purchases net just 1% back. If you can keep track of these bonus categories, and manage to fit at least 6.25% of your total spending into them, the Discover it® Student Cash Back outperforms the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® rewards-wise.

Like the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, the Discover it® Student Cash Back charges no foreign transaction fees. However, the Discover network is not as widely accepted internationally as Mastercard (the network the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is affiliated with). That means students traveling to remote locations will have an easier time getting their Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® accepted, over the Discover it® Student Cash Back.

For rates and fees of Discover it® Student Cash Back, please click here.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® vs Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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In all regards, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is superior to the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®. The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a flat 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. Therefore, you will always earn greater rewards using it, versus when using the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®. The downside is, that the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card requires an individual to have an excellent credit score to get approval – something most students won’t have access to. However, if you keep an eye on the credit tracker, and keep to good practices that will raise your credit score, over time you can request to have a product change – that is your Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® account can be upgraded to the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® vs Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is one of the best cash back credit cards available, and works in a similar fashion to the Discover it® Student Cash Back. This card lets you Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is not marketed at students, and therefore may be out of reach for most. The card requires a good to excellent credit score. If you are confident in your ability to keep track of the card’s changing categories, and having some of your spending fall into them, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ may be the better choice domestically. If you plan on using the Chase Freedom Flex℠ abroad, prepare to deal with a 3% fee.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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