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Why I recommend the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Sept. 22, 2022
7 min read
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As a young adult and student who writes about credit cards and talks about them nonstop, I often get many questions about their significance and value from my peers. Typically, I first explain the lasting benefits of building credit. Signing up for your first credit card at a young age allows you to establish your credit history early, giving it more years to mature.

The length of credit history makes up 15% of your FICO score, a pretty significant portion that can be easily strengthened by establishing credit early in life. And if you later apply for a loan or mortgage, you will likely benefit from a higher credit score from having a longer credit history.

I am often asked, “What is the best card to sign-up for?” For college-aged students, my reply is usually the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card. While this card frequently flies under the radar for students compared to the Discover it Student Cash Back and Chase Freedom Student credit card, here is why I recommend the student version of the classic Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card.

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

Great everyday spending rewards categories

Compared to the lack of rewards offered by debit cards, students are often thrilled to get 1% back on their purchases with a credit card. While I always advise trying to get at least 2% back on purchases — which is easily achievable with cards like the Citi® Double Cash (1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off) — some people with limited credit histories may not be approved for a card with a higher earning rate.

Comparatively, the SavorOne Student card offers unlimited 3% cash back on dining, groceries, entertainment and streaming services, which is almost unheard of for student credit cards and is better than many non-student cards. As a student, I know that most of my budget goes toward restaurants and activities, which perfectly match these categories. Additionally, the card offers 1% back on purchases that do not fall under these categories.

Dining includes everything from fancy restaurants to the fast food drive-through at midnight. Additionally, entertainment includes everything from football games and other event tickets to playing a round of golf. Add on grocery store purchases and streaming services and I can imagine that many students with this card would earn 3% back on the majority of their day-to-day spending.

Related: Credit vs. debit cards: Which is the smarter choice?

Easy sign-up bonus

DOLGACHOV/GETTY IMAGES

The TPG community loves a good sign-up bonus, especially thousands of points with one new card. However, these sign-up bonuses can be out of reach for many students since they sometimes require $5,000 or more in spending within three months.

The bonus for the SavorOne Student card is much more attainable. There is a limited-time offer to earn a $100 cash bonus after spending $100 on purchases within three months of account opening.

Not only should it be easy to hit a $100 threshold within three months for a student, but the bonus will completely wipe out the $100 in spending. For a student, earning $100 is an easy sign-up bonus that will pay for multiple runs to Chipotle or cover some Amazon orders.

Related: Credit card sign-up bonuses you can earn with $1,000 or less in spending

No fees

The JW Marriott Cancun. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

The last thing a student wants to worry about with expensive tuition and a tight budget is paying an annual fee. Luckily, the SavorOne Student has no annual fee, making it easy to continue earning rewards without any yearly fee.

Additionally, there are no foreign transaction fees on the card. This means that when studying abroad in Europe or on spring break in Mexico, you will not need to worry about fees being added to every purchase you make.

No foreign transaction fees are a great and less common benefit among credit cards with no annual fees, let alone on a card for individuals with less credit history. This should not be ignored.

Related: What is a foreign transaction fee?

Easy-to-use rewards

Boeing 747. RAMONBERK/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES

Some credit cards make it difficult to redeem their rewards, but this is not the case for the SavorOne Student card. For starters, rewards do not expire for the life of the account. Rewards can be redeemed for cash, used directly against your balance to reimburse a recent purchase from your bill or redeemed for travel using the Capital One travel portal.

Down the road, once a longer credit history has been established, and one has a higher credit score, adding another Capital One credit card, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, would allow students to convert their cash-back rewards to miles.

These miles can then be transferred to one of the card’s many airline or hotel partners to book travel. This method may require more effort, but it can increase the value of the rewards as TPG values Capital One miles at 1.85 cents compared to the 1-cent cash back on the SavorOne Student card.

Related: Tips and tricks to get maximum value from your Capital One miles

Bottom line

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is an excellent all-around card. It has great bonus categories that will perfectly match many students’ spending habits and rival non-student cards for individuals with a more developed credit score.

In addition to no annual and foreign exchange fees and an easy-to-earn sign-up bonus, this card comes with some of the typical benefits you may not find on debit cards. This includes $0 fraud liability, extended warranty and travel accident insurance.

In order to start building credit, I always advise students to sign up for their first card as early as possible (after making sure they know how to handle a credit card responsibly), and my pick for their first card is the SavorOne Student card.

Featured image by BERNIE_PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases