Journey Student Rewards from Capital One review

Garrett Yarbrough  in  Student How we rate our cards  |  Advertiser Disclosure
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Best for flat-rate cash back and studying abroad

Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
26.99% (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Bankrate Rating

Best for flat-rate cash back and studying abroad

  • Rewards rate: Unlimited 1 percent cash back on all purchases—boosted to 1.25 percent for the month when the card is paid on time
  • Welcome offer: Up to $60 in 12 monthly streaming service credits (must be earned within the first 18 months)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 26.99 percent variable

A straightforward student card like the Journey Student Rewards Card from Capital One is a fantastic way to build credit history and learn the reward-earning ropes if you’re new to credit.

Journey Student Rewards is a perfect starter card since it’s very low-maintenance: It earns cash back on all purchases, rewards good credit habits and has no ongoing fees. Plus, its security benefits and no foreign transaction fees make it a great future study abroad companion. However, other student credit cards have much more to offer once you’re comfortable around credit.

Current sign-up bonus

According to the August 2020 Nielson Total Audience Report, there was a 75 percent increase in time spent watching streaming services among adults aged 18+ during April to June compared to the same time last year. With such a huge increase in the way we consume media and information, Capital One’s new sign-up bonus could save students money on their favorite streaming services.

By paying your credit card statement on time each month, you can receive a $5 monthly statement credit toward eligible streaming services for up to 12 months. You can receive up to $60 in total credits only during your first 18 months as a new cardholder that can go toward 24 different services. These include popular video services like Netflix and Hulu, music services such as Spotify and Amazon Music Unlimited, plus several audio book and sports streaming services.

Cash back

Journey Student Rewards earns flat-rate cash back, meaning it earns the same rewards rate on all purchases. This can be especially helpful for student expenses like textbooks, technology and student fees that typically aren’t covered by bonus reward categories. Plus, you’ll earn rewards on every flight and sightseeing ticket if you plan to travel abroad.

Earning cash back

You’ll earn 1 percent flat-rate cash back on all purchases, but that essentially bumps up to 1.25 percent back if you pay your credit card bill on time. This works by adding an extra 0.25 percent cash back on that billing cycle’s purchases to your rewards balance if Capital One sees that your account isn’t past due by the end of the billing period.

This isn’t a bad rewards rate, especially if you want simplicity. But you can get higher cash back rates if you’re willing to deal with bonus categories.

Redeeming cash back

Like other cash back credit cards, redeeming your rewards with the Journey card is a simple process. You can request your cash back in the form of a statement credit or check. Additional options include credits for previous purchases, gift cards and “Amazon Shop with Points” purchases.

How much are rewards worth?

The Journey card earns cash back, so your rewards are worth an equivalent 1 cent or 1.25 cents per dollar, depending on your rate.

Capital One’s terms on other redemption options such as Amazon Shop with Points state that your reward value may vary. However basic cash back is the most versatile choice and will always retain its full value.

Benefits

Journey Student Rewards carries extra features that are standard for other Capital One credit cards, but these student perks put Journey a notch above several other competitors if you’re looking for a bit of peace and mind while shopping or traveling.

Credit card security

Besides basic account alerts and card lock, students worried about identity theft can feel a bit safer with these features:

  • CreditWise from Capital One: Cardholders can enroll for free in order to receive Experian and TransUnion credit report change alerts, as well as dark web scanning and Social Security number tracking. This intensive level of credit monitoring means Capital One will let you know if they find your Social Security number and other sensitive data if it is possibly compromised on the internet.
  • Virtual credit card numbers: Capital One is one of the few issuers that still offer virtual credit card numbers. Through the Capital One Eno browser extension, you can use randomly generated tokens instead of your credit card for online purchases for an added layer of security. Eno will even keep track of nicknames you give your virtual card numbers for each merchant.
  • Fraud Coverage: You’re covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Emergency Card Services: If your credit card is lost or stolen, you can get an emergency card replacement and a cash advance, subject to available credit

Rates and fees

If you prefer a low-maintenance credit card to start with, the Journey Student Reward card doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. That way, there are no ongoing fees or additional overseas costs to worry about when you’re earning cash back.

However, there are no introductory APR offers in case you need to take on big purchases coming up for school or moving. Unfortunately, student credit cards usually carry high interest rates and late fees, and the Journey Student card is no different. Carrying a balance means that you could be hit with the 26.99 percent ongoing variable APR and a late fee up to $40.

This APR is still very high compared to other top student cards, depending on your creditworthiness. For instance, the Discover it® Student Cash Back card may charge anywhere from a 12.99 percent variable APR up to 21.99 percent variable APR.

On the bright side, the Journey card’s APR won’t change with a missed payment, since there is no penalty APR.

How the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One compares to other student cards

Overall, the Journey card provides substantive benefits compared to other cards, but the cash back rate and practical everyday perks leave much to be desired.

Rewards-wise, Discover student credit cards offer much more. The Discover it Student Cash Back card, for one, earns 5 percent cash back on rotating bonus categories each quarter you activate (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent), and Discover matches all of the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. Plus, you’ll also receive a $20 “Good Grade Reward” statement credit if your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to five years.

Other student cards deliver benefits that students might find more helpful day-to-day. When paying your cellphone bill and Amazon Prime Student membership with your Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students card, you’ll receive up to $600 of cellphone protection plus your first year of Prime Student will be reimbursed (after spending $500 in your first three billing cycles).

The Journey card also doesn’t waive your first late fee or offer intro zero-interest periods — key benefits for students that Discover and other issuers may extend. If you’re a first-time cardholder that wants a safety net while building credit, you might want to look at alternative cards like these.

Card Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome bonus
Discover it® Student Cash Back
  • 5 percent on each quarter’s rotating bonus category (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent) when activated
  • 1 percent cash back on all other purchases
  • $20 “Good Grades Reward” statement credit when the cardholder’s GPA is 3.0 or higher (up to 5 years)
$0 At the end of the first year, all cash-back earnings are automatically matched.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for Students
  • 3 percent cash back in a choice category: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores and home improvement/furnishings
  • 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in per quarter in combined 2 and 3 percent category purchases, then 1 percent)
  • 1 percent cash back on all other purchases
$0 $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening.
Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students
  • 1 percent cash back on all purchases
$0 First year of Amazon Prime Student membership reimbursed when paid with this card and after spending $500 within first three billing cycles.

Best cards to pair with the Journey Student Rewards Card from Capital One

Since the Journey Student Rewards card is a flat-rate card with a low 1 percent to 1.25 percent cash back, other cash back cards with higher rewards rates on your favorite bonus categories can maximize your earnings.

The Discover it Student Cash Back can collect 5 percent cash back on purchases after you activate (up to $1,500 per quarter in purchases, then 1 percent) that fall under Discover’s rotating categories each quarter, like Amazon.com purchases (through December 2020).

If you’d rather have more consistent bonus categories, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for Students is perfect. It allows you to choose one of six categories to earn 3 percent cash back on, which can be swapped out each month. So, if you’re buying furniture for a new apartment next month, you can switch your 3 percent category to home improvement/furnishings. Just be sure to remember that this card’s choice category purchases and 2 percent grocery store and wholesale club purchases share a $2,500 quarterly spending cap before reverting to 1 percent cash back.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the Journey Student Rewards Card from Capital One worth it?

The Journey Student Rewards Card from Capital One is a worthwhile choice for first-time cardholders that want an easy-to-handle cash back card for every occasion.

Its features focus on giving you peace of mind when you’re shopping or traveling, but the high ongoing APR and protection-based benefits might make other student cards more valuable for some.

Pros

  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • The unlimited 1 percent cash back increases to 1.25 percent after paying each billing cycle on time
  • Security protections will keep you and your account safe

Cons

  • High ongoing APR of 26.99 percent variable
  • The extra 0.25 percent cash back isn’t up front but is instead added to your account based on that billing cycle’s purchases
  • Missing a variety of key “safety net” and student-oriented features, like waived late fees, intro zero-interest periods and cellphone protection

All information about the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.