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StudentUniverse

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LAST UPDATED: September 26th, 2022

StudentUniverse is an online booking leader for students and young adults under 26 looking to make travel arrangements on a budget. It was officially launched in 2000 and remains a privately-held company. The StudentUniverse platform is made up of a network of global partners which provide discounted pricing on flights, hotels, and tours. They have proprietary verification technology which ensures that individuals accurately maintain student status since the ticket and reservation discounts are designed to benefit them while in school. The company executive offices/headquarters can be found in Waltham, Massachusetts.  

Keep reading for pros and cons, plus StudentUniverse reviews from real users.

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The Good

  • Benefits for Students
  • Business Model
  • No Fees to Use Platform
  • Discounts

Benefits for Students

While most online travel booking agencies are fighting over the same types of customers, StudentUniverse has created a platform that benefits a specific group - college students and youth. Their platform was created in an attempt to make traveling more accessible and affordable for those currently enrolled in classes. Oftentimes, students are working or having to take on a considerable amount of debt to finance school so paying for experiences abroad would normally be out of the question. With the help of StudentUniverse, thousands of students across the globe are able to take part in meaningful travel with the ability to book cheap flights.

The most beneficial aspect of the StudentUniverse platform is first and foremost their ability to provide discounted travel options to students. All air travel, hotels, and travel activities/tours are provided at a discounted rate due to the participation of popular accommodation providers. These prices make travel somewhat reasonable for the common student to see the world without taking on additional debt. This exclusive pricing on airline tickets is only available to current students.

On top of travel deals, the site helps students figure out what type of visa they will need, depending on their destination, or the location of their study abroad program.

Business Model

The business model of StudentUniverse is rather complex, but yields positive results. Their technology and strategic partnerships with third party providers allow students to take advantage of some of the best discounts and travel accommodations available. The model is broken down as follows to maximize savings:

  • Exclusive airfare deals with over 220 airline partners
  • No membership fee for students
  • Hotel accommodations through a network of affordable lodging providers
  • Tours and activities discounted for students while traveling

No Fees to Use Platform

The travel service makes money solely off of commissions, advertising sales, booking fees, and some transactions. This set up allows students to still take advantage of the cheapest deals without having to pay an additional fee simply to use the StudentUniverse website. Students can easily filter flight results to find exclusive travel deals without a paid subscription.

Discounts

StudentUniverse offers a few discounts that a customer should know about. If members refer a friend who ends up booking a flight, both parties get $20 off on their next flight. 

Members get promo discount codes sent straight to their email inbox for additional discounts on their already cheap flights. A promo code can still only be used to book student flights.

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The Bad

  • Limitations
  • No Airfare Rate Guarantees
  • Best for Groups

Limitations

Obviously, this is not a platform for everyone. In fact, this platform cannot even be used by those who are not enrolled in classes at the high school or college level. StudentUniverse utilizes a verification technology that ensures an individual maintains a student status and is eligible for the discounts. Those individuals who are not students will not be able to book travel through StudentUniverse. Occasionally, there are deals for those ages 18-25 that are not enrolled in classes but these deals are not to be expected.

No Airfare Rate Guarantees

The platform, while boasting of providing discounts on travel accommodations, has openly admitted that they cannot guarantee rates on airfare. While airline rates are typically less expensive and more reasonable for students when using the platform, it is not so one hundred percent of the time. StudentUniverse states:

  • Airfares are not guaranteed to be cheaper than retail fares
  • Fares generally available on the market may be the listing price
  • Other booking sites may have access to other exclusive airfare deals that SU does not have a partnership with
  • No comparison tool exists to find the cheapest rate

Best for Groups

StudentUniverse’s discount booking service is best utilized in a group format. That means an entire class or a large group of students booking a trip together will receive the best discounts on flights and hotels. While a person can also book their own individual travel with a student discount, the booking process is specifically designed to benefit the group trip set-up with student fare.

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The Bottom Line

StudentUniverse has created a travel booking site that benefits students with a passion for travel.  Partnerships offer student travelers discounted rates so they can experience the world without taking on a considerable amount of debt. Members who plan on using StudentUniverse to book their travel can expect the following from the service:

  1. Exclusive deals for students
  2. Discounted airfare/hotel accommodations
  3. Deals on tours and attractions
  4. Travel insurance
  5. Group travel preferred
  6. No comparison tool
  7. Only for current students
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Star Rating

2.2

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16 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade

25%

4 grade

6%

3 grade

0%

2 grade

0%

1 grade

69%

Sentiment Criteria

Value

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Quality

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nicole yeom Sydney, NSW

Booked flight tickets in Dec for April trip, and today, we found out our flights got cancelled in Jan and we weren't even told so! Thank God my partner was contacting them first to update passport details. Otherwise, we would have ended up being at the airport in April only to be told the tickets got cancelled ages ago! When I questioned the agent that how come we weren't notified that our flights got cancelled, he said 'I don't know, maybe a system error'. Really, that's why both my partner and I didn't get emails at all??! When I asked if there is any other ticket, his reply was just simple 'None' followed by 'so what do you want to do?'. Are you serious!!!? Please don't use this company as they don't even have decency of notifying customers that flight has been cancelled. I feel very disgusted.

7 months ago

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dj santoso Washington, DC

Student universe is really suck, i booked ticket for US domestic flights, to continue my journey from international flight. Unfortunately they didn’t give any hand carry bag for united airline flight ( if you used the websites deal) and need to get extra charge ( in which happened to know during my departure before flight ) so t ‘s becoming expensive deal. My suggestion, the website should stated like a warning sign for passanger when we booked our flight .Don’t want to use the website anymore. It’s a scam

9 months ago

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Sam Mccleery ,

They are the worst travel company I have ever booked with. I purposely booked a flexible flight which cost me more, to be flexible with the covid pandemic. When I had to cancel my flight due to board changes they tried to charge me an extra $110 on top of the original fairs for my new flights when my new flights were already $560 cheaper than the new. Absolute rip off. They also applied false requirements to have to book before certain dates as well as travel before certain dates claiming it was the airlines, I checked with the airlines and no such deadline existed. Complete fraud, money grabbing company. Taking advantage of people during a pandemic, im just trying to see me family.

1 year ago

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T Markle Pleasant Prairie, WI

If I could give this company ZERO stars I would. Run away from this company, and do NOT book anything with them. They are a scam! Booked flight, and covid hit. They issued a "credit". If I had booked directly with the airline, I would have been given a refund. I just tried to use the credit to book another flight. They are charging me double for the flights. Hello?!? I can see the costs of these flights on "google flights". I asked why they are charging me double? They said it's because the original flight was deeply discounted which is a lie. We all have access to these flight costs. The discount was $20 and I only booked through Student Universe because my daughter's professor recommended this company. In addition, if my daughter gets sick and cannot make the new flight, she will not be able to re-book, and we will be out all of the money. What a scam. I called United Airlines, and they were polite and said, "We are so sorry, but we cannot help you because you booked through this travel agency, and we do not even know how much they charged you for the flight." I will NEVER EVER book with Student Universe again and will continue to post negatives reviews and will be filing a complaint with the BBB as well. SCAM ARTISTS!

1 year ago

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Chanel Taghdis Los Angeles, CA

I used student universe to purchase some flights and then corona virus happened. Okay, I understand that is not their fault. I had to have student universe communicate with the airline directly about whether I could get a refund, so beware if you ever need to communicate with the airline directly you cannot and have to go through this whole process. Again, not their fault so fine. My boyfriend and I had student universe request refunds for our flight which was cancelled BY THE AIRLINE. They said it can take up to 2 months for the airline to respond, fine. After 1 month I call to check if they have heard back and they say not yet. One month later, my boyfriend got his refund and I still haven't. I call again, and they tell me they never made a request for me. What incompetent staff is working there that the first time they said they are requesting it for both our flights and then the second time I call they tell me they haven't heard back, fail to mention they never made the request in the first place! SO THEN they made the request and let the airline know my travel partner has been refunded, which again I had to wait 2 more months and then I got an email saying they are offering me credit- not a refund. I call again to ask why the airline is only giving me credit when my boyfriend got his full refund. The person I talked to said that the airline still has not answered and that the email was simply stating I have an option to get credit if I want (did not sound that way in the email at all whatsoever) and honestly the staff is so incompetent that I don't know if I even believe that. The person I spoke to would not let me speak to the supervisor. I understand some things are not their fault and the fault of the airline, but the incompetence in handling this was horrendous. Never again will I use this site.

2 years ago

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Chris Vernon Perth, WA

Told me they are applying Emirates policy for cancelling my flights ($150) but after speaking to Emirates via online chat they were not charging their customers...seem to pick and choose which policy suits them? Moreover the window seat option does not guarantee you a window seat...a waste of money. Seemed like I was saving money in the short term but beware of this company!

2 years ago

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MB

STAY AWAY - I live in Tokyo and booked in March an air fare with Student Universe for my companion to join me from London. The booking was was for late October 2019. The situation changed and my companion will not be able to take this flight. Despite this being a full seven month sae way Student Universe will not refund one penny or provide any form of credit note. With so many options available you would be much better off learning from my mistake - check Monondo, Chipmunk and Matrix. Fly safe.

3 years ago

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Victor Lilburn, GA

They are kind of cheating. They are a fraud company looting money from people . If you want to lose your money so you can go with StudentUniverse. They loot $1200 from me. I so regret when I booked ticket from them. Don't do book ticket from this scam operation buyer beware if you don't lose your money. They only want your money and are done with you once they have it, greedy selfish shady operators. My lesson tells everybody to avoid them for your safety. They just want to hurt your wallet and your bank. Doesnt get any worse than this. Stay away from Studentuniverse to protect your money.

3 years ago

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Jordan Huffman

5/22/17 I booked a flight with Student Universe and when I got to the airport none of the confirmation codes I was given existed in the airline's system. After about an hour of being on hold with Student Universe's customer service I was able to get an alternate flight scheduled. The rescheduled flight was a more than 5 hour delay and caused me to have to rebook all of my follow on flights. Student Universe also offered no vouchers to cover the hotel or meals that were necessary because of the delay. I would not recommend them to anyone and will bit be booking with them again.

5 years ago

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Alex Ilnytskyy Poway, CA

Booked a flight with them, got a confirmation and airline booking code. A few days later I went online to select seats and it turned out the booking "didn't go through", according to StudentUniverse. Thanks god I hadn't waited all the way until the flight time to find out I didn't have the tickets. Never again!

2 years ago

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han rsk Point Cook, VIC

Airline changed schedule and agency failed to communicate with airline resulting in loss of entire passage. NEVER AGAIN AT ANY PRICE!!

1 year ago