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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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