Everything You Need to Know About Student Discounts

1st February 2022
Two students looking at discounts on an Ipad

Brands, stores, restaurants and other organisations across the country all offer student discounts. It’s a common phenomenon but not always that well-advertised.

After all, no brand wants to advertise that a certain part of society can get up to 50% off just for who they are now, do they? 

But here at Sanctuary Students, we’re all about offering our students more than just a room, meaning we keep our ear to the ground for the latest news, tips and offers that will help you get the most out of your university experience!

So how can you find out where to get a student discount? What brands offer them and how much? How can you tell a good discount from a bad one?

All these questions and more will be answered within this post!

How do you get a student discount?

First up, how to qualify for a student discount. Most organisations will want to see a student ID of some kind. Others will have their own student cards or apps you’ll need to use.

Examples of student cards and apps include:

  • Unidays – An app that offers discounts on a range of items from days out to clothes, Amazon Prime discounts and other good stuff.
  • Student Beans – Another app that offers a range of discounts from leading companies including gadgets, days out, pizza and a lot more.
  • Totum – The renamed National Union of Students card that every student should have. You need to pay for the card, but you get a lot more in return.
  • ISIC (International Student Identity Card) – This card is ideal for international students or those that will travel during study or as part of work placement.
  • 16-25 Railcard – While not the same type of discount as those other cards and apps, it’s a student essential, offering up to 33% off rail travel.

Each of these will open up a world of discounts from leading retailers, restaurant chains and big brands. Savings can be anywhere from 5% all the way up to 50%.

Brands include ASOS, Domino’s Pizza, Superdrug, Apple, Topshop, Samsung, Hotel Chocolat, Lonovo, Huawei, EE, McDonald’s Burton, NordVPN, Timberland and many, many more.

Considering most of these cards cost nothing, or very little, they’re a solid investment!

How to tell whether you’re getting a decent discount or not

While the vast majority of student discounts are exactly that, not all offers are as good as they seem.

Some students are offered discounts on products said to be priced higher than they usually are.

Here are a few ways to check you’re getting a good deal:

  • Shop around – Check the price of a discounted item elsewhere. Check the main retailers and niche online stores as you may get it even cheaper with the student discount.
  • Look at the price history – You’ll find a few retailers will increase the price of an item just before offering a student discount on it. This is common for Black Friday and other sales. Use a price history tool or check and compare prices over time to get an idea of what costs what.
  • Amazon isn’t always the cheapest – We’re all guilty of just going to Amazon and buying what we want, but it isn’t always the cheapest option. Check as many retailers as you have the patience for to get a fuller picture of the market.
  • Plan ahead for big ticket items – Need a laptop for the new term? Check prices now and note them down somewhere. Then check them again when you get your student card. Is the discount really as cheap as it says?

How to find student discounts

You’ll see lots of signs and posters in university towns advertising their student discounts, but not all brands make a big deal of it.

You may have to dig a little deeper if you want to score a discount on a brand that doesn’t advertise them.

  • Check their website – Search and check the footer navigation of the website to see if they offer a student discount.
  • Ask on social – Most brands have a Q&A element to their social, so ask there. They may be able to point you directly to their student discount area.
  • Ask staff – If you’re in somewhere and want to know if you can get a discount, ask. If you ask reasonably and politely, staff should have no problem letting you know what’s on offer.
  • Save The Student – Save The Student is a great resource for students that offers money advice, university guides and other useful information. They maintain a list of student discounts too.
  • Student Money Saver – Student Money Saver is like a Martin Lewis for students. It offers discounts on everything you can think of as well as advice on saving money, paying less for services and useful guides for life.

A few student discounts to whet your appetite

We wanted the bulk of this article to be about finding discounts and identifying good deals and bad ones…but we couldn’t let you go without offering a few discounts.

These are just a few of the many hundreds that are possible, we hope you find them useful!

  • Adidas – Use your UNiDAYS card at Adidas for up to 15% off. It isn’t always the cheapest source for sports gear but it’s worth checking out.
  • ASOS – Register with the website and you’ll get a permanent 10% discount between registration and graduation.
  • Levi’s – Get up to 20% off everyone’s favourite jeans when you use your UNiDAYS card.
  • New Look – Get up to 20% off in New Look using UNiDAYS or by registering on the website.
  • Topshop/Topman – Get between 10-20% off in store or online by registering as a student. This retailer regularly offers extra discount events for more savings.
  • Domino’s Pizza – It isn’t all about the clothes. Get up to 25% discount on spends of over £25.
  • Boohoo – Get 10% off all year when you register as a student with this online retailer.
  • River Island – Use Student Beans to score 10% off all year at River Island.
  • Gourmet Burger Kitchen – Register for the app and get up to 25% off.
  • Krispy Kreme – Use your Totum card and get up to 20% off all orders.
  • The Cooperative – Another use for your Totum card is to get 10% off all groceries.
  • Yo! Sushi – Use your UNiDAYS card to get up to 25% off dine-in purchases on certain days.
  • Pizza Express – Get up to 30% off all orders using Totum or UNiDAYS on certain days.
  • Odeon Cinemas – Use Totum for up to 25% off tickets on certain days.
  • Spotify Premium – Discounted subscriptions while you’re a student.
  • Apple Music – Use UNiDAYS to pay half price for your music.
  • Boots Opticians – Keep your eyes healthy with up to 25% off at the opticians.
  • Superdrug – 10% off purchases all year round with UNiDAYS.
  • Waterstones – 10% off purchases with UNiDAYS student card discount.
  • Amazon.co.uk – Free trial and 50% discount on Amazon Prime and all its benefits.
  • O2 – 20% off Airtime Plans when you also take O2 Refresh.
  • Vodafone – 10% discount on a range of phone tariffs.

Those are just a few of the many hundreds of student discounts available. If you don’t see them advertised, dig around the website or ask on social media. Most places offer something and it’s always good to pay less for life’s essentials!