Which Student Discount Card is Best?



Here at the Globe, I often tout the many benefits of obtaining a student discount card. Student cards such as Student Advantage or ISIC are cheap – costing between twenty and thirty dollars a year. They pay for themselves the first couple of times you use them. And they provide the easiest access to literally hundreds of student discounts around the world.

For college students, they make great gifts. For anyone under the age of 26 who travels or shops a lot, they are essential.


But what card is the best? Since each card offers different college student discounts, a better question would be “What student discount card is right for me?” Are you the type of person who likes to eat out? Do you shop for clothes at stores like Target and Macy’s? Or are you a recent graduate spending the summer hitchhiking across Europe?

How you shop and spend your money will determine which student discount card best fits your lifestyle.

In the United States, three companies - STA, Student Advantage, and ISE - all offer discount programs to students. Although each company is a top-notch professional organization, each program provides different discount options. Knowing the difference could save you a lot of money in the end.

  • The popular Student Advantage Card sells for $20 online.  With it, students and parents can save up to 10-50% at stores like AT&T, Urban Outfitters, Greyhound, Toshiba, AMC Theaters, Foot Locker and more. It’s a good card for those who like to shop.
  • STA sells the ISIC card for $22. Non-students between under the age of 26 can purchase a similar IYTC (International Youth Travel Card) for the same amount. The ISIC card boasts discounts at 24 Hour Fitness, Virgin Megastores, Amtrak, the Apple Store, Target.com, Motel 6 and more.
  • The ISE Card, or International Student Exchange Card, offers great travel benefits with worldwide discounts on airline flights, hotels and car rentals. ISE also provides peace of mind with student travel insurance, medical benefits and roadside assistance. All for only $25 online.

As cheap as these cards are you could buy two just to cover your bases. However, if you are just buying one, you will want to do your research.

In the next three posts I’ll review each of these cards separately, weighing each for pros and cons. And I promise to reveal which one is my favorite.


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