I lost my student body long ago, so I have no actual experience with the programs below. But I will list the few I know about in hopes they are useful to some of my readers. Please tell me about your experiences with any of them or any others designed for students.
One way for a student to earn free travel would be to become an expert on all of the miles earning techniques mentioned on this website, starting with Finance and Credit Cards. Then use that expertise to teach parents and grandparents how to earn miles for free, mentioning of course that you would be most appreciative of their using those miles to buy you a ticket to a foreign country. Emphasize the importance of travel to a well rounded education. (Wish I had thought of that when I was a student.)
SmarterTravel has a page on its site dedicated to deals and advice for traveling students.
|Credit cards for college students||
Even when I was a college student in the 60's, some credit card companies recognized that college students are good bets for credit cards. Most will be financially successful, more so than the average person, and so most will be good customers. I started with a gasoline company credit card from American Oil Company, and then proceeded from there. Americam Oil was soliciting customers from all of the students then at Cal. They figured that college grads would be good credit risks.
Currently many banks and credit card companies are offering special credit cards for students. All have no annual fee, and most have some sort of cash back deal. Most require no co-signer.
It is very important for students to establish an excellent credit record as soon as possible. Establishing a good credit score now can get your good mortgage and car loan rates later, good insurance rates, and even make the difference between getting and not getting a job. Employers like people with a history of being honest and paying their bills on time, and so many do check the credit scores of applicants. And of course a good credit score will help you get the excellent miles producint credit cards I list on this website.
Be sure to always pay your credit card bill on time and in full. Don't miss - ever -absolutely for sure - no exceptions. And try to keep your credit usage under 30% of your credit limit.
|AirTran Young People Standby Fares||
Airtran offers inexpensive standby fares to people between the ages of 18 and 22.
|American Airlines (and probably other) group discount||
Are 10 or more of you and your friends going to the same place for Spring break, Summer vacation, or just going home? American Airlines offers serious group discounts:
Low Group FaresBe sure to compare the actual fare offered against the best fares shown on American's website.
I believe most airlines have similar programs. If you find one, please tell me about it. Thanks.
|AMTRAK Free Ticket For College Visit||
AMTRAK offers high school seniors and juniors and their parent or guardian two tickets for the price of one when traveling on its trains to visit a college. You must register first. There are blackout dates and terms and conditions. Read them.
|Air France Student Program||
The French web site of Air France lists a card for young people from 2 to 24 years residing in France called La carte Fréquence Jeune which apparently gives miles and/or discounts at certain attractions and for certain purchases. The informantion is in French, and my French is almost non-existent. To read it, go to the web site, click on Voyageurs fréquents in the left menu, and select Fréquence Jeune.
A reader from France offers this translation, with comments:
The Frequence Jeune Card is for all young people from 2 to 24 years residing either in France or in the French West Indies, Morocco and Tunisia. Actually this program offers bonus miles in addition to the current miles awarded for each flight in the following conditions:
|Lufthansa Student Program||
Lufthansa's GenerationFly offers discount air fares to students, including access to Star Alliance European Airpass. The reader who told me about this program says
"Basically the only requirement is being an active student or faculty member with a valid.edu email address. The fares I looked at are cheaper and change fees are lower if you purchase though their special "student website". For example, I booked a ticket to IST in October for only $650 when the cheapest price I could find on the web was $750. Whats more important than the $100 savings is that the ticket (since booked at "Generation Fly") allows for one free change either before or after departure. This is not possible with the $750 fare that I found elsewhere. In addition, if I have to cancel the ticket, all but $150 is refundable. Again, this is not possible with the $750 fare. I feel that this new program is a great deal for students and even if the prices were the same, the additional benefits like one free change of dates is still a huge advantage."
|Earn Miles for Tuition||
Colleges are starting to allow tuition payments by credit card. So, of course, you would use a mileage producing credit card, an hopefully one offering more than the usual 1 mile per dollar spent. (A reader says that MSU students can do that, and presumes that I know that MSU means Michigan State University, or Mississippi State, or whatever.) Colleges may charge a fee for using a credit card, and the miles earned may not justify the fee, so you have to do the math. But being a college student, this is no problem, right? (Especially after reading my page on the Value of Miles on this web site.)
Along with friendly banter on the pros and cons of attending the University of Georgia this discussion on FlyerTalk describes how anyone paying for an education of anyone at that university can use something called a Bulldog Bucks Card to get miles using your mileage producing credit card to load the card for spending on things like printing, sodas, and food at the student union. When you graduate, you get leftover money in cash. (So be sure there is lots there at that time.) Be sure that the charge is not considered an interest and fee accumulating cash advance before trying this. Please tell me about similar programs at other schools.
|Student College Savings Plans and Loan programs||
Look on my Finance Page in the Student Finance section for cash back and mileage earning student savings and student loan programs.