Student Advantage’s big deal

The days of watching mom and dad sit over the Sunday paper and clip coupons seem to be over. With technology thriving in the past few years, coupons now come in the form of discount member cards. Safeway, T.G.I. Fridays and even gas stations all have their own discount member cards. The Student Advantage takes this concept one step further, helping lighten students’ load and the bill at the same time by applying to many different shops and restaurants.

“I think the (Student Advantage) cards are wonderful,” sophomore Cathy Southammakosane said. “You get great discounts at a lot of places.”

The Student Advantage Web site boasts savings of up to 50 percent at certain places, although the number seems to be a rare exception. Most places offer a 15 percent discount for Student Advantage members, but many of them are lesser known places such as the African Expression Gallery, Maxx Taylor Formal Boutique Wear and The Animal Hut, all located in D.C.

Participating vendors display the Student Advantage logo is store windows. The logo is a blue circle with a white “SA” with “student advantage” lining the outside of the circle in red.

Although the card can be used nationwide at 15,000 locations, locally students can get 10 percent off at Tower Records, get a free scoop of ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s in Georgetown and travel home on Amtrak with a 15 percent discount.

Students pay a $20 fee to join the club plus a $10 renewal fee each year. Southammakosane said she does not understand why anyone would waste the money to renew the card.

“I wouldn’t spend the money to renew it, but it’s not like anyone looks at the expiration date on the card anyway,” she said.

Chris Mullin, a sales representative for Tower Records at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, said checking the expiration date on the card is not necessary because expired cards will not scan.

Student Advantage cards can also be used for discounts on the Web, a feature some students said they did not know about.

“You can?” Southammakosane asked. “I had no idea. They should definitely make that more public. More students would probably be inclined to use the card.”

Restrictions on the card also pose a problem for students. Sometimes the card only applies to certain items in the store. While Tower Records gives 10 percent discounts on all items, Domino’s Pizza only gives the discount to certain orders. Sophomore Chris Granatino said he just does not see the card’s advantage.

“I imagine (Student Advantage cards) are of some use, but only for a few cents here and there – two dollars at the most,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me that you can use (the card) online.”

Although the Student Advantage card gives discounts at a variety of vendors, there will still be people who sit Sunday mornings tearing out coupons trying to find the big deal. Maybe a pair of scissors would be a wise investment, but only at Staples, where the Student Advantage card is accepted.

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