How Students Can Save on Holiday Flights with Amazon Prime

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As college students prepare for end-of-semester exams, many of them are also packing their bags. 20% of American college students study out-of-state and may have to board a plane to spend the winter holidays with their families.

The good news is that it might be a little cheaper to fly home this year. With post-pandemic “revenge spending” subsided, flight costs have dropped — airline fares were down 13.2% in October 2023 compared to the same month in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nevertheless, flights can still be expensive, especially when squeezed into a student’s tight budget.

If you plan on flying home for the holidays and haven’t booked your ticket yet, you may be in luck. Amazon has partnered with StudentUniverse, an online travel agency specializing in discount student travel, to offer Prime Student members a limited number of $25 flights to and from home this holiday season.

Even if you can’t take advantage of this amazing deal, CNBC Select shares other ways students can save money when flying home from college.

How to get a $25 flight with Prime Student

With this promotion, Prime Student members will have the opportunity to book one round trip or one-way domestic ticket through StudentUniverse for just $25.

This promotion will run from Dec. 5, through Dec. 7, 2023, with a total of 3,000 $25 flight tickets up for grabs across the three days. There will be 1,000 tickets made available each day starting at 6 a.m. PST on Dec. 5, 12 a.m. PST on Dec. 6 and 12 a.m. PST on Dec. 7 

If you’re lucky enough to snag a ticket, you’ll be able to fly anywhere within the U.S. and receive a discount rate of up to $500 off the current retail value of the ticket. The discounted tickets can be used for travel between mid-December and early January. Outbound travel can be anytime between Dec. 8 and Dec. 25, 2023, and inbound travel must be between Dec. 8, 2023 and Jan. 14, 2024.

Bookings and full terms and conditions will be available via the Prime Student x StudentUniverse page. Even after the $25 tickets run out, StudentUniverse will offer Prime Student members $25 off flights with a promotional code. Terms and conditions apply.

A Prime Student membership costs $69 per year and comes with benefits like complimentary expedited shipping, digital services like Amazon Music and Amazon Prime Video, deals at Whole Foods Market, early access to Lightning deals, free one-year membership to Grubhub+ and more.

If you’re on the fence about signing up, but still want to take advantage of this promotion, Amazon offers a 6-month free trial of Prime Student. And, for a limited time, you don’t have to be enrolled in college to be eligible for Amazon’s student membership: you only have to verify that you are between 18 and 24 years old.

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Other ways to save

If you’re not lucky enough to take advantage of the limited-time Prime Student deal, there are still other ways to save on your flights.

Use flight search aggregators and deal websites

Search aggregators like Google Flights can be extremely helpful as they may offer calendars that allow the user to simultaneously compare prices between many dates. Some sites also offer price tracking, which alerts you when a certain flight’s price drops. 

Depending on how you booked, you may be able to get money back if the price of your flight dropped after booking. For example, Expedia’s Price Drop Protection add-on monitors the price of a flight from purchase to takeoff and automatically refunds you the difference between what you paid and the lowest fare.

Google Flights offers a similar feature for certain flights, while Capital One Travel automatically offers its price drop protection to all eligible cardholders. Just beware that every booking engine’s price drop coverage works slightly differently and that this feature sometimes costs a small fee.

Of course, tracking flights and protecting your price makes the most sense if you start searching early. Scott Keyes, founder and chief flight expert at flight deal subscription service Going, previously told CNBC Select that the “goldilocks window” to book a domestic flight is three to seven months in advance.

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Book with points and miles

Flight prices are higher during the holiday season than during the off-season. So, it’s a good time to use any points or miles you may have earned on a credit card to book holiday travel, as Keyes recommended to CNBC Select.

Some student credit cards come with generous welcome bonuses that could help you cover a flight. For example, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students credit card has a lucrative welcome bonus of 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. That’s enough to cover a $250 flight, among other travel expenses.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students credit card

  • Rewards

    Unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    25,000 online bonus points after you spend at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward qualifying travel and dining purchases

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% APR for the first 18 billing cycles on purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account.

  • Regular APR

    17.99% to 27.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% of the amount of each transaction

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Information about the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

  • Rewards

    Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024, 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases; unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, Terms Apply; 3% cash back on dining and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®); 3% cash back on popular streaming services and entertainment; 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Early Spend Bonus: Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months

  • Annual fee

  • Promo APR

  • Regular APR

    19.99% – 29.99% variable APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed


  • Excellent cash back categories on broad spending categories
  • Exclusive access to curated experiences in sports, dining and entertainment
  • Unlimited cash back that doesn’t expire for the life of the account
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you

Or, if you need more time to pay off your flight, the Discover it® Student Cash Back card comes with an introductory 0% APR for the first six months of account opening (then, 18.24% – 27.24% variable APR). Cardholders earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories (on up to $1,500 in spending), plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. As a welcome bonus, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. And, you can pay off the flight with

Discover it® Student Cash Back

On Discover’s secure site

  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases-automatically.

  • Welcome bonus

    Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for 6 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Look for student discounts

Beyond the limited-time $25 flight deal, Prime Student members have access to year-round travel savings through StudentUniverse. Members get up to 10% off already discounted flights (additional discount of at least $5), 10% back on hotels as an Amazon gift card and free premium customer support with every booking (a $7.95 value).

Some airlines offer student discounts when you book direct. For example, United offers a 5% discount to travelers between 18 and 23 when booking through the United mobile app with a MileagePlus® account.

Depending on how often you fly home, it could be worth considering a flight pass subscription from an airline like Alaska Airlines or Frontier. While each airline’s subscription operates differently, they allow you to book a specified number of flights (or unlimited) for a flat fee.

Be flexible

Per Keyes’ recommendations, the more flexibility you have the better. If possible, be flexible on your departure and return days, as well as airports — in some cases, it could be worth driving or taking a train to a nearby airport to score a better price.

Likewise, it’s good to be flexible on flight times. According to Keyes, as well as Expedia’s 2024 Air Travel Hacks Report, morning flights have a lower chance of being delayed or canceled. Plus, they may sometimes be cheaper.

Students might think they don’t have flexibility due to their final exam schedule, but you may be able to save significantly by leaving a few days earlier and taking your exam remotely or in advance. Certain professors are more amicable to this accommodation than others, so use your better judgment before making such requests.

Bottom line

Why trust CNBC Select?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.


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