Is the NUS card really worth the money?

You could easily spend the £12 on a few pints


When the cashier at Co-op asks for your NUS card and you have to shake your head sadly, thinking about that 10% discount you could've gotten on your bottle of Soave and a frozen pizza, that's when you start considering taking the next step as a student and finally getting an NUS extra card. But is it really worth paying £12 every year for the card in order to get a couple of discounts? Or can you get similar, if not the same, discounts with just a valid student ID or a free UNiDAYS account?

We know that, as students, it's important to save every penny. Therefore we started investigating, looking at some of the major discounts that the NUS extra card offers and providing you alternative discounts that you can get for free.

NUS offer: Pizza Hut 20% discount on the full menu price

Alternative: Pizza Hut 20% discount with a valid student ID

Yes that's right – get the exact same discount that the NUS is offering with only your student card. So why would you pay £12 for a discount card if you can get the same offer for free? See for yourself here.

NUS offer: 30% off at Zizzi every Monday & Tuesday and 25% off Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday

Alternative: 30% off at Zizzi every Monday & Tuesday and 25% off Wednesday Thursday & Sunday with UNiDAYS

By signing up to UNiDAYS for free, you can benefit from a range of the same as well as very similar deals to those offered by NUS. Check the Zizzi deal out here.

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NUS offer: ASK Italian 40% discount every Monday & Tuesday and 25% discount every Wednesday, Thursday & Friday

Alternative: ASK Italian 40% discount every Monday & Tuesday and 25% discount every Wednesday, Thursday & Friday with a UNiDAYS account.

Different restaurant, same story. No need for an NUS deal if you fancy Italian food, just get your free UNiDAYS discount from here.

NUS offer: 10% off at New Look online and in-store

Alternative: 10% off online and in-store with a valid student ID OR 10% off online with UNiDAYS.

It's not all about food. Want to go on a shopping spree but don't have an NUS card? Do not worry, you can get the same 10% discount in store with your student ID here. Alternatively, if your a coach potato, just shop online and get the discount here.

NUS offer: 10% discount at ASOS

Alternative: 10% discount at ASOS with UNiDAYS

We know you love ASOS as much as you love free student discounts. So just get your 10% off here and maybe start rethinking if you really want to get a 12£ NUS extra card.

NUS offer: 10% discount at Accessorize

Alternative: 10% discount at Accessorize online with UNiDAYS

Want some nice earrings or a new necklace? Well, instead of walking all the way to your closest Accessorize store, you might as well order online and get the free UNiDAYS discount here.

NUS offer: 10% discount at Superdrug with a Health&Beautycard

Alternative: 10% discount at Superdrug in-store with a Health&Beautycard and a UNiDAYS account

OK, you get the idea by now, right? Let's be honest here, everyone secretly enjoys shopping at Superdrug and you've probably already got a Health&Beautycard anyway. No need for an NUS card then, just check out the free discount.

NUS offer: Uber 10£ discount on your first journey

Alternative: Uber 10£ discount on your first journey with UNiDAYS

After a night out, Uber truly is a life-saver, if you don't fancy seeing people being sick in the bus. Luckily, the NUS extra card gets you 10£ off your first journey, but so does the UNiDAYS offer. Easy choice.

NUS offer: up to 10% off Apple Mac & iPad

Alternative: up to 10% off with UNiDAYS when shopping with Apple online

Last but not least, Apple. We all have to buy a new iPhone or Macbook sooner or later. And yes, we know how painfully expensive a trip to the Apple Store can be, but at least you can get up to 10% discount with an NUS card. Or how about getting the exact same discount here but for free, if you shop online.

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On their website the NUS state that: 'Many discounts are online only so you can't get them without your NUS extra card!'. However, when looking at UNiDAYS or StudentBeans which offer discounts without having to buy a £12 card, it is obvious that the NUS discounts might not be that exclusive after all. UNiDAYS offers a range of discounts that are equal or very similar to the NUS ones, and additionally it offers a bunch of other online discounts for Mac Cosmetics, Spotify, Waterstones, Hollister and many more. Moreover, many restaurants also offer special student meal deals that are available with just a valid student ID and shops such as Urban Outfitters or Topshop regularly offer student discounts with a valid student ID as well.

So although the NUS extra card does offer an array of interesting discounts, most of these or very similar ones are available for free without the card and let's be honest here, you don't shop at Co-op anyway, so no need for the exclusive 10% discount.