Military discounts are a set of exclusive offers and promotions designed to cater to the unique needs and sacrifices of members of the U.S. military, veterans, retirees, and their cherished families. Far from being a mere gesture of appreciation, these discounts serve as vital pillars of support for the devoted men and women who have committed their lives to serving their nation. These discounts not only convey heartfelt gratitude but also play a part in enhancing the financial well-being of military personnel. This guide will explore everything you need to know about military discounts, their history and significance, and a wealth of information about where to find them and how to make the most of them.
The Significance of Military Discounts
A Tradition of Gratitude
The first official national military discounts in America began in 2001 when Veterans Advantage forged an exclusive discount with Amtrak and launched the VetRewards Card on Presidents Day. Since then, businesses across various industries have participated in these discounts. It serves as a powerful symbol of gratitude, acknowledging the sacrifices made by the military.
Easing Financial Burdens
The financial strain associated with military life is substantial. Frequent relocations, deployments, and the unique challenges military families face demand careful financial planning. Military discounts provide much-needed financial relief by offering lower prices on essential goods and services.
Supporting Military Communities
Military discounts go beyond monetary savings. They foster a sense of community within the military and among civilians who recognize the sacrifices made by military personnel. This support extends to active-duty service members and veterans, retirees, and their families.
Related: Federal Employee Benefits and Perks
Types of Military Discounts
Military discount programs are typically available to active-duty military and veterans. However, some retailers offer broader discounts that may also be available to retirees, reservists, National Guard members, and even family members.
One of the most valuable categories of military discounts is travel-related offers. Airlines, hotels, and car rental companies offer substantial discounts to military personnel. These discounts can range from 5% to 50% off regular prices.
Retail stores like Lowe's, Home Depot, and Kohl's are known for offering military discounts. These discounts often vary but typically range from 10% to 20%. In some cases, military discounts are available in physical stores and online.
Dining out is a luxury that military personnel and their families can enjoy at a reduced cost. Restaurants, fast-food chains, and cafes often offer military discounts, ranging from free meals for children of military families to 10% to 20% off the total bill.
Entertainment discounts can provide significant savings, making outings more affordable for military families. Movie theatres, such as AMC and Cinemark, offer discounted tickets, while theme parks like Disney and Universal Studios also provide exclusive offers to military personnel.
When it comes to purchasing or leasing vehicles, military discounts can also play a crucial role. Many automakers, including General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, offer military discounts, which may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the model and brand.
Related: Federal Employee Loans: A Guide
Finding Military Discounts
Government websites, like Veterans Affairs, serve as valuable resources for locating military discounts and benefits. These platforms provide comprehensive information on various benefits and programs available to military personnel and veterans.
A military identification card is your key to accessing many discounts. There are different types of military I.D.s, such as the Common Access Card (CAC), dependent I.D., and retired I.D. Obtaining these cards is typically straightforward and may involve visiting a nearby military installation or applying online.
Discount Aggregator Websites
Several websites and mobile apps aggregate military discounts from various businesses. These platforms offer convenience and efficiency, allowing you to search for discounts in specific categories and never miss out on savings opportunities.
Businesses and Local Advertisements
Sometimes, local businesses and establishments may not widely advertise their military discounts. It's a good idea to watch for advertisements, flyers, or signs at local businesses in your area. Businesses that provide military discounts often proudly display this information.
Related: Federal Employee Benefits
Making the Most of Military Discounts
Timing Your Purchases
The timing of your purchase can significantly affect the discount you receive. Many businesses offer increased discounts during seasonal sales, holidays, and special events. Additionally, many retailers offer "Military Appreciation Days" where military discounts are more substantial.
Some businesses offer loyalty programs specifically for military personnel and veterans. These programs may provide additional discounts or rewards for repeat customers. For example, the MyLowes program at Lowe's offers enhanced benefits to military members, such as free shipping and 5% off every purchase.
Related: Target Employee Discounts
Places that Offer Military Discounts
Some businesses offer military discounts on specific days, such as Veterans Day or Memorial Day, while others offer them year-round. Some retailers require ID.me to verify that you are eligible for discounts. Below is a comprehensive list of some of the well-known establishments and organizations that offer these discounts:
Clothing and Accessories
- Columbia: Offers a 10% military discount on online orders.
- Abercrombie & Fitch: Offers a 10-15% discount at the manager's discretion.
- Adidas: Offers up to 30% discount online and in-store and a 20% discount at factory outlets.
- American Eagle Outfitters: Offers 10-15% off in-store at the manager's discretion.
- Ashley Stewart: Offers a 10% discount.
- Bonobos: Offers a 20% discount for current and former military personnel.
- Carhartt: Offers a 15% discount on apparel and accessories to active duty, veterans, retirees, military spouses, and their families.
- Eddie Bauer: Offers a 10% discount in-store to active duty, veterans, retirees, National Guard, Reserve, and their families.
- Foot Locker: Offers a 10% discount to active duty and retired military members, veterans, and their families. The discount is available in-store only.
- Kohl's: Offers a 15% discount every Monday, but it cannot be added to other discounted items.
- Lululemon: Offers a 15% discount to military personnel and their spouses.
- Nike: Offers a military discount on Nike.com and Nike-owned retail stores in the United States. The discount is typically 10%.
- Rackroom Shoes: Offers a 10% discount and 20% off on select military holidays.
- Steve Madden: Offers a 25% discount.
- Timberland: Offers a military discount once every 30 days and requires a new promo code each time.
- Under Armour: Offers a 20% discount.
- Dell: Provides a 10% military discount coupon for P.C.s and devices such as Inspirion laptops, televisions, monitors, and computer accessories. Military personnel and veterans are eligible for the discount, which includes their famed Alienware gaming brand.
- Samsung: Offers savings of up to 30% to verified military personnel. Military personnel can also benefit from a trade-in program, free delivery, and the option of making low monthly payments.
- Targus: Every day, active duty military members, veterans, retirees, and National Guard members receive a 25% military discount on laptops and tablet carrying cases, docking stations, cables and adapters, and more.
- Apple: Active duty military personnel, veterans, and their families receive a 10% military discount on certain items. The offer is valid both in-store and online.
- Electronic Express: Provides unique discounts and savings on a variety of goods.
- Microsoft Store: Offers a 10% discount on select items to all military personnel and their families.
- Ring Home Security: Offers varying military discounts, which cannot be combined with other discounts.
- Best Buy: Offers a 10% discount at the manager's discretion. The offer is only valid in-store.
Internet Service Providers
- Verizon: Offers military personnel, veterans, and their families discounts on various plans and products. Depending on the plan, the savings can be up to $25 per month for 2-3 lines and up to $20 per month for 4+ lines.
- AT&T: Offers a 25% discount on various phone plans. The discount is only available for qualifying unlimited plans; proof of eligibility is required.
- Home Depot: For qualifying members and their families, Home Depot offers a 10% military discount on certain in-stock goods. The offer is valid both in-store and online.
- J.Crew: Offers a 15% military discount in-store only, not at J.Crew factory stores.
- Lowe's: A 10% military discount is available on most full-priced goods in Lowes locations and on Lowes.com.
- Nebraska Furniture Mart: Offers military troops and veterans preferential price levels in-store.
- New York & Company: Offers a 15% military discount in-store only
- Value City: A military discount is available for in-store purchases. Discounts vary, but military personnel and veterans may receive up to 30% discount.
American Forces Travel is a convenient online leisure travel booking website created exclusively for members of the U.S. military community. It offers military discounts on flights, hotels, rental cars, vacation packages, and cruises through its service provider, Priceline.
Many U.S. airlines offer military discounts or incentives, such as checked bag fee waivers or seat upgrades. Discounts can range from 5% to 10% or more and may be available for domestic and international flights.
- Alaska Airlines: Offers special military fares to active-duty military up to five free checked bags and a 15% discount on food purchased on the flight.
- Allegiant Air: Offers active-duty military, Reservists, National Guard, and veterans up to two pieces of checked baggage under 100 pounds for free and no charge for oversized checked baggage.
- American Airlines: Offers government and military fares in some markets, and active-duty military can use a special military-class fare (MIL) that provides a 5% discount on a nonrefundable base fare.
- Delta Airlines: Offers military fares to active-duty military personnel and their dependents and offers free checked baggage up to five bags at 100 pounds each.
- JetBlue: Offers a 5% discount on published airfares to all service members, past and present.
- Southwest Airlines: Offers military discounts to active-duty military personnel and their families, but the discount is not specified.
- United Airlines: Offers a 5% discount off all fare classes except Basic Economy, valid only on adult fares.
Most hotel chains offer military discounts on rooms, ranging from 10% to 50% off or more. Discounts may be available for both official and leisure travel and may be subject to availability and blackout dates.
- American Guest House: Offers a 15% military discount
- Choice Hotels: Offers special government and military rates at thousands of participating locations, with savings of up to 10% off
- Hilton Hotels and Resorts: Offers a military family rate of 10% off regularly priced rooms for active military, veterans, retirees, and their families
- IHG Hotels & Resorts: Offers a minimum 5% military discount rate, and some locations offer special amenities for government travellers
- Marriott Hotel: Marriott offers a Military and First Responder Appreciation rate, which provides a 15% discount off flexible rates at participating hotels and resorts in the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico.
- Peabody's 'Hip Little Stay' B&B: Offers a 10% military discount.
- Piney Hill B & B and Cottages: Offers a 10% military discount.
- Red Lion Hotels: Offers a 15% military discount at all of their 1,100 participating hotels across the U.S. and Canada.
Related: Hilton Employee Discounts
Rental car discounts
Many rental car companies offer military discounts on car rentals, ranging from 5% to 25% off or more. Discounts may be available for official and leisure travel and may be subject to availability and blackout dates.
- Alamo: Offers discounted rates for federal government employees and military personnel at all locations worldwide.
- Avis: Offers up to 35% off car rentals for military and veterans when you enrol in Veterans Advantage.
- Budget: Offers up to 35% off car rentals for military and veterans when you enrol in Veterans Advantage.
- Enterprise: Offers a 5% discount off base rates for government leisure travel and specific contracted rates for official government travel.
American Forces Travel offers military discounts on cruises, with up to 80% savings. Discounts may be available for both official and leisure travel and may be subject to availability and blackout dates
- Celebrity Cruises: Offers special discounts to active-duty military and veterans and sails to over 300 locations in 79 countries.
- Disney Cruise Line: Military discounts are available on select Disney voyages. All active-duty and former military members, National Guard and Reservists, and their spouses are eligible for discounted prices. This deal is only available for new reservations and is restricted to one stateroom per service member per cruise.
- Carnival Cruise Line: Offers military and veteran cruise discounts and unique activities on every voyage.
- Princess Cruises: Provides up to $250 in free onboard spending money (after online verification) for use on any voyage at any time of year. This money can be spent on cocktails, fine meals, and spa services. This deal is only available to active-duty military and veterans.
- Royal Caribbean: Offers military members and veterans up to 30% off and up to $550 in quick discounts.
- Applebee's: Offers a free meal to active-duty military personnel and veterans on Veterans Day.
- Chuck E. Cheese: On November 11, active-duty military, National Guard, and veterans get a free personal 1-topping pizza with valid military I.D. or proof of military service.
- Cracker Barrel: Sometimes has a military discount, although this is based on the individual restaurant, and most do not. You might be able to find between 10-30% off and can use the discount in their store too.
- Chicken Salad Chick: Offer a 10% heroes discount to military personnel.
- Dairy Queen: Offers a 10% military discount depending on the location. Some might be as high as 50% off.
- Food City: Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal from the Deli Hot Bar in November.
- Friendly's: Offers a military discount based on location.
- Fuddruckers: Offers military members a regular discount of 10-15% off their food purchases in select locations.
- Mission BBQ: Veterans get a free sandwich on Veterans Day.
Entertainment and Theme Parks
- Carowinds: Offers a military discount on admission tickets and season passes.
- Knott's Berry Farm: Offers a military discount on admission tickets with savings of up to $41.
- LEGOLAND: Offers a military discount on admission tickets, and the ticket values are available on their site.
- Magic Springs: Offers a military discount on admission tickets. The discount is available to active duty military members, retirees, veterans, and their families.
- Morgan's Wonderland: Offers a 10 % military discount on dual park single-day tickets valued at $23.
- Pacific Park: Offers a military discount on wristband purchases. The discount is applied at the ticket booth by supplying a valid military I.D.
- Walt Disney World: Offers a military discount on admission tickets and resort stays. The discount is available on select days throughout the year.
- Universal Studios: Offers a military discount on vacation packages and tickets. The discount is available for use on specific days of the year.
- Busch Gardens: Offers a 25% military discount on admission tickets and season passes.
- SeaWorld: Offers a military discount on admission tickets and also offers free parking.
- General Motors: Offers a military discount program called the G.M. Military Discount Program. The program allows eligible participants to purchase or lease new or unused Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles at a discounted price. The discount varies depending on the brand and model. However, it can be up to $1,000 off eligible Cadillacs and $500 off eligible GM, Chevrolet, and Buick vehicles for active-duty military, Reserves, National Guard, veterans, retirees, and sponsored spouses.
- Acura: Offers a $750 rebate if you finance or lease through Acura.
- BMW: Offers $500-$5,000 toward purchase or lease.
- Chrysler: Offers a $500 bonus, Chrysler brand only.
- Dodge: Offers a $500 bonus to eligible Dodge brands.
- Harley Davidson: Offers a military discount that includes no down payment, reduced rates, and flexible term options designed for active-duty stateside military personnel.
- Subaru: Offers a special discount to active-duty and reserve members of the military, as well as veterans and retired military within 12 months of their date of separation.
- Toyota: Offers a $500 rebate to eligible military personnel that can be used toward any new vehicle purchased or leased through Toyota
Beyond Discounts – Additional Military Benefits
While military discounts are a significant benefit, various other resources and programs are available to military personnel and veterans. These include:
The programs listed below provide financial support to active-duty military troops and veterans pursuing a college degree or vocational training. Eligibility may depend on the number of years you have served in the military, but it is generally at least 2 years of service
- TRICARE is a global healthcare program for uniformed service personnel, retirees, and their families. It covers all aspects of health care, including medical, dental, and eye care, as well as prescription medication coverage.
- V.A. Health Care: The Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) provides comprehensive medical coverage for qualifying veterans. Primary care, specialist care, mental health care, and prescription medication coverage are all available via the V.A.
- Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs): MTFs provide medical care to active duty service members, retirees, and their families. MTFs provide various services, including general care, specialist care, and mental health treatment.
- VA Housing aid: The VA provides several housing aid programs to assist veterans, military members, and their surviving spouses in purchasing or refinancing a property. The VA also provides benefits and services to assist you in building, improving, or maintaining your present home.
- Salute Our Soldiers Military Loan Program: The Salute Our Soldiers Military Loan Program provides military people and veterans with 30-year, fixed-rate first mortgage loans at a reduced interest rate.
- HUD-VASH: This joint HUD-VA program combines HUD housing vouchers with V.A. supporting services to assist homeless Veterans and their families in finding and maintaining permanent residence.
Military discounts are a token of appreciation for military personnel and their families that help ease financial burdens and foster a sense of community. By understanding where to find these discounts and how to maximize them, military personnel and their families can experience the full extent of the gratitude and support they deserve. These discounts are just one-way society acknowledges the sacrifices made by the military. With myriad benefits available to military personnel, it is great for every member of the military community to explore and utilize the resources and programs that can enhance their lives and well-being.