20 discounts for veterans

Kelly Johnston
Sept. 27, 2020

Veterans deserve to be praised for their years of service to our country — a selfless, admirable feat that should never go unnoticed — and not only on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. 

Businesses know this, and countless companies offer military and veteran discounts. Military families, too, can benefit and reap the rewards for their own sacrifices. Check individual stores, visit websites and call ahead, as discounts vary by date and location. You also may need to show different forms of ID, depending on the store.

Veterans should look into joining Veterans Advantage, a national program that partners with corporations to make discounts available to vets, and USAA, a member-owned company that offers vets and military members banking/insurance/investment services, to take advantage of the many discounts offered to members of these organizations. 

No matter where you are, it doesn't hurt to ask if a veteran discount is offered. Whether official protocol or not, employees love to give veterans a break.

1. Restaurants

Restaurants of all kinds are glad to support veterans by providing discounted dining. Sit-down chains including Applebee's, IHOP and Buffalo Wild Wings are among the hundreds of restaurants that offer military and veteran discounts, some up to 20%. Fast-food restaurants such as Wendy's, Golden Corral, Arby's and KFC also provide discounts.

On Veterans Day, most of these restaurants will comp meals for service members. For example, Applebee's gives a free meal to veterans and active-duty military members, and Chili’s offers a free meal from a special Veterans Day menu.

2. Coffee shops

Love your morning cup of joe? At many Dunkin' Donuts locations, military members can save 10%. Dunkin’ even has a special form on their site to submit the name of a deployed member of the U.S. armed forces to surprise them with a case of coffee.

3. Retail

Next time you need a little retail therapy visit Finish Line (10%) and Target (10%). They make saving money easy by providing discounts for military members, vets and sometimes even their families. Bed, Bath & Beyond is offering service members 25% off all Veterans Day weekend.

4. Home improvement

Lowe's and Home Depot make home improvement easier and more affordable for vets with 10% off at checkout.

5. Cars

Talk to your local car dealer. Many major car companies help veterans to save big. Ford and Lincoln both offer VetRewards card members exclusive pricing on their “X-Plan.”

6. Car services

After you purchase that new car, save on required oil changes and tune ups at Advance Auto Parts. They give vets 10% off full-priced items.

7. Travel

Transportation is a large cost when it comes to planning a trip. Save on the train, plane or bus fare. Greyhound offers a 10% military discount, and the following airlines offer between 5% and 10% ticket discounts, plus other perks: American Airlines, United, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and Lufthansa. Car rentals are also cheaper for Veterans Advantage members at Avis, Hertz and Budget, with up to 25% off.

As for travel websites, Priceline offers discounted rates to certain destinations — kind of like coupons that can be used up until a certain date.

8. Hotels

Lay your head to rest in the comfort of a lavish hotel at a fraction of the usual price. Wyndham, Marriott and Hilton hotels are among the major chains that provide savings for the military and their families — between 10% and 25%, depending on location.

And Hotels.com offers U.S. military, government employees, teachers, students and first responders 10% off.

9. Entertainment

Don't let a strict budget stop you from venturing out on the weekend to have a little fun. Visit a movie theater that honors veterans, like AMC, CineMark and Regal

10. Sporting events and concerts

Get great discounts to see your favorite bands perform live. Online ticket reseller StubHub offers $40 in savings a military member’s next purchase. 

Each November, the NFL runs its "Salute to Service" campaign and teams donate hundreds of tickets to be given to military members and veterans. Also, be sure to take a look at Vet Tix, a nonprofit that allows people to donate event tickets, gift certificates and cash to be used by vets across the country.

11. Cruises

If it's time to book your next getaway, think about a luxury cruise for less. Check out Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises before setting sail. USAA offers free resort stays with qualifying cruise purchases.

12. Leisure

Aquariums, zoos and museums often provide military and veterans with discounted admission. For example, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City offers free general admission to military members and veterans. Check with your local museums to see what kind of discounts they offer.

13. Amusement parks

In addition to museums and aquariums, most local amusement parks offer discounts for veterans, as well. This has the power to save you a bundle on large family trips and long-awaited reunions. Theme parks like Disney and Universal participate in military discounts.

14. Memberships

Nonprofit programs and organizations — even gyms — offer discounted memberships. These provide not only money-saving resources, but also support. IAVA, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, is a popular organization. Membership is free in this group, which hopes to empower the newest generation of veterans and improve the lives of vets and their families.

15. Financial services

H&R Block and TurboTax both offer discounts to vets, like free filing and discounts on software. Redeem a discount on the reputable software, or have your taxes done at an on-base H&R Block to take advantage of the chain's discounts.

16. Education

The number of schools offering military discounts on tuition is growing, particularly for online classes. Recent changes in legislation will affect fees, so do your research. Under the updated G.I. Bill, post 9/11, those serving in the military receive money toward their education and housing after completion of their service. The bill covers up to 36 months of school aid. All individuals must have an honorable discharge. 

Money aside, being a veteran has its perks in other ways. A number of states, including West Virginia and Colorado, award school credit for time spent in action. Also, skip the lines when enrolling because schools in states like California and Tennessee grant priority enrollment for veterans.

17. Computers

Manufacturers such as Apple and Dell offer discounts to active military and veterans and have military and/or government employee purchase plans.

18. Wireless

Work with your cell phone service provider to apply a military discount to your account. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are just a few of the providers that offer them. Verizon offers a 15% discount on certain calling plans and discounts on accessories, AT&T offers up to a 25% discount and Samsung offers 40% off products.

19. Insurance

Some insurance companies offer military members more reasonably priced premiums. For example, Geico offers 15% off your total insurance premium. USAA says its members save up to 10% on property and auto insurance.

20. USO

The USO isn't just the group that sends celebrities to bases worldwide to keep service members entertained. It does so much more. From hosting events to support families and service members after deployment and providing free Girl Scout cookies to troops if they stop by at the airport, the USO does it all. Too few service members take time to stop by the USO, but there you can find free Wi-Fi, snacks and helpful connections.

This is just a sampling of what's available. Conduct online searches, make phone calls and create an ongoing list of establishments who will honor veterans with discounts.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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