As a thank you for the service of those in the armed forces, many businesses offer military discounts for active-duty military members and veterans. These range from free to discounted items. Some are year-round, some are only offered on Veterans Day, Memorial Day or in May, which is Military Appreciation Month.
Some require proof of service, others don’t. Some businesses make military discounts part of their brand, with others it takes some digging to find out what’s available and how to access it.
Members of the Veterans Advantage Program, a public benefit corporation for veterans, active duty, reservists and retired military, will find even more discounts in each category.
We’ve made finding out about military discounts easier by providing an overview of the best military discounts for travel, retail, professional services, auto, and computer and electronics discounts. Things can change fast, so it’s always a good idea to use Google or contact a company or service to find out about the latest military discount before spending any money. Get ready to save some money!
Dining Discounts for Military Members and Veterans
Most veterans and military members are aware that many restaurants offer free meals or discounts on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. What they may not realize is that there are national chains, as well as local eateries, that offer discounts, and even free meals, for veterans and members of the military year-round. Some national chains that offer discounts year-round are A&W, Arby’s, Bennigan’s, Chuck E. Cheese, Chick-Fil-A, IHOP, Jersey Mike’s – you get the picture, there are a lot of them.
Discounts are generally 10% to 30% and can be off the entire bill or just the veteran or service member’s meal. Some offer a free meal off the menu, or a limited menu. You may need to show military ID or other proof of service.
Military dining discounts are everywhere – you just have to know where to look.
Travel Discounts for Military Members and Veterans
Members of the military are often stationed far from their family, which makes military discounts for travel a necessity. Businesses, as well as the U.S. Department of Defense, also understand that time with family is precious to those who spend long hours, months and years, serving their country. The military offers discounts and programs through its Information, Tickets and Travel Office and its military travel agency, American Forces Travel. Benefits are available to active-duty, National Guard, reserve and retired service members, as well their families.
Many airlines, car rental agencies, travel agencies, Amtrak, cruise companies and more offer discounts and free services to veterans, military members and their families.
If it’s not clear if a discount is offered when you book your flight, car rental, hotel stay, etc., call and ask about military discounts.
Some of what’s available includes:
- Most of the major U.S. airlines have flight discounts, which, depending on the airline, include free checked luggage, discounts on air fare, lounge access, discounts on snacks, seating priority – some even offer free pet transport.
- Car Rentals. Most major car rental companies offer discounts for veterans and military members – up to 25% on rental fees – and some also offer free collision insurance and other free or discounted services, particularly for active-duty military traveling on military orders.
- Cruise lines offer military discounts ranging from lower-cost fares to on-board benefits. Carnival Cruise Lines recently launched a 10% discount on its Carnival Wedding packages for military members, including those renewing their vows; Royal Caribbean offers special pricing on a stateroom for spouses of actively deployed military personnel. Some offers have strict rules about who is eligible, so check carefully before booking.
- Ground Transportation. Amtrak has a 10% discount for active-duty military members, spouses and their dependents on the lowest available rail fare, including the Auto Train. Greyhound offers a 10% discount to active duty, retired and military families on its walk-up bus fare, as does Peter Pan bus lines. Greyhound also caps round-trip fare anywhere in the continental U.S. for military members at $279. Regional bus lines may also offer discounts – ask when you book tickets.
- Lodging Discounts for Military. Many hotels, motels, campgrounds and more discount rates for military personnel and families, some as much as 35%. Many offer these year-round, others have special Veterans Day weekend packages. Some hotels and motels also offer enhanced discounts for military families embarking on a permanent change of station (PCS), and many offer a special rate for military members on official government business.
Retail Discounts for Military Members and Veterans
Many national chain retailers have discounts for veterans, military members and their families. Retailers often require an ID.me , VerifyPass or SheerID online or at the register – these are accredited official identity programs that cost a monthly fee but help protect your identity. If you plan on taking advantage of a military discount at a retailer, be sure to find out what’s required beforehand.
Major military discounts can be found on:
- Many national retailers have discounts of 10 to 15%, though some go as high as 50%. Discounts may be for online-only purchases, some are store-only, and some are for both. Some of the companies that have military clothing discounts are Carhartt, Champion, Columbia, Eddie Bauer, Helly Hansen, Kohl’s, L.L. Bean and more. Children’s clothing companies Carter’s and Osh Kosh B’Gosh have free shipping on orders over $50 to all APO and FPO addresses. Target has a special program in which customers can add veteran or military family status to their Target Circle profile, which makes them eligible for special offers.
- Diapers and baby care. Online baby products store Hello Bello offers a 20% discount on all baby items for active-duty military as well as veterans. CVS and Walgreens have 20% military discounts on products that include diapers and other baby items. Enfamil Infant and Toddler Nutrition has a one-time 15% military discount. Nonprofits also offer help for military families with babies – Operation Baby Shower provides items and a baby shower for military personnel and spouses of deployed active-duty military. Operation We Are Here provides resources for military families expecting a baby, including where to get free or discounted diapers, baby wipes, blankets and more.
- Eyeglasses and lenses. AC Lens, Eyewear Express, Sunglass Hut, Ray-Ban, Oakley and other contact lens, glasses and sunglass retailers have discounts or special offers for military personnel. LasikPlus also has a 20% discount on LASIK for veteran and military personnel.
- Military families and veterans get a discount on membership fees at BJ’s Wholesale, Costco and Sam’s Club. The Fred Meyer chain has a 10% military discount on store brands. Military families can also find grocery bargains at the commissary on base.
- Health care. Drug store chains CVS and Walgreens have military discounts of up to 20% on some items, and many pharmacies also have discounts for military personnel and veterans, as do fitness centers, massage providers and more. Veterans can get prescription discounts with a Veterans RX card.
- Shipping and storage. Companies including Penske Truck Rentals, PODS, CubeSmart, U-Pack, Pack Rats, Simply Storage, UPS and FedEx and other storage and shipping companies offer percentage or straight-dollar discounts on storing and shipping goods for active-duty military families. The U.S. Post Office also has free Mili-Kits, which include everything necessary to ship packages to overseas miliary personnel.
- Veterans, military members and their families can find deep discounts on shoes – for instance, Asics offers 60% off for active-duty military in its online store, and many others offer 40-50%. National shoe retailers ranging from Adidas to Merrell to Timberland and Zappos offer some form of discount, either online or in-store.
- Wedding dresses and tuxes. Many bridal retailers and wedding dress designers take part in the Brides Across America Military Bride Wedding Gown Giveaway, which provides free wedding dresses to military brides. National Tuxedo Rental has a 5% discount for active-duty military, reservists, and veterans.
Professional Services Discounts for Military Members and Veterans
Military members and veterans can get discounts and find resources for professional services that help with tax preparation, career help, home buying, self-care and more. Many are available through the Veterans Advantage program, and there are also discounted services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- H&R Block, TurboTax, Liberty Tax and others offer special pricing or percentage discounts on tax preparation, as well as online tax filing discounts, for active-duty military and veterans.
- Miliary OneSource, TaxACT, Tax Slayer and more offer free preparation on federal returns.
- Fitness centers and equipment companies, including Fitness City, Gold’s Gym and Isolator Fitness, all have 20% military discounts. 24 Hour Fitness has a discounted entry and monthly fee, BodyBuilding.com has an online coupon code for military and veterans. Massage Envy offers 10% off.
- Vitamin and nutrition centers, including Edge Pure, Wellness Junction, Vitamin Shoppe, Nature’s Sunshine and more have discounts ranging from 5-20% on some products.
- Medical equipment companies have military discounts, including ApriaDirect.com, which offers 25% off and free shipping, OxygenPlus offers discounts on home oxygen products.
- The VA and state housing agencies and authorities have down payment and low-interest loan programs for veterans and military members, as well as classes and resources.
- Homes for Heroes, which helps veterans and military members save money on down payments and closing costs when buying, selling or refinancing.
- S. Military on the Move. Real estate companies, experts on their local area, help veterans and military members find homes. The buyer gets a rebate based on the sales price.
- Veterans United. An affiliate of Veterans United Home Loans, it provides an opportunity to earn cash back at closing.
- Heroes Home Advantage offers rebates for military service members.
- Individual lenders, both online and bricks and mortar, may have special home-buying programs for military members and veterans that offer lower interest or a break on a down payment or closing costs.
- LegalZoom has a 15% military discount for products and services.
- Goodwill offers a 50% discount for online will writing for military spouses.
- Law 4 Small Businesses has a military discount for small-business legal help.
Auto Discounts for Military Members and Veterans
Military members and veterans can get discounts on cars and things to keep their cars running.
Auto Parts, Service and Accessories
- Discount Tire, Priority Tire, Simple Tire, Goodyear Tire have 5-10% military discounts.
- Advance Auto Parts, O’Reilly Auto Parts, CarParts.com and other auto parts stores offer 5-10% military discounts.
- Many auto transport firms will transport cars for military families who are changing bases or deployed for a discounted rate.
- Goodyear Auto Service has free car checks for veterans; Pep Boys, Jiffy Lube and other auto services have discounts ranging from 5-10% on some services.
New Car Military Discounts
- Many car manufacturers offer military incentive programs to buy new cars. Some have discounts on the purchase price, others give money back at purchase, usually about $500. GMC, Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Nissan and others have discount programs for military members and veterans.
- Military AutoSource, Audi, BMW, and others offer discounts for military members buying or leasing cars overseas.
Military Auto Savings
There are other ways besides discounts for active-duty military to save money on their vehicle. Leasing a car is a good option, particularly those who live on base and won’t rack up high mileage. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows military members to get out of a lease without penalty under certain circumstances, including if they’re deployed or reassigned.
Computer and Electronics Discounts for Military Members and Veterans
Computers and many other electronics are a necessity, not a luxury. Military members and veterans can find a lot of good deals and discounts on technology.
Computers and Software
- Dell and Apple have 10% military discounts on many products.
- Tech support and web hosting companies, including My Nerds, Netsonic, Roxio, Trend Micro, Skylum, have military discounts ranging from free items, time-limited free service to discounts on fees and costs. ESET cyber security has a 25% military discount for active duty military and veterans.
Cellular and Wireless Communication Services
Almost every cellphone company has some kind of military discount, with 25-50% off some plans, special plans for military families and dollar discounts off products and monthly fees.
Some, like Boost Mobile, also have programs for deployed military members that allow them to keep their number while they’re overseas. TravlFi, which boosts mobile hotspots, discounts $40 for military members.
Military Cellphone Savings
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act helps active-duty military, or those entering the service, save money on cellphone, cable TV and internet contracts without having to pay fees for breaking the contract. Service members must follow a procedure to make sure the fee isn’t charged, and also must include the military orders that make termination necessary.
About The Author
Maureen Milliken has been writing about finance, banking, investment, entrepreneurship, real estate and other related topics for more than 30 years. She started as the “Business Beat” columnist for the now-defunct Haverhill (Mass.) Gazette and currently is one of the hosts of the Mainebiz business-focused podcast, “The Day that Changed Everything” in addition to her daily writing. She also is is the author of three mystery novels and two nonfiction books.
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- N.A. (2021, August 23) Information, Tickets and Travel: Your Key to Fun. Retrieved from https://www.militaryonesource.mil/recreation-travel-shopping/recreation/tickets-tours/information-tickets-and-travel-your-key-to-fun/
- N.A. (ND) Military Discounts Center, Deals and Freebies. Retrieved from https://www.military.com/discounts
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