Military life means travel – often, a lot of it. Rental car companies offer military discounts with the understanding that military members and families may have to hit the road quickly, whether it’s in their budget or not, and they need to do it without a lot of hassle.
While there are a variety of military discounts available, some rental car companies have deep roots in the military and the discount is part of the company’s fabric. Enterprise, for instance, is named after the aircraft carrier that founder Jack Taylor served on in World War II, the USS Enterprise.
“Supporting U.S. service members and their families has been a central focus of our company since its founding,” Bryan Scott, assistant vice president of federal government business for Enterprise Holdings, said. Scott said Taylor applied lessons about honor, respect and integrity that he learned in the Navy to the company.
Car rental companies offer military discounts for both leisure and official travel, but with distinct differences. Companies may also offer military discounts to veterans and retirees.
Some of the discounts are through benefits programs like Veterans Advantage, others are exclusive to the car rental company. Benefits may be enhanced through other affiliates, too, like ID.me, the identity verification network, and USAA, the banking and insurance company.
Deals and services can change fast – some are not advertised, or may be different than what’s advertised. Shop around for the right military discount before renting a car, and make sure the discount works for your situation.
Requirements for Military Discounts on Car Rentals
Requirements for military discounts include the usual car rental requirements: a valid driver’s license, valid photo ID and a credit card. They also usually require military ID and, for those traveling as part of their official duty, a copy of their orders.
“We are honored to support the military in a variety of ways, including discounted rates for official duty-related activities or personal travel needs,” Scott said.
There is a distinction between the two. Car rental companies that offer military discounts for personal use may not offer them for official travel.
Government leisure travel military discounts are what all veterans and retirees, and most active-duty service members and their families, will be looking for.
Government leisure travel is off-duty travel for personal needs, whether it’s vacation, visiting family, a PCS or any other discretionary travel. Many car rental companies offer a discount based on the specifics of the travel, and will require some form of military ID.
Travel for official government business, including temporary duty, has different requirements. Discounts – the Government Administrative Rate Supplement (GARS) – as well as per-mile fees, drop-off fees, one-way travel allowances, and more, are agreed to between the individual companies and the U.S. Department of Defense. Currently, 17 car rental companies have official travel agreements with the military.
These are requirements for those booking for official travel:
- Book the government rate through the military Travel Management Company (TMC).
- Or, if booking through the agency, confirm that GARS is on the contract.
- Present travel authorization/orders or Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC).
Best Military Discounts on Car Rentals
Most military members, family members, retirees and veterans who rent cars are traveling for personal reasons or leisure. The amount of military discount each car rental company offers varies depending on location and other circumstances. Be sure to check with the car rental company about their military discount before booking a car.
The Enterprise military discount is for active-duty military, retirees and veterans. While the military discount is open to all who are eligible, members of USAA get additional discounts and benefits. The military discount is available at all Enterprise locations. Those renting for leisure use must be 21 or older.
Alamo’s military discount is for active-duty military, family members who have dependent military ID, retirees and veterans and is offered by more than 550 participating locations. It also includes frequent- traveler benefits through affiliates. The minimum age for off-duty military rental is 21, and rates may be higher for renters under 25.
Avis offers military discounts of as much as 25% off base rates for those who are members of Veterans Advantage. Veterans, active-duty military including Reservists and National Guard, and families are all eligible. Renters apply a Veterans Advantage code at booking.
Budget’s military discount of up to 25% is through Veterans Advantage, and is for active-duty military, veterans, National Guard members, Reservists, and their families. Not all Budget locations participate. The discount is for the car rental (not all models are eligible), not extras and services. Renters apply a Veterans Advantage code while booking.
Hertz military discount for military leisure travel is also through Veterans Advantage. Renters apply a Veterans Advantage code while booking. There are also discounted rates for family, space-available upgrades, and complimentary membership in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards.
SIXT’s military discount offers a 5% discount for active-duty military and veterans on its fleet of luxury cars. Be sure before renting through SIXT, an international car rental company, to check location information – the company has limited U.S. locations and charges extra if you travel out of approved territory.
Military Car Discounts from Affiliated Sources
Military car discounts can be accessed or enhanced through companies for military members and veterans that partner with car rental companies. Some companies’ miliary discounts depend on membership in one of these programs. Others offer separate or enhanced discounts to members.
ID.me, the identification enrollment company, offers its own military car rental discounts to customers through several car rental companies.
USAA, a banking and financial services exchange, partners with some car rental companies, like Enterprise, to offer additional discounts.
Veterans Advantage, is a public benefits corporation for active-duty military, their families, veterans and retirees. Membership is free, and members get a variety of discounts, benefits, as well as ID verification services. Many car rental companies offer discounts only through Veterans Advantage.
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.
- N.A. (ND) Serving Those Who Serve. Retrieved from https://www.enterprise.com/en/car-rental/deals/military-government-rental-discounts.html
- N.A. (ND) U.S. Government Car Rental Program. Retrieved from https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/rentalCar.cfm
- N.A. (2021, December 1) The Worst Car Rental Company for a USA Road Trip. Retrieved from https://blog.autoslash.com/sixt-u-s-is-never-the-answer-for-round-trip-cross-country-road-trips-here-s-why/