You might have noticed: Getting away isn’t easy on the wallet these days. Finding a place to stay for a little R&R is pricey, whether you’re looking at a resort, a hotel, or a motel.
But because you are serving your country, or have served it, you can get a break when it comes to lodging. Among other military discounts available to you are reduced hotel rates for active-duty members of the military, retirees, veterans, and their families. It’s a way to be saluted for your service.
And from the hotel’s perspective, it’s just good business. Offering special rates to military members and vets is a boon to the brand because it creates a positive impression in the mind of the public – even those who aren’t military.
So it’s a win-win.
If you haven’t been checking into the hotel discounts available for your personal travel, it’s time to start.
Requirements for Military Hotel Discounts
If you’re an active-duty member of the military, chances are you and your spouse will be eligible for the military discount at most hotels. Even some government employees who aren’t military, such as Defense Department personnel, are eligible as long as they have the right ID.
The rules and availability might differ from hotel to hotel and from chain to chain, though, so it’s always wise to check into the military discount and what you’ll need to secure it when you reserve your room(s).
You can usually request a military discount when you’re booking online. If the website doesn’t appear to make one readily available, a phone call to the hotel is in order. Discounts are usually obtainable even for walk-in guests who don’t have a reservation, assuming rooms are available.
All you’ll need to do in most cases is show your military ID when you check in. Some hotels might ask for a valid driver’s license, too.
Veterans who don’t qualify for discounts available only to active-duty service members can still find cost breaks at hotels by enrolling in Veterans Advantage VetRewards. Veterans Advantage is a two-tiered service that is also available to active-duty, reserves/Guard, retirees, and families. A standard membership is free, while VetRewards is a fee-based plan with greater benefits. Both levels offer a variety of discounts on flights, restaurants and more, in addition to hotels.
Veterans can also find free lodging deals for job-hunting trips and on certain holidays. (More on that below.)
As with most hotel special rates, the offer of a military discount usually is based on room availability.
Which Hotels Offer Military Discounts?
The list is extensive. Most hotel chains offer military discounts, as do popular vacation spot hotels, motels, and resorts (including Disney, though Disneyland suspended its Disney military discount hotels program during the pandemic).
We’ll itemize many of the major chains that offer discounts here, in alphabetical order. But note that this list isn’t inclusive; other chains also likely offer discounts and are worth investigating. If an independent hotel or resort (or a chain hotel we haven’t listed) interests you, check out its website or call it directly to find out what it offers in the way of a military discount.
- Best Western Hotels: Available to active duty service members as well as veterans and government employees, Best Western’s military discounted room rates can be found by clicking on the Government/Military line in the site’s dropdown under RATES.
- Caesars: Las Vegas is home to the most well-known Caesars properties, but there are others around the country and the world. Active-duty military, retirees and veterans all are eligible for 10% off by creating an account on the Caesars website and using ID.me to confirm your military status. A program called Caesars Rewards Salute offers free elite status and other benefits as an appreciation to members of the military.
- Choice Hotels: This includes such participating properties as Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, Mainstay Suites, Woodspring Suites, Cambria and others. At most Choice properties, the discount is 10%.
- Disney: The discounts here generally are very good, including at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California. But Disney’s military-discount hotels change their rates often, so it’s worth checking on the available deals from time to time. Active duty, retired or 100% permanently and totally disabled members are eligible, as is the spouse of someone in one of those categories. Disney’s available military discounts extend beyond hotel and resort rooms to its parks’ entrance fees, cruises and other perks.
- Extended Stay America: These hotels, intended for long-term stays, are part of another chain that offers discounts but doesn’t publish the amount available. Individual property rates can be found on the website’s search bar.
- Hilton Hotels: This includes Embassy Suites, DoubleTree, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn and others. For leisure stays, Hilton’s military discount is 10%.
- Hyatt Hotels: This includes Park Hyatt and Hyatt Place. You’ll need to identify a specific property and date on the Hyatt website to find the amount of the discount. Hyatt’s discounts are available to veterans as well as active-duty personnel.
- IHG Hotels: This includes Holiday Inn, Kimpton, InterContinental and Candlewood Suites, among others. As with many on this list, you’ll need to navigate through the website to get to the Government/Military Rate under the Rate Preference dropdown, as IHG’s discounts vary depending on whether the travel is for leisure or business. For leisure travel, look into the Military Appreciation Leisure Rate in that dropdown.
- La Quinta Hotels: Active-duty, retirees, veterans, reserve/National Guard, and dependents can get 12% off La Quinta’s best available rate with a military ID at check-in.
- Marriott Hotels: This includes Sheraton, Delta Hotels, Le Méridien, Westin, Design Hotels, Garylord Hotels, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn, Marriott Vacation Club and others. Marriott, like many, doesn’t publish its discounted percentage, so you’ll need to check the government and military rate for each Marriott property on the travel dates that interest you. Several Marriott brands offer long-term lodging with a military discount as well. However, Marriott’s military discounts are only for military personnel. They aren’t available to retired military or dependents.
- MGM Resorts: MGM offers 10% off for lodging at its resorts in Las Vegas and elsewhere across the U.S. In addition to active-duty military, retirees and veterans, along with their spouses, are eligible.
- Motel 6 and Studio 6: This chain, which includes some 1,400 properties, offers a 10% discount for all active and retired military personnel. Veterans aren’t eligible.
- Red Lion Hotels: Active and retired service members are eligible for a military discount of up to 15% at this chain. Its website has a “Discounts” dropdown menu, from which “Government” is the proper click to get to the rate.
- Red Roof Inn: A 10% discount is offered to military members at the more than 650 Red Roof properties across the U.S. for leisure travel as well as government and official travel. It is also available to veterans and even friends and family who are traveling to visit an active-duty member of the military. The discount reaches 15% if the travel is for a change of station. By entering a VP+ code (which identifies the reason for travel or the category of service) where the website’s search bar asks for it, the rate can get even better. And those who join VetRewards are eligible for a 20% discount.
- If an active-duty military member, a retiree, or a veteran books a Sandals vacation in advance, the resort company offers a 10% discount.
- Wyndham Hotels: Wyndham’s website lets members of the military get to discounts under the “More Options” dropdown on its search bar. At Super 8 hotels, which are part of Wyndham, the discount is 15%. Only active-duty or retired personnel are eligible at Wyndham, but a VetRewards enrollment is good for 20% off. Wyndham’s military discounts also apply to its Extra Holidays time-share properties, which include condominium-type hotels with units that feature several bedrooms.
Best Military Hotel Discounts
The standard military discount of 5% applies if those eligible for it can show a copy of DD Form 214 or an active-duty military address. But in many cases, the available discounts are better than that. It depends on where you’re staying, but a 10% discount isn’t unusual, and some military hotels and resorts offer as much as 50% off on your stay.
The best deals? That depends on your budget. A military discount on a Sandals vacation will affect your wallet in a different way than a discounted stay at, say, a Motel 6 will, even if the discounted percentage is the same.
Once you’ve figured out how much you want to spend, the list we put together above is a very good place to start as you look into hotels with the best military discounts.
Here, though, is a more specific handful of 10 properties you might want to zero in on. Some are particular brands within those larger chains. Some are smaller chains. Some are independent properties. And some, like the Armed Forces Vacation Club, are military-specific lodging options.
- Aqua-Aston Hotels: A Hawaii-based chain of hotels and resorts, Aqua-Aston takes 15% off its best available rates for military members.
- Armed Forces Vacation Club: The AFVC makes vacations available to eligible members of the military (active duty, reserve, guard, retired, Gold Star families and others) at rates below what can be found at other vacation clubs. It offers hotel and resort destinations around the world that include week-long stays for as little $379. Standard membership is free. A fee-based, upgraded premium membership unlocks extra benefits including up to 60% off on hotels worldwide.
- Atlantis Bahamas: Up to a 25% discount off its best rate is available to active duty or retired military.
- B Hotels & Resorts: This chain of properties in Florida offers 15% off its best available rates to active military, veterans and first responders. To sweeten the deal, it will throw in two free welcome drinks.
- Beaches Resorts: A part of the Sandals empire, Beaches offers members of the U.S. and Canadian military an extra 10% off its existing special promotions for family vacations in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos.
- Castle Resorts & Hotels: Castle has 11 properties in the Hawaiian Islands, and one in New Zealand. It offers special rates and discounted packages for military personnel, spouses, families and guests.
- Costa Azul Suites Hotel: A part of the Red Roof collection, the Costa Azul Suites in Virginia Beach, Va., offers 15% off the already-reduced government rate on all room types to active duty, retirees, veterans, reserve/National Guard, and dependents.
- Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa: This Four Diamond boutique hotel near San Diego offers a 20% discount.
- Great Wolf Lodges: At some Great Wolf locations, members of the military can save up to 25% on vacations at the group’s indoor water-park resorts. Use the promo code HEROES and book by Dec. 31, 2022. Not all dates or resorts are available.
- Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast: During 2022, active duty military and veterans can get 15% off the best available rate at this bed and breakfast near Lake Superior in Wisconsin.
Free Hotel Stays for Veterans and Others
At least one major hotel chain makes lodging free to veterans who need to travel for a job-related activity. In addition to its other military discounts, Hilton offers a program in which veterans who register with their local employment office can get 100,000 Hilton Honors points to use for free rooms when they need to be on the road for interviews, moving purposes, training and certifications.
Other properties, including a number of bed & breakfast inns, offer lodging to vets at no charge on Veterans Day to make it easier to participate in and enjoy the celebrations.
Among the hotels, inns and organizations that provide free hotels for veterans and others are:
- Hilton Hotels: By partnering with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, Hilton donates 100,000 Hilton Honors points (its frequent guest program) to veterans to help in their search for employment. Not every state’s workforce agency participates in the program, however, so eligibility depends on the veteran being from one of the 28 states whose employment agency currently does. A vet must have a Hilton Honors account to get the points, and the points cannot be used for vacations, other leisure travel or non-employment activities.
- The Association of Lodging Professionals (ALP): Through the B&Bs for Vets program, the organization offers a free bed and breakfast room on the night of Nov. 10/11 (Veterans Day) to facilitate local observations of the holiday. The program is available to active-duty, National Guard, Reserves and honorably discharged Veterans who have a valid military ID.
- Westgate Resorts: Westgate will give away 900 free weekend trips for up to four guests this Veterans Day. Open to active-duty, veteran, and Gold Star U.S. military families, sign-up for the giveaway starts at 9 a.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 11., at WestgateSalutes.com. Winners will receive a complimentary weekend at the Westgate Vacation Villas & Town Center Resort in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 3-5.
- Asian-American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA): This group provides a free night’s stay at participating hotels to members of the military through a program called Salute to Soldiers. Interested military members need to contact their local USO to obtain a voucher, then contact the hotel directly to make a reservation. Be sure to tell the hotel that you are using a Salute to Soldiers voucher.
About The Author
Michael Knisley writes about military related finance topics like military pay, security clearances, and Tricare for Military Money. Michael was an assistant professor on the faculty at the prestigious University of Missouri School of Journalism and has more than 40 years of experience editing and writing about business, sports and the spectrum of issues affecting consumers and fans. During his career, Michael has won awards from the New York Press Club, the Online News Association, the Military Reporters and Editors Association, the Associated Press Sports Editors and the Sports Emmys.
- N.A. (ND) Do I Qualify? Veterans Advantage Serves the Greater Military Community. Retrieved from https://www.veteransadvantage.com/plans/do-i-qualify
- N.A. (ND) Armed Forces Vacation Club. Retrieved from https://www.afvclub.com/
- N.A. (ND) Find a Property. B&B for Vets. Retrieved from https://bandbsforvets.org/find-a-property/