Many have answered the call of duty and served their country in the military. But there are businesses in the United States who go above and beyond that call for the brave men and women in uniform. Some give discounts to military personnel in-store, while others allow armed forces members to redeem bonuses online! In that light, this article will explain:
- What military discounts are, and how much they’re worth
- Ways you can prove that you serve in the military in order to get these discounts
- What businesses offer discounts to armed forces members
Done with the briefing? Then let’s march!
What are military discounts? How much are they?
Military discounts are special offers and price reductions offered by certain businesses. They are reserved for people who can provide proof of service in one or more of the five branches of the American military: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard.
How much is the military discount? That’s largely dependent on the business offering it. For example, most retail stores and service companies offer military discounts typically in the 10-15% range. Big-ticket items, such as cars and jewelry, may yield lower discounts of around $500 or 5% off.
There are some generous companies that give bigger discounts to armed forces personnel, ranging from 20-25% all the way up to 50% off! So keep your eyes peeled for deals!
How do I get veterans’ discounts?
In order to get veterans’ discounts, you must have some way of identifying yourself that proves you (or an immediate family member) served, or are serving, in a branch of the American military. There are several official ways to do this, but businesses will also sometimes accept a few informal methods.
Formal methods of proving military service
- Common Access Card – The standard American military ID card for active duty personnel. For instructions and other information on getting one from the U.S. Department of Defense, click here.
(Image source: U.S. Department of Defense)
- Uniformed Services ID Card – An ID card for reserve soldiers, retired soldiers, retired reserve soldiers, or dependents of military personnel. The U.S. Department of Defense has information on the requirements and process of obtaining one here.
(Image source: U.S. Department of Defense)
- Driver’s license or other ID with military designation – Most states now allow people to add indicators of their military service to their driver’s license or other state-issued ID. The exact process, including required documentation and cost, varies by state. A general guide can be found here, but check with your state Department of Motor Vehicles for further details.
(Image source: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration)
- Veteran’s ID and Proof of Service Letter – A letter available through eBenefits, a joint Department of Veterans’ Affairs/Department of Defense portal for American military personnel benefits. It serves as proof of your military service.
(Image source: The Military Wallet)
- Veteran’s Health ID card – Basically, a military health services card issued to most people who need access to a military medical center. These include (but are not limited to) personnel who served in combat; suffered a service-related disability, injury, or other medical condition; or were taken prisoner.
(Image source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
- Department of Defense Form 214 – Also known as veteran’s discharge papers, these will often serve as proof of military service when accompanied by a piece of photo ID.
Informal methods of proving military service
- County veteran card – You can sometimes find veteran ID cards being issued by your local county courthouse or clerk office. Mostly, these are in lieu of state-issued veteran ID cards, which have not been made available yet (except in Virginia). However, many veterans have confirmed that these cards will pass for proof of military service.
- Veteran service organization card – You may receive an ID card if you are a member or beneficiary of a private company that provides services to veterans. While not an official government-issued document, it will often serve as proof of military service for the purpose of getting discounts.
- Military e-mail address – Some businesses will apply a veteran’s discount if you correspond with them using an e-mail address that has the “.mil” extension, which you will likely have if you are on active duty in the military.
- Military mailing address – You may receive a veteran’s discount if your purchase is shipped to an army or fleet post office.
- Private identify verification services – Some businesses will allow you to verify your identity as a military personnel through companies such as Sheer ID and ID.me.
- In-uniform photo – Some businesses will give you discounts if you can provide them with a piece of photo ID that shows you wearing your military-issued uniform.
What stores offer discounts for veterans?
There are lots of places where you can get a veteran’s discount. We’ll list some of the popular ones below.
Looking for a new vehicle? Automotive brands such as Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Volvo, Hyundai, and Audi have programs to give veterans discounts. Or, if you just need your current car kept in good working order, you can likely get a break on repairs and maintenance from the likes of Jiffy Lube and Pep Boys for being in the military.
Clothing and Accessories
When you’re not in uniform, you can get special deals on civilian clothes from the likes of Columbia Sportswear, Foot Locker, and Under Armour. If you’re looking for something a bit flashier, Helzberg Diamonds offer discounted jewelry for armed forces members.
Military service can also get you the latest tech for less. Brands like Apple, Dell, Best Buy’s Geek Squad, and Microsoft have discounts for veterans. So do Internet and phone providers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.
Fitness & Outdoors
We’re guessing that, as a soldier, you’re already a man or woman of action. And your military membership can help keep you that way. Stores like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops offer discounts to armed forces members, while organizations like the YMCA give men and women in uniform breaks on their membership fees. Many golf and ski facilities offer veteran discounts as well.
Arts and Entertainment
If you’d rather indulge in some fun that’s a little less strenuous, your military service can help you there, too. Many amusement parks offer discounted rates for armed forces members, such as Disney World and SeaWorld. If you’re more into history, many museums — like the Newseum, the Harley-Davidson Museum, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame — do as well. Or, if you’re a nature-lover, you can get deals on admissions to many zoos.
Flowers & Gifts
Need something special for that special someone in your life? BuildASign.com offers free homecoming banners for soldiers returning from tours of duty, while 1-800-FLOWERS sell bouquets and more at reduced prices to military members.
Food & Drink
Many restaurant chains are proud to serve food at reduced prices to those who serve their country. The likes of Chick-fil-A, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Shoney’s, Fuddrucker’s, and the Hard Rock Cafe offer promotions for those in the armed forces. Or, if you’d like your grub to go, Costco Wholesale and Hickory Farms have perks for serving in the military.
Health and Personal Care
Military service inevitably takes a toll on your body, inside and out. Fortunately, companies such as Armed Forces Eyewear, SportClips hair salon, The Original Foot Alignment Socks, and Massage Envy are willing to keep you fit and ready for active duty… for less!
Home and Garden
Lots of miscellaneous service companies have discounts for armed forces members. These include Budget Truck Rental if you have lots of heavy items to haul around, or PODS if you need a place to store your extra stuff.
From the gridiron to the diamond to the court, you can get sports tickets at cheaper prices if you’re in the military. Many NBA, MLB, NFL, and NCAA teams have programs that give discounted tickets to veterans. There are some other sporting events that you can get special rates for, too, such as PGA Tour events or Boston Bruins hockey.
If you like traveling outside of your tours of duty, companies can give you breaks on that, too. Many car rental agencies, such as Alamo, Avis, Dollar, and Hertz have discount programs for veterans and their families. If you need to catch a flight somewhere, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, and Expedia offer deals for military personnel.
Looking for a different way to travel? Amtrak gives armed forces members deals on riding the rails, while Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Lines, and Princess Cruises cut costs for veterans looking to sail the high seas. And if you need to lay your weary head somewhere, the likes of Best Western, Marriott, Sandals, and Motel 6 offer beds to soldiers on the cheap.
Now you know where to go to get the best military discounts online, and how you can apply for them. For even more deals, check out websites like MilitaryBenefits.info, Military.com, The Military Wallet, and ID.me.