Guest Author - Evelyn Rainey
My mother recently bought several items at our local Lowe’s and presented her military id card for the discount Lowe’s offers. The young manager who came to the register to validate her discount told her, “Thank you so much for your sacrifice. This country is what it is today because of you.”
What a wonderful way to show your appreciation and admiration for our veterans and their spouses. Not only did Mom get ten percent off her purchase, she also – and to us, more importantly – got a personal, heartfelt comment from this young man.
There are a great number of American businesses who also offer discounts to veterans and their families. The best advice I’ve heard is – ask. Before you swipe your plastic or hand over your greens, ask if the company offers a discount to veterans. They don’t always volunteer the information.
In order to receive the discount, you will most likely have to show “proof” in the form of your military id. A few businesses may ask to see your discharge papers or card. Some require that you wear your uniform. According to Military.com A valid Military ID is an identity document issued by the United States Department of Defense to identify a person as a member of the Armed Forces or a member's dependent, such as a child or spouse.
Know what documentation the business requires and have it ready before you make your purchase.
Be mindful of scams. Never give someone your social security number or let them walk away with or make a copy of your military id or drivers license (with the exception of legitimate banks and medical facilities.)
Do remember that some discounts are time-sensitive and double-check with the business before you get there.
There are many on-line or mail offers to join clubs that provide you with information about exclusive veterans or military discounts. But be cautious. Do your own internet research. If the club membership is emphasizingveterans and exclusive to veterans and their families, and you want the discounts they are offering, go for it.
Many major companies have veterans discounts which they only offer through other programs such as the well-respected Veterans Advantage:
Continental Airlines offers 5% discount.
Greyhound Busses offers 20% discount.
From their website, Red Roof is proud to honor those who serve our country.
To thank U.S. Military veterans, Active Duty Military, National Guard and Reserve and their families for their service, Red Roof is proud to offer Veterans Advantage members a 15% discount on lodging at any Red Roof nationwide.
It used to be normal for certain bookstores, gas stations, and cafés to offer 10% discounts to anyone wearing a law enforcement or military uniform.
I spoke with Grant from the Days Inn Reservation Line 800-268-2195. He suggested that a traveler should call the reservation line for the hotel destination of their choice. Some locations offer discounts, some don’t. Some discounts are better than others. Days Inn's sibling hotels are listed below:
Howard Johnson 800-769-0939
Knights Inn 800-682-1071
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts 866-854-1604
Travel Lodge 800-545-5545
Super 8 Hotel 800-889-9706
Amerihost Inn 800-996-2087
Baymont Inn & Suites 800-980-1679
Want to go by train? AmTrac offers 15% discount to veterans.
According to their website Passengers holding a valid Veterans AdvantageTM Members Card are eligible to receive a 15% discount on the lowest available rail fare on most Amtrak trains to any of our destinations. VA Card members who also enroll in Amtrak Guest Rewards are eligible for 1,000 bonus enrollment points, redeemable for a free trip on some of Amtrak's most scenic and special routes.
I emailed a question about veteran discounts to Carnival Cruiseline and within five minutes, a Personal Vacation Planner named Lazaro Montero called me. Five minutes! I was impressed. He said that Carnival’s promotions are always open and a veteran can get anywhere from 15 to 50% off the normal rates of their cruise, depending on the sailing. He advised that the sooner you book, the better your discount. You need to show a DD214, be honorably discharged, or be active in the military to qualify. Mr. Montero assured me that he would be proud to help veterans book their passages and help them receive discounts - personally! Lazaro Montero wants to be the veterans’ Personal Vacation Planner, so please call him directly at 1-800-819-3902 extension 85354. The extension is very important, as this is the only way to reach him specifically.
I have suggested that you ask businesses if they offer discounts for veterans, so I tried it myself at my local Outback Steakhouse. My server Juliet R. was very pleased to inform me that Veterans with a military ID will receive a free Blooming Onion on Memorial Day.
Please understand, I am neither advertising nor promoting any of the businesses I’ve mentioned above. I am telling you that there are a lot of businesses which show their pride in you Veterans by putting their money where their mouths are and offering discounts. I think it is OK to suggest that you support the businesses which support you.
To Grant, Lazaro, Juliet, and the young manager at Lowe’s -- thank you very much for your help with this article!