Top 10 Best Military Discounts You Can Actually Use
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you all the benefits we have as members of the military. I mean, there’s too many to count. Everything from free healthcare to discounts at Universal, there’s not much you can’t get when you wave your CAC around. I just realized how that sounded. Oh well.
So with there being so many benefits, how do you find the best ones; the ones that give you the most value? Well, you could sift through hundreds of blogs, company websites, and instagram posts – or, continue reading, and you’ll get a nice snapshot of the best that’s out there. I just did your work for you, now go save some money, queen.
#10 – Chick-fil-A
Participating Chick-fil-A locations offer a 10% military discount with an ID. The website says “participating locations,” but I’ve never been to one that didn’t offer it. And I’ve been to many, many Chick-fil-A’s.
Also, they’re known to do holiday deals on Memorial Day or Veterans Day, where you can get a free sandwich! It’s not a huge savings, considering you’ll probably only save $1-2 per meal, but it can add up if you eat there often. Bonus if you donate the savings to the Chick-fil-A Foundation.
#9 – Tutor.com
Active duty military and their families get 100% free tutoring on Tutor.com. It’s great because they do K-12 and college, so your third grade kid can use it for their math homework, and you can use it for your college classes – because you’re definitely taking advantage of TA, right?
#8 – Lululemon
As military women, we’ve got to stay in shape. Why not look good while working out? Lululemon offers a 25% discount for in-store purchases. And no, you can’t get a price adjustment if you’re shopping online, unfortunately. Considering that most of their leggings cost at least $80, that can be a significant savings.
#7 – Reebok
This one knocked my socks off. I guess it’s good that I can buy some more at Reebok for 30% off! You read that right, 30% off at Reebok for active duty and retired military. I’ve seen some sites claiming that it’s a 50% discount, but as far as I can tell, 30% is the norm. Still, that’s like a perpetual buy 4 get 1 free deal.
#6 – Armed Forces Vacation Club
I am an avid traveler. So when someone tells me I can stay 7 days in an Austrian resort for $350 (plus flight/other expenses), and it turns out to be real, I freak out a little bit. I mean, how can they even operate on that?
AFVC can send you all over the world for dirt cheap. They’re always running specials, and though I’ve never vacationed with them myself, I’ve heard great things. I’ll definitely go on one of their trips at some point, and I’ll keep you guys posted.
#5 – National Park Service
Who in their right mind isn’t floored by the beauty of our National Parks? Well, as a service member, you get to see them for free. Active duty military get a free annual pass, but veterans get free entrance with proper ID as of 2020. Note that while you can get in free, your family can too, as they’ll waive the fee for up to three people in your car. It’s basically the same thing as the lifetime pass that they offer, except the lifetime pass can give discounts on expanded park amenities.
#4 – Apple
Every year, tech gets better and better. Let’s ignore the very distinct possibility of a dystopian future for now, because Apple offers active duty military a 10% discount online. It might not seem like much, but if you’re buying a $1,200 iPad, $1,000 iPhone, and $200 AirPods, it starts to add up. Other smartphone brands offer discounts too, but the one thing they can’t give you is that spiffy Apple feel.
#3 – American Airlines
With COVID-19 winding down, travel is starting to pick back up. Even before I enlisted, American Airlines was hands down my favorite airline to travel with. So imagine my pleasant surprise at the sheer volume of benefits they provide service members. There’s too many to put in one paragraph, so here’s a list:
- Discounted Flights
The exact discount isn’t published, and probably varies by flight. Give them a call and they’ll hook you up. (Not to mention, they can put your DOD ID in the system and you’ll get TSA pre-check. HUGE PLUS!)
- Up to 5 Free Checked Bags
Just head to the ticket counter with your bags and ID and you’ll be good to go. If you’re traveling on orders, you can take 5 bags free of charge. For travel and leisure, you’re looking at 3 max. But who takes 3 checked bags on vacation anyway?
- Lounge Access
Ever had a long layover, and had to slum it at the terminal? No more! Officially, the American Airlines site requires you to be in uniform to access the lounge, but I’ve never had a problem by just showing them my ID. The lounges have free snacks and drinks, WiFi, comfy seats, outlets, pretty much everything you need to wait in style. This is definitely my favorite perk.
- 50% Discount On Pet Shipping
For active duty personnel and their families, American Airlines will cut the cost of shipping your pet domestically in half. That’s right, half. What’s more, trained military dogs fly for free.
- (Sometimes) First Class Upgrade
This is actually pretty rare, but it can happen. If they have extra space in first class, they might just give it to you. I mean, active duty get priority boarding anyway, but the real treat is that extra legroom.
#2 – T-Mobile
T-Mobile has the best phone plan for military members by far. Actually, they have the best cell phone plan in general, but I digress. One line of Magenta Military is $55/month – that’s a $15/month savings compared to the original plan. It includes:
- Free texting in 130+ countries
- Free 2G data in those countries
- Unlimited and unthrottled data
- Unlimited talk and text
- 5GB of 4G hotspot
- Rewards from T-Mobile Tuesdays
- Taxes and fees included
To put that in perspective, a similar plan from AT&T would cost $56.25/month, but that doesn’t include taxes and fees – that’s where they get you. And of course, the more lines you have, the more you save. T-Mobile offers a 50% discount on family plans.
#1 – American Express
If you asked Dave Ramsey about credit cards, he’d say that there’s no good reason to own them. Respectfully, Dave, I disagree. Credit cards can have so many benefits, especially if we’re talking the Platinum Card – which we will. Speaking of benefits, Amex waives it’s annual fee for active duty military on all of it’s cards.
The Platinum Card from American Express normally has a $650 annual fee, but with that huge chunk of change comes a LOT of benefits. Some perks of the card include:
- $15/month Uber credit
- Global Lounge Collection Pass
- $100/year statement credit at Saks
- Travel protection
- 5x membership points at hotels and airlines (which you can put towards more travel)
- $200 statement credit at the airline of your choosing
- Free TSA pre-check or global entry
- Car rental protection
- Amex concierge
Basically, this card makes you feel super bougie, and you can get it for free. Remember: you don’t even need to get a platinum card. Amex waives the annual fee on all of it’s credit cards for active duty military!
There you have it…
Hands down, the best and most useful military discounts. The rankings are based on how often they can be used, percentage you can save, and overall value. Don’t just stick to this list, though, because there are hundreds – probably thousands – of companies that give great discounts to service members and veterans. You can save a ridiculous amount of money, and it never hurts to ask if a company offers a deal.
With all this extra cash, make sure you know how to budget. What’s the point in saving money if you don’t know how to keep it?
What military discounts do you use the most? Have I missed any good ones? Share the best deals you’ve gotten in the forum.Share this: