Saving Money While Serving Your Country: How to Find the Best Military Discounts

×
Military Discounts: Save Money While Serving AmericaIt's not hard to find companies that offer military discounts. In fact, retailers seem to be lining up to offer America's service members deals on everything from cars to garden supplies, jewelry to vacations. But with an endless array of opportunities -- and scammers waiting in the wings -- it can be hard to sort out the best bargains. Luckily, there are several resources available to military families trying to make the most of every penny.

Discounts From Your Favorite Companies

Most well-known companies offer military discounts, and many of them aggressively promote these deals, recognizing that widespread awareness of the discounts will not only impress military members, but can also bring civilians into their stores. Lowe's, (LOW) for example, broadly publicizes the 10% discount it offers to military families, and Old Navy (GPS) eagerly promotes the 10% military discount that it offers on the first day of every month.

Car companies are especially quick to advertise their military discounts. While some offers, like Ford's, (F) are disturbingly vague, others are quite easy to figure out. For example, Chrysler and Toyota (TM) both give active-duty members and reservists $500 off the price of a new car, while Volvo (VOLVY) and Audi (VLKAY) offer discounts to military members stationed overseas. But when it comes to competitive car pricing, the big winner is GM, (GM) whose discount program offers service members up to 13% off the suggested retail price on some models.

For military families in search of deals, there are several websites that list special offers and discounts. Some, like Military.com, require membership, but most are open access. Military Discount List is especially easy to use, and it directly connects to several social media sites, which makes it easy to discuss deals. Readers of the Military Times newspapers may also want to check out the publications' websites, which publish long lists of military deals and regularly run features on especially good bargains.

And, if all else fails, it never hurts to ask a store's cashier if there is a discount for military families. After all, the worst that can happen is they can say no.

An Unbeatable Deal on Travel

One of the best military discounts isn't even offered by a company: It's offered by the military. For service members and their families, the Air Mobility Command (AMC) offers free flights to military bases around the world. While vacationing at Mildenhall Air Force Base or Naval Air Station Sigonella might sound less than enjoyable, those bases are only a short trip from the wonders of the English countryside and the delights of Sicily, respectively. The military's huge presence around the world translates into an endless array of travel options, from Turkey to Japan, Alaska to Thailand.


Unfortunately, while AMC transports regularly travel out of various bases, getting a seat on these flights is dependent upon several factors, including how packed the plane is, how many people are on the base's AMC list, and the military member's status. Seats are offered on a first-available basis, and the inability to reserve a spot can make AMC travel somewhat stressful. Still, if you are willing to indulge in a little bit of forward planning, have a fairly loose schedule, and are OK with cooling your heels on a military base for a few hours, AMC flights can be an incredibly good deal.

Beware of Scams

But what if a great deal is actually a setup? As I noted in an earlier article, many companies deliberately target military members for money scams, relying on legal loopholes and the military structure to ensure that they get their money. This problem is especially bad for military families who are in the process of moving, as great housing deals and excellent Craigslist prices on cars are often decoys for scammers.

If you think you've been cheated or want to check out a questionable company, the Better Business Bureau is a great resource. In addition to listing numerous scams, it offers a directory of responsible companies and can even help mediate your disputes. Its military site, Military Line, provides links to financial-aid groups and financial-literacy resources for service members and their families.

But while it's important to carefully check out any deal that looks too good to be true, most of these discounts are just what they appear to be -- attempts to thank military personnel and their families for their service to the country.

This article is part of AOL and Huffington Post's Military Families Week series, an effort to put a spotlight on the issues affecting the lives of America's families who serve. Find more at jobs.aol.com/militaryfamilies and aol.com.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

What is Inflation?

Why do prices go up?

View Course »

Banking Services 101

Understand your bank's services, and how to get the most from them

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

88 Comments

Filter by:
Bobby Rampton

A couple Military buddies and I created a site for new Military Discounts. Feel free to check it out

http://www.discounts-deals4military.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Deals4Military

October 29 2013 at 1:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Viet Nam Vet

One company that makes me laugh, as well as upset, is SEARS. My son is in the Air Force and was home on leave when I noticed his car tires were worn down. He said it would cost almost a months pay to replace them, so I told my son I would buy them for him. We went to the local SEARS store and they had signs all over asking you to donate to Military causes, which I applauded.
We then went to the auto repair section and ordered 4 new tires to be put on his car and I also told them to replace the battery and change the oil as winter was approaching. When the sales person gave me the total, I told her my son is in the Military and asked what sort of discount he would get. She replied, NONE!
I said you have signs at every register as well as around the store to support our Military with a donation but yet, SEARS will not give one? Answer was sorry!
I said well so am I, I will take my business elsewhere. Make sure you tell your manager why he just lost a $900.00 sale plus, tell him I was coming back next week to look at getting all new appliances for my home which I will now buy at Lowe's who just happens to give discounts to Military families.

April 18 2011 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Viet Nam Vet

One company that makes me laugh, as well as upset, is SEARS. My son is in the Air Force and was home on leave when I noticed his car tires were worn down. He said it would cost almost a months pay to replace them, so I told my son I would buy them for him. We went to the local SEARS store and they had signs all over asking you to donate to Military causes, which I applauded.
We then went to the auto repair section and ordered 4 new tires to be put on his car and I also told them to replace the battery and change the oil as winter was approaching. When the sales person gave me the total, I told her my son is in the Military and asked what sort of discount he would get. She replied, NONE!
I said you have signs at every register as well as around the store to support our Military with a donation but yet, SEARS will not give one? Answer was sorry!
I said well so am I, I will take my business elsewhere. Make sure you tell your manager why he just lost a $900.00 sale plus, tell him I was coming back next week to look at getting all new appliances for my home which I will now buy at Lowe's who just happens to give discounts to Military families.

April 18 2011 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marine42247

Walmart we Veterans served our country with lots pride and honor so Veterans come and dont give them a Military Discount Walmart why ,Veterans served there country lets be fair Walmart ok !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!We served the United States of America. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Walmart .

April 15 2011 at 8:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marine42247

Hey when is Walmart going to Veterans a Military Discount its about time they did they can't hide Homedepot gives us a Military Walmart Discount and Autozone and ihoop gives us Veterans a Military Discount what happen to Walmart why is it a company like that has Billions can't give Veteran a Military Discount I think Mrs , Obama should call Walmart and find out why Walmart can't give Veterans a Military Discount its about that time Walmart ,Thank You all Veterans deserve a Military Discount Walmart !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 15 2011 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
national10

hi very happy with holster thanks barry

April 15 2011 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Donna

Just remember,,,,this is a 100% VOLUNTEER military! No draftees. People are there because they want to be.

April 15 2011 at 8:17 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Donna

My husband is a retiree and we use Space A all the time. Our retiree friends "hopped" from Scott AFB IL to Australia and back with no problems. Best time to do it is when kids are in school. We don't even attempt it in the summer months. It's a wonderful benefit.

April 15 2011 at 8:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tacusick

Whoever wrote the title of this false lead does not know the difference between active duty and veteran status.

April 15 2011 at 5:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Roger

The title said "how to fly free if you're a vet", did I miss something or where is it hidden in the article anything resembling a mention about ways a vet can fly for free. This is common on the news site using lead in statements that have nothing to do with the article. I' in agreement with other vets posting here, where are the benefits for pre Gulf war vets? US Navy 1966-1973.

April 15 2011 at 2:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply