(Updated Nov. 10 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern)
Your military strategic skills may be required to map out a plan to take advantage of the many Veterans Day deals and discounts: Depending on your location, you might be able to squeeze in a free haircut and a free flu shot between your free breakfast and your free lunch.
We’ve collected some of the offers available and will update this list regularly over the next week. Do you own or work for a business offering a good deal? Send us a noteat the email address at the end of the list.
But before you dive in, a few reminders:
- "Free" is not always completely free. For example, a free meal doesn’t always come with a beverage, so be prepared to pay for your drink and other extras.
- Call ahead to your local restaurant or business to make sure they're participating in any national programs. Double-check what they're offering, ask if there are limited hours or quantities, and confirm what proof of service they require.
- Most of these offers apply to veterans of all stripes, but some may not. Be sure you are eligible and you have the appropriate ID/paperwork.
- Most of the restaurants require you to dine in to get the deal. When you go into the business, let them know up front that you would like the discount or deal.
- Not all discounts apply to the entire party. Be sure you're clear whether family members or guests are covered.
FOOD AND DRINK
Arooga's: Get one free item from a special menu Nov. 11. Open to active duty and other veterans.
Back Yard Burgers: Get a free Back Yard Classic Burger — available to active- duty service members and veterans who show their military ID or are in uniform Nov. 11. The chain offers a 20 percent discount to service members year round.
Billy Sims Barbecue: Get a free pulled pork, a regular side and a collector's cup drink on Nov. 11. Active-duty members and veterans should show an ID card, or be in uniform.
Black Angus Steakhouse: Get a free meal Nov. 11 -- the Certified Angus Beef Top Sirloin Steak, with mashed potatoes, broccoli and sweet molasses bread, during operating hours of each of the 46 Black Angus Steakhouse locations. Available to active duty and other veterans.
Chipotle: Buy one item, get one free on entrée items of burritos, bowls, salads and taco orders from 3 p.m. to close on Nov.11 at all Chipotle locations — more than 2,000 eateries across the country. This BOGO is offered to active duty, reservists, National Guard members, military spouses and retired military with a valid U.S. military ID or veterans ID card. In-store only, limited to one free menu item. Purchased entrée must be of equal or greater value.
Denny's: Get a free "Build Your Own Grand Slam" on Nov. 11 from 5 a.m. to noon for active duty, retired and other veterans. Includes four breakfast items such as buttermilk pancakes, eggs cooked to order, bacon strips, seasonal fruit or hash browns. Show a military ID. Available at "participating" locations, so call ahead to your local Denny's. (Also check to see what proof you need if you're a veteran).
ESquared Hospitality restaurants in New York City: 50 percent off for parties of two or less; 25 percent off for parties of three or more, on Nov. 11. All veterans and active duty are eligible. Participating restaurants in New York City are BLT Prime; BLT Steak; Casa Nonna; Horchata; Tavern 62 by David Burke; The Wayfarer.
Fatz Cafe: Get a free Calabash Chicken entree -- with a side dish and choice of soup or salad -- from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Nov. 11. Open to active duty and other veterans. Find the 45 restaurants located in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia at www.fatz.com/locations
Friendly's: Get a free breakfast, lunch or dinner Nov. 11. Breakfast is a free "Big-Two-Do" with coffee; lunch or dinner is an All-American Burger with fries and a beverage. Offer open to active duty and other veterans. Dine-in only, one meal per person.
Golden Corral: Get a free dinner buffet including a beverage from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 14. Open to anyone who is serving or has served in the U.S. military, to include National Guard and reserves. All of the 484 restaurants nationwide are participating. Identification is not required. Learn more here.
Hickory Tavern: Get 50 percent off from a special menu Nov. 11. Food and nonalcoholic beverages are included. Open to active duty and other veterans at any of the 24 locations in 13 communities in the Southeast.
IHOP: Get a free stack of Red, White & Blue Pancakes — three buttermilk pancakes with glazed strawberries, blueberry compote and whipped topping — between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 11, at participating U.S. restaurants. The offer is open to active-duty military and veterans with proof of service, such as military ID card, retired military ID card, current Leave and Earnings Statement, veteran's organization card (American Legion, VFW, etc.), photograph of self in U.S. military uniform, wearing a uniform, DD 214, military dog tags, and citation or commendation.
JJ's Red Hots: Get a free meal including unlimited hot dogs, sausages, sides and nonalcoholic drinks Nov. 11 at this Charlotte, North Carolina, eatery. Veterans and active-duty members are eligible with proof of service such as military ID card or retired military ID card, current Leave and Earnings Statement, DD 214, veterans organization card, citation or commendation.
Little Caesars Pizza: Get a free $5 "Hot-n-Ready" Lunch Combo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 11 at participating locations. Active duty and other veterans are eligible, with proof of service such as military ID, DD 214 or ID card with veteran designation.
LongHorn Steakhouse: Get a free appetizer or dessert, and 10 percent off your meal, Nov. 11 with proof of service. Guests who dine with the veteran also receive 10 percent off their meals.
Mimi's Cafe: Get a free entree (with the purchase of a beverage) from a special all-day Veterans Day menu, Nov. 11, available to active duty and other veterans.
O'Charley's: Get a free meal from the "$9.99er" menu Nov. 11. Available to active duty and other veterans, with proof of service such as military ID, at participating locations. The "southern-inspired" chain operates 211 restaurants in 20 states. Through social media, the restaurant will also be awarding five veterans each with a $50 gift card: Tag an active-duty service member or other veteran at facebook.com/ocharleysfans, on on the chain's Instagram or Twitter platforms (@OCharleys), for a chance to win.
Olive Garden: Get a free entree from a selected menu, served with unlimited homemade soup or garden salad and garlic breadsticks, Nov. 11. Offer is open to active duty and other veterans, with proof of service.
Red Lobster: Get a free appetizer or dessert (from a special menu) Nov. 10 and 11. Open to active duty and other veterans.
Red Robin: Get a free Red's Tavern Double Burger with Bottomless Steak Fries on Nov. 11 at participating restaurants nationwide. Offer open to active-duty members and other veterans with a valid military ID or proof of service.
RibCrib: Get a free meal Nov. 11 from the Menu of Honor that includes a choice of two meats and two sides. Active duty and other veterans are eligible.
Rock & Brews: Get a free pulled pork sandwich Nov. 11 at participating restaurants. Open to active duty and other veterans with proof of service.
Shoney's: Get a free All-American Burger on Nov. 11 at participating restaurants while supplies last. Open to active duty and other veterans.
TooJay's: Get a free entree from a special menu Nov. 11. Open to active duty and other veterans, with valid military identification. There are 28 restaurants throughout Florida.
Uncle Maddio's Pizza: Get a free 9-inch, three-topping pizza on Nov. 11. Veterans and active-duty members eligible for the deal must be in uniform or show a military ID.
World of Beer: Get a free draft beer Nov. 11. Open to active duty and other veterans with a military ID, VA card, or other proof of service. There are more than 75 taverns in 22 states, but due to state laws, some can't give away the free beer. Instead, taverns in Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia and New York will offer $5 off any food item.
One more reminder to veterans who aren't active duty or retired: Call ahead to see what proof of service you need to bring.
Armed Forces Vacation Club:
Get $50 off select seven-night resort stays through Nov. 15. Available to active duty and other veterans who book by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 15. Applies to many resorts that offer discounted vacations through AFVC in places such as Orlando, Florida; Las Vegas; Branson, Missouri; and Lake Tahoe, and some international vacation spots in places such as Mexico, the Bahamas and a number of European destinations. Visit AFVCClub.comor VeteransHolidays.comto take advantage of the offer.
Red Roof Inn: Get a 15 percent discount on hotel stays from now through Nov. 30, at participating locations around the country. This is available to military retirees. Book at redroof.com with promo code 618669, or call 800-733-7663.The hotel chain also offers a 10 percent discount to all veterans all year in a separate program, a spokeswoman said. Offers are subject to availability at participating properties, and some hotels may have blackout dates.
Westgate Resorts: Get a 25 percent discount on Nov. 11 for rooms across Westgate Resorts' 28 resort properties. All U.S. military veterans are eligible. For more information, visit www.WestgateSalutes.com.
Also, beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern on Nov. 11, the first 1,000 people registering online who are active-duty military personnel who have served in combat and/or members of Gold Star families will receive a free three-day, two-night vacation for up to four people at Westgate Town Center in Kissimmee, Florida, from May 5-7, 2017. Note: the registration requires a $75 deposit which is fully refundable, and candidates must complete the military appreciation form at www.WestgateSalutes.com.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts: Get free admission Nov. 11. The Nashville, Tennessee, center's offer is open to those currently serving and other veterans and their families. Frist Center is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Nov. 11; identify yourself to any member of the Visitor Services staff. One of the current exhibits is "Samurai: The Way of the Warrior."
National Park Service : Get free admission to all 413 national parks across the country Nov. 11. This is available to everyone. A number of parks are offering special programs to commemorate Veterans Day. While there, active-duty military members and their dependents can pick up a free military annual pass to any national park that usually charges a fee. A free lifetime pass is available to disabled veterans.
Army and Air Force Exchange Service: Sales on a variety of items, Nov. 11 through Nov. 17 while supplies last, such as $700 off a 60-inch Samsung 4K Smart TV ($499, down from $1,199); $140 off an iPad Air 2, ($249, regularly $389); $300 off a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 ($599, regularly $899.99); 50 percent off select Dooney & Bourke handbags and Michael Kors handbags. (These are not available to those who don't have military exchange shopping privileges.)
Atkins Nutritionals: Get 15 percent off Atkins bars, shakes and other products starting Nov. 7. Verification for service members and veterans through SheerID. Visit www.atkins.com for details.
Men's Wearhouse: Get $25 off any purchase of $100 or more, starting Nov. 11. This will be a permanent discount available to veterans and service members, with verification through SheerID. Visit https://menswearhouse.sheerid.com for details.
OmronHealthcare: Get 10 percent off already discounted prices on blood pressure monitors, pedometers,activity trackers and other items. Verification of service members, retirees, veterans through SheerID. Visit www.OmronHealthcare.com/veterans.
Sword & Plough : Get 20 percent off all items Nov. 11, including new offerings. The company creates rugged bags and accessories from military surplus. Discount available to serving members and other veterans. New holiday offerings include a unisex duffel bag and a collection of hand-hammered jewelry made of used 50-caliber bullet casings.
American Family Care: Get a free flu shot Nov. 11. Visit www.AFCUrgentCare.com to find the nearest American Family Care clinic. They provide urgent care, primary care and occupational medicine.
Great Clips: Get a free haircut Nov. 11 for military members and veterans, or a "free haircut card" to redeem later (through Dec. 31) with proof of military service, at any Great Clips salon. Also, all customers who get a haircut on on that day can get a "free haircut card" to give to a military member or veteran to redeem with proof of service through Dec. 31.
NY Waterway: Free ferry/bus service for active duty and retired military personnel with a valid ID on Nov. 11. Present the ID to a deckhand. They advise taking the ferry into New York City for the Veterans Day Parade.
Park 'N Fly: Get 15 percent off as a member in the Frequent Parker program. Not sure if you're near a participating airport? Check here. Verification through SheerID for active duty and veterans. Visit www.pnf.com/frequent-parker-program/
Suburban Propane: Current customers can get $20 off their next delivery of 100 gallons or more of fuel if someone in the household is a veteran or on active duty. Proof of military service may be required. New customers who are active or retired military can get $20 off their first delivery of 100 gallons or more, along with special new customer prices; no charge for tank change out/safety check/tank rent for one year. Offers good through March 31.
UFC Gym: Get free VIP status at more than 130 locations across the U.S. from Nov. 11 through Nov. 13. Open to active duty and other veterans and their families, and includes total gym access, including a special "boot camp-themed" 50-minute class Nov. 12 that's designed to challenge participants of all fitness levels with a variation of exercises often used in military training. Because of limited space, participants should contact their local club for more information.
Western Union: Get free domestic money transfers -- and transfers to and from U.S. military bases around the world -- where Western Union has a retail agent location, Nov. 11. No fee is charged on the transfer when you use the promo code HERO. It's available to all customers making transfers under these parameters. There's no dollar limit, and transactions can be made online at wu.com, with the the Western Union app, or at one of 47,000 participating agent locations.
WORKOUT ANYTIME : Get free access to one of these 24/7 gyms for 22 days by visiting one of the more than 100 fitness locations nationwide Nov. 11 for your 22-day "lift ticket." Open to veterans with proof of service (DD 214).
Karen Jowers covers military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.