Whether you’ve always wanted to design your own firearm, visit SeaWorld on the cheap, or get the best deal on a hotel for your next family vacation, check out our list of deals. While some offers are specific to May, more and more businesses are offering year-round deals.
It’s one way businesses and organizations show they’re grateful for the service of military and veterans.
The discounts come in various sizes and may have various exclusions. We’re maintaining a running list and will update it all month long, so check back for deals offered by restaurants, hotels, retail establishments and other businesses. If we’re missing any, email Senior Reporter Karen Jowers at email@example.com.
If you don’t see a favorite establishment on the list, ask them if they offer a military discount. They may offer it, but may not have a sign in the store. Remember: Nobody is required to offer a discount or deal, (with the exception of military stores and ticket and tour offices.)
And that free meal may be offered to you, but not to your other family members. That’s entirely up to the business owner, but you need to know that — and be prepared to pay — before you enter an establishment with your four family members.
Check out our “before you go” advice at the bottom of the page to make the most out of the experience.
Armitron.com: Military personnel and retirees can get a 10 percent discount on their Armitron watch purchase at the company’s online site, by clicking on the “For Military/First Responders” link at the bottom of the site page, and signing into their ID Discount account for military verification. You’ll receive a one-time code to use at checkout. There’s a limit of one code per day, but you can return to the site and receive a new code with each future visit. The discount program was launched in April, and is available year round.
Commissaries: Sidewalk sales will be held at commissaries around the world on various days between May 14 and July 7, in events that run from one to four days in partnership with military exchanges and morale, welfare and recreation programs. Emphasis will be on healthy food choices, and there will be discounts on workout equipment and clothing. Health screenings and fitness events will be offered. The vast majority of the sales are scheduled for May and June; click here to see the schedule. The first sale begins at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., and the last one ends July 7 at Marine Corps Base Camp Kinser, Okinawa.
GovX: This shopping site, open only to current and former military members and first responders, offers various deals on hundreds of brands of gear and apparel, tickets and travel, such as hotels, rental cars, family activities and theme parks.
Home Depot: All veterans receive a 10 percent discount on in-store purchases on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. But those who are currently serving in the military, or retired, or disabled veterans — and their dependents — are eligible for a 10 percent discount on in-store purchases every day. There are certain limitations.
Honor Defense: Active duty and retired military and veterans can design their own custom firearm online, and receive a 10 percent discount. Design your pistol with the features you want and use coupon code: patriot. The website is: https://honordefense.com/product/custom-pistol. When you’re finished, supply your information -- such as military ID or DD-214 -- to Honor Defense. Instructions are noted on the website. This is a new, year-round discount.
Kohl’s: This department store chain recently announced “Military Mondays,” a 15 percent, in-store discount on purchases for active duty members, retirees and family members; and veterans. It’s year round, but Mondays only. Show your valid military ID, military dependent ID or a veteran ID at the cash register. Veteran IDs accepted include a state-issued identification indication veteran status, or a Form DD-214. Some exclusions apply.
Lowe’s: To get the year-round, 10 percent discount, active duty, retirees and veterans should sign up online for the MyLowe’s card, Lowe’s personal shopping card (not a credit card.) Spouses and dependents up to age 18 also qualify, as the discount for the household is linked to the MyLowe’s card. It applies to online purchases, too. There are certain limitations.
Zappos: Military, veterans and dependents receive a 10 percent discount off all online purchases of the retailer’s clothing, shoes and other items. To qualify for the discount, go to Zappos.com/programs, to verify eligibility. This newly-launched discount is available year round.
FOOD AND DRINK
Chuck E. Cheese: Active duty, Guard, Reserve and retired members and their dependents qualify for two special offers year round. Alpha: large, one-topping pizza, four drinks and 45 play points for $28.99 (regularly $40); or Bravo: two large 1-topping pizzas, four drinks and 100 play points for $46.99 (regularly $69.) Ask about the military offers and show the military ID or dependent ID card to get either deal.
DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld: Military Family Rate for May, with rooms starting at $99 a night, is offered to active duty and retired military during May. The rate can be booked here or by calling 407-352-1100. Must present the valid military ID at check-in.
La Quinta by Wyndham: Military and veterans receive a 12 percent discount off the best available rate at all La Quinta by Wyndham hotels in the U.S. and Canada. Valid military or veteran identification required at check-in. This is available year round. Check here for more information. Other benefits offered for military and veterans include instant upgrade to their Wyndham Rewards GOLD level membership; 1,000 bonus points after completing the first qualifying stay at any Wyndham Rewards hotel.
Red Roof Inn: Offers a 10 percent discount to all veterans all year. Offers are subject to availability at participating properties and some hotels may have blackout dates. Use VP code VP#606732 when booking online or when calling 800-RED-ROOF (800-733-7663).
Rosen Hotels & Resorts: Active duty, Guard, Reserve and retired military can receive a 50 percent discount at four of these resorts in the Orlando area during May: Rosen Inn International, Rosen Inn, Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando, and Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista. Nearby Shingle Creek Golf Club provides a $69 military discount rate for greens fees during May. Military ID must be presented at check-in. To book call 877-224-5377 or visit www.orlandohotels4less.com/military.
Westgate Resorts: Military members receive 10 percent off the best available rate year-round.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Columbus, Ohio: Now offers free admission to active duty, veteran, retired military and Gold Star Families. Family members with service members, retirees, veterans pay full price: Adults, $17; Seniors 65 and older, $15; college students, $12; youth ages 5 to 17, $10; children under 5, free. To show proof of service, bring your military ID, a veteran ID, DD-214, or driver’s license that denotes military status.
SeaWorld, Busch Gardens or Sesame Place: One free admission per year for military personnel and as many as three dependents, as part of the longstanding Waves of Honor program. Choose between the three SeaWorld parks (Florida, Texas, California); the two Busch Gardens parks (Virginia and Florida); and Sesame Place, Pa. To qualify, you must be registered with ID.me. and show military ID at the front gate. To see the full list of offers and details for eligibility at all 12 SeaWorld Parks and entertainment locations around the country, visit https://seaworldentertainment.com/programs/waves-of-honor/ NOTE: There are separate offers for military retirees and veterans, also detailed at the link.
Tickets and tours: These offices, which are part of installations’ morale, welfare and recreation programs, offer a variety of discounts exclusive to the military community for local and national entertainment and recreational activities, many of which can only be obtained at these offices, Check with your local office, which you can find via Military OneSource’s installation directory at the bottom of its homepage.
Vet Tix: Military and veterans can receive free tickets year-round to various family programs, concerts, sporting events and performing arts, as tickets are donated to this nonprofit. Families can attend events for a handling fee of less than $20, compared to an average cost of $400 for a family of four, according to Vet Tix. Since its founding in 2008, Vet Tix has distributed nearly 7 million tickets in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Navy Federal Credit Union: Military members get $25 when you open a new Active Duty Checking account and select digital combined statements. Earn 2.75 percent annual percentage rate on a special 10-month certificate. Get $250 cash back when you refinance your current auto loan with NFCU, from another lender.
BEFORE YOU GO
- Check the fine print, and call the participating organization to be sure the offer is available at the time you plan on arriving.
- Let the host, cashier, attendant, reservation agent or other relevant employee know up front that you want the discount or deal.
- “Free” isn’t always completely free. A free meal doesn’t always come with a drink, for instance. Be prepared to pay for extras (and to tip). Most restaurants require patrons to dine in if they want the deal.
- Call ahead to local establishments to be sure they are aware of, and are participating in, national chain programs. Confirm availability and what type of ID is required.
- Not all offers apply to veterans of all stripes. Be sure you are eligible and you have the appropriate ID/paperwork.
- Not all discounts apply to the entire party. Be sure you’re clear whether family members or guests are covered in the discount.
- Always check with your local installation’s tickets and tours office before making plans for travel and visiting local attractions. They work with local and national companies to offer discounts on a variety of hotels and attractions, and many of these deals are available only through that installation office.
- It doesn’t hurt to ask a company whether they offer a military discount before you book a reservation or order from your waitress. But don’t act like you expect it.
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.