This roundup was updated on Nov. 8.
If you work it right, you may not have to pay for any of your meals on Veterans Day, with all the freebies being offered. Use our list to map out your routes to your deals, before and after the parade.
You’ll also find deals in some of your favorite department stores, and stores offering everything from cigars to cleaning products. You can get a $40 discount off a year’s membership to Amazon Prime. And why not scope out some discounts for travel and entertainment? There’s a motorcoach travel freebie that might mean a bus ticket home around the holidays, if you’re in the right place. And there’s a discount for a new tour of World War I and World War II battlefields.
Veterans Day isn’t just about the deals, but these deals are just one way businesses and organizations show they’re grateful for the service of military and veterans. Some establishments offer year-round discounts; we’ve included some of those, too.
The discounts come in various sizes and may have various exclusions. We’re maintaining a running list and will update it over the next few days, so check back for deals offered by restaurants, hotels, retail establishments and other businesses. If we’re missing any, email Senior Report 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. Just remember that nobody is required to offer a discount or deal, (with the exception of military stores and ticket and tour offices.)
Be aware that the free meal may be offered to you, but not to your other family members. That’s entirely up to the business owner, but it helps you to know that ahead of time so you’ll be prepared to pay before you enter an establishment with your family members.
Check out our “Before you go” section at the bottom of this article to save yourself some headaches.
FOOD AND DRINK
Applebee’s: Get one free full-size entree from an exclusive menu at any participating location, on Nov. 11. That menu includes one of seven choices: 6-ounce sirloin, Double Crunch shrimp, Three-cheese Chicken Penne, Classic Bacon Cheeseburger, Chicken Tenders Platter; Fiesta Lime Chicken; Oriental Chicken Salad. Military and veterans must show proof of service. Click here for details.
Bakers Square: Get one free Rise & Shine meal on Nov. 11. Those eligible are active-duty members and veterans. There are 32 locations in six states. The company offers a 10 percent discount year round.
Chipotle: Buy one get one entree free from open to close on Nov. 11, at participating restaurants. Valid on burritos, bowls, salads and taco orders. Offer requires purchase of an entree item of equal or greater value, purchased by the valid ID holder. Currently serving military, retirees, veterans, and direct family members are eligible with valid ID or other proof of military service, including photograph in uniform. Click here for details
Golden Corral: Get a free beverage and buffet meal from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 11. Military and veterans are eligible.
Kneaders Bakery & Cafe: Get a free Chunky Cinnamon French Toast breakfast up until 11 a.m. on Nov. 11. Dine-in customers are served unlimited slices of French Toast. Those eligible are currently serving and veterans with ID or other proof of service. There are 59 locations in eight states.
Kolache Factory: Get a free sausage and cheese kolache and a free coffee on Nov. 11. Those eligible are military and veterans with government-issued military photo ID.
Little Caesars: Get one free Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo, with four slices of of DEEP!DEEP! Dish pepperoni pizza, and a 20-ounce soft drink, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Nov. 11, at participating restaurants. Normally the combo costs $5. Order must be placed by 2 p.m. Those eligible are active duty and veterans.
O’Charley’s: Get one free meal from the “Veterans Thank You Menu” all day on Nov. 11, for current and retired military, by showing your military ID. There are 200 restaurants in 17 states. Restaurant participation varies by location; and in some cases the restaurant will offer a free $9.99er meal or $10 off any meal. The company offers a 10 percent discount year round.
Pilot and Flying J: Get a free Pilot coffee with a choice of one free PJ Fresh breakfast sandwich, breakfast pizza or breakfast grill item. Military personnel and veterans can visit any of the more than 650 Pilot and Flying J travel centers across the U.S. to redeem the offer in the Pilot Flying J app.
Scooter’s Coffee: Get one free drink, any size on Nov. 11. Those eligible are military and veterans with valid identification. The Midwest-based coffee franchise has more than 200 locations.
Sheetz: Get a free 6-inch turkey sub and a regular size fountain drink on Nov. 11, at any of Sheetz’s 596 store locations. The locations that are equipped with car washes with also provide a free car wash. Military and veterans show military ID or proof of service.
Shoney’s: Get a free “All You Care to Eat, Freshly Prepared Breakfast Bar” from opening until 11 a.m., Nov. 11.
Smoothie King: Get one free 20-ounce smoothie of your choice on Nov. 11 for military personnel and veterans, with military ID, veteran ID card of license with veteran designation. There are 26 Smoothie King locations in six states — Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.
Starbucks: Get a free tall brewed coffee on Nov. 11. Currently serving military, veterans and spouses are eligible.
TCBY: Get 6 ounces of frozen yogurt for free on Nov. 11. Eligible military and veterans should show a valid military ID or other proof of service, and the offer is good only at participating TCBY locations.
TooJay’s Deli: Free entree from a special menu on Nov. 11 with military and veterans with military ID or proof of service. Excludes Tampa location.
Village Inn: Get one free INN-credible Village Inn Breakfast on Nov. 11, at participating restaurants. Active duty and veterans are eligible. There are restaurants in 21 states. The company offers a 10 percent discount year round.
Arts in the Armed Forces: Catch a free Broadway performance featuring a staged reading of the classic play “A Raisin in the Sun,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at New York City’s American Airlines Theatre. It’s free for service members, veterans and up to three of their guests, and the cast will include Dylan Baker, Colman Domingo, Ezra Knight, Nyambi Nyambi and Pauletta Washington. The show starts at 7 p.m., with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Register at www.aitaf11.eventbrite.com .
National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, Kentucky: Free admission during November for veterans, plus immediate accompanying family members. Show proof of service at the admissions counter. Normally admission is free for active duty military. Otherwise, $12 for adults, $10 seniors, $7 youth. Visit here for special events associated with Veterans Day.
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, Pennsylvania. 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 more than 8 million tickets in all 50 states and Washington.
CheapTickets.com: Get an 18 percent discount off your hotel when you enter your military ID through the SheerID verification process. Search for the deals here.
La Quinta by Wyndham: Get a 15 percent discount off the best available rate per night, through Dec. 5. Those eligible are current military, retired military, veterans and their families. You must show valid military identification at the time of check-in. Note: the La Quinta year-round military discount is 12 percent, so make sure you get that extra 3 percentage points. You must book by Dec. 5 and complete your stay by Dec. 6. Click here for more information.
Marriott Vacation Club, Sheraton Vacation Club, Westin Vacation Club: Get a 15 percent discount off regular rates year round at participating resorts in the U.S., Caribbean and Mexico. Currently serving and retired military are eligible, and must present valid military ID at check-in. Reserve online, or call 800-228-9290, or use one of their worldwide reservation numbers and provide the promotional code XYD for the offer. See details here.
Motel 6: Get a year-round discount of up to 10 percent at all 1,400 locations. To apply, select “Military” as your rate type during the reservation process, before confirming the reservation.
Red Roof Inn: Get a 10 percent discount 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).
Sandals and Beaches Resorts: Get a year-round 10 percent discount, in addition to any existing promotion. Military and veterans are eligible, with valid proof of military service. Visit here for more details.
Sheraton Salt Lake City: Get up to 50 percent discount year-round. Got to the hotel’s offer page and choose the government and military rate to get the savings.
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts: Get a 15-20 percent discount off the best available rate on stays now through Dec. 5. Available at participating hotels in the U.S. and Canada, across 17 brands such as Super8 by Wyndham. You must book by Dec. 5 and complete your stay by Dec. 6. Click here for more information.
Military Times: Get a one-year subscription to any of the Military Times print publications for $29.95. Offer is good through November. Regular rate is $55 for a year for the publications ― Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times.
Academy Sports+Outdoors offers a 10 percent discount on the entire purchase in stores and online through Nov. 11, to active duty, retirees and veterans and their immediate family members. In the stores, show military identification or driver’s license with veteran’s designation. Online, once you’re ready to check out, under the promo section, there will be an added military discount option. Click on the Troop ID button. After verification, you must copy the promo code from ID.me and paste it into the promo code section on on the shopping cart page for single-use redemption.
Alpinerings.com: Get a 30 percent discount on wedding rings on orders placed through Nov. 12, to currently serving military, retirees, veterans and their families. Proof of service is verified online through VerifyPass. The company offers a variety of rings made of materials such as wood, tungsten, titanium or ceramic. Click here for details. This is double their usual military discount of 15 percent.
Brooklyn Bedding: Get a 30 percent discount at showrooms and online on mattresses, bedding and other items, through Nov. 11. Active duty and veterans are eligible, using Promo Code VETERANS25; everyone else gets a 25 percent discount during this time.
Charlotte’s Web: Get a 50 percent discount on CBD and other products, for veterans and caregivers, Nov. 10 through Nov. 16. You’ll upload a copy of your VA card, state issued driver’s license or ID showing veteran designation. Usual year-round discount is 15 percent, and more information is available here.
Commissaries and exchanges: Commissaries, the military’s grocery stores, have a variety of promotions in the month of November. And the military exchanges have a number of sales going on for Veterans Day. Many of these items are offered at the exchange online stores, and all honorably discharged veterans can shop at online exchange stores, www.mynavyexchange.com, www.shopmyexchange.com, and www.shopcgx.com. The sites will verify your credentials when you log in.
Dropps.com: Get a 25 percent discount on your first order of these cleaning products, from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14. Use code VETERANSDAY. Free shipping on all orders.
From The Earth: Get a 20 percent discount at southern California cannabis retail locations. You can also purchase pre-rolls for 1 cent. One per customer.
Holt’s Cigar Company: Get a 10 percent discount year-round online and over the phone on cigars, accessories and other items. Click here for more information.
Home Depot: Get a 10 percent discount on in-store purchases on Veterans Day. This is available to all veterans 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: Get a 15 percent firearm discount throughout November. Active duty and retired military and veterans can design their own custom firearm online, and get the 15 percent discount using the coupon code: Military15. Click here for details. When you’re finished, supply your information — such as military ID or DD-214 — to Honor Defense. Instructions are noted on the website. The usual military discount is 10 percent year-round.
Kohl’s: Get a 30 percent discount on purchases from Nov. 7 through Nov. 11. Those eligible are military, veterans and their families. This is double the year-round 15 percent discount Kohl’s offers on Military Mondays. Show a military ID, military dependent ID or veteran ID at checkout.
Lowe’s: Get a 10 percent discount year-round. To get the discount, military, 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 MyLoew’s card. It applies to online purchases, too. There are certain limitations.
NTB Tire & Service Centers and Tire Kingdom Service Centers: Get a conventional oil change for $18.99, free service on flat repair and 10 percent off tires, wheels and services. Available to currently serving military and veterans year round.
Target: Get a 10 percent discount on one purchase in stores and online now through Nov. 11. The discount is available through a singe-use coupon. Click here to verify your eligibility and receive the coupon. Verification through SheerID.
vineyard vines: Get a 30 percent discount from Nov. 8 through Nov. 11. Military and veterans are verified through SheerID.
Walgreens: Get 20 percent discount on eligible regular-priced merchandise, from Nov. 8 through Nov. 11. You must use a Balance Rewards card.
Amazon Prime: Get $40 off the regular price, through Nov. 11. That’s $79, compared with the regular price of $119. Current military and veterans are eligible and can apply here. New and existing Prime members are eligible; if you’re already a Prime member, your purchase will add a year to your current membership.
American Family Care: Get a free flu shot on Nov. 11. Veterans should visit here to find the nearest location.
Ancestry.com: From 7.p.m. EST Nov. 8 through 11:59 Nov. 17, the company is opening its archive of U.S. military records to allow people to search for free. Normally to gain access to these records it would cost $99 for six months or $189 for 12 months. There are more than 260 million military records, with documents from every major war from the American Revolution through Vietnam. To search, enter a family member’s first name, last name, and birth year or location. Click here beginning at 7 p.m. Nov. 8.
Cove Home Security: Get a home security system for a one-time price of $150, with six months of free monitoring included, starting on Nov. 11. The system is valued at up to $400. Eligible are military personnel and veterans can visit here for more information.
Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tire: Free car care checks and free tire installations to active duty and retired military, with valid military ID. Those eligible can schedule appointments Nov. 8 through 11, and redeem the service through Nov. 16. The car care check includes an inspection of tires, brakes, alignment, battery, wiper blades, and shock and struts. With any tire purchase during this promotional period, you can receive free tire installation, a value of at least $25 per tire installed. To make an appointment, visit here or here.
Great Clips: Get a free haircut, or a free haircut card to be used later, on Nov. 11. The cards can be redeemed for a free haircut from Nov. 12 to Dec. 31 at any Great Clips salon. Those eligible are active duty and veterans. Also, non-veteran customers who get a haircut on Veterans Day will receive a free haircut card to give to an active-duty member or veteran. There are more than 4,400 salons throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Pandora: Get a 20 percent discount off Pandora Premium. Pandora Premium Military is $7.99 a month, with a 60-day free trial. For details, visit here.
PenFed Credit Union: Get a Lowe’s gift card when you apply for a mortgage or home equity line of credit between Nov. 8 and Nov. 15. Those applying for a VA loan will receive a $1,000 gift card, and non-VA loans will receive $500. Gift cards will be delivered after your loan has closed; the loan must close by March 15, 2020. For more details visit here.
Plaza College: Get free dental care throughout the month of November, at the college’s Dental Hygiene Program in New York City. Dental hygienist students work under the supervision of a certified dentist. The program is available to veterans and their immediate families. Veterans can make an appointment by calling 718-779-1432.
Verizon: Receive a free one-year membership of Amazon Prime from Verizon when you purchase a smartphone and add a new line of service, through Dec. 2. Available to active duty, reservists, cadets, Gold Star families and veterans who are customers or small business owners. The Amazon Prime freebie is a $119 value; the phones and monthly service costs will vary, but will likely be more than $119.
American Forces Travel, the only official Defense Department site for travel discounts on airfare, flights, hotels, car rentals, travel packages and cruises, was launched earlier this year. Those eligible include active duty, Guard, Reserve, Coast Guard, retired military, and their eligible family members. The site is connected to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, and authenticates you quickly. You have access to more than 1.2 million properties in more than 76,000 destinations worldwide, with discounts of up to 60 percent on hotels. A help desk is available 24 hours a day.
Jefferson Lines: Get a free motorcoach trip anywhere within the Jefferson Lines network. Military and veterans can get tickets any time between now and 11:59 p.m. Nov. 11, in person at a Jefferson Lines location, at Billings, Montana; Duluth, Minnesota; Fargo, North Dakota,; Fort Smith, Arkansas; Mason City, Iowa; Rapid City, South Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; or St. Paul, Minnesota. Show your military ID or DD 214, and a personal ID such a driver’s license. Travel includes one-way and round-trip tickets with initial departure between Nov. 11 -27, and return on or before Dec. 31. For more information, visit here.
smarTours: Get a 5 percent discount on the newly launched Battlefields of WWI and WWII tour. Those eligible are active duty and veterans. The 13-day tour visits battlefields across Europe during both wars. The discount can be used on any departing Battlefields tour; there are five departures between April and October 2020. The starting price for the 13-day tour is $3,999, which includes air fare, first-class accommodations, ground transportation, English speaking guides, fees for activities, tax, and many meals. A five percent discount on $3,999 means $199.95 off the price. Visit here for more information.
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 such as taxes, (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.