14 ways to save during National Military Appreciation Month
Tech. Sgt. Bennie Prescott, 341st Missile Security Forces Squadron physical security manager, his wife, Ellen and their children jump with excitement April 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Bennie and Ellen included their kids on their journey to paying off $253,000 in debt in six years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jaeda Tookes)
By Tracy Fuga
It’s that time of year again when national retailers, local businesses and recreation facilities across America offer discounts and freebies for National Military Appreciation Month. Some of these discounts are available all year for active-duty service members, while other discounts are good for specific dates such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day. In addition to the special promotions at many businesses, Lowe’s Home Improvement recently expanded its everyday military discount program to include all honorably discharged veterans.
The home improvement retailer also has expanded the 10 percent discount for online shopping, which will include free shipping. Previously the discount was available to active-duty service members, retired military and other veterans receiving benefits through Veterans Affairs who showed proper identification. Honorably discharged veterans were limited to discounts on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Veterans Day.
The procedure for getting the discount also has changed, and service members must sign up online for the Lowe’s personal shopping card (not a credit card) to qualify for the discount. This will provide for faster checkout and add the ability to use the discount at self-checkout in stores. Visit www.lowes.com/mylowes/login?context=military for more information.
Here is a list of other discounts:
Blue Star Museums: This collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across the U.S. offers the chance for military families to get free admission to many museums across the country, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Visit the website to find a participating museum near you.
Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium: Year-round discounts are available to any active-duty or reserve members with a valid military ID. Active service members can receive free general admission tickets and a 50 percent discount for up to three family members, available only at the admissions booth. Visit the website for more information and exclusions.
California’s Great America: All active-duty service members and veterans can receive free admission to California’s Great America now through May 29 with a valid military ID. Plus, each military guest will be able to bring up to six additional guests at a discounted rate of $30 per person to the Bay Area theme park.
Disney: Active-duty and retired military members and their families can choose between a Walt Disney World 4-day military promotional ticket for $209 plus tax, good through Dec. 16, or a Disney 5-day military promotional ticket for $224 plus tax, good through Dec. 17. These tickets are purchased at the local military installation tickets and tours office. Visit the website for details on this promotion and additional discounts available throughout the year. Disneyland is also offering a discounted rate for military personnel with the 3-day military promotional park hopper ticket for $156 or a 4-day hopper ticket for $181, food through Dec. 19. Visit the website for more information.
Expedia: Eligible military personnel can obtain Expedia gold status by signing up here and receive complimentary room upgrades, earn 30 percent more bonus points for bookings, get additional room discounts and access dedicated customer service agents.
Helzberg Diamonds: The diamond retailer offers a 10 percent discount to all active duty, military retirees, disabled veterans and registered dependents. The discount is offered in store, online and by calling 1-800-435-9237. Visit the website for more information.
Hilton: Participating hotels within Hilton’s portfolio of 14 distinct brands are offering a 10 percent discount to all active duty, reserve and retired service members and their spouses and families, for leisure stays. The offer is valid throughout the year. Call the customer center at 800-446-6677 and request the Military Family Rate Plan Code “MFR/PGMFR1” at the time of booking. Visit the website for more information.
Home Depot: Those who are currently serving in the military, retired or disabled veterans – and their dependents – are eligible for a 10 percent discount on in-store purchases every day. All veterans receive a 10 percent discount on in-store purchases on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. There are certain limitations. See store for details.
Knott’s Berry Farm: The Southern California theme park offers active, retired, and veteran military personnel free admission May 27 through May 29, as well as up to six discounted tickets for $48 each. Military discounts are available every day for service members with military ID and can be purchased in advance by signing up online here or at your local military ticket office on base.
Legoland Florida Resort: Active-duty service members receive complimentary theme park and water park admission year-round. Additionally, veterans, retirees, reservists, guard members and military family members can save up to 25 percent on theme park and water park tickets while receiving a second day free upon advance verification of military service. Legoland Hotel also offers discounts on your reservation. Complete details are available on the website.
Mission BBQ: Veterans and active-duty military get a free sandwich during the week of May 15 at any of the locations found in 12 states. (Dates vary by service branch.) Visit the restaurant’s Facebook page for details.
National Park Service: Active-duty military members and the dependents of deployed service members as well as current National Guard and reserve members are eligible for a free military annual pass to any national park that usually charges a fee. This pass includes up to three additional adults at sites that charge per person, as long as they are in the same vehicle.
Oakley Standard Issue: Oakley’s official military site offers discounts year-round to active duty, National Guard, reserve, Coast Guard and veterans with proper credentials.
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. Visit your local installation’s ticket office for more discounts in your area.