2013 Veterans Day Free Meals and Discounts

Veterans Day is soon approaching and there are many restaurants and companies who want to thank our veterans by providing them with discounts or a free meal. To those companies offering veterans a free meal or discount, the military community gives a collective thanks!

Two notes before jumping in:

  • Proof of Military Service. Most companies require some form of military ID. These include: a Military ID Card (active/reserve/retired), Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), Drivers License with Veterans Designation, Photograph in uniform, be wearing uniform (if your service permits), Veterans Organization Card (e.g., American Legion and VFW), DD214, discharge paperwork, or other form of identification. Other restaurants and companies may go by the honor system.
  • Participation. Second, always call ahead to verify locations, times, and participation. Many of the listed companies are franchises and may have different policies. We will do our best to keep this page updated as we find new info.

2013 Free Veterans Day Meals

Veterans Day free meals and discounts for military and veterans

Please credit this resource: We are frequently updating this list with new deals and offers for the military community. If you use items in this list, please direct your visitors to this page so they can find the most up to date information: http://themilitarywallet.com/veterans-day-free-meals-and-discounts/ Thanks!

Applebees Veterans Day AppreciationApplebee’s – free meal, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013: Last year, Applebee’s served over one million free meals to military veterans and active servicemembers. Applebee’s is again offering a free meal to military veterans and active-duty service members on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. There will be 7 entrées to choose from, beverage and gratuity not included. Military ID or proof of service required. More.

Bar Louie America - Veterans DayBar Louie, Free meal on Nov. 10th and 11th, 2013. From open to close Sunday, November 10th and Monday, November 11th every Bar Louie location across the country will offer veterans and military personnel a free meal up to a $12 value. Available at all locations, military ID or proof of service is required (source). Find a location near you.

BJs Restaurant and Brewery Veterans DayBJs Restaurant and Brewhouse, (Awaiting update – this is last year’s offer). Complimentary lunch entree or a one topping mini pizza for dinner. Offer valid to all active duty military and veterans, with proof of service. More info.

Bob Evans, Nov. 11, 2013. Free All you can eat hotcakes. for active duty military and veterans with ID or proof of service. Locations.

California Pizza Kitchen, Nov. 11, 2013. Enjoy any pizza on the menu, dine-in only. Please come in uniform or bring your military i.d. or other proof of service. Find a location near you.

Carraba’s, Nov. 11, 2013. Free appetizer of your choice for active duty servicemembers and veterans. Military ID or proof of service required. Locations.

Champps Americana Veterans Day MealChampps Americana, Nov. 11, 2013. Participating Champps locations are offering veterans and active duty servicemembers a free hamburger (7 to choose from) and waffle fries from open to close on Monday, November 11, 2013. Dine in only, valid at participating locations (call ahead to verify local participation). More info, Find a location near you.

Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2013. Free meal for active and former military members with ID or other valid proof of service. Find a location near you.

Cheeseburger in Paradise, Monday, Nov. 11 2013. Free All-American Burger with fries with purchase of beverage and military ID or proof of service. Available to active military or veterans. Beverages and gratuity not included, dine-in only. Find a location near you.

Chilis Restaurant Free Veterans Day DinnerChili’s – free meal, Monday, Nov. 11 2013. Chili’s is offering all military veterans past and present their choice of one of 7 meals during the dinner hour, or any lunch combo during lunch. Offer only available at participating Chili’s in the U.S. only. Dine-in from limited menu only; beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service. Visit their website to find locations.

Denny's Veterans Day DinnerDenny’s Veterans Day Appreciation Event, Nov. 11, 2013. Free all you can eat pancakes from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11 for all active, retirees, and veterans with a valid military ID or proof of military service. Offer available in every Denny’s nationwide. Locations.

Einstein Bros Bagels, Nov. 11, 2013. Free Classic or Signature Bagel and topping at participating locations. Valid between 5:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Available to all active duty members and veterans with ID or proof of service.  Locations.

Famous Daves Veterans Day CelebrationFamous Dave’s, Nov. 11, 2013. Free or discounted meals on Veterans Day. Offer varies by location, please check the Famous Dave’s Veterans Day page or call your local restaurant for more information.

Fox and Hound Bar and Grill Veterans Day OfferFox & Hound and Bailey’s Sports Grille, Nov. 11, 2013. Free Sandwich or Entree (up to $13) for active duty military and veterans with ID or proof of service. Dine-in only and at only at participating locations. Locations.

Friendly’s, Nov. 11, 2013. Free breakfast and coffee during breakfast hours for active military and veterans with ID or discharge papers. Locations.

golden corral free veterans day mealGolden Corral – Free meal, Monday Nov. 11, 2013: The 13th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation Monday dinner will is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Monday dinner. For more information visit http://www.goldencorral.com/military/.

Special thanks to Golden Corral: To date, Golden Corral restaurants have provided over 3.7 million free meals and contributed over $7.4 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization. Amazing!

See more Military Discounts and Veterans Day Deals.

HoneyBaked Stores, Nov. 11 – Nov. 17, 2013. Free lunch to current servicemembers and veterans with valid ID. Lunch includes sandwich, chips, cookie, and a drink. Valid only at the St. Louis, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Albuquerque locations, Please call ahead to verify participation. Locations.

Hooters Veterans Day - Free MealHooters – Free Meal, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Monday, Nov. 11, Hooters invites all veterans and current servicemen and women to enjoy a free meal, up to $10.99 in value with any drink purchase, by presenting a military ID or proof of service at any Hooters location across the country. More information.

Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House, Nov. 11, 2013. Free meal form the American Values Menu, Nov. 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Includes soup, salad, desert, and beverage. Dine-in only, valid ID or proof of service required. Locations.

Hy-Vee Celebrates Veterans Day with Free BreakfastHy-Vee, Free Breakfast, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Free Veterans Day breakfast from 7am – 11am at all participating Hy-Vee supermarkets with in-store dining. Please call ahead to verify participation, and bring proof of military service.

Krispy Kreme free doughnut for Veterans DayKrispy Kreme – Free doughnut and small coffee, Nov. 11, 2013. Available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores. Offer available to all active-duty, retirees & veterans. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating (Locations).

Little Caesars Pizza Crazy BreadLittle Caesars® Pizza, Nov. 11, 2013. Little Caesars is honoring the men and women of the United States armed forces this Veterans Day by providing veterans and active military members with a free Crazy Bread® with proof of military status or proof of service at participating stores nationwide. Call ahead to verify participation.

Lone Star Steakhouse Veterans DayLone Star Steakhouse, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. All veterans and active duty military will be eligible for a buy one get one free entrée. ID or proof of service required. Please call ahead for verification. (Locations)

Longhorn Steakhouse Veterans DayLongHorn Steakhouse, Monday, Nov. 11, – Thursday Nov. 14, 2013. Complimentary Texas Tonion and non-alcoholic beverage. Offer good for Veterans and active-duty military members. Proof of service required. Visit their site to find a location near you.

Max & Erma's free Veterans Day MealMax & Erma’s, Monday, November 11, 2013. Participating Max & Erma’s locations are offering military members and veterans a free Best Cheeseburger in America Combo, which includes tortilla soup or side Caesar salad, seasoned fries, and chocolate chip cookies. Dine-in only. Call ahead to verify participation. ID or proof of service required. More info. Locations.

McCormick and Schmicks Veterans Appreciation DayMcCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants – free lunch or dinner, Sunday Nov 10, 2013: McCormick & Schmick’s is celebrating their 15th annual Veteran’s Appreciation Event on Sunday, November 10th. Veterans will be able to choose a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée from a special menu. Veterans must provide proof of military service. Be sure to contact your local McCormick & Schmick’s as this is valid at participating restaurants only. Also, space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. For more information visit: M&S Veterans Appreciation Event.

Menchie’s, Nov. 11, 2013. All veterans will receive a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt on Veterans Day, See offer. Locations.

O’Charley’s, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Free entree from the $9.99′er menu for all active military and veterans with proof of service. Find a location near you.

On the Border Veterans Day SpecialOn The Border, Mon. Nov. 11, 2013. Veterans ans current servicemembers will receive a free entree from the “Create Your Own Combo menu,” featuring more than 150 possible dinner combination. On the Border will also donate 15% of your purchase to Carry the Load, a non-profit military organization (bring a copy of this flyer for the donation). Dine-in only, proof of service required. Find a location near you.

Outback Steakhouse Veterans DayOutback Steakhouse – Nov. 11, 2013. Outback Steakhouse is honoring America’s military veterans by offering active duty military and veterans a free Bloomin’ Onion and a non-alcoholic beverage. This offer is available to Military Personnel and veterans with ID. Also receive 10% off your purchase from Nov. 12-Dec 31, 2013.

Red Lobster Veterans DayRed Lobster – Monday, Nov. 11 – Thursday Nov. 14, 2013. Free Appetizer on Veterans Day with military ID or proof of service. Vets may choose from a select list of appetizers. Find a location near you.

Red Ronbin Veterans DayRed Robin, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Free Red’s Tavern Double and Bottomless Steak Fries for all Red Robin guests with a military ID or proof of service. Red Robin is also partnering with Heinz for Veterans Day to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Red Robin will also donate $10,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project. Find a location near you.

Ruby’s Diner, (Awaiting update – this is last year’s offer). Free Cinnamon Roll French Toast until 11:30am. Valid for all military service members past and present. Coupon required.

Shoney’s, Nov. 11, 2013. Free All-American Burger to veterans and active duty servicemembers. Dine-in only, Proof of Service required. More info. Locations.

The Spaghetti Warehouse Veterans DaySpaghetti Warehouse, Sunday Nov. 10 – Monday, Nov. 12, 2013. Buy one entrée, get one free, coupon required. Choose any of 11 Original Recipe Spaghetti entrées and receive a second entrée free. Friends and relatives are encouraged to treat a veteran to a meal.

Sizzler Restaurant logoSizzler Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2013. Free lunch served until 4pm. Choice of 3 entrees. Valid with proof of military service. Dine-in only, not valid for salad bar, beverage, or gratuity. Locations.

Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes, (Awaiting update – this is last year’s offer). Free meal with purchase of another regular priced meal. Available to current and former military members with valid ID. Available at all Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes locations. More info.

StarBucks, Nov. 11, 2013. Free coffee for military member and spouse.

Texas Corral Veterans DayTexas Corral – Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Free entrée (dine-in only). Offer available to all active duty members and veterans with ID. Note: All Texas Corral locations also regularly offer a 50% discount to active duty police officers, firemen and military personnel dining in. Call ahead for participation. Locations.

Texas Land and Cattle Steak House, Nov. 11, 2013. Free appetizer for current servicemembers and veterans. ID or proof of service is required. Locations.

Texas Roadhouse Veterans Day MealTexas Roadhouse, Nov. 11, 2013, starting at 11am. Every Texas Roadhouse location across the country will participate in the free lunch event to honor the men and women of our armed forces. Choose from one of 10 free meals, plus sides and a drink. Offer good for All veterans – including all active, retired or former U.S. military. ID Required. Dine-in only. Call ahead to verify times and locations. Find locations.

T.G.I.-Fridays Veterans Day Free MealT.G.I. Friday’s, Nov. 11, 2013. Free lunch for all current military members and veterans from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Valid ID or proof of service required. Dine-on only at participating locations. Be sure to contact your local T.G.I Friday’s for details. Locations.

The Olive Garden Veterans Day entreeThe Olive Garden, Free entrée, Nov. 11, 2013. Offer good for veterans and active duty military, on Monday, November 11th during regular business hours. Choose from a special menu; all entrées inlcude freshly baked garlic sticks and choice of soup or salad. Offer good in US and Canada, proof of service required. Additionally, all current military members and their families are eligible for a 10% discount during the month of November during Military Family Appreciation Month. Olive Garden and the USO to donate 15,000 storybooks to support United Through Reading’s Military Program during this promotion. Locations.

Tim Hortons – all US locations are offering a free donut to all active duty servicemembers and veterans. No purchase necessary. Proof of service required.

Tony Roma's Veterans Day Free MealTony Roma’s, Nov. 11, 2013. Free Entree, up to $15 for current and former military members with valid proof of service. Valid at select locations only. Please call ahead to verify participation. Details.

Twin Peaks Restaurants Veterans DayTwin Peaks, Nov. 11, 2013. Free meal for current and former servicemembers with proof of service or valid ID. Locations.

UNO's pizza Veterans DayUno Chicago Grill, Nov. 11, 2013. Free individual pizza or entrée with the purchase of a pizza or entrée of equal or greater value. Available for all active duty and veterans. No coupon necessary; proof of service required. Find a location near you.

More Veterans Day Discounts! Please click through to Page 2 – Parks and Entertainment and Page 3 – Retail and Regional Discounts to see more Veterans Day deals, including free National Park Admission, Amusement parks, and retail and regional discounts.

Veterans Day Meals and Deals image and all written content copyright this site. All other images copyright their respective restaurant or brand.

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Free Sam’s Club Membership for Military ID Card Holders During Government Shutdown

The government shutdown is causing a multitude of disruptions across the country as many government offices and institutions are shutdown until the spending bill can be passed. Among the programs that have been placed in limbo are many base support facilities, including things such as child care, the Class Six, the Commissary, and more. The closed Commissary worries many military members because the savings on grocery shopping can often be substantial. One major corporation decided to take it upon themselves to help military members and their families during this time.

Sam's Club Military DiscountsSam’s Club has announced that all Sam’s Club locations are offering a membership waiver for all military ID card holders during the government shutdown. This is an excellent benefit for military members and retirees who rely on the Commissary for buying discounted groceries.

Sam’s club is normally a member’s only warehouse, much Like Costco or BJ’s. If you don’t have a Sam’s Club membership, you can often shop there if you are willing to pay a 10% surcharge at the time of checkout. But that service fee is waived for military members during this program.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Military Discount: Free Sam’s Club Access until the government shutdown ends and the Commissaries reopen.
  • Where: All Sam’s Club warehouses.
  • Eligibility: All Military ID Card holders, including active duty, retirees, dependents, Guard, and Reserves.

How to get the discount: Show your military ID at the warehouse entrance where the Sam’s Club employees verify membership. They will direct you to the service desk where you can work out the details with the store employees. The press release also states anyone with proof of prior military service. So you may be able to get a temporary Sam’s Club pass with your DD 214, a VA issued ID Card, or other proof of service.

Keep in mind this is a special offer, so be patient with the service desk employees if they haven’t heard of this program (especially in areas that aren’t close to militarty installations, as there is a smaller militay population and less chance they have had to deal with this).

Find a Sam’s Club near you.

Photo credit: Fan of Retail

Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry – Free Sears Gift Certificate for Active Duty

Note: Registration is today, August 29, 2013 only! You read that correctly – Registration will be open only from 1pm to midnight CST, Thursday, August 29, or until 20,000 registrations are received, whichever comes first. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Visit sears.com/heroesathome.

The 2013 Sears Heroes at Home Wish RegistrySM is an annual event from Sears which provides Sears Gift Certificates to active duty military members and their families to thank them for their sacrifices and help defray the costs of the holidays. Last year, Sears provided $1.1 million dollars worth of gift cards to over 20,000 active duty military members and their families. The program relies upon donated funds at Sears stores and distributes 100% of the funds back into the military community.  To register, you must be an active duty member.

Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry

Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry

Who is Eligible for The Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry

The 2013 Sears Heroes at Home Wish RegistrySM is only available for active duty members and their families (one application per family). This promotion is not open to retirees or veterans. Individuals must be at least 17 years old and on active duty between 29 August 2013 and 3 December 2013, in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Reserves.

How To Register for The Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry

Simply visit the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry website and fill out the registration form (the link does not go live until registration opens). When registering, be sure to use the military member’s name and date of birth exactly as recorded by the US Department of Defense (this is to verify applicants are active duty military members). Do not register using a different family member’s name or information.

2013 Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry – additional information

The Sears Heroes at Home Wish RegistrySM will evenly distribute all donations to registered members in the form of an electronic Sears Gift Card, which can be used at any Kmart, Sears, Great Indoors or Lands’ End merchandise online, in-store, by phone, or through the Wishbook catalog. Registrations close at midnight on August 29th, or whenever 20,000 registrations have been received, whichever occurs first. Electronic gift cards will be distributed on or around December 2nd, 2013.

Tips for Submitting Your Application

This is an extremely popular program and the 20,000 slots fill up very quickly. To increase your odds of getting a gift card, it helps to go to the sign up page as closely to the opening time as possible, and refresh the page if it doesn’t load. There is usually a huge rush of people trying to log in at once, and the servers may have trouble processing all applications at the same time. So it can take patience (I spoke to several people last year who said it took them about 20 minutes of trying before they were able to get accepted). Congratulations if you get a card, and if not, then best of luck with it next year!

Thanks to Sears for supporting the military community!

Military and Veteran Discounts for Cell Phone Service

Cell phone companies are doing everything in their power to keep customers, and sometimes, it works out in the consumer’s favor, especially when it comes to discounts. Almost all of the major cell phone carriers offer military discounts on cell phone service to current, and former servicemembers. It’s not often that veterans are eligible for military discounts, but this is one time when you may just qualify. Let’s take a look at some of the cell phone discounts available to military members and veterans, and some of the common rules to keep in mind.

Military and Veteran Discounts for Cell Phone Service

military discounts on cell phone serviceRules and participation will vary by cell phone provider, so be sure to read the fine print, and ask to speak with a manager when asking for a discount. Here are some common things to keep in mind:

  • Most cell phone companies offer 15% discount to active duty, Guard, Reserves, retirees, and often for veterans as well. These discounts are usually only for the servicemember, though many cell phone carriers will offer the discounts for multiple lines – as long as the service member’s name is the primary name on the account.
  • ID or proof of service is required. Many companies will approve discounts via email with a .mil or .gov email address. Otherwise, you may need a military ID card, VA issued ID Card, drivers license with a veterans designation, or a DD Form 214.
  • Two year service agreement may be required. Some cell phone carriers may extend your service agreement for 2 more years if you are already under contract, but not yet receiving the discount. This usually doesn’t reset your new phone discount, however, so you may still be able to upgrade on schedule. Keep the extension in mind before agreeing to the terms.
  • Ask for a manager if the customer service rep doesn’t give you a discount. Some customer service reps may not be aware of the discounts, or may not have authorization to grant them. Politely ask to speak with a manager. Whatever you do, don’t make a scene. Being polite will get you much further, faster.
  • It may take one or two payment cycles to see your discount. This is common across all carriers.
  • Be sure to compare offers across all carriers. Don’t assume the company you have been with for years or the popular cell phone provider in your region has the best deals. Call around and see which deals are best for your needs. Some people may be better off with a family plan, while others may do better on a prepaid pr pay as you go cell phone plan.

Now let’s take a look at some of the deals offered through major cell phone carriers. if you don’t see your favored provider on this list, just contact them or search their site.

AT&T Military and Veteran Discounts

AT&T offers a 15% discount for military members and veterans on qualified plans (member must be the primary name on the account). Proof of service required, and it make take 2 to 3 months to see the discount show up on your account.

Cricket Wireless Heroes Discount

Cricket Wireless offers a 15% discount for eligible military members and community servicemembers such as policemen and firefighters. Eligible military members include active duty and retirees. Discount only available in stores; no contract required. Find a location near you.

Sprint Military and Veteran Discount

Sprint offers a 15% discount military and veterans discount to current and former members of the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard through their National Value Program (NVP), or through the Sprint Company discount program. I didn’t see any verification of discounts for National Guard or Reserves members, but I am assuming they consider these to be part of the parent organization. In any case, you would have access to a .mil email address or ID card, so you would be able to qualify with one of those items.

These discounts may apply to family plans, so be sure to ask before assuming they will apply to everything. It may also take a cycle or two before you see the discount applied to your bill.

To qualify online, you must send them an email from your .mil address, or provide another proof of service. You may also be able to show your ID in person if you visit a Sprint Retail store. You can also send in required proof of service via fax or email. Visit this link for more information.

  • Discount eligibility: Active Duty, Guard, Reserves, Retirees, Veterans
  • Accepted forms of ID include a military ID card, VA issued Veteran’s ID Card, discharge paperwork, or DD 214.
  • If you don’t currently have a Sprint account, you can view Internet specials here.

T-Mobile Military and Veterans Discounts

Affordable Android™ phonesT-Mobile offers a 15% discount to military members and veterans. Eligible persons include those serving on active duty, Guard/Reserve, retirees, and veterans, with proof of service. Veterans will need to show proof of service, including some form of picture ID or official paperwork. Examples include retiree card, VA issued ID card, DD Form 214, or a state drivers license with veterans designation.

New customers may be eligible to have their activation fee waived, and may be eligible for additional discounts on phones. You can shop for new plans and online only discounts at the T-Mobile website.

How to apply for the 15% discount:

U.S. Cellular Military Discounts

U.S. Cellular offers a 15% discount to active duty service members. U.S. Cellular is one of the few companies listed that only offer the discounts to active duty servicemembers. Retirees, part time Guard and Reserves, and veterans aren’t eligible (though it wouldn’t hurt to ask; you never know!).

  • Discount eligibility: Active Duty, including active duty Guard and Reserves. Part time Guard and Reserves are ineligible.
  • To receive the discount: Call 1-888-944-9400 or 611 from your U.S. Cellular phone.
  • More information.

Verizon Wireless Military Discounts

Verizon offers discounts to military servicemembers and veterans on all plans $34.99 and up. You may also be eligible for discounts on data plans and accessories (up to 25% off Verizon branded accessories). You may be able to add up to five lines on the bill, so long as they are under the service member’s name and they all go to the same address (verify this policy in the event it has changed).

How to get the military discount:

  • Discount eligibility: Active Duty, Guard, Reserves, Retirees, Veterans, and Federal Employees
  • Visit the store in person: Bring your military ID, retiree card, DD Form 214, or other official ID showing proof of service. Ask to speak with a manager if you are not able to get help from the customer service rep.
  • Existing customers applying for the discount online: Submit a copy of your pay stub, employee ID card, Veterans ID Card, or DD Form 214. Do not send a copy of your military ID.

Final Notes about Cell Phone Discounts

Keep in mind corporate policies may change frequently. We do our best to ensure these are accurate at the time of publication, but some policies change without notification. Be sure to verify the deals before signing any agreements, and like joining the military, always get it in writing! If an employee doesn’t give you the discount, be sure to ask nicely to speak with a manger. Finally, many cell phone providers have begun requesting verification to remain in discounted programs. Most companies will ask you to resubmit verification of employment every 24 months or so. Don’t take it personally, it’s just their policy. And in this case, most of the cell phone providers still offer the discounts for veterans, so you most likely wouldn’t lose your discount if you leave active duty. You would just need to provide a copy of your DD Form 214 – which you should always maintain.

Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson

Home Depot and Lowes 10% Military Discount Available Everyday

Home Depot and Lowe’s have long been known to offer a 10% holiday discount to military members and their families, and in many cases veterans and retirees. These promotions were usually limited to the main military holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Veterans Day. Well, no longer – both companies have just announced these offers are available every day of the week! Additionally, you may be able to find discounts online at Lowes.com and savings at HomeDepot.com.

Military Discount Eligibility: Please read the discount information closely, as these discounts may or may not be available to all military veterans on a daily basis.

Home Depot 10% Military Discount

Where one goes the other will follow. Home Depot and Lowe’s are notorious for attempting to undercut their competition, and it is easy to use their deals against each other – try it, just go into a Lowe’s or Home Depot with the flier from the other store and you can almost always get a price match.

The Home Depot 10% military discount was also originally focused on the major veterans holidays, but they followed Lowe’s lead. Again, you should expect to have a proper military ID and except certain limitations on dollar values, online shopping and more. But it’s still a great deal!

Home Depot Military Discount Policy

Some military members and veterans have reported not being able to receive a 10% discount when shopping at Home Depot. I have seen multiple instances where Home Depot advertises the discount, but they don’t officially have the discount listed on their website. An online customer service rep recently gave me this information about Home Depot military discounts:

The Home Depot offers a year-round, 10 percent discount, up to a $500 maximum, at our U.S. stores to all active duty military personnel, reservists, retired or disabled veterans and their immediate families. We offer this discount to thank them for their outstanding service to this nation and to help make their homes more comfortable and safe. Customers requesting the discount should present a valid military ID.

In addition, a 10 percent discount is also offered in recognition of Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Veterans Day at all U.S. Home Depot stores for all other military veterans. (source)

I also contacted a Home Depot customer service rep online and she gave me this response:

We proudly offer Active and Veteran military a 10% discount on their online or in store purchases.  Please contact Online Customer Care at 1-800-430-3376 and place your online order over the phone for a immediate discount or bring your ID to your local Home Depot.  However, this may not be used in combination with any other sale prices or discounts.

This was the first mention I had heard of being able to receive a military discount online, but it’s worth trying to contact Online Customer Care to see if you can get the discount.

Other people have mentioned not being able to receive the discount for in-store purchases. Apparently it often comes down to manager approval, so it is most likely on a store by store basis. Please share your experiences below.

Guaranteed Low Prices…Now Even Lower

HomeDepot.com Coupon Codes

Lowe’s 10% Military Discount Policy

Lowe’s now offers a 10% military discount to all active duty military members, members of the Guard and Reserve, retired military members and their immediate family members. The 10% Lowe’s discount also applies to disabled veterans and their families. Here is the specific discount information:

To qualify for the Everyday 10% Military Discount, you must: Be currently serving in, or retired from, a qualifying branch of the Armed Services, or be the immediate family member of someone who is and have a valid military ID Card. Or: Be a veteran who receives VA benefits and have a valid Veteran Identification Card (VIC).

We honor all Veterans on three specific holidays: Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veterans Day. During these three holiday weekends, we extend the discount to all veterans who served honorably and who present a valid Form DD214 or other proof of service. The Lowe’s Military Discount is extended to the Veteran community on these three holidays only. (source)

To be eligible for the everyday 10% discount you will need a valid, government-issued military ID card. All other military veterans will still be able to receive the discount on the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day weekends. The discount applies to in-stock and special-order purchases up to $5,000, but it excludes sales via Lowes.com and purchases of services or gift cards.

Keep in mind you may be able to find discounts at the Lowe’s.com website. Just follow the link or click on the banner below to access these deals. The best part is that you can view inventory and complete your order online, then visit the store and pick up the item. That way you don’t waste a trip only to find out they didn’t have your item in stock.

Shop Lowes.com

Don’t forget to shop around. If Home Depot or Lowe’s doesn’t honor the military discount, then compare prices with other stores, including playing Home Depot and Lowe’s against each other (they almost always honor coupons and offers from the other store). There are plenty of home improvement coupons available from various stores.

Travel Discounts for Military Members and Veterans

One of the most popular questions we receive is about travel discounts for military members and veterans. While there are some excellent discounts available for eligible military members and veterans, some other discounts can be more difficult to track down, and may not be worth it once you find it. Many companies don’t have express policies for military discounts, and the companies that do may have limitations on availability (for example, the discounts may only apply to active duty members traveling on official military orders).

Let’s take a look at some of the travel discounts out there, and how you can save on your travel, even if you aren’t able to score a military discount.

Military Travel Discounts

military travel discountsTo make things easier, let’s break these discounts into categories, including air travel, lodging and resorts, and everything else.

Discount Airline Tickets: Most airlines offer a military discount, but you won’t find these offers listed on travel websites. You will need to visit the airline website or call their customer service department to get the discounts. Many airlines also waive the checked bag fees for military members, especially when they are traveling on orders. One of the most important things you need to know about military discounts is that they are often only available for active duty or members of the Guard/Reserves, and are sometimes only available when the member is traveling on official orders. Many military discounts for airline travel are also given as a flat percentage off the full-price fare and may not be the best price available. In many cases you can find a better deal through discount travel websites.

Space-A Travel. Space available travel is great in theory, but may be limited in practice. As the government continues to downsize, the availability of Space-A travel becomes more and more limited. In general, Space-A travel is only open to active duty military, members of the Reserve Corps, retirees, and dependents of these groups. There are some scheduled trips which happen like clockwork and can be easy to jump onto, but in general, it is hard to reliably plan on using Space-A travel unless you live close to a participating unit, you have a flexible travel schedule, and you have a solid backup plan (which may include buying a last minute ticket on the economy if your Space-A flight falls through). According to the Air Mobility Command (AMC):

The best resource is to either visit the AMC Travel Site, or contact the nearest military passenger terminal (a list of Passenger Terminals is available on the AMC Travel Site).  The terminal staff will have the most current information.  If you plan to travel Space A, contact the passenger terminal(s) where you plan to depart from.

Here is the Space-A Travel Handbook (pdf) from the AMC.

Discounts on Lodging and Resorts

Hotel Discounts. I have found that most hotel chains will offer military discounts, provided there isn’t a major event going on (for example, you will be hard pressed to get a military discount at a hotel chain in NYC over New Year’s Eve, or a similar time when most hotels are fully booked). Many hotel chains are also willing to cap their rates at the local per diem rate, which can equal a substantial savings, depending on the hotel chain and location. Rates capped at the per diem rate may require official orders, and almost always require an active duty or Guard/Reserve ID card.

Base Lodging. Most decent size bases have lodging available. It is generally available to active duty, retirees, members of the Guard/Reserves, and dependents of these groups. Base lodging is generally much cheaper than hotels on the economy and are usually very clean and well-maintained. Some bases may be off the beaten path in terms of where they are located, but depending on where you are traveling, the cost savings may be worth the small inconvenience.

Military Resorts. The Armed Forces Recreation Centers offer exceptional discounts off comparable locations. Some popular resorts include the:

You can find more information at the Armed Forces Recreation Center website. Other options include the Armed Forces Vacation Club website and Veterans Holidays website. Some of these vacation plans offer exceptional value. Be sure to double check eligibility before making any reservations. In many cases, eligibility is limited to active duty, Guard/Reserve, retirees, and surviving spouses, and the families of those members.

Other Military Travel Discounts

Rental cars. Many rental cars have negotiated rates with government agencies. If you are traveling on official orders, you should be able to get a great rate. You may also be able to get a similar rate if you are on personal business and have a military ID card or retiree. These rates aren’t usually available for those who are no longer serving and didn’t reach retirement.

Savings through the travel websites. Personally, I usually find the best deals by using the travel websites like Travelocity, Priceline, Hotels.com, Expedia, and similar sites. They typically have the best inventory and you can often compare prices between multiple airlines.

Credit cards and rewards programs. Using a travel rewards program can help you earn points and benefits such as free checked bags, priority boarding, free flights, free nights at a hotel, and other perks. These are even better when used in conjunction with a credit card rewards program. Some of the more popular travel credit cards are a joint offering between a credit card company and a specific airline or hotel chain. Many come with a sign up bonus equal to a free flight or several nights stay at a hotel. Some of them have an annual fee (usually waived for the first year, depending on the credit card issuer), and some come with additional perks, such as bonus points for purchases on a branded airline/hotel, free checked bags for you and your party, priority boarding, discounts on flights and merchandise, and other benefits. Some even come with a free flight or free night stay as part of the annual renewal fee, which essentially cancels out your annual fee. Here are some lists of the current credit offers you may find helpful: military credit cards, airline cards, travel cards.

As with all credit cards, be sure to read the fine print before signing up for any deals, and be sure to pay your card in full each month to avoid any fees or interest.

Finding the Best Travel Discounts Takes Time

In my experience, booking the best travel deals requires a little legwork and a lot of patience. If you are traveling on military orders, always check with your unit before booking travel. They may have access to special offers, or may have other requirements.

If you are traveling on your own, then start with your itinerary, and determine whether or not you can work some of the military specific travel options such as Space-A, Armed Forces Recreation Centers, or base lodging into your plans. If you can, then you can usually save a substantial amount of money on your trip. If you aren’t able to work one or more of those into your itinerary, then you can always go look at the travel websites mentioned above. Worst case scenario, you get the same deal everyone else gets.

Best of luck, and safe travels!

Golden Corral Military Appreciation Monday – Free Dinner for Veterans

It has become popular over the last few years for restaurants to offer free meals on Veterans Day. But Golden Corral has one of the longest running military appreciation events among national restaurants. For the last 11 years, Golden Corral has been providing a free buffet meal and drink to current military members and veterans. This year, the 12th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation Monday even is scheduled for November 12, 2012, from 4pm to 9pm.

Golden Corral Military Appreciation Monday

Veterans and active duty servicemembers can receive a free meal at Golden Corral!

Military Appreciation Monday is offered to anyone who has ever served in the US armed forces. In the past the only requirement to receive the free meal was to inform the restaurant you are a veteran. They usually go on the honor system, and no proof required. That being said – please don’t abuse the system. Claiming you are a veteran just for a free meal is an insult to those who have served our country.

Here is more information about proving your military service:

These forms of ID are usually acceptable for most restaurants or Veterans Day offers. Many other places will accept a membership card from the VFW, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of American, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, or another service organization. A photo of your time in the service may also be sufficient proof of service, depending on the location.

Golden Corral Military Appreciation Monday Facts

Golden Corral has been a wonderful supporter of the military community – providing millions of free meals to veterans and servicemembers, and contributing millions of dollars to support veteran organizations. Here are a few amazing facts about Golden Corrals’ support:

  • Last year, Golden Coral provided over 375,000 free meals for veterans and active duty service members. Guests and restaurants combined to contribute over $1,035,000 for the Disabled American Veterans organization. These funds are used to assist disabled veterans.
  • In the 11 years this event has been running, Golden Corral has given veterans and active duty servicemembers over 3.2 million free dinners, and contributed over $6.1 million to the the Disabled American Veterans organization.

I would like to extend my thanks to the folks at Golden Corral for making this possible, and to all Americans who have served – thank you for your service.

For more details, visit Golden Corral’s website.

Vet Tix – Veteran Tickets Foundation

I was recently introduced to Vet Tix, an organization that supports active duty military members, veterans, and their families by offering them free tickets to sporting events, concerts, and other events. Vet Tix, or The Veteran Tickets Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Michael A Focareto, a veteran of the US Navy (the majority of the support staff are also veterans and those who are not veterans all have family ties to the military).

Free Tickets for Military Members, Veterans, and their Families

Vet Tix - Veteran Tickets FoundationI love how Vet Tix includes veterans. Many organizations limit discounts and freebies to active duty, Guard / Reserve, and retirees. Part of the reason many organizations limit support to these groups of people is because it can be difficult to prove military service. Vet Tix gets around this by requiring members to create an account and send in proof of service. Let’s take a look at how to create an account (note: you are limited to only one account; duplicates will be flagged and deleted):

Qualifying for a Veteran Tickets Foundation account: You must have a verified account before you are able to log in and request tickets to events. This is a manual process which usually takes about 3 business days. To qualify, you must have served honorably in one of the following branches of service, or you must be the spouse or PNOK (Primary Next of Kin) of a veteran who was killed in action.

  • Coast Guard (including Reserves)
  • Marine Corps (including Reserves)
  • Air Force (including Air Guard and Reserves)
  • Navy (including Reserves)
  • Army (including National Guard and Reserves)

Supporting documentation required: You must also provide proof of honorable service. Here is how to apply:

  • Active duty. All you need to do is register with your .mil e-mail address, and you will be good to go. If you are unable to register with your e-mail address, you can provide a copy of your most recent Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), and a copy of a valid government photo ID (do not send a copy of your military ID). You can provide this information via mail, fax, or by uploading it to their site.
  • Veterans. To create an account, you will need to send in a copy of your DD Form 214, DDD Form 215, DD Form 256, or NGB Form 22, along with a copy of a valid government photo ID after you sign up. Your discharge papers must prove you received an Honorable Discharge. Note: Be sure to cover your SSN when you send in your discharge paperwork; this is more secure.
  • Severely Wounded Veterans. Veterans who were Severely Wounded in Combat and received a Purple Heart are required to send in the same information as veterans, along with some additional information: point of contact information for their case worker at the VA Hospital, Wounded Warrior Battalion or Warrior Transition Unit, as well as a point of contact at their current/former military command. (I’m not sure what the difference is, as I didn’t see anything else about this on their site).
  •  Spouse or Primary Next of Kin of KIA. Survivors of veterans must submit a Report of Casualty Form 1300 with a valid government photo ID after signing up. The name of the person applying must be on the DD Form 1330.

All required documents can be mailed, faxed, or uploaded to their system. If you cannot find your required documentation, you can learn more about ordering a replacement DD Form 214, or requesting a copy of your military records.

You can read all of the rules on their signup page.

Tickets go fast – be sure to check often!

Because Veteran Tickets Foundation is a non-profit organization, they rely on donations of tickets and funds to make this work. You can make a tax-deductible donation to this organization, or you can support them in other ways. If you sign up for an account, be aware that tickets can be random. Some organizations regularly support this organization by providing a large number of tickets, while others may only send a few tickets. It’s important to stay up to date and be flexible when making plans.

Overall, this is a great organization, and one that is doing great things for our military community. We salute you, Vet Tix!

Free Admission to National Parks for Military Members and Their Families

Military members and their families and their dependents are now eligible to receive a free annual pass to U.S. National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands. Beginning May 19, 2012, all active duty military members and their families can receive the free annual pass with proper identification – a Common Access Card (CAC) for the military member and DD Form 1173 for dependents (see more info about getting a replacement military ID card if you need a new one).

How to get a free annual pass: You must apply for the free pass in person at the National Park or Federal Recreation Land with your ID in hand.

Free US National Park Admission for military members

Get out and see America!

What is covered with the free pass? Passes cover entrance to Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service sites that charge Entrance Fees, and Standard Amenity Fees at Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation sites.

The pass covers admission for the annual pass owner and the passengers in their vehicle (up to 3 adults per vehicle, age 16 and over; no charge for children under age 16).

Are free passes available for veterans? Unfortunately, no. This offer is good for active duty servicemembers and their dependents. There may be discounts for veterans depending on location, and there are also discounts available to seniors: those age 62 and over can apply for a Senior Pass.

Veterans with a permanent disability can apply for an Access Pass, which is a free lifetime pass which can be obtained in person from a participating Federal recreation site or office or by mail.

What else do I need to know? Passes are good for one year after they are issued (to the end of the month in which they were issued). The pass has two signature lines, and is only god once it is signed. It must be signed by the service member, and may also be signed by a dependent. The pass is non-transferrable, so it is only good for the person it is issued to (or the other dependent who signed the pass). Dependents can use the pass without the service member present as long as they have signed the document.

The pass only allows entrance to the passengers in one non-commercial vehicle (age limits given above). There are exceptions for motorcycles and bicycles- the pass may cover admission for two people on separate motorcycles if both members signed the card, otherwise, only the person who signed the card will receive  free admission. The pass will cover up to 4 people on bicycles.

The pass does not cover extended amenities such as camping, boat launching, parking, special tours, special permits or ferries.

Get out and see America! This is a great way for service members and their families to visit some of America’s natural wonders without worrying about breaking the bank to do so (some annual passes cost upwards of $80 per year). ake advantage of this opportunity to visit your National Parks for free if you are an active duty member of the military or dependent.

More info: National Parks Free Military Pass.

Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ.

How to Get a Military Discount

Many companies offer military discounts, which is an awesome way to show their appreciation for all military veterans have done for our country. As a veteran, I certainly appreciate the gesture, and I try to thank the company offering the discount whenever it is possible. As well intentioned as the military discounts are, however, they sometimes cause problems because there is no general standard among stores regarding discount eligibility. In this article we will cover some helpful information about military discounts, including how to get them, how to find “hidden” military discounts, what to expect, and what to do if the discount isn’t honored.

How to get a Military Discount

Follow these tips for getting a military discount

Military Discount Eligibility

Let’s start off with the most important topic – who is eligible for a military discount. This is probably the most debated topic I’ve seen regarding military discounts. Unfortunately, there isn’t one standard. The important thing to remember is that stores aren’t required to give military discounts – it’s a privilege, not a right. The stores set the rules, and we as veterans, should honor the standards set by the stores. Let’s take a look at some different groups of people who are commonly offered military discounts at various locations:

  • Active duty military
  • Current Guard / Reserve
  • Retirees
  • Military dependents (anyone with a DoD issued military or dependent ID)
  • Veterans (proof of service may or may not be required)

As you can see, there is a wide range of people in this list. And it doesn’t always make sense. Many stores which offer military discounts do so out of generosity, but sometimes their policies are made without understanding how the military ID card system works (they don’t understand there isn’t a standard for a national veterans ID card). As a result, some military discount policies are misguided.

For example, some stores offer discounts for dependents of active duty service members or retirees, while they don’t offer discounts for veterans who served, but are no longer on active duty and didn’t reach retirement (this group of people represents the largest group of veterans).

I will be the first to say that it doesn’t make sense to give a military discount to someone who never wore the uniform, then deny it to someone who served, but didn’t retire. Yes, spouses and dependents make sacrifices on the home front, but they don’t warrant greater recognition than someone who served in a combat zone, but didn’t remain in the military through retirement. (I am qualified to make this statement as I both both served in a combat zone, and was a military spouse after I separated from the military – my wife served on active duty while I was a civilian).

But here is the kicker: it doesn’t matter what you or I think – we don’t make the rules. The stores make the rules, and as this is an act of generosity on their part, it’s always best to honor their wishes.

Finding Hidden Military Discounts

Many stores publicize military discounts, while others don’t announce them publicly. You will be surprised how often companies will offer you a military discount if you just ask for it. All it takes is a simple question while you are ordering or checking out. Just ask, “do you offer a military discount?” In some cases you will be told no, but sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised. Just ask, and always thank the person if you receive a discount. And if not, no hard feelings. Remember, this is an act of generosity on their part, not a right veterans deserve.

*Bonus tip: Your odds of success increase substantially when asking for a military discount on a military related holiday, such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Veterans Day or other national holidays. In fact, many stores don’t offer military discounts, except on these holidays.

Proving Military Service

After determining eligibility, the next most important thing is to be able to prove you served in the military. If you are on active duty, or are a retiree, then this likely isn’t a problem, as you should have a military ID Card. But proving military service can be a lot more difficult for a military veteran who didn’t retire, and isn’t receiving disability from the VA.

Unfortunately, there is no standard for proving military service, outside of carrying around a DD Form 214. And this isn’t always a good idea as it has your Social Security Number and other personal information on it. There are a few ways you can get a veteran ID card, but keep in mind there is no federal standard for veterans ID cards.

Some examples of veteran identification include DD Form 214, VA issued ID card, state driver’s license if it shows proof of military service, locally issued veterans ID cards, VFW or American Legion membership card, and sometimes other cards, depending on your situation. Again, because there is no standard, some stores don’t always accept non-official forms of military ID.

Need proof of service? If you served in the military, but don’t have any records to prove it, you can get a copy of your DD Form 214 or a copy of your service records form the National Archives. Both are free and easy to do, and can help you prove your military service.

What to Do if a Store Doesn’t Honor a Military Discount

As mentioned above, some military discounts are seemingly misguided regarding who is eligible, and who is not. But it isn’t for us to make that judgment. As military discounts are made out of the generosity of the store offering the discount, it’s in our best interest as veterans to accept a discount with humble thanks when it is offered, and be understanding when it is declined.

If you believe you should be eligible for a discount, then politely ask to speak with a manager and explain the situation. But always be sure to fully understand the company’s policies on military discounts before doing so (and keep in mind policies may change at any time, so be sure to be up to date).

One of the biggest complains we have heard is about Home Depot and Lowes discounts. These companies offer military discounts everyday, however, they have changed the eligibility a few times, so the military discounts may only be available to a segment of the military and veteran population. Be sure to review their corporate policies before arguing with management about the discount you are “entitled to.” Here is the Lowe’s corporate policy.

Remember, military discounts are an act of generosity, not a right. It is never worth making a scene over getting a military discount.

Do you have any other tips on asking for or receiving military discounts?