As a foreign national, something that I have always loved about the US is the collective effort to respect the country’s service members. From individual praise and acts of kindness, to the sheer volume of popular charities that support troops, it is truly heartwarming to see a society that really loves its military. Honoring the military is something that many companies are passionate about, and that often manifests itself in military discounts: A gesture of 10% that says “thank you” in a small, but not insignificant, way.
Whether or not you personally feel comfortable doing so, it’s not impolite to gently ask if a retailer offers military discounts for service members and their dependents. They’re there for a reason! Having worked in retail for several years, it was always a pleasure to give a small discount to military families when I was able to.
There are three simple, golden rules to bear in mind when enquiring about military discounts: Always ask, always be polite, and always carry your military ID! The second and third “rules,” of course, should be second nature to all of us. But it’s also important to bear in mind that politely asking should never be considered rude to the person taking your order, ringing up your items, or working on the door. Almost all employees will be happy to help, if it fits with their company policy! Furthermore, the only way to receive a discount is to enquire about it.
That said, it’s definitely nice to be informed before you visit, so we compiled this list of several nationwide shops, restaurants, hotels and parks that proudly offer year-round discounts to service members, and often their families, too.
National Parks — Free annual pass to U.S. military members and dependents.
San Diego Zoo — Active duty military go free, and dependents get 10% off.
Seaworld Parks — Seaworld Parks’ “Waves of Honor” program gives free admission and discounts to military personnel and families at many locations, including Busch Gardens (Tampa and Williamsburg), Seaworld San Diego, and Adventure Island Tampa.
Six Flags — The park often runs Military Appreciation Days, giving complimentary admission for active duty members, plus up to three dependents.
See Restaurants military discounts on the next page!