(Updated May 18)
May is a month when many businesses offer discounts to show their appreciation for military service. We’re maintaining a running list and will be updating it all month long, so check back for deals offered by restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues, retail establishments and other businesses. If we’re missing any, email Senior Reporter Karen Jowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take note: Some of these establishments offer deals year-round. Once you find your deal, check out our “before you go” advice at the bottom of the page to maximize your experience.
Brooklyn Bedding: The manufacturer of custom mattresses recently launched a year-round nationwide 25 percent military discount program on any sleep product, including mattresses and electric adjustable bases. The discount is offered online (click the Troop ID button at checkout) and at their retail stores (show military ID or work with an associate for verification through ID.me at checkout.) The discount includes free shipping on all orders. Those eligible are active-duty and National Guard members, veterans, spouses and dependents.
Commissaries: Sidewalk sales are being offered at varying times at commissaries worldwide through May 31. Every commissary will have an outdoor sidewalk sale, offering discounts and deals above the regular commissary savings.
For information about your local commissary’s sidewalk sales, head here. A number of military exchanges will hold sales events in conjunction with commissaries.
GovX: This shopping site, open to current and former military members and first responders, is offering additional discounts throughout the month, with deals updating every 48 hours. Brands such as Vortex Optics, Under Armour, Oakley, Benchmade, Garmin, Ray-Ban, 5.11 Tactical, Hydro Flask, Grunt Style and others are included through out the month. The month ends with a five-day “blowout” sale.
A number of Major League Baseball teams have partnered to provide bonuses for GovX members; any member who buys baseball tickets by May 14 will have a chance to win free tickets plus extra perks (such as autographed items and/or watching batting practice from the field) for a future game. The list of teams can be found here. Membership in GovX is free for those eligible.
Harley-Davidson: Current and former military personnel and their spouses can take the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course for $99. Register and sign up for an eligible course that ends on or before Sept. 30.
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.
Lowe’s: To get a 10 percent year-round 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.
Sherwin-Williams: Military and veterans can get an additional 10 percent discount at Sherwin-Williams retail stores during May, on top of the year-round 15 percent military discount. Customers must show proof of service; veterans without a military ID should call ahead to their local store to find out what proof is needed.
Beer Park:Year-round 10 percent military discount at the Paris Las Vegas restaurant; also a free Budweiser draft beer with military ID through the day on Tuesday, May 1.
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.
Cabo Wabo Cantina: Active military and veterans receive a 20 percent discount off all menu item purchases, with military ID at this Las Vegas restaurant. Veterans contact the restaurant ahead to determine what proof of service is needed.
Fort Willow: The Chicago restaurant offers a free “Big Bite” sandwich for active duty and retired military personnel each Wednesday throughout May.
Freed’s Bakery: Active military and veterans receive a free Freed’s signature cupcake from Tuesday, May 1 through Tuesday, May 8, with military ID. In addition, throughout May, they can receive a 10 percent discount on all desserts at this Las Vegas bakery, which is featured on Food Network’s “Vegas Cakes.” Veterans should contact the bakery ahead to find out what proof of service is accepted.
Houlihan’s: Active military with a military ID receive 15 percent discount on food purchase, now year-round.
Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant: Veterans and active-duty military service members who present a valid military ID will receive a 20-percent discount on Tuesday, May 1, and a 10 percent discount throughout the month of May, at this Las Vegas restaurant. Veterans contact the restaurant ahead to determine what proof of service they’ll accept.
Therapy Las Vegas: Military, active members and veterans with a valid military ID receive a 10 percent discount off their entire bill, and all menu items are included. Veterans should contact the restaurant ahead of time to determine what proof of service they’ll accept.
Hilton: Participating hotels, including the extended-stay brands ― Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites ― are offering a 10 percent discount to all active, 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 or Plan Code “MFR/PGMFR1”. You must present your current military ID card at check-in.
MGM Resorts International: Military members, veterans and their families are eligible for year-round discounts at certain locations through the Military & Veterans Program, or MVP. It offers a 10 percent discounts on rooms at 17 resorts around the country, and a 10 percent discount on certain food and beverage purchases at select restaurants, bars and dining destinations. A 25 percent spa discount is available at 12 of the resorts. Some additional discount programs are offered in May, such as a free ticket to the 10:30 p.m. May 9 Military Appreciation Month performance of the adult revue Fantasy at the Las Vegas Luxor Hotel and Casino.
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 606732 when booking online or when calling 800-RED-ROOF (800-733-7663).
Westgate Resorts: Military members receive 10 percent off the best available rate year-round.
American Century Championship: Military and veterans can reserve free tickets for the 29th annual American Century Championship, which takes place July 10-15 in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Those qualified can reserve one free ticket and one free guest ticket for each day of the celebrity golf tournament.
The offer is valid only with online registration before the event. When redeeming the ticket at the tournement, a DoD ID or photo ID is required along with ticket voucher.
Blue Star Museums:This annual program offers free admission to participating museums around the country during the summer, for active-duty, Guard and reserve personnel and up to five family members, The 2018 program begins May 26 and ends Sept. 3. It’s a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Defense Department, and more than 2,000 museums across the country.
The link above includes a searchable-by-state list of participating museums, and is updated as more sign on. Retirees and veterans should check with their museum of interest to see if it offers any reduced or special rates.
Kings Dominion: Free admission to military and veterans, and discounted tickets for their families, on Memorial Day weekend (May 26-28) at this Virginia theme park. Show military ID or DD-214 at the front gate.
The rest of the year, active and retired military can get discounts on single day general admission tickets; up to six tickets can be purchased at the gate with a valid military ID.
Kings Island: Free admission to military and veterans and discounted tickets for up to six family members ($34 per ticket) on Memorial Day weekend (May 25-28) at this Ohio amusement and water park. Present valid military ID at the park. (Veterans check ahead of time to see what proof of service is needed.)
National Park Service: Active-duty military members and their dependents are eligible for a free military annual pass to any national park that usually charges a fee.
The Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium: Year-round, active and reserve military members with a valid military ID can receive free general admission tickets and a 50 percent discount for up to three family members in the same transaction, available at the admissions booth. Military discounts not available on Wednesdays at the zoo; at the aquarium, they are not available on summer Fridays after 4 p.m. or on fall Fridays after 3 p.m.
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.
Vail Resorts:Active and retired military and their dependents are eligible for the $99 Military Epic Pass for the 2018-2019 ski season, an almost 90 percent discount on the regular $899 price of their Epic Pass for unlimited and unrestricted access to the company’s 14 owned and operated ski resorts. Veterans and their adult dependents can buy an Epic Pass for $499, a 40 percent discount. Veterans’ children passes are $269. Detailed information about the discount and registering is here.
Valleyfair: Active, reserve or retired military members can receive free admission into this Minnesota park during Memorial Day, Military Appreciation Days and July 4 with proof of service. Tickets can only be purchased at the ticket booth on the day of the visit. At other times, Valleyfair offers a discounted admission price of $32.
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 4 million tickets.
Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream: Active and retired military with a military ID can see this show free at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1 at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino’s Sin City Theatre in Las Vegas. In addition, throughout May, there’s a buy-one, get-one free ticket deal for veterans and active-duty service members. Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream is at 7 p.m. from Saturday through Thursday, with tickets starting at $49 for general admission and $69 for VIP, excluding tax and box office fees.
XCYCLE/XENXEN Las Vegas: Active duty and veterans receive a 50 percent off all class packages at both the high-end cycle studio and yoga boutique. Military members are invited to participate in the complimentary and specialty ‘Battle Ride’ at XCYCLE on May 6 at 12:15 p.m.
Verizon: Military and veterans can get a 15 percent monthly discount all year on the Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited, or a 15 percent discount off other plans’ monthly account service fee. They also offer a 25 percent discount on certain accessories when buying them online through My Verizon.
T-Mobile: New permanent discount program, T-Mobile ONE Military, for military, veterans and their families, and veteran-owned small businesses. The first line is $55 a month with AutoPay, normally $70. After that, the lines are discounted 50 percent, with the second line at $25, and $10 per line for the third through sixth lines. Also, through May 31, anyone on the T-Mobile One Military plan can get a Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ or S8 Active at half the regular price. Visit T-Mobile stores nationwide or call 800-TMobile (800-866-2453).
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 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.