A week after my 50th birthday, my insurance agent called and advised me to join AARP. I was startled, somewhat insulted. Was I suddenly looking old? She explained, honest person that she was, that by joining the organization, I could get better deals on certain types of insurance than she could offer. Now I was intrigued. While old age is certainly not for sissies, it is a place where the word “discount” suddenly looms large. I joined AARP and have found benefits and discounts aplenty, on everything from hotel rooms (Best Western, Choice and DoubleTree among others) to auto rentals to services at my local UPS store.
I’m not alone. AARP reports that 80% of its 37 million members take advantage of its discounts and deals every year.
But wait – there’s more. You don’t have to join anything to take advantage of senior discounts. The website Senior Discounts lists thousands of offers available to the 50-and-older set. In addition to discount lists, full-length articles explain restrictions and giving tips. For example, the article listing movie chains that offer discounts also gives useful information on restrictions and differences among individual theaters within national chains.
Once upon a time, most, if not all, airlines offered senior discounts in a straightforward fashion. Discounts still exist, barely. You have to work to find them, and they are often limited to certain flights and/or certain times. More important, they may not be cheaper than standard adult fares found online. For example, here’s what United Airlines states: United offers senior fares to selected travel destinations for passengers who are 65 and older. Ask for more details on these great fares when you make your reservation or select the seniors (age 65 and older) category when you make your booking on united.com. (I did this when I searched a flight I wanted to take – and found no discount.)
On the other hand, if you’re traveling by train and you’re 62 or older, you can almost always get a 15% discount on Amtrak.
Greyhound gives seniors (62+) 5% discounts on unrestricted fairs.
Some car rental companies offer senior discounts (usually 10%); some only offer them to AARP members. Again, these may not be better than discounts offered during online promotions. Call the company you prefer for current information, as it does change periodically.
Since food and drink make up a big chunk of most budgets, it’s good to know that many supermarket chains offer senior discounts (usually at age 60-62, sometimes at 50-55) on certain shopping days (often Tuesday). A&P Supermarkets, for example, have Senior Appreciation Tuesdays when 5% discounts are offered to shoppers 55 or older on orders of $30 or more; an online coupon must be printed out and presented along with the A&P Club Card. Check your local supermarkets to learn which offer similar discounts.
Department store discounts can yield terrific savings, especially as the holiday shopping season approaches. Kohl’s, for example, offers a 15% discount every Wednesday for customers age 60 or older; they ask that seniors bring proof of age to receive the discount.
Charity shops have also joined the senior discount bandwagon. Goodwill gives seniors (55+) a whopping 25% discount on Mondays and 15% on all other days. (Discounts can’t be used in conjunction with other deals — like the 50% off sale Saturday discounts.)
Some drug store chains offer discounts. For example, Walgreens does Senior Savings Days once a month, with 20% off on all Walgreens, W Brand, Well Beginnings and Nice products (15% off almost everything else) to shoppers 55 or older.
At Rite Aid pharmacies, the first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to in-store senior (age 65 and up) events and savings including 20% off non-prescription purchases for all wellness65+ members (free sign up).
Many, many restaurants give seniors a break. IHOP actually has a senior (55+) menu, though other chains simply offer 5% to 10% discounts. For a list of restaurants and the deals they offer, check out Brad’s Deals.
Bottom Line: Senior discounts are so common these days that it pays to ask for one wherever you shop, dine and travel.