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It’s no secret that traveling can be very expensive. Booking free travel with miles and points earned from the best travel credit cards may not always be an option, and costs for hotels and airfare tend to add up very quickly, especially if you’re buying multiple tickets for family members.
Fortunately, there are still ways you can save money on travel! Many airlines and hotels offer travel discounts for students, seniors, and those part of a large group. Members of the military and government employees are also eligible to receive discounted rates on hotels and airfare.
If you fall under one of these categories, we’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of airlines and hotels that offer travel discounts to help you save you hard-earned cash!
Groups Eligible for Travel Discounts
As valuable as miles and points can be, sometimes you don’t have a choice but to pay out of pocket for travel. Perhaps you have a last-minute flight and there’s are no available award seats, or the hotel you want to book does not take any of your points.
Fortunately, if you’re a member of one of the following groups, you could be eligible for significant travel discounts for hotels and airfare.
Military & Government Personnel Discounts
As a way of thanking military members for their service, many companies offer discounts for military personnel and their families, and many offer these deals with a simple verification of your military status, such as:
- Active duty ID card
- Veteran ID card
- Military dependent ID
- Retiree military ID card
- Guard/Reserve military ID card
The following is list of airlines and hotels that offer discounts for military personnel and their families:
Military Airline Discounts
|Allegiant||• Up to 3 checked bags free of charge. Each bag must be <100 pounds|
• No charge for oversized checked baggage
• 1 carry-on bag free of charge, within Allegiant size limits
• Free boarding pass printing at airport
• Free seat assignments (subject to availability)
• Up to 1 pet in-cabin free
• Active military receives priority boarding free of charge
• No change or cancellation fees for active military due to change in orders
|• Discounts are available for US active duty, reserve duty, and National Guard
• US military veterans, spouses, or dependents of US active duty/reserve military/National Guard receive the same benefits, with the exception that the 3 free checked bags discount is limited to 40 pounds per bag
|Alaska Airlines||• Free carry-on bag|
• First 5 checked bags free, then $100
• No overweight bag free up to 70 pounds, then $100
|• Discounts available for active duty US military and US military dependents on travel orders|
|American Airlines||• Up to 3 checked bags free of charge|
• Up to 5 free checked bags for active US military and/or dependents traveling on orders
|• Available for active US military on personal travel, and active US military and/or dependents traveling on orders|
|Delta||• Airfare discounts available by calling the Delta Military and Government Desk at 800-325-1771|
• If traveling on military orders, 5 free checked bags with a 100 pound allowance per bag
• For personal travel, 2 free checked bags with 50 pound allowance per bag (First Class, Delta One, and Delta Premium Select are allowed 3 free checked bags up to 70 pounds each)
|• Discounts available for active duty US military|
|JetBlue||• 5% discount on airfare when enrolled through the Veterans Advantage program|
• 5% discount on airfare for active duty military personnel not traveling on orders
• 2 free checked bags each for you and your dependents when traveling for leisure
• 5 free checked bags each for you and your dependents when traveling on orders
|• Discounts available for active duty military only|
|Southwest||• Different ticket types are offered for military and government personnel, but they are not published online|
• Call 800-I-FLY-SWA to inquire about discounts
|• Discounts available to military and government personnel. Call 800-I-FLY-SWA for details|
|United Airlines||• 5% discount on tickets purchased through united.com||• Discounts available for US military veterans, active duty military, National Guard, and Reserve members
• Family members are also eligible
Military Hotel Discounts
|Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa||• Up to a 15% discount for active and retired members of the military||• Discount available for active and retired members of the military; family members included|
|Best Western||• 10% or more||• Exclusive discounts available for veterans, military, and government personnel|
|Extended Stay America||• Receive rates at or below 75% of Per Diem when staying consecutively for 31 nights or more||• Discounts available for military and government personnel|
|Great Wolf Lodge||• Up to 30% off regular room rates||• Discount applies to all military, fire EMS, and law enforcement personnel|
|Hyatt||• Save 10 to 15% at participating Hyatt hotels||• Discount available to veterans, active duty armed service members, and their immediate family members|
|Hawaiian Inn||• Save up to 25%||• Available for all active and retired military personnel|
|La Quinta||• 12% discount||• Military members and their families are eligible for discounted room rates|
|Motel 6||• Up to 10%||• Discounts available for active and retired military personnel and their families|
|Red Roof Inn||• 10% for government and military official travel|
• 10% for government and military leisure travel
• 10% for government contractors
• 10% for military friends and family
• 20% through the VetRewards program
|• Discounts are available for military and government personnel, family, and friends|
|Super 8||• 20% discount||• Discounts available for active and retired military members, veterans, and their families|
- Student Universe: If you are a student between the ages of 18 and 25, you can receive special discounts on flights and hotels
- STA Travel: Flights are available for all ages here, but certain itineraries have special rates for students under the age of 26
- CheapOair: Those between the ages of 16 and 25 may be eligible to receive special discounts when booking through their website
- Generation Fly: Lufthansa’s student travel program, you’re eligible as long as you provide an eligible .edu email address
- Travel Cuts: A Canadian-based student travel agency, you’ll be able to book a number of flights, hotels, and other travel-related tours and guides through the website
- Student Advantage Card: By paying a low annual fee, you’ll receive tons of travel discounts, including 10 to 50% savings over sites like Expedia, Orbitz, and Priceline
It may also pay off to carry your student ID card with you when you travel, because you never know which shops or retailers may have student discounts. For example, on my recent trip to Italy, I received a student discount for museum tickets when I presented my University of California graduate-level student ID card.
As a student, you may also want to consider applying for an ISIC card. ISIC stands for International Student Identity Card, and is the only internationally-recognized student ID. The ID is available in both plastic and mobile versions, allowing you to instantly provide proof of your status as a student. Furnishing this card at certain retailers and travel agencies could qualify you for even more discounts, and you’re eligible to apply for the card as long as you’re a full-time student over the age of 12.
Senior Airline Discounts
|AARP Travel Center||• Discounts vary||• As a member of AARP, you’ll receive special discounts on top of the great rates already offered through Expedia|
|British Airways||• Save up to $200 on flights||• AARP members can save up to $200 on travel booked by January 31, 2019, for travel through December 31, 2019|
|Delta||• Contact Delta Reservations to check availability of discounts||• Senior discounts are not available on delta.com, and are available in certain markets only|
|Southwest||• Discounts vary based on itinerary||• Senior discounts available to those age 65 and over|
|United AIrlines||• Discounts vary based on itinerary||• Senior discounts available to those age 65 and over to select travel destinations|
Senior Hotel Discounts
|AARP Travel Center||• Up to 10% off select hotels||• As a member of AARP, you’ll receive special discounts on top of the great rates already offered through Expedia|
|Best Western||• Save up to 15%||• Guests age 55+ can save up to 15%|
|Choice Hotels||• Save up to 10%||• AARP members are eligible to receive up to a 10% discount on hotel rates|
|Marriott||• Save at least 15%||• Discount is offered to those age 62+|
|Dolce Hotels and Resorts||• Save 10% at participating locations||• AARP members are eligible to receive this senior discount|
|Hilton||• Save up to 10%||• Discounts available to AARP members|
|La Quinta||• Save up to 10%||• Discounts available to AARP members|
|Motel 6||• Save up to 10%||• Discounts available to those age 60+|
|Red Roof Inn||• 10% discount||• Discounts available to those age 59+|
|Intercontinental Hotels Group||• Varies||• Discounts on the non-discounted room rate at any participating hotel in the U.S. and Canada will be available to guests who are 62 years of age or older or with valid membership ID of a retired persons organisation|
|Radisson Hotel Group||• Varies||• Discounts available to those age 60+
• ID/Certificate required at check-in
|Hyatt||• Varies||• Discounts available to those age 62 and above, must show ID at check-in.|
|Andaz Hotels||• Varies||• Discounts available to those age 62 and above, must show ID at check-in.|
Group Airline Discounts
|Alaska Airlines||• Discounts vary based on travel itinerary. Call the Alaska Airlines Group Desk at 800-445-4435||• Groups of 10 or more traveling on the same flights and dates are eligible for a group discount
• Groups of 20 or more traveling separately are also eligible for a group discount
|American Airlines||• Discount varies. Contact American Airlines at 800-221-2255||• Groups of 10 or more are eligible for a group discount by contacting American Airlines|
|Delta||• Discount varies. Contact Delta Group Specialists at 800-532-4777||• Groups of 10 or more traveling on the same flight are eligible for group discounts|
|JetBlue||• Discounts vary.|
• Groups of 8 to 9 people can contact JetBlue Reservations at 800-JETBLUE
• Groups of 10 or more traveling within the next 60 days can obtain a quote by calling 800-JETBLUE
• Groups of 10 or more traveling more than 60 days out must submit a request online
|• Groups as few as 8 people are eligible for group discounts|
|Southwest||• Discounts vary. Contact Group Travel Services at 800-433-5368 for a quote||• Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more|
|United Airlines||• Discounts vary. To obtain a quote, you may fill out a form online, or contact United Groups at 800-426-1122||• Discounts available for groups of 10 or more|
Group Hotel Discounts
|Groople||• Discounts vary||• Group-ready rates can be booked online for a number of hotels depending on your travel itinerary.
• Personalized customer service is available to accommodate any special requests
|Marriott||• Discounts vary. Bookings can be made online||• You can reserve 10-25 rooms online, in addition to event space for up to 50 guests|
|Hampton Inn||• Discounts vary. Bookings can be made online||• Offers online tools help you keep track of your guest list, pick rooms and check to see who’s already booked their rooms.
• Offers step-by-step planning guides and custom group websites to help you stay on top of it all.
|Extended Stay America||• Discounts vary||• Group discounts are available when you book 10 or more rooms at any of their 600+ locations!|
|Choice Hotels||• Discounts vary||• Group discounts are available when you book 10 or more rooms at any of their 6,800+ locations!
• Tool to easily manage groups
|HotelPlanner||• Discounts vary||• Save up to 77% with Group Hotel Rates|
|Hyatt||• Discounts vary||• Group rates are set by a contract with the hotel|
Tips for Planning Your Travel
1. Create a Budget
Travel expenses tend to add up very quickly, so it’s a good idea to create a budget to help you keep your spending under control. Try to think about things like eating out, tickets for museums and other attractions, and transportation expenses. After all, it’s almost a moot point if you save money on airfare and hotels, only to blow your savings elsewhere on the trip!
2. Shop Around
This can actually apply to your regular day-to-day expenses at home, but it can be particularly handy when you’re traveling! By shopping around, you could find a better deal elsewhere and save much of your hard-earned cash. A few dollars saved here and there can really add up over the course of a trip!
3. Travel During Off-Peak Season
Prices for airlines and hotels can fluctuate greatly throughout the year. Many companies change their prices according to the busy season. If you’re short on cash, it may be worthwhile to travel during off peak season.
Sure, the weather may not be as nice, but you’ll still be able to travel, and at a substantial discount. Plus, you probably won’t have to deal with the huge tourist crowds that peak season often brings.
4. Combining Miles and Points With Discounts
If you’re looking to save even more money, you can always try combining any travel discounts you receive with your miles and points! For instance, if you have one of the best airline credit cards, you could redeem your miles for flights and spend your cash on discounted hotels.
Traveling can be pricey, but you can save quite a bit of money if you know where to look. When miles and points or rewards earned from top travel credit cards are not an option, you can still score serious discounts on airfare and hotels if you’re a student, senior, or purchasing tickets as part of a large group.
Discounts are also available for members of the military, government personnel, and their families, which can make it easier to reunite loved ones without breaking the bank.
We hope you found this guide helpful. Let us know if you’ve had any experience with requesting these special discounts!