You don’t have to be an octogenarian to enjoy senior discounts.
In fact, you can often start cashing in well before retirement age–often as young as 55, and sometimes even 50.
In fact many “senior” discounts are available through membership in the AARP, which anyone age 50 or older can join (membership runs around $16 a year, though the first year is often discounted).
And, the earlier you start taking advantage of senior discounts, the more money you could potentially put into retirement savings, which could lead to a more comfortable nest egg when you really do reach retirement age.
Read on to learn about some surprising ways you may be able to start saving as a senior or not-so senior.
Travel Senior Discounts
Many major airlines, hotel chains, cruise line and rental car companies offer senior discounts, sometimes as much as 30 percent off, which can help bring down vacation costs.
These deals aren’t always obvious, however. You may have to track them down on company websites or simply call directly and ask.
Here are some different ways you may be able to score senior deals on travel.
Airline Senior Discounts
You may not always find a code or a drop-down menu when booking online, but you can often get good discounts on air travel if you call the airline directly.
Some airline discounts to look for:
• Delta offers senior discounts in certain markets, but not online.
• United Airlines offers senior fares to selected travel destinations for customers who are 65 and older (when booking online or over the phone).
• British Airways offers exclusive AARP Member offers, including up to $200 off.
AARP membership can get you some significant discounts on car rentals and there are some companies that offer independent discounts. Some to look for:
• Alamo provides deals through its Senior Circle program.
• Avis gives AARP Members up to 30% off Avis base rates.
• Budget offers AARP members up to 30% off, and sometimes also a free upgrade and other exclusive benefits.
• Hertz offers travelers 50 and up to 20% off base rates, and they can also take advantage of additional program benefits.
Cruise lines, such as Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Caribbean, commonly offer discounts to those travelers that are 55 and older.
It’s best to call the cruise line before booking to see what is currently available, as some won’t advertise specific deals on their websites, yet may have special senior offers.
Another savvy savings tip is to wait to get the best deal available to you, and then ask to apply your senior discount on top.
Senior discounts are available at many hotel chains, but are not always advertised.
Again, many of the programs are aligned with AARP membership, but there are plenty of others that offer their own independent discount.
A few deals to keep an eye out for:
• Cambria Suites offers up to 10% off with advance reservations to those 60 or older, as well as to AARP members (50+).
• Travel Lodge gives guests age 60 special savings off the best available room rate when booking online or over the phone (ask for the “senior rate”).
• Choice Hotels gives those who are 60+, or an AARP member, up to 10 percent with advance reservations.
• Motel 6 offers adults 60+ a discount of 8% off of their best available nightly rates at each of their 1,400+ locations across the United States and Canada.
• Hilton Hotels & Resorts gives adults 50+ 10 to 25 percent when booking online through Hilton’s AARP page
For just $80, those age 62 or over can get a lifetime pass to the National Parks , which also includes access to more than 2,000 other federal sites.
An annual pass to all of these parks is just $20.
Applicants must provide documentation of age and United States residency or citizenship.
If you like the idea of traveling by train, then you may want to look up the Amtrak senior discount–travelers 65 years of age and older are eligible to receive a 10% discount on most rail fares on most Amtrak trains.
Retail Discounts for Seniors
As a senior, you can often save big with many retailers. Some stores provide a senior discount on a specific day, such as every Wednesday or the first Tuesday of the month.
One of the best–and best known–is Kohl’s, which typically offers 15% off every single Wednesday for those 55 and older.
According to The Senior List , other major retailers that may offer discounts to those 55+ include:
• Ross Stores
• C.J. Banks/Christopher Banks
Restaurant Deals for Seniors
This is probably one of the richest sources of discounts available to seniors.
Whether it’s on a certain day or during a specific block of time, many restaurants offer something, so it’s a good idea to ask around at your favorite places and to also check restaurant websites.
Many eateries also have senior menus that offer discounts to diners over a certain age.
Promotions vary according to location, but here are a few deals you may keep an eye out for.
• Arby’s: 10% off purchases for seniors and a free drink at participating locations.
• Denny’s: a 55-plus menu, which offers discounted prices for seniors.
• McDonald’s: discounts on beverages and coffee at some locations.
• IHOP: a 55-plus menu, which offers deals for seniors.
• Outback Steakhouse: AARP cardholders can score 10% off.
• Bubba Gump Shrimp Co:. 10% off for AARP cardholders
• Bob Evans: a senior menu, offering discounted items for those 55+
• Perkins Restaurant & Bakery: a senior menu for those 55+ with discounted items.
Senior Discounts on Groceries
Many major grocery stores offer senior discounts on certain days. Some local independent grocery stores will offer small discounts too, so it never hurts to ask your go-to market about senior deals.
You may also want to look for these commonly offered discounts:
• Fred Meyer: 10% off on select items on the first Tuesday of every month for those 55 and older.
• New Seasons: 10% off for seniors on Wednesdays on select items.
• Bi-Lo: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)
• Fred Meyer: 10% off on select items on the first Tuesday of every month for those 55 and older.
• Hy-Vee: 5% off on Wednesdays for seniors at participating locations.
Senior Deals on Movie Tickets
Major movie chains often offer great discounts on tickets for seniors. Some deals are all day every day, while others require going on a specified day and/or block of time.
AMC theaters, for example, typically offers guests 60+ discounted tickets any day or time (you just select senior pricing when checking out online).
Another example is Showcase Cinemas, which usually offers lower priced tickets to adults 60 and over (as well as deals on popcorn and drinks) on Wednesdays.
Local, independent theaters also commonly offer discounted tickets to seniors, so it’s always worthwhile asking.
Senior Discounts at Drug Stores
Almost every pharmacy out there is interested in your getting your business, and offers some sort of senior discount program.
Rite Aid, Costco, CVS, and Walgreens all commonly offer types of membership programs (and sometimes also special monthly discount days) for older adults with savings that can really add up.
It can also be wise to check for discounts with local, independent pharmacies for senior deals as well — they’re not always advertised.
Senior Cell Phone Savings
T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon all typically offer cell phone plans with senior discounts.
If you’re 55 or older, you can very likely get a good deal on a plan, and it’ll probably include unlimited data, such as T-Mobile’s Magental Unlimited 55 plan.
Some smaller carriers also provide special services and more ways to save. For instance, Consumer Cellular, which already offers affordable, customizable, no-contract plans, has an established relationship with AARP, so there’s a 5 percent discount on monthly service for any existing member.
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You might not even think to look for, let alone ask for, a “senior discount” if you’re under age 65.
But if you’re 50 or older, you may be missing out on a great way to cut back on spending.
Senior discounts are offered by many retailers, movie theaters, airlines, rental cars, cell phone carriers, restaurants and more.
Some are tied to AARP membership (available to those 50+ for a small annual fee), while others are offered independently, with varying age limitations.
Before heading out on a shopping spree, eating out, or going on vacation, it’s a good idea to check into discounts for seniors on offer
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