From wrinkles to brittle bones, we often hear about the negative aspects of aging. But getting older has its bright side, too. There’s the chance to enjoy travel and hobbies instead of working, and the wisdom that comes from life experience. And of course, there are senior discounts.
When people hear about senior discounts, they might imagine a hunched over person with gray hair hobbling to the local diner with a walker.
But you don’t have to be over 80 to save big. The senior discount age requirement can be as young as 55 or even 50. And the opportunities to economize go far beyond early bird specials, if you know where to look.
Saving money is a welcome proposition for people of any age, but it can be especially important as you get older. That’s because many seniors live on a limited income, whether a pension, Social Security, disability assistance, or distributions from retirement accounts.
At the same time, the cost of living keeps going up because of inflation. And with people living longer on average, retirement savings have to go farther than they ever have. If you’re on the younger side of the “senior” spectrum, every dollar you save can help you put more into your nest egg.
Common Senior Discounts
Here are some tips on the kinds of discounts out there and where to look for them:
Exploring the world is something many people look forward to in their retirement years. Good news—lots of senior citizen discounts apply when it comes to travel. Airlines such as American Airlines, Southwest, United, and Delta offer lower fares for older passengers for some destinations and markets.
Your best bet is to call the airlines directly to check for available deals. British Airways also offers discounts on flights and vacation packages for members of AARP, which anyone aged 50 and over can join .
Members of AARP also get discounts on car rentals with Budget Rent A Car (10-30% off), Avis (10-30% off), Zipcar (43% discount on membership), and Payless Car Rental (discount of 5% and up).
Hertz separately offers discounts of up to 20% to travelers who are 50 or older, and Alamo provides deals through its Senior Circle program. If you prefer to travel by bus or train, Amtrak gives 15% off on most domestic trains to riders 62 and older and 10% off on cross-border trains to travelers 60 and over. Passengers who are 62 and over can also ask for 5% off on Greyhound bus trips.
Seniors can also save on many cruises. Royal Caribbean and Carnival offers special rates on certain routes for those 55 and older. AARP members can also get deals with river cruises through Uniworld, Collette, and Grand European Travel, as well as Caribbean cruises with MSC.
Hotels are another way older customers can pay less for travel. Best Western offers up to 15% off for guests 55 and up. Motel 6 and Choice Hotels give 10% off to those 60 and older, and Hampton Inn gives the same to guests 65 and older (or AARP members). Marriott offers at least 15% off to those 62 and older, and IHG gives an undisclosed deal to those in the same cohort.
AARP members also get 10% off at Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, which includes Super 8, Days Inn, and La Quinta. Plus, they get 10% off at Ramada Worldwide, Comfort Inn, and Cambria Hotels, as well as 5% off at Hilton Hotels and Resorts.
Seniors can also save while traveling closer to home. Many city transit systems offer free or reduced fares for older residents.
San Francisco’s Muni system is free for riders 65 and older who meet income limits. Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and many other cities also offer lower fares to older passengers.
As a senior, you can also save big with many retailers. Clothing stores that offer discounts to older shoppers include Belk, Goodwill, Kohl’s, Ross and Christopher & Banks.
In some cases, discounts only apply on certain days. Beyond apparel, seniors can get discounts on purchases at craft stores, including Michaels and Joann, and grocery stores like Bi-Lo and Bealls.
AARP members also get deals with UPS, LensCrafters, and various flower delivery services. Walgreens gives seniors 55 or older up to 20% off on the first Tuesday of the month, or anytime for AARP members.
Rite Aid does the same (except for prescriptions) on the first Wednesday of the month to those 65 and older. Don’t forget to check for discounts with local stores, as well — they’re not always advertised.
Seniors can eat for less at a variety of restaurants, sometimes on specific days. The exact age when the benefit kicks in and the type of discount can vary, but the average is around 10% . Popular chains such as A&W, Applebee’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Chili’s, and Shoney’s offer 10% off at most locations.
The perks at Chili’s, Dairy Queen, IHOP, TCBY, and Whataburger kick in at age 55 , and Krispy Kreme and Steak ‘n Shake offer discounts to customers as young as 50.
Other restaurants — including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Dunkin Donuts, and Denny’s — give 10% off to members of AARP . Places like Arby’s, Back Yard Burgers, Dairy Queen, KFC, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell throw in a free soft drink or coffee for seniors.
Keep in mind that discounts might vary by location at restaurants that are franchises. And make sure you’re clear on what the discount includes (many don’t cover alcohol, for example). Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to the big chains—many local restaurants also offer discounts or early bird specials.
There are lots of ways to save as a senior in your leisure time. Many movie theaters, including AMC, Cinemark, Landmark Theatres and Showcase Cinemas, offer discounts, with some only applying for certain days or times.
Adults age 62 and older can enjoy the great outdoors for less with a Senior Pass that will get them into more than 2,000 national parks and other recreational sites overseen by six federal agencies.
The pass, which costs $20 for a year or $80 for a lifetime, may also include discounts on camping, swimming, and boat launch fees.
Museums are another place that offer reduced fares for seniors, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Zoos, such as the Bronx Zoo, and gyms are also places seniors can enjoy for less.
Senior discounts extend the necessities of life, too. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all offer deals on monthly phone plans for older subscribers. Jiffy Lube, as well as some regional auto repair providers, offers savings to seniors at some locations.
Certain utility providers also give discounts to older residents on things like garbage collection, water, and power; income limits are sometimes a prerequisite. Some car insurance companies also slash premiums for older riders, and Great Clips and Supercuts offer cheaper haircuts to seniors at some locations.
Saving the Smart Way with SoFi Money
Senior discounts can be a great way to cut your expenses, but having more in the bank is just as helpful when it comes to achieving your goals. Opening a cash management account with SoFi Money®, where you can spend, save, and earn all in one place, could be an easy way to put your cash to work for you.
There are no account fees (subject to change) and you can use your phone to make deposits or transfers, and you can send money instantly to other SoFi Money customers. It takes just minutes to open an account online.
Making the Most of Your Golden Years
Every penny counts when you’re a senior. Saving big through senior discounts—and earning as much as possible in your accounts—means more of your hard-earned retirement income stays in your pocket. So you can use the cash for what you really want to do in your golden years.
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