Happy Discount Days Are Here Again

Image of dollar bills falling out of the sky, representing discount days
© Kuzma, Bigstock.com.

By DAVID WILKENING

(SENIOR WIRE) Some of us at far younger ages remember when we looked forward to discount days—early-bird specials. These were times when parents and other seniors had healthy appetites for discounted meals and other “specials.”

Those restaurant offers are gone under that name. But now that the Coronavirus vaccine is being distributed, and we’re all looking to get somewhat more social, it’s time to take another look at those happy discount days.

You can celebrate discount days of some sort in practically every consumer category you can think of, ranging from restaurants to retailers and charitable organizations such as Goodwill. And even the US government.

Perhaps surprisingly, Walmart, does not offer senior discounts. Or not many of them. A few do, however, and you might check your nearest local store to see if they offer the standard 10-percent offers. Also, see if they match other retailer prices for the same product (some do).

It may also be surprising that some of the most well-known (and heavily advertised) chains like McDonald’s have no national discounts for seniors. McDonald’s stores provide various coffee and beverage discounts. But since they are independently owned and operated, discounts vary from store to store.

In rating the best senior discounts of recent times, food and drink generally get the highest grades. Four of these frequently recommended restaurant chains that often offer 10 percent off include family style Applebee’s and Bonefish Grill and fast-food chains Arby’s and A&W All American Food.

As with most offers, these discounts are generally 10 percent (or even 15 percent at some Applebee’s). But they do vary by location. Also, stipulations may include certain days of the week and certain times (early birds are not entirely an endangered species).

You also may need to have proof of age. Some offers also include restaurant chain cards (Applebee’s may require a Golden Apple Card for over 60 discounts).

When it comes to senior food, older folks will fare the best at food chains. These range from fast food to gourmet. Burger King often offers 10 percent discounts for coffee and soft drinks to anyone over 60 (again, depending on location). Captain D’s has an offer for seniors (62+) with one of eight meals, including a drink for $4.99 or less at participating restaurants. The Denny’s chain offers 15 percent off for AARP members.

Major chains are not out of the senior discount game. Albertson’s offers 10 percent off the first Wednesday of every month. Dress Barn offers 10 percent off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And did you know about the discounts at charitable organizations? Goodwill has discounts of 10 to 20 percent, varying by locations, for those 55 and older.

Some major retailers offer special discounts as well. Kohl’s offers 15 percent off on Wednesdays, just for in-store purchases. Ross stores offers 10 percent off every Tuesday for those 55 and older. Michael’s offers 10 percent off entire purchases every day. 

If you’re looking to travel again, Amtrak offers 10 percent off senior tickets. Renting a car during your travel? Notoriously high prices can be reduced at Avis or Hertz. AARP members save up to 30 percent off at Avis when booking a reservation with the company’s Worldwide Discount number, A359807. Over-50 travelers can save up to 20 percent off base rates with Hertz’s Senior Discount Reserve.

For larger travel ticket items, American Airlines offers discounts for 65-year-olds and up travelers from some locations. AARP members get anywhere from $65-$200 on British Airways’ flights.

Even the US government is in the senior discount business. An $80 lifetime pass gets you 50 percent off at America’s national parks including campsite rates.

There are a lot other discounts, sometimes not even widely advertised to the public. So one easy-to-handle hint: Ask a sales associate if there’s a discount for you.

It never hurts to ask—and celebrate your discount days. MSN