Happy Seniors Shopping

Senior Discounts 2018: How to Keep More Cash in Your Pocket

Senior discounts are some of the perks that come with crossing the half-century mark. Many retailers, restaurants, hotels, transportation companies, and insurance firms cater to older adults by offering discounted prices on everything from the food they eat to the clothes they wear.

From a marketing standpoint, this makes total sense. After all, as a group, seniors have enormous spending power. According to AARP, adults age 50 and older are the largest and fastest-growing consumer group in the country, spending around $3.2 trillion every year. That's more than the total gross domestic product of nations like Italy, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom.1 Savvy marketers know that the best senior discounts can turn older adults into loyal customers—and pay huge dividends.

So your senior status can definitely be an economic advantage. However, while senior discounts are commonly available, they aren't always clearly advertised. The best strategy is to always ask. Many clerks are reluctant to apply a discount based on age for fear of offending customers, but it's worth your while to speak up and see if you can save a few dollars.

The Pros and Cons of Joining AARP

AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) is a lobbying organization for people age 50 and up. For a yearly fee of $16, members get access to numerous discounts on food, entertainment, travel, insurance, and more. The AARP discount list even includes things like glasses and hearing aids. Spouses are included for free on a membership.

Is AARP worth it? That depends. Many places offer discounts for seniors without requiring AARP membership. If you're a member of an auto club, you may find that the discounts available to you are just as good as the ones through AARP. And some people disagree with AARP's politics and choose not to support the organization. (Remember: It's primarily a lobby group.)

On the other hand, being a member of AARP can lower the age for senior discounts. At many places, discounts don't begin until at least age 55, but you can become an AARP member at 50 and take advantage of some savings. The association also offers its members access to health insurance, which can be a big bonus if you're too young for Medicare.

It's important to do your research and make the decision that's right for you.

Senior Discounts at Restaurants

According to a Food Institute survey, American adults over the age of 55 spend anywhere from 32 to 38 percent of their food budgets on meals outside the home.2 A number of eating establishments offer discounts to older adults to help bring those costs down.

AARP restaurant discounts

Regardless of age, AARP members receive 10 percent off at each of the following restaurants:

  • Bonefish Grill
  • Carrabba's Italian Grill
  • Rainforest Cafe
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Landry's restaurants (such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Chart House, Claim Jumper Restaurant & Saloon, Saltgrass Steak House, and more)
  • McCormick & Schmick's restaurants (such as McCormick's Fish House & Bar, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood & Steaks, and more)

Members also receive other special dining deals. The AARP Dunkin Donuts senior discount consists of a free donut when you buy a large or extra-large drink. And members get 15 percent off at Denny's restaurants as well as 15 percent off at sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt shops.

Restaurants that offer senior discounts to the general public

Many restaurants offer lower prices to older adults on the basis of age rather than membership in a particular group. While the qualifying age varies from place to place, most of the deals on this list are discounts for seniors 55 and older. Keep in mind that many of these discounts are not advertised and can change at any time.

  1. IHOP
    Diners over the age of 55 can take advantage of the IHOP senior discount, which comes in the form of a special menu with reduced prices.
  2. Arby's
    If you're over 55, you can get 10 percent off your Arby's order.
  3. McDonald's
    The McDonald's senior discount depends somewhat on location. Seniors over 55 may get discounted coffee, though a minimum purchase may be required.
  4. Ben & Jerry's
    At select Ben & Jerry's locations, people who are at least 60 years old qualify for a 10-percent discount.
  5. Burger King
    You have to be at least 60 years old to qualify for the Burger King senior discount of 10 percent off.
  6. Old Country Buffet
    You have to be at least 60 years old to qualify for the Burger King senior discount of 10 percent off.
  7. Old Country Buffet
    Seniors receive discounts on their meals, but you'll need to check with your local restaurant for details on age requirements and discount amounts.
  8. Applebee's
    The Applebee's senior discount allows people who are 60 or older to get 10 percent off their meals.
  9. Denny's
    In addition to the discount given to AARP members, Denny's offers people over 55 a special menu with lower prices.
  10. Carrows Restaurants
    Carrows offers senior citizen (age 55) discounts on a dedicated senior menu.
  11. Friendly's Restaurants
    Diners 60 or older qualify to get 10 percent off their meals at Friendly's.
  12. Chick-fil-A
    At some Chick-fil-A locations, anyone over the age of 50 can get a free drink or a 10-percent discount on food.
  13. Chili's
    Chili's offers 10-percent off to anyone over the age of 55.
  14. Wendy's
    A 10-percent discount is available to seniors who are 55 or older.
  15. Subway
    If you're 60 or older, you can get 10 percent off your order at Subway.

Senior Discounts on Clothing

Retirees may not need to spend money on work clothes, but not all seniors are retired. Plus, everyone needs new threads now and then, and getting them for less is a nice perk. There are many stores that offer senior citizen discounts on apparel.

  1. Ross
    If you're 55 or older, you can sign up for the Every Tuesday Club at the customer service desk and get 10 percent off all purchases in Ross stores on Tuesdays. You must present your club card at the till to receive the discount.
  2. Kohl's
    Shoppers over age 60 get 15 percent off in-store purchases every Wednesday. You'll need to bring proof of age to receive the price reduction. The discount is not valid on gift cards, sporting goods, or some clothing brands.
  3. Bealls Outlet
    Seniors who are at least 50 can sign up for a One Card that nets a 15-percent discount in Bealls Outlet stores every Monday.
  4. Belk
    On the first Tuesday of the month, 55-and-older discounts of 10 to 15 percent are available in stores.
  5. CJ Banks
    The 55-plus crowd can take advantage of a 10-percent discount on Wednesdays.
  6. Goodwill
    Discounts vary by location, but some stores offer seniors 15 percent off one day a week. (Goodwill's website doesn't specify a senior discount age.) Some exclusions apply.
  7. Value Village
    Value Village offers a 30-percent discount to seniors every Tuesday. Check with your local store for age requirements.

Senior Discounts at Grocery, Drug, and Other Retail Stores

The world's biggest retailer unfortunately does not offer any special deals for senior citizens. (It's sad but true: There is no Walmart senior discount.) However, plenty of other retail stores do offer discounts. Depending on your age, your location, and the day of the week, you could save anywhere from five to 20 percent. Remember that these promotions can change at any time, so be sure to contact your local store to verify what's available.

  1. Kroger
    The Kroger senior discount amounts to five percent off grocery purchases made on a particular day of the week. In 2017, Kroger stopped offering the senior discount in some locations, but the company claimed to have lowered prices throughout those stores instead.
  2. Walgreens
    AARP members, as well as anyone over 55, can get up to 20 percent off at Walgreens on the first Tuesday of the month when they use their Balance Rewards card. Note that you can't use the discount for prescriptions.
  3. Publix
    Shoppers over the age of 60 can get the Publix senior discount of five percent off in-store purchases every Wednesday. This offer is only available at Publix stores in North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as in the northern areas of South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia.
  4. Fred Meyer
    Seniors who are 55-plus can get special discounts on the first Tuesday of every month at Fred Meyer. The discount does not apply to bakery or deli items or anything that is sold by the pound in the produce or meat departments. Other restrictions may apply.
  5. Kmart
    There reportedly used to be a Kmart senior discount of 40 percent off on Wednesdays for seniors over 50, but not many stores still offer this. The official corporate line is that discounts are up to each store, and some may still offer the senior discount. It's worth asking at your local store.
  6. Piggly Wiggly
    Most Piggly Wiggly locations offer senior discount days each week that allow older shoppers to save five percent on their bill.
  7. Home Depot There is no Home Depot senior discount per se, but the retailer does offer a 10-percent discount (up to $500) to veterans, which would apply to some seniors. You need proof of military service to get this deal.
  8. Albertsons
    At certain Albertsons locations, seniors over 55 can get a 10-percent discount on the first Wednesday of every month. Check with your local store for details.
  9. Albertsons
    At certain Albertsons locations, seniors over 55 can get a 10-percent discount on the first Wednesday of every month. Check with your local store for details.
  10. Harris Teeter
    If you're over 60, you can save five percent every Thursday at Harris Teeter stores. The discount does not apply to pharmacy purchases.
  11. Rite Aid Pharmacy
    Seniors over 65 can join Rite Aid's wellness65+ program and receive a 20-percent discount on non-prescription purchases the first Wednesday of every month.
  12. BI-LO
    At some BI-LO locations, seniors can get five percent off their purchases when they use their Plenti rewards card.

Senior Discounts on Hotels

An AARP survey found that 96 percent of baby boomers expected to take at least one vacation in 2018, and many were looking to take four or more trips.3 Thankfully, there are plenty of hotels offering cheaper accommodations to older adults.

AARP hotel discounts

When it comes to AARP discounts, hotels are a key perk. Members are entitled to the following special deals:

  • Choice Hotels—Members get up to 10 percent off at Ascend Hotels, Cambria Suites, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Clarion, Mainstay Suites, Rodeway Inn, and Suburban Extended Stay.
  • Hilton—Members receive five percent off and late checkout at Curio, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Grand Vacations, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. Members get 10 percent off and late checkout at Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Home2 Suites by Hilton, and Homewood Suites by Hilton.
  • Wyndham—Members get a 10-percent discount at Travelodge, Howard Johnson, Ramada, Super 8, Baymont Inn & Suites, Days Inn, Knights Inn, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, TRYP by Wyndham, Microtel Inn & Suites, Wingate by Wyndham, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. In addition, members get 20 percent off at Wyndham Extra Holidays.
  • Starwood—Members get five to 15 percent off at Aloft, Element by Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, Le Meridien, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, and Westin Hotels & Resorts.
  • Best Western—AARP members get 10 percent or more off at all Best Western hotels in the U.S. and Canada.
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites—Members are entitled to a 10-percent discount.
  • TripBeat, Endless Vacation—Members get 25 percent off select weekly rentals.

You will typically need to show your membership card to get the discount, but not all places ask for it. It's a good idea to carry it with you just in case.

Hotels that offer senior discounts to the general public

In many cases, you don't need to be a member of a particular group to get a reduced price on hotel accommodations. Most of the following deals are available to seniors over 60, though a few will give discounts to people as young as 55.

  1. Best Western
    Seniors 55 and older can get 10 percent or more off the cost of their room. Proof of age is required at check-in.
  2. Choice Hotels
    If you're 60-plus, you can save up to 10 percent if you book in advance.
  3. Wyndham
    Anyone over the age of 60 can get up to 10 percent off at most hotels in the Wyndham family, including Baymont Inn & Suites, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Ramada, and Super 8.
  4. Starwood
    Discounts are available to the 60-plus crowd at most Starwood properties.
  5. Marriott
    At most Marriott hotels, a discount of 15 percent or more is available to travelers who are at least 62 years old.
  6. InterContinental Hotels Group
    Seniors over 62 can get discounts of 10 to 20 percent at Staybridge Suites, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites, InterContinental, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn Express, and Holiday Inn.
  7. La Quinta Inns & Suites
    Discounted rates are available to seniors over 65.
  8. Omni Hotels & Resorts
    If you are 55 or older, you can get special rates on accommodations at Omni Hotels.

Travel Discounts for Seniors

Are you looking for discounts that will help you see the world? An AARP study found that more than 45 percent of seniors were planning to travel both locally and internationally in 2018.3 You can get out and about for less with these deals from travel providers.

  1. National Park Service
    Seniors over the age of 62 get 75 percent off the cost of an annual pass. In fact, seniors can get a lifetime pass for $80, which is what most adults must pay for a single year.
  2. State parks
    State park discounts for seniors vary in terms of both cost and age requirements. California, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, and Louisiana are just a few of the states that offer special deals on park passes for senior citizens. Look into the details where you live.
  3. Amtrak
    If you're 62 or older, you can get a 15-percent discount on fares on most Amtrak trains. For those routes that cross the Canadian border and are operated jointly with VIA Rail Canada, travelers over 60 can get a 10-percent discount.
  4. Greyhound
    Anyone over 62 can get five percent off their Greyhound fare by asking for the senior discount. Photo ID is required.
  5. Carnival Cruise Line
    Special discounts on select sailings are available to those over 55.
  6. Royal Caribbean International
    Royal Caribbean offers special rates on certain sailings to anyone over the age of 55.
  7. Avis Rent a Car and Budget Rent a Car
    AARP members get up to 30 percent off at both of these companies. Members also do not have to pay the fee for one additional driver.
  8. Hertz
    Drivers over age 50 can get special rates on car rentals from Hertz.
  9. Southwest Airlines
    Travelers who are 65 or older can get special deals on airfares from a Southwest customer rep or a travel agent. This discount does not apply to travel companions who are not over 65. Senior fares are refundable.
  10. United Airlines
    Special senior fares on select routes are available to people 65 and older.
  11. Grand Canyon Railway
    AARP members receive 15 percent off both train travel and accommodations at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.

Senior Discounts on Insurance

Operating and maintaining a vehicle can be hugely expensive, particularly for older adults on fixed incomes. Fortunately, there are plenty of insurance companies that recognize that reality and offer reduced rates for senior citizens.

  1. AARP insurance discounts
    AARP partners with insurance companies to offer members-only rates on auto, life, vision, dental, health, and home insurance. Whether these are the best deals for you depends on your individual situation, so be sure to shop around.
  2. Liberty Mutual
    A car insurance discount is available for newly retired seniors. Check with your local Liberty Mutual branch for details.
  3. State Farm
    While it's not specifically a discount for seniors, State Farm's Drive Safe & Save program can cut some drivers' insurance bills by up to 50 percent. Using data from your vehicle's OnStar or SYNC systems, State Farm looks at your mileage and driving patterns to calculate how much you can save on your premium. Seniors who don't typically drive very much could save big.
  4. GEICO
    GEICO offers a range of car insurance discounts for the 50-plus crowd. In some states, it also offers a guaranteed renewal contract to seniors who have been accident-free for three years and do not have any drivers under 25 in their households.