In support of those who are serving or have served, many companies offer exclusive discounts to members of the military. Although these perks aren’t part of the official Department of Defense benefits, they are widely known and commonly used, ranging anywhere from dining discounts, to free travel flights and even specialized home loans. For those not on active duty, many retailers also offer military discounts that extend to veterans, reservists, retirees, and sometimes spouses and dependents are eligible, too!
To redeem some of these discounts, you may just need to show your military ID. However, some places that offer military discounts require that you prove your military affiliation through a third-party program, so be sure to check before you shop. In these cases, you’ll often see stores using ID.me or SheerID.
You should also be aware that some discounts may also be contingent on membership in organizations such as Veterans Advantage, USAA, Veterans of Foreign Wars, among others. the memberships might be worth the cost.
Many airlines offer travel benefits for military members and their families, all of which vary greatly depending on the time of year, the airline, and the travel destination.
Because the travel industry is known for its frequent changes, it may be hard to pin down specific travel discounts, but the ones you can find for military travel may increase your vacation budget if you know where to look.
Airlines and hotels tend to break down these benefits based on your status as a military member, a dependent of a member, or families traveling together. Your status as an active duty member, a reserve member, or veteran will also play a role in the discounts you can redeem.
Service members may also be allowed to book flights on military aircraft. Known as Space-Available Travel, Space-A Travel, or military hops, this program gives service members and their immediate families the ability to fly at no cost when seats on routine flights are open and when they meet air transport eligibility criteria.
To book these flights, service members must register in advance and wait for unused seats on flights to become available. Although it isn’t something troops should depend on for necessary trips, Space-A Travel is a great way to score an inexpensive vacation or travel while on leave or reserve.
A VA Loan is a mortgage option issued by private lenders and partially backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. They require zero dollars down, and for the vast majority of military borrowers, VA loans are some of the most convenient lending programs available.
These loans work differently than conventional mortgages. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) backs a portion of each loan against default instead of originating them. This guarantee gives private lenders the confidence and ability to offer military members $0 down financing in addition to advantageous rates and terms.
From a process perspective, these loans work similarly to most other mortgage options. However, they come with a few caveats. For one, they are reusable as long as you pay off the loan each time. Many people have even prequalified for an additional VA loan after bankruptcy, foreclosure, and even while they had one already in use.
The VA usually requires only 12 months of on-time credit card payments to qualify instead of a predetermined credit score. However, the individual lenders that make the loans typically require a specific credit score. Those looking to get one should call a VA loan specialist for details about credit score requirements for securing a VA home loan.
VA education benefits help Veterans, service members, and their qualified family members with needs like paying college tuition, finding the right school or training program, and getting career counseling. Congress has given each military branch the ability to pay up to $4,500 a year towards any tuition expenses of members eligible for their Tuition Assistance programs. Each branch of the military has specific criteria for determining eligibility, and the money is usually paid directly to the institution. Many institutions also offer college credits for military training and experience in addition to scholarships and grants.
In conclusion, there are many exclusive perks available to members of the military. These benefits range anywhere from discounted tuition to free flights and even to specialized, zero-money-down home loans. Although many of these perks aren’t an official part of the Department of Defense benefits, they are relatively common and show many companies’ appreciation towards United States military members.