Discounts for older travelers
Dear Savvy Senior,
What types of senior discounts are available to older travelers? My husband and I are approaching retirement and love to travel, but love to save money too.
There is actually wide variety of travel discounts available to older travelers -- usually starting at either age 50, 55, 60, 62, or 65.
But, you first need to be aware that when it comes to senior travel bargains, the “senior discount” may not always be the best deal. Hotels, airlines, and cruise lines, for example, offer advanced bookings along with special deals and promotions from time to time that may be a lower rate than what the senior discount is. Always ask about the lowest possible rate and the best deal available.
With that said, here’s a breakdown of some different senior travel discounts that are available today.
Club memberships: If you’re a member of AARP, there are dozens of travel discounts available on hotels, rental cars, cruises, and vacation packages. To find them, see discounts.aarp.org/travel or call 1-800-675-4318. Annual AARP membership fees are $16 or less if you join for multiple years.
If you don’t like AARP, there are alternative organizations you can join like the Seniors Coalition or the American Seniors Association that offer discounts on hotels and rental cars.
Airlines: Southwest Airlines has the best senior fare program in the U.S., offering discounts to passengers 65 and older. American, United and Delta offer some senior fares too but they are extremely limited.
Trains: Amtrak provides a 15 percent discount to travelers 62 and older, and a 10 percent discount to passengers over age 60 on cross-border services operated jointly by Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada.
Bus travel: Greyhound offers a 5 percent discount on unrestricted fares to seniors over 62. Peter Pan, which serves the Northeast region of the U.S., offers the same deal. Trailways, a privately owned bus company also provides senior discounts but they vary by location. And, most local bus lines and public transportation offer discounted senior passes.
Car rentals: Most car rental companies offer 5 to 25 percent discounts to customers who belong to 50-and-older organizations like AARP. Discounts are also available to AAA members. To shop around for the best rental car deals use travel aggregator sites like orbitz.com or kayak.com.
Hotels: Most hotels in the U.S. offer senior discounts ranging between 10 and 30 percent off. Age eligibility will vary by hotel. Hyatt offers one of the biggest discounts, up to 50 percent off, to guest 62 and older.
Cruises: Most cruise lines offer special deals to AARP members. But, if you’re not a member, discounts on some cruise lines (like Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean) are also available to passengers 55 and older. The best way to find these is to contact a travel agent, or check with the cruise line your interested in.
Restaurants: Senior discounts are fairly common at mom-and-pop and family-style restaurants, as well as fast food establishments. The discounts will range from free coffee, to drinks, to discounts off your total order. Chains known for their senior discounts or specials include Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Church’s Chicken, Dairy Queen, Dunkin Donuts, IHOP, Subway, and Wendy’s.
Entertainment: Most movie theaters, plays, ballets, symphonies, museums, zoos, aquariums, golf courses, and even ski slopes provide reduced admission to seniors over 60 or 65. If you’re over 62, you’re also eligible for the popular “America The Beautiful Senior Pass,” which provides a lifetime entry to 2,000 national parks and recreation sites. You can obtain this pass in person at one of the federal recreation sites for $10, or through the mail (see store.usgs.gov/pass/senior.html) for $20.
To look for other travel discounts see seniordiscounts.com, a great website that lets you search by location and category for free.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and author of The Savvy Senior. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
A creepy Halloween party appetizer (October 19, 2016)
Applying for Social Security (October 19, 2016)
Chili Cook-off to benefit Wilson County youth (October 19, 2016)
DRT joins Heritage Music Festival (October 19, 2016)
DRT to meet Oct. 24 in Kerrville (October 19, 2016)
Enjoy Harvest Festival in Marion (October 19, 2016)
Enter Pecan Bake Show (October 19, 2016)
Little Golden Books (October 19, 2016)
Make plans for Halloween fun and fall fests (October 19, 2016)
Meeting the needs of the community: St. Vincent de Paul (October 19, 2016)
R&B legend opens Carver season Oct. 29 (October 19, 2016)
Readers share their spooky tales, part two (October 19, 2016)
Road Runners plan Oct. 22 group run (October 19, 2016)
See country legends Oct. 22 (October 19, 2016)
Try your hand at square dancing (October 19, 2016)
Turn yard waste into gardener’s gold (October 19, 2016)
Baptist church to ring in 100 years (October 12, 2016)
Church plans Junk and Treasure Sale (October 12, 2016)
Comal Country Music Show is Oct. 18 (October 12, 2016)
Davy Crockett (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy fried chicken in Poth Oct. 23 (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy this flashy winter resident (October 12, 2016)
Join in the 2016 Rosary Crusade (October 12, 2016)
National Charity League plans celebration (October 12, 2016)
New program increases student knowledge of E-cigarette dangers (October 12, 2016)
Play bunco in La Vernia Oct. 22 (October 12, 2016)
Pondering a poignant letter from the past (October 12, 2016)
Save the date for Oct. 22 March for Life (October 12, 2016)
Should you redeem old savings bonds? (October 12, 2016)
Show Barn Cook-off approaching (October 12, 2016)
Sutherland Springs Old Town Day (October 12, 2016)
The business of aging grows more complex (October 12, 2016)
Try your luck at China Grove Lions Club Casino Night (October 12, 2016)
Atascosa County Craft Show seeks vendors (October 5, 2016)
Beautify your landscape with cacti (October 5, 2016)
Experience Oktoberfest in San Antonio (October 5, 2016)
Gilded peanuts and golden memories — recalling past Floresville Peanut Festivals (October 5, 2016)
Japan Fest set for Oct. 16 (October 5, 2016)
Meal service delivery options for seniors who don’t cook (October 5, 2016)
Oktoberfest comes to Floresville Oct. 15 (October 5, 2016)
Past Pirate champions will never be forgotten (October 5, 2016)
Readers share their ‘spooky’ tales (October 5, 2016)
Sacred Springs PowWow (October 5, 2016)
Shorter teapot (October 5, 2016)
Sinatra tribute comes to Kerrville (October 5, 2016)
Stockdale librarian updates Blue Bonnet Club members (October 5, 2016)
Sunnyside 4-H Bake Sale (October 5, 2016)
Time for turkey in Cestohowa (October 5, 2016)