There are all sorts of discounts you can snag as a veteran or member of the military. And one of them is car rental. Most major rental companies offer some kind of discount, anywhere from 5% to up to 25% for military. If that’s you, you should definitely take advantage of the savings.
There are various discounts depending on the company and your purpose of travel. Like with any discount, there are important details to take into account depending on what agency you’re renting with and the purpose of your travel. That’s why we’re giving you some of the most important details on how military and veterans can save on car rental.
Who Can Save
All sorts of members of the military can save on car rental. Active duty members, retired military, and veterans can all find options for discounts. Not only that, but military spouses can also get access to car rental discounts. Of course, it all depends on the rental company and the situation, as each agency will have different policies. But most big agencies offer discounts for the whole range of military and their spouses.
Veterans Advantage and USAA
A great place to find the best car rental discounts, along with savings and advantages on other travel expenses, is Veterans Advantage. They offer exclusive discounts for active duty, retired military, veteran, guard, reservist, and family members. Not only will their services show you where you can get these offers, but some rental agencies actually work through Veterans Advantage.
Certain car rental companies also have partnerships with USAA, and some are even located on military bases across the United States. If you’re a USAA member or use their services, check to see if you’re eligible for certain discounts.
Leisure vs. Business
Military discounts work differently depending on whether you are using the vehicle for business or leisure. If you are traveling on official military orders or tour-of-duty-orders, you can get certain fees removed from your bill. The U.S Department of Defense negotiates contracts with lots of rental companies. However, these vehicles absolutely have to be used for business only. That means friends, family, and even government contractors are likely not even allowed to ride in the vehicle.
Luckily if you’re traveling for pleasure and renting a car, you can also receive all sorts of discounts. The savings aren’t as big as business travel, but you’ll still get savings on things like underage driver fees. Keep in mind that for leisure travel, the terms aren’t subject to the US Government Car Rental Agreement, so the renter is responsible for the extra fees and insurance.
When you rent a car as a member of the military or as a veteran, you’ll get all types of perks. You should always get free roadside assistance, no matter the purpose of your travel (most rental companies offer this to all their renters, regardless of military status). If you are traveling on official military business or temporary duty travel (TDY), you may also be eligible for unlimited mileage and full insurance coverage, like LDW or CDW, and even a vehicle upgrade. You may also be able to get those underage drivers and/or additional driver fees waived.
A lot of car rental companies allow renters access to their rewards programs, where they can earn car rental loyalty rewards points on car rentals on both official military business and leisure travel too.
What You Need
To save on car rental, you will need to confirm your military status to prove eligibility. If you’re renting a car online, it may offer you a spot to enter your military ID information and will auto-populate the discount. Or, if you’re reserving via email, it helps to send from a military email address. And when you pick up the car, you will definitely want to have your military ID or other proper documentation to show. Depending on who you are renting with, you also may need a certain discount code or promo code as well.
Note: When you rent a vehicle for official military business, it’s not enough to use a Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) or show official travel orders. You’ll need to make sure the Government Administrative Rate Supplement (GARS) appears in the rental agreement.
Do Your Research
Keep in mind that not all car rental agencies offer military discounts. If they do, the offerings vary, so you’ll need to do your research before booking. Check out the veterans and military pages of rental company sites (if they have them), or call the location to get the right information. Discounts will vary depending on the type of make and model of vehicle, availability, season, and length of rental.
As you do your research, you may find that some discounts and savings are only applicable to the time and mileage charges for the car, not the whole bill. Thus, the taxes and customer facility charges may not be discounted. Additionally, you generally can’t use a military discount with other discount offers, so plan accordingly.
Learn More About Avail
There are so many hoops to jump through when it comes to renting a car. And with all the fees and surcharges, it’s helpful to save whenever you can. Read more about Avail car sharing and borrowing on our blog, and discover other ways you can save on car rental.