Offering a military discount on car rental is a way for companies to show their appreciation for the sacrifices and service of active duty military, veterans and their families. In addition to saving money on the daily rental rate, military personnel may also be offered other perks, such as fee waivers and loyalty program membership opportunities. We’ll dive into details around these benefits, such as who may qualify, where to look for military discounts on car rentals and how to best take advantage of these offers.
Who qualifies for military discounts on car rentals
If you are directly affiliated with the military, such as being a veteran, retired, in the reserves or an active duty service member, then you will likely qualify for exclusive car rental discounts when they are offered. Military spouses and dependents can, in many cases, also take advantage of the same or similar benefits. However, each rental company has its own policy around who qualifies and which perks they are able to access, so you cannot assume that a generous offer from one company will also be available at others.
Similarly, third-party booking sites and membership platforms, like USAA, may offer different discounts and advantages if you book through them instead of directly with the rental car company. Or, their promo codes may provide a different level of savings. This could be a helpful path for military family members who may not qualify for a discount or fee waiver if they book directly through the rental agency.
Where to find rental cars with military discounts
There are many places for military personnel to find promo codes and other car rental benefits. You can start by reviewing offers from major car rental companies, like Avis, Budget, Hertz and Enterprise. It’s worthwhile to go a step further and compare those discounts to what’s being offered by membership programs like USAA and Veterans Advantage, the latter which may have special veterans discounts on car rentals as well. These organizations also make it easy for their members to enroll in car rental rewards programs, like Avis Preferred and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, so you can immediately take advantage of other benefits, such as express check-in, exclusive offers and the ability to accrue loyalty points.
There are also third-party booking sites that are just for members of the military, like Armed Forces Travel. You’ll need to authenticate and verify your eligibility through the site in order to secure a reservation. Once you do, you can access military discounts on car rentals and other travel-related bookings.
Why car rental military discounts offers may differ
The advantages that you can access will differ based on whether you are using the vehicle for a business trip or leisure travel. Service members traveling on official business can access reduced rates and other benefits through the U.S Department of Defense’s U.S. Government Rental Car Program. Some of the special benefits include no blackout dates and fee waivers for drivers under age 25, adding other authorized drivers, Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)/Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Supplemental Liability insurance for car rental. You’ll need to ensure that “Government Administrative Rate Supplement” or “GARS” is listed on the rental agreement in order to activate these program benefits.
These benefits amount to big savings for business travelers. Although you can’t book through the U.S. Government Rental Car Program when you’re traveling for leisure, you can still use the websites and programs mentioned above to get military discounts and special benefits for car rentals. For example, USAA offers fee waivers and the credit card you use to pay for your rental may provide LDW/CDW coverage for your booking.
What you need for your booking
In order to qualify for a military discount on a car rental, you need to prove eligibility. Requirements will differ by company and may include showing your military ID, supplying official travel orders and providing personal identifiable information, such as your name, date of birth and last four digits of your social security number. You may also need to send proof of service via a valid military email address.
An easier way to rent a car
Sometimes, comparison shopping can be more of a hassle than it’s worth. If you’re traveling to Chicago or Denver, book with Avail to rent at an affordable daily rate and get fees waived for young drivers and a second driver. We have dozens of neighborhood locations across these two cities so you can find a convenient spot to rent from that’s close to where you’ll be staying. Plus, all of our lots are equipped for self-service pick-up and drop-off, so you never have to wait in line. Get on the road faster and easier by renting with Avail.