“Hello M’am – Do you quality for our senior discount? Are you a senior citizen?” Surely, the ticket agent couldn’t be talking to me. But she was! The words loomed in my mind “senior citizen”. Had I joined the group of over 35 million United States residents called – senior citizens? When did that happen? What does it mean? Wait….discount? I qualify for a senior discount? This might not be too bad.
According to The Free Dictionary by Farlex, the term “senior citizen” means a person of relatively advanced age, especially a person at or over the age of retirement. In the United States a person is usually referred to as a senior citizen when they reach the age of 65. This is because 65 is the age when you become eligible for full Social Security benefits. But at many places you do not have to be 65 to be considered a senior citizen. It could be 50…..55…..60…..62…..or 65. Discounts are offered to seniors at various ages at many places including; hotels, motels, restaurants, travel, entertainment, recreation, shopping and many other products and services.
Listed below are some tips and information on finding the discounts available to senior citizens.
1. Many hotels and motels offer senior citizen discounts to travelers who are 50 and over. A few examples of those offering these discounts are Best Western, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Days Inn, Econo Lodge, Hampton Inn, La Quinta Inn, Ramada, Sheraton, Saint Regis Hotel, Super 8 Motels, Westin and Wyndham. Many hotels and resorts also offer discounted vacation packages to senior travelers also.
2. Restaurants of all types, from fast food to elegant dining, offer discounts to senior citizens in a variety of ways. One type of discount is in the form of Early Bird Specials. This type of special requires the dinner to eat between specified times and order from a specified menu. The savings are quite generous and certain restaurants even offer a buy 1 meal get 1 meal free. Other restaurants offer senior menus which offer smaller portions at lower prices. Most restaurants have some type of senior citizen discount. Even fast food eateries give seniors a break. Wendy’s, Arby’s and Hardees offer 10% off to anyone over 55. At McDonalds and Burger King seniors get a small drink at less then half the price.
3. Senior citizens are eligible for many discounts when it comes to travel. Some airlines provide reduced rates for seniors over 65. These discounts can range anywhere from 10% to 75%. Amtrak travelers 62 years of age and over receive a 15% discount on the applicable adult rail fare on most Amtrak trains. Greyhound Bus Lines offer anyone over 62 5% off the regular fare price. Most states offer senior citizen discounts of 10 – 50% when they travel by bus, train or light rail vehicles.
4. Most movie theaters, museums and cultural and sporting events and golf courses offer discounts for seniors. A senior movie ticket could save between $2.00 – $4.00. For movie lovers in the New York City area, every Thursday the New York Times lists a site for you to enroll in, to become eligible to receive two free tickets to a movie preview showing at one of the Loew’s theaters in the area.
5. The National Park Service Golden Age Passport can be obtained by seniors 62 or older. For a $10 fee they can purchase a lifetime pass entitling them to free admission to all National Parks, monuments, forests and recreational areas. Anyone in the vehicle gets in free also. The passport can be purchased at any national park. The pass also entitles holders to a 50% discount on use fees charged in park areas.
6. Supermarket, grocery, thrift and department stores very often have senior citizen discount policies, or special days when a percentage of your total bill is deducted. Many on line sites also offer senior discounts.
7. Many health spas, fitness centers, and gyms offer senior discounts. For example, Bally’s Total Fitness offers a discount between $50 – $100 for memberships offered to those 62 or over.
7. Contractors, tradesmen, mechanics all want your business. Many offer senior citizen discounts. For example, some Jiffy Lubes gives a 10% a senior discount to people over 55 for a grease job and oil change.
Senior citizen discounts can be found for eyeglasses, prescriptions, insurance, hair cuts – almost everything. If you don’t see a sign advertising a senior citizen discount; don’t hesitate to ask.
Join AARP which is an organization for people 50 and over. AARP members are offered many more discounts, as well as, advice, information, advocacy services and other benefits.