Experimenting with the Veterans Advantage Card

To read the latest on the Veterans Advantage Card, please go here.

I have to admit that I am one of those guys who follows the old rule “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.  So when I came across the Veterans Advantage Card on the Deals & Offers tab on the new United.com website I was skeptical.  The main draw was a 5% discount on all United flights, but there were a host of other discounts including pretty much every rental car company, AMTRAK, Greyhound, and a bunch of stores.  The catch was that to join you needed to pay $60 plus a $4.95 handling fee.  Hmmm.  Let’s do the math, hey I’m an engineer, I like math.  So to recoup $64.95, I divide it by 0.05 and get $1299.  I would need to buy $1299 worth of United tickets to make this worthwhile.  I probably spend about $3000 on United per year, so that part works out.

I decided to investigate more.  The UA website link brings up a page giving some details of the program and touting the ability to get a free 30-day membership, but it didn’t really provide the detail I want before making a committment.  Going to the www.veteransadvantage.com website gave me the answers that I needed.  It lists the many programs involved, plus if you go to the Plan Options tab and then the Special Offers tab on the left side you will find two mutually exclusive options.  One allows you to get a 15% discount on the membership price ($51) and the other gives you a free companion ticket.

OK, so not much to risk, but I was still a little concerned that I would find that the 5% discount on United would only apply to a high fare class or be somehow limited.  I decided to take the plunge for the sake of my readers – what the heck it’s only $65.  The first thing after signing up and getting my member numbr and code for United was to take it for a spin.  Plugging the code into the Offer Code space on the search screen, I tried out an upcoming itinerary to attend my daughter’s graduation.  They said a blue star would appear on each fare to let you know the discount was being applied and sure enough it appeared on every single flight listed.  I was really surprised as I have had other United discount codes that only applied to a few flights when I tried them out.

OK, so the fare I wanted for a normal price of $762 was now only $724.  A modest savings of $38, but heck, that’s equal to a free dinner, I’ll take it.  So the ROI (return on investment) so far is already paying off as I just made back 58% of the money I put into this thing and I still haven’t got my rental car or hotel.

I’ll continue to report on my successes with this card over the coming year, but so far it seems like a good investment.  Check it out yourselves and let me know if you have any questions that I can try to answer.  Savings so far: $38.


  1. Thanks for being the Guinea Pig on this one! I’ve always seen this, but as you said – it seemed too good to be true. Did you end up using the 15% off offer, or the companion ticket offer?

    1. Fellow brothers and sisters in arms,

      There is a discount site called BRADSDEALS.COM that has hundreds of savings listed, just scroll to the very bottom of the home page and click military. Print or save the list. I try to keep a copy in my car and one at home. There is no fee and they keep updated. I’ve used many of these for everyday needs.

  2. Thanks Glenn. Please let us know if you find any value with the program besides the United discount. I toyed with it a few months back and it seemed that most of the discounts were through their shopping mall – in other words, you got the discount but gave up any mileage you’d get through another program’s mall (Freq Flyer, Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, etc.). And I just read your “about me” on the blog – congrats for getting selected onto the command list!

  3. @Aarash – I am trying the companion ticket to see if that works. They sent me a form to fill out and send back for the certificate. Not sure how good that will be, but the 15% savings only amounted to $9, so I figured I’d try the ticket.

    @Chris L. – Thanks!

  4. Unfortunately, I have military committments on both of those dates. Hopefully, I can be at a DO or other event in the future.

  5. I am a retired service member. I enrolled in the 30 day trial period and was not satisfied….for many reasons. First why should I as a veteran pay to have a business give me a discount for services they provide me…and if they are honorable …why have me pay to join an organization to get the discount. Why should I pay Veterans Affairs to get me a 15% discount on Amtrak…why doesn’t AmTrak advertise this service for all veterans without going through a 3rd party. Yes there are some benefits but are they worth $199.00 for a 3 year period. Do the math…you would almost have to use this thing exclusively to make it financially benefical to the average Joe six pack. Third…it will take for ever to get someone on the phone…I called on May 2nd (a Saturday) to cancel my 30 day trial and could not get through…so I called on Monday May 4th and had to get down right indignent to get my refund. Let the buyer be ware

  6. Thank you for your insite on the program. I just reviewed the offer on United’s website and when I did the math it sounds like a complete win – win.
    The cost for 3 year’s is $150 + $5 = $155 – the $25 gift card = $130.00. We fly about 4 times a year at an average cost of $325 each per flight, so the companion ticket alone is worth more then twice the price paid.
    $325 – $130 = $195 in my pocket. Now add in the 5% savings ($179) on 11 more flights over 3 years and you end up with $195 + 179 = $374 in my pocket. And that’s just for traveling. Now that kind of deal sounds like a very nice, “Thank you for your service” if you ask me.

  7. This is an honest attempt for some bright individual to make a buck off of veterans…the savings are minimal unless you are a duck and fly constantly…the biggest problem I find is this…Dear veteran we appreciate you so much that for a fee we will give you a discount on varied services and products. The sound of the genuine heartfelt sympathy is drowned out by the sound of the cash registers clicking away…

    1. You are so right on, Dale. In addition when this came up, when I was purchasing a ticket I didn’t know what to think. So I called United customer service and they didn’t have a clue. If United wants to honor me why not just give me the 5% discount? How much is this Scott fellow getting paid as well as the board of directors? I also could never get Veteran’s Advantage to answer the phone. Then maybe I would know?……… Doubt it.

    2. Well said, I tried to give it a side thought that MAYBE they are really trying to help us Vets! The old saying still holds….sounds too good; well guess WHAT? I can’t afford to travel enough to even make a dent in their savings hype, enough said!

      USAF Vet

  8. I just looked into the program and read everyone’s comments. And the really funny part about this whole gimmick is you don’t need the card to get the 10% or 15% discount for most all business that offers a discount. I do not have a card, and guess what, I ask every merchant I go to if they offer military or veterans a discount, and every single one of them that offers a discount, has given it to me w/no more than a flash of my ID. No questions ask, normally a pleasant smile and thank you for your service response. So people, the card may be required at some stores/business, but if you need their costly card to get a discount,than it’s not really a discount, and it’s not where you want to shop anyway. Go shopping! Ask the question, show your military ID or veterans ID and get the discount. You don’t need someones money making membership card scheme. We all signed up years ago to become members of the US Armed Forces, and we have paid our membership dues 🙂 Thanks

    1. Jo, I heartily agree with you. This is just some people, profiting, off of veterans, by helping us get something, we could get on our own, if we were made aware of it. I found I could get veteran discounts, way back in 1966, when Napa Autoparts, started giving them to me, because they were aware, I had just returned from the service.

  9. @ Jo – Good luck flashing your ID at United Airlines and getting a discount. I wish it were that easy. Same goes for CVS, try flashing your ID card there are see. Yes, many merchants do offer a discount to all veterans and we should thank them for that, but I have saved much more than the cost of this card just on United Airlines alone.

    1. I have looked at this VA Card and it’s touted advantages but I can only find a few instances where the card is necesary most discounts are already available for Veterans without the card. So what is the purpose of a card when I can get the same or better discounts with a few keystrokes and not spend any additional money doing so. The only thing of benifit I can find with the VA card is they are charging us to do the research to let us know what our benifits are and let’s face it everyone has to eat and no one works for free. This would be benificial for lazy individuals but most soldiers aren’t.

      1. @ Tyler – I pointed out in my reply to Robert, that a military ID will not get you the significant money savings on flights. That savings adds up to hundreds for me. I also don’t think that a military ID will get you the other travel discounts on trains, cars rentals, and hotels. Those are the discounts that concern me. Why don’t you do us a favor and conduct the research listing the exact discount we can receive on items just by showing military ID? I think many here would like to see that list.

        1. Glenn,

          This is the only card that helps veterans that are not retirees take advantages of savings. As a non-retiree, I have no military id to show merchants and this card fills the gap felt by non-retiree veterans. The most noticeable savings I have experienced are through the travel and TMobile offers.

          Thanks for doing the leg work on this offer.

          1. @ Nancy – Great story, I had not even thought of the fact that this could be used to show merchants that you’re a vet. Good job!

          2. Nancy – *** IF YOU NEED A VETERAN ID *** , try this: I don’t know what state you live in but in Texas and many other states you can take your DD-214 down to the Department of Motor Vehicles and they will put a VETERAN stamp on your drivers license. When I say stamp, I mean it is printed into the license so you will have to wait for it to come in the mail but if you needed it immediately, I think they gave me a similarly marked temporary when I originally ordered mine. I also don’t think there was any charge. Let me know if that works out for you.

  10. On 12/4 I signed up for a ONE YEAR FREE trial membership. My VA disability doesn’t allow for vacations. But one never knows when 15% off AMTRAK might come in handy. At the end of the year I could cancel or pay membership.

    Well, checking my bank balance the next day I discovered a debit of $59.95 on my account by Veteran’s Advantage. I called them and asked why. The reply was classic manipulative rhetoric built of logical fallacies and facts out of context. Eventually the rep relented and promised to cancel and refund in full, but wouldn’t tell me when my money would return. It only took them 3hrs to take it and he said maybe a week or two max!!!

    I then started digging and learned that back in 2008 the Better Business Bureau had received numerous complaints against Veteran’s Advantage for the exact same thing that happened to me. Veterans Advantage assured the BBB that they had fix the ‘problem’ and that it wouldn’t happen anymore. That was four year ago!!

    I don’t appreciate businesses who target Veterans for profit. Especially businesses owned by veterans and exploiting the various govt. policies giving tax and access advantages for such businesses.

    It might seem trivial to many reading this. It isn’t by any means. Many business owners put profit over integrity and little stings like this one can and do add up to windfall profits in various ways.

    I’ve filed complaint with BBB. Getting to the right person at AMTRAK – after all AMTRAK had to vet them before allowing them to market on AMTRAK’s site, has been an exercise in futility. Contacting the regional VA is all agents currently busy ‘click’ hell too.

    So anyway, as in all such things. Works great for those with the discretionary funds needed to take advantage of the offers. Meanwhile those at the other end get gouged and basically brushed aside with little recourse and no one to lodge formal complaints to.

  11. I can’t find anything about the Companion ticket on the Veterans’ Advantage website — can someone tell me the details?

    1. @ Curtis – I agree they don’t give you much in the way of details on the enrollment site, but here is how it works. After enrolling, they will send you a letter from a company (forget the name). Then you have to go on thier website and enter the PIN that they mailed you. Then they mail you a companion certificate that you can use to book through thier travel service. Glad you posted this, I still need to use mine!

  12. Does Veterans Advantage actually require any verification of an applicant’s veteran status on their application for membership?

    1. No, they pretty much just trust you. As I recall, you sign a statement saying that you are eligle and that is that.

      1. It is a felony to say you are a veteran and use that for financial gain so lying about being a vet to get the card burns your lie in writing. No big deal unless for some reason it comes up. As we all know, things you might think never come up do. All it takes is one person to ask a question. Then because you lied about being a vet, your life unravels. It does happen to people.

  13. I am looking into VetAdv too and not being a frequent flyer/traveler what caught my eye was their (VetAdv) statement: “Veterans Advantage Members can now show their active “VetRewards” Card – at any Verizon Wireless Store nationwide — for 15% off new and existing monthly plans, 25% off accessories. — For smartphone users, you save $90 – $180 ANNUALLY.”

    So now I am calling VZW to see if my current discount as a former employee of Verizon (NYTel when I was working, til the last few years as Verizon, but I do get a 22% discount (Thanks to the CWA Union)from my monthly VZW charges)

    I am going to call VZW now and ask… “Can the VetAdv discount be used by me in any way, list what ways please.” I’ll post here what they (VZW) says.

    REF: Call to VZW

    What was good about the call was that I confirmed I already get a 25% (up from 22% from the VZ Employee Discount (after my 25 years working for VZ) on the monthly fees as well as new phone upgrades and accessories. — And as pretty much known, I can’t they (VZW) can’t apply any further discount to me ‘on top’ of what I’ve already got.

    So now as I am interested in begining to travel the States via the likes of AMTRAK — what I still kind of like about what VetAdv is saying about the Life / Travel Insurance services member get.

    Anyone here know much about that stuff? I am pretty sure my AMTRAK Guest Rewards Card includes travel Insurance (I’ll look into that). But I am wondering if that card and the VetAdv membership… hmmm, does the Life AD&D insurance coverage build ‘on top’ of one another (will both insurances pay if (God forbid) anything happen??? I wouldn’t mind that – Yah know? Or do insurance companies have some article in there somewhaere that only one will pay? Or they’ll split each paying a piece bring to a certain top payment?

  14. FYI….Verizon has been giving me the 15% discount for years…based on me ASKING, and showing my ID card.

    1. Scott,

      I don’t like or appreciate that you have it worked out that I can not get a Veteran’s dicount on United Airlines without buying your card and most likely, in the end, paying you money.

  15. The thing is, if your retired and an AARP member you get a 10% discount on everything the VAC has. And a AARP membership cost you only 10 bucks a year.

  16. @ Robert – I don’t believe your argument holds up. Point out to me which of those organizations gives me a 5% discount on United and Lufthansa? I have done the math and if you spend over $1299 on airfares on those airlines, then you are coming out ahead. The math is pretty simple and works out. I also do not understand the point about not verifying that the card holder is a veteran. What does that have to do with how much you save. I would also note that you would have a fee for being a member of AARP or AAA in order to get their discount.

    1. @Ralph – I don’t work for Veterans Advantage and have never received any compensation from them. I pay the same membership rate as anyone, but obviously feel that it is a good value or I wouldn’t say so.

  17. I now notice that both my comments have been removed from the blog. I responded to Dale in the affirmative and I also questioned why I had to buy a card from Scott to get a discount. Is the Col a friend of Scott?

    1. @Dave – I have never removed anyone’s posts once they are posted. There is a procedure here at BoardingArea.com that bloggers need to approve posts before they are seen. Otherwise this site would be full of spam. My spam counter is showing 795. I also work for a living so don’t expect me to approve your posts two minutes after you post them. If you think United should just give you a 5% discount, go ahead and write them. And yes, I would like to consider Scott a friend although I have never met him. he was very nice when I interviewed him last year. At least he is out there trying to arrange for discount for veterans, they don’t just happen by themselves. You may think the companies should do it, but if they did then you wouldn’t have a complaint, right?

  18. Glenn – Did I jump the gun on the blog being removed, well don’t know? I just know that my response to Dale was there for a while with no temporary message that I could see, and then wasn’t there. Ok on the spam. I understand that. My beef is that United, because of Veterans Advantage, will not give a discount to a Veteran unless he pays his money to Veterans Advantage. Yes, Veterans Advantage is probably a good deal for some Veterans. But I doubt most. But there is more to this than just money. Then Verterans Advantage seems to be about money, ie for them? I wonder if Veterans Advantage gives money back to United? Otherwise why wouldn’t United give a discount to a Veteran? The above is just speculation for Veterans Advantage couldn’t give me an answer on that. Dave

  19. I need to buy about $1700 worth of tickets soon. One is international, 2 are US. Some questions pls…
    Any problem with Internl as long as start & ret to US?
    Is it effective immediately (i.e. do I get a code & plug in to UA website the same day)?
    Only for my ticket or if I purchase my husband’s ticket at the same time, will the discount cover his too?
    If I get the 30 day trial, do they take my CC info & bill before I get a chance to try them for 30 days?
    Thank you!!!

    1. @Carolyn – No problem with Int’l. I just bought a BWI-SIN ticket and got my discount. I do not recall it being immediate as you need to get your membership number from them which comes in the mail – you might be able to call and expedite or at least have them tell you your membership number. After that, you just plug your number into United.com. You can get discounts on both your tickets. I believe that they get your CC info and charge you and then refund if you are not satisfied.

    1. @ Lorna – I did use the companion fare and got some discount from it. It is not based upon the lowest possible fare, but on a higher fare basis throguh the company issuing the certificate. I saved about $100 over buying two of the lowest fares. Not great, but hey it’s $100, right?

  20. I purchased the card to receive a verizon wireless discount on my monthly bill. When I called verizon to give them my member number they said I didn’t need it. All I needed to do is attach my dd214 to my verizon account and I would receive a 15% discount. No need for veterans advantage.

  21. Glenn appears to spend considerable time pushing advantages of VetAdvantage. If not a shill, what then? I agree that the organization is taking advantage (making money) off the backs of veterans. As a WWII combat infantryman that survived various battles – while friends did not – I object to being used by both Veterans Advantage and the companies that they have made deals with. I have found that Lowes gives a straight 10% to all vets unlike Home Depot that has pulled back with restrictions. I will tend to not use vendors that require membership from AARP – the biggest offender of all – in order to get discount. It is about money making – at the expense of other consumers.

    1. @Bill – If you can get the discounts without getting Veterans Advantage, then don’t get a membership. Same with AARP. However, I don’t know anyone who has successfully walked up to a United counter and said “I’m a veteran, please give me 5% off my ticket price”. Same with AARP, I would love to get their discount at hotels (same with AAA), but hotels don’t generally give you a discount for nothing. That’s just the way life is.

      BTW, had great success this weekend shopping where a store clerk saw mmy CAC card which is in a see through sleeve on the outside of my wallet and they gave me a military discount. Places like American Eagle – who knew! I encourage you to ask for a veterans discount and let’s us know how you succeed, I am just sure that you won’t get it at airlines or hotels which is mainly what this blog is about.

      Thanks for reading, Glenn. p.s. If I was a shill, I would actually make money from this blog which is definitely not the case.

    2. home depot will give a 10% discount at the register if you can present any form of military ID, I use my VA card. They have changed their policies & it can be done without a manager/ I go to Home Depot far more than Lowes because of the ease at checkout. Lowes managers must approve the transaction at any store I have tried this at.

      1. @ David – Thanks, yes I have saved a lot of money at both Home Depot and Lowe’s over the years. Good tip for everyone!

  22. Some states like Virginia, you can obtain a veterns card from the DMV. Just send in or bring a copy of your discharge papers. You have to be in person to use the card at a store but I’ve gotten many discounts. You do have to spend $10 for the official ID card but it’s worth it.

  23. Thanks for the info on VetDiscount but thanks more for the blog and thanks to all the bloggers who posted. After reading it all, I canned the idea of buying a VetDiscount card. Here are some reasons why.
    1. I don’t want to have to fly United to get a 5% discount. Even with all the mergers, airline fares are very competitive (and constantly changing). I just came back from a RT from FLL to AUS and saved much more than 5% flying Southwest instead of UA.
    2. I just got a “V” (for veteran) applied to my Florida driver’s license by presenting my DD214 in person to the FL drivers license bureau. I’ve saved over $100 in the past month at Home Depot and Lowes who both honor this at the cash register. I ask other venders if they have a veterans discount and many say yes.
    3. The insurance benefits are not valuable as they are available when using my AMEX card. What would be really valuable is a discount off travel cancellation insurance which us old folks unfortunately now need. Not offered with VetDiscount.
    4. I don’t want to be tied to buying at one on-line mall or at one store. Save much more via competitive offers and shopping.
    So, thanks for the review on VetDiscount, but I’ll pass and recommend to others that they carefully review this before committing $.

    1. What Ted says! I’m a retiree who flies fairly regularly between the U.S. and Europe, with occasional trips to Hawaii and the continental U.S. I cannot remember a time when United Airlines delivered the cheapest fare for any route. I ONLY fly United when there are no other options. I imagine higher fares would eat up that 5% discount pretty quickly.

  24. Glenn, thanks for the info on Veteran’s Advantage. A lot of the comments seem to be hammering on you hard for membership benefits not being all that they want people to think they are…not sure why people are getting all bent out of shape over it. Everyone should look at the terms closely, and decide for himself or herself whether it is worth buying a membership. As a retired NCO from the National Guard, I checked Veteran’s Advantage out and decided it wasn’t for me. I get a military discount from a lot of places with my retired ID, and usually don’t fly United more than once a year. But I am not going to castigate you for suggesting that I consider joining.

    The only recommendation I have is that you consider posting on the benefits of joining USAA, and maybe Navy Federal/Pentagon credit unions. I realize that those are financial topics rather than travel related, but they could be helpful to other servicemembers out there.

    Also, Louisiana gives you the option to add “Veteran” to your driver’s license or state ID card, at no additional cost.

  25. Glenn, I joined Veterans Advantage to take advantage of the 5% discount on United Flights. Guess what? I did the math and the discount only amounted to 2.8%. What gives?

    1. @Dennis – United gives you 5% off the fare, but the Government taxes and the 9/11 security fee remain the same so it won’t be exactly 5%. However, 2.8% sounds too low even with that. I would call United and ask why your new fare is not closer to the 5% and they can go through the breakdown of the fare, taxes and fees with you.


  26. hey i wanna travel to europe this summer for a few weeks. anyone think ill save money? not sure i trust the membership fee and giving out my military info online?

    1. @ Marc – Do some research and figure out what you will spend on airfare. Vet Adv gives you 5% off United and Lufthansa. Spend over $1200 and you’ll come out ahead just on airfare, not to mention the other benefits such as rental car and hotels. You don’t need to give out any military information to apply for membership, it is basically the honor system. While there could be some fraud with this method, you don’t have to worry about sending in sensitive personal info.

  27. Hi Glenn, thanks for the information you posted. I signed up for Veteran’s Advantage today and was pleasantly surprised by how many United flights were offered with the full 5% discount. Even business class tickets to Europe, and even flights operated by other Star Alliance carriers. But then I tried Lufthansa, going to the special Lufthansa portal from the Veteran’s Advantage website. I couldn’t find a single flight that offered any discount or showed a price less than the price on the public Lufthansa site. I fly to Germany a lot and would love the discount… have you had any success with Lufthansa? They’re my favorite airline.

  28. Thank you, Mr. Engineer. – Non-engineer. That was rather insightful, esp. the part about $1299 to recoup. I’ll pass then.

  29. Hi, just a quick note on my experiences. I took the 30 day free trial, for me & the wife I paid about 15 bucks.adding the wife was useless since I make all the reservations her card is not needed … ever. anyways before the 30 days had lapsed I was billed $89.92 for a year membership that had not been ordered. I was able to use the hotel & flight discounts but found I could have received these without being a member of this “club”. I have canceled my membership, wow that was quick, all data erased in seconds after the phone call but I am still waiting for a refund. I must note the cancellation process was painless,I was not harassed or offered anything to stay. I just hope to get my money back now. bI wish you all the best of luck

    1. @ David – Sorry that it did not work out. Curious how you say that you can get airline discounts without the card. Could you be more specific? I don’t know any other way to get 5% off of UA, Lufthansa or any other airline just for being a SM. I am sure others would like to find out so they can take advantage too.

  30. I am an honorable discharged with DD214 (6 years of services) in the the 1980s. DD214 is the only form of proofs that I had served in the Army. Can I apply for the Veteran Advantage?

    If so, my 2nd question is…Can I use the 5% advantage on UA airlines for international travel for my spouse and 2 kids WITHOUT me travel along?

    About the companion ticket…is it also apply for international travel as well?

    1. @ Samson – Yes you are eligible and they will take your word on your service. Yes, you can buy the tickets for your family with your discount.,, and no, it is not good for international travel.

    1. @ Shane – No, you can use them for international fares, but the flight has to originate in the U.S. or Canada. Here is the language: United is proud to thank U.S. Active Duty Military, Veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and their families for their service by offering Veterans Advantage® members a 5% discount on tickets for United- and United Express®-operated flights purchased on united.com. Members can also receive a 5% discount on tickets purchased on united.com for flights that are marketed by United and operated by Air Canada or Lufthansa.* Flights must originate in the U.S. or Canada to be eligible.

  31. I learned a lot from your posts, the Verizon discount was new to me! I applied for it at Verizon’s website. What an informative and pleasant discussion you all had.

  32. Very interesting discussion. I got a link from CVS for $20 off the year membership making it $39.95. The program says dependents are eligible which is why I am considering joining (my father served in the Army). I don’t know any other program that lets dependents join directly. Does anyone else?

  33. FYI – I’ve received a military discount at quite a few hotels. The amount varies. I am retired and typically am asked to show the ID at check in. No other memberships required – just ask or check the hotel website when making reservations. I also have AAA but the military is typically a better discount.

  34. I am a United MileagePlus member and had thought about doing this, but after reading some of the comments, I don’t think it would be beneficial to me since I don’t travel that often. I really wish there was some type of really good veterans discounts that United would offer to disabled vets without us having to spend additional money. I even tried to figure out how I could upgrade my premier status with United, but I it seems like a person has to be either rich or travel a lot to do that – doesn’t seem to apply to us ordinary, normal, low income disabled vets. And I find it funny that even dear Commander In Chief Obama keeps saying that he’s working to make life better for disabled veterans – certainly not in my lifetime!

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  37. I’m considering getting the advantage card and read through all your blogs here. What I did not see was anything stating the potential benefits to using the card for online shopping, where identity theft is prevalent. It seems to me that this card may have equal benefits to a pay pal account with the exception of the annual membership fee.

  38. My husband is the one with the VetAdv membership, we use the discounts all the time, and last year it paid off, big time. He was in a paragliding accident in Mexico, and hospitalized with multiple broken bones (pelvis, femur, heel). I called the number for Travel Guard, a benefit provided by VetAd at *no* additional cost, year round: “Travel Medical Emergency Services: help with local medical care and monitoring the quality of the hospital treatment, maintain daily contact between local physicians providing your care, and your personal physicians, family, employer, and others, provide medical records, and more.” They were incredible — talked to me (and the doctors) daily, set up conference calls between MX and US surgeons, and sent a Leer jet to medevac us from Toluca hospital to Santa Fe NM hospital. That alone was worth $25,000 … and their coordination of it all saved me the hassle. So, so thankful.

    1. @ Linda – Wow, what a great story! Well, not great about your husband getting hurt, but to have it all taken care of is fantastic. I don’t think a lot of us realize how important this benefit is.

  39. up until recently, United Airlines gave a military discount that many times, was better than the Vet Adv card. However, as of a couple of days ago, that went away. I have issues with the company only offering the discount to a company that I have to pay to be a member of. I fly 50-100K miles per year. I will be moving to another airline.

    1. @Jp – As a United Million Miler, I think I am pretty savvy with them and know of no discount for the military OTHER than the one from VetAdv. It would be great if you could show us exactly how you did that even if it is now dead. You would pay to belong to AAA or AARP in order to get a discount. What is the difference on joining VetAdv?

  40. I have been a Vetadvantage member for five years. I thought what the heck it’s only $38 a year. To be honest, I haven’t seen the rewards. I was able to get better deals through the free rewards programs offered by the company’s I do business with. For example, every now and then I rent a car from Enterprise; therefore, I signed up for their free reward benefits. I received the same discount through their free reward program, without having to invest in VetAdvantage. Rule of thumb if you can get it for free elsewhere, why pay for it.

  41. I was thinking about using the Veterans Advantage & realize there are discounts for Vets without paying for it. Amtrak, for example if you are over 62/65 you get a discount, if you pay your ticket early it’s cheaper. There are a lot of places that gives discounts for free. Just Google discounts for Veterans. I feel why pay for a discount???? Or when you get to the checkout line ask do you give discounts to Vets. Most states now put you’re a Veteran on your license.

  42. I have been reading this blog Glenn since learning about Veterans Advantage while surfing the Jet Blue website. I just want to thank you for this blog as it has given me insight into this program. I am not yet convinced that it is for me but I sure appreciate your efforts and those who have responded and reviewed this program.

    Dr. DavID

    1. @ Dr. David – Thanks. I just believe is presenting the information and each person can decide for themselves, based upon their own travel patterns, to decide if the membership is right for them. I am totally neutral, but just find that it works out for me since there are a lot of discounts (such as on United) that are not simply offered due to being a veteran.

  43. I am also considering getting this membership. For a 5 year membership it’s $ 39.00 per year. I am primarily looking at it for the 15 % Amtrak discount and the 20 % Greyhound discount. The Greyhound discount says it is on walk-up fares, i need to investigate how they compare to the web discount. The nice thing about the Amtrak discount with this membership is that no advance purchase is required.

  44. Glenn,

    Thanks for the blog. Lots of noise in the negative commenters. It isn’t about finding discounts in general. It’s about convenience first of all, and then the flagship benefit for the airline fares and possibly Amtrak. Don’t know why Lufthansa doesn’t honor the discount very widely if at all, might be a procedural problem, I would like to read more about that. I don’t mind that Scott did the legwork on this and might reap the benefits of his work. Many seem to wish they had the idea first. For us non-retired (discharged), that’s a nice benefit, not having to prove service on every occasion. DD-214 is large, cumbersome and delicate. Veteran stamp on my drivers license doesn’t look very official in Texas, and I don’t know it would carry the same weight as a military ID, active or retired. I don’t work for anybody now that I am retired, and have no conflict of interest. I just want to see folks treated fairly.

  45. Considering membership. Anyone have any experience using VA card with Alamo Car Rental? Site indicates up to 20% discount. Other ways to save with Alamo? BTW I’m the son of a veteran, so the usual veteran discounts are not available to me. Thanks.

  46. has anyone tried the emergency evac insurance? I travel a lot but buy cheap tickets with other company…the traveling insurance can get pretty expensive and want to know if paying the vet advantage is worth it…got the 30 day trial but haven’t really used it much.

    1. @Ivanna – Scroll down and read the story from Linda about the accident her husband had in Mexico and how this benefit saved them thousands.

    2. Many credit cards offer similar benefits just for being a card owner if you use the card to purchase the trip

  47. I have a few questions.

    How do I get all of the detail on Veterans Advantage without joining, I hear this thing about companion certificate but what exactly does it mean, a free ticket, I discounted companion ticket?

    it bothers when I read is an advertisement and they want me to join without letting me read detail, clauses and caveats.

    1. @ Fred – I received a companion ticket. I paid a regular fare and then got the second one for free. You do need to work through their travel agency on this, so don’t expect a rock bottom price. But you will come out ahead. Recommend booking several months in advance for the best price.

  48. This thing pays for itself in one to two months of for items you use daily. You can use this discount at cvs.com to buy anything you get 20%off and free shipping plus it can be stacked on top of there own discount codes and extra bucks. It is byvgar the cheapest way to buy everyday items such as toothpaste mouthwash shampoo etc big savings on laundry soap and fragrances.

  49. I saw this too on the United site. Wow, a discount of us vets. BUT, I resent having the join and pay a $60 fee each year. If a company wants to help veterans, then give them the discount…FOR FREE. United is making a lot more money than the vets traveling on United. I see this as just another PR promotion to make United look like the really care about the vets. They don’t.

    1. @Tad- You could make the same argument about AARP. Companies should just give you the discount for being old, but you have to pay AARP to get their membership and the discount that results from their marketing.

  50. I am a very frequent flyer and am always interested in saving money. Thanks for the information. I encourage you to keep on keeping on with the information that you are providing. I am amazed at the folks who take the time to complain about a company that exists to assist those of us who served. I don’t see that same level of disgust for the organizations that raise money to help vets, perhaps because those who are complaining have to use their own money to receive the benefits. Don’t think for a moment that the people running these organizations don’t earn money doing it. I guess it’s okay to benefit so long as someone else is footing the bill? I am not a member yet, but as long as I am able, I am willing to pay my own way for the bennies I receive. Obviously this program is not for everyone. It is great to have options. If it does not work for you, simply pass it by. No need to be so negative about someone earning a living helping others. Just my two cents worth.

    1. I completely agree with you. Most people here are complaining because it’s not free. The military owes us a monthly check for our service, it does not owe us a lifetime of freebies and neither are private companies obligated to offer us anything, but I am thankful that they do. We served our country, but we also benefited, such as free health and dental care, free education if we took the time to earn a degree, cheap life insurance, and BAH, for others free housing. The military also ensured we had plenty of education on leadership and training on our career field as we progressed up the ladder. If the program is not for you then don’t sign up, but quit complaining because it isn’t free. We live in a free market society, look for what is best for you and/or your family. If you don’t like something, look for something else or try to change the law or promote your cause through your elected representatives, or other lawful means.

  51. Both my husband and I are veterans. ANY local VA will provide you with a veteran card with a dd214, no appointment necessary! We have received discounts at Home Depot, Lowes, Claire’s (we have a daughter) and most interesting a compounded 20% discount at ACE because we were both vets. Everywhere I go I ask if they have a military discount. You would be SHOCKED the number of businesses that offer discounts or additional services if you just ask. I cannot address the airline issue and have read all the posts but feel COMPELLED to inform other veterans that just asking will get them far!! Visit your local VA and get the card, you never know when you will need it. I was recently diagnosed with Lupis and moved my care to VA Palo Alto instead of using our insurance. We have saved a BUNDLE on both my specialty care and meds.

  52. Hi Gen G, Everyone in your blog addresses the Veterans Advantage discounts. What I am curious about is- is their travel insurance that comes with the membership good as compared to other travel insurances? Have you checked it out or compared it? I have purchased travel insurance on the fly before for my parents when they visited me overseas and it paid off because my dad had an appendix attack and we went to a foreign hospital ER. Anyway, for a 2 week deal, that travel insurance was $444. But at that time, it was better than paying the ER and hospital bills and it saved us. Veterans Advantage offers a travel insurance of up to $50K and it would be nice and a peace of mind to know that you have it all the time. I just want to know if they deliver as they advertise. Thank you if you know anything!

    1. Stephanie – Fortunately, I have never had to use travel insurance myself, but if you scroll down to Comment #49 from Linda, she relates how Veterans Advantage’s travel insurance saved them $25,000. No one likes to pay for insurance, but they are very glad they did when they need it.

  53. Gen G, Sir, I submitted a question a little while ago reference the Veterans Advantage travel insurance. What I forgot was to say, “Thank you!” for taking the time/care for this blog on behalf of myself and veterans of short tours, longer tours, all services and of course active duty and retired. I am a recent retiree. I apologize for forgetting to express my appreciation.

  54. I guess the discount no longer applies to international travel now? It now says “Discount only applies for travel to destinations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.”…

  55. @ glenn – Yeah, that’s a bummer… I would have gotten it if it worked on international flights. Doesn’t seem to be as good of a deal with the new restrictions. There are a lot of other airlines domestically (such as Spirit) to choose from that will beat United’s price even with the 5% discount.

  56. Now I am paying for things that I could usually show my id for and it’s costing me. Somethings were already done with va issued ID or vet I’d from dmv but this is making it harder!

  57. Tried Veterans Advantage’s “one month trial” membership. The discounts didn’t work for me the way I thought they might, so I opted out of an annual membership. Just looked at my credit card bill and see that Veterans Advantage charged me an annual membership fee three weeks after acknowledging my cancellation. Bad business…buyer beware.

  58. Veterans Advantage is a great program. I bought a 5 year discounted membership promotion for $99.
    The savings is not just for airlines, but 10% off Home Depot,Lowes, etc. You really can save.

  59. Glenn, thank you for posting all of the info and replies to others’ comments. While investigating the VAC, I discovered your blog. I started my search about VAC because I noted that JetBlue (my preferred airline) is offering the 5% discount with the VAC. While I have been aware of many of the discounts (Home Depot, Lowes, hotels, Verizon) offered to veterans (with a military ID) without the VAC, I am leaning toward enrolling because of the numbers you provided in your original post. I usually spend $1299 annually at JetBlue so the savings would pay for my VAC membership and any other savings would be gravy. I do agree with other posts that mention bigger savings/rewards when using other sites (not VAC) for online purchases. Most likely, I’d not use VAC for online shopping. Thanks again for your insight.

  60. I never knew that veterans could get a discount on flights. That is such a fascinating concept because I love the fact that veterans are rewarded for their hard work and service, even the rental car companies give discounts as you stated in your post. One of my parents’ friends is a veteran and I’m not sure if he knows about this, I will have to share this with him.

  61. And lastly, if anything else, it seems that purchasing a VetAd card is a backdoor way of getting a military discount as according to poster, military service is not verified. Probably purchased by a lot of non-veterans, or veterans with bad paper, which in turn, blocks the real veterans from getting their just discounts. It’s a shame certain companies only honor that card in place of a real verified id such as va id card, designator on drivers license and even a dd214. What a shame.

    1. I was not in the military. My father was a WWII and Korea veteran, as were his brothers. My late husband was a Viet Nam Marine vet. My son is an Army vet. My daughter is a Navy vet. My son-in-law is a Navy vet.

      That said, the founder of the program allows people like me to sign up, so I did. If he’s not offended, why should you be? My access doesn’t lessen your access to discounts, so what is it?

  62. Assuming this program continues to work, the 15% Amtrak discount pays for the card in just 2 months of commuting for me. Like others, I have used my VA card to get discounts at HD, Lowes and others for years, but I agree with Glenn (wherever he is nowadays), that the travel discounts are where this card really benefits those of us who have served. If you don’t travel, don’t want to shop on their online mall, or don’t want to pay the fee for the additional discounts offered…then don’t.

  63. For all those doing the ‘math’ I signed up for the Free 30 day card and tuned around and purchased 2 Amtrack tickets. Saved us $115.00 Works for us!

  64. Are the discounts on top of any other rate you find or are these “special” rates of List price, etc.?

  65. This may be a good deal for frequent travelers and people who buy new smart phones often. It certainly wasn’t for us, which we are not. I signed up for a year and never got a single discount on anything. This is partly because I didn’t always remember to show it or because I had AAA and AARP or a coupon for a greater discount. I first tried it at my local CVS store and the clerk said she had never seen such a card and was not authorized to give me the 20% discount. This was interesting because I usually never buy anything there without a 30% discount coupon– or a serious sale item to which the discounts don’t apply anyway. I AM NOT PLANNING TO RENEW!

  66. Verizon retiree-25%, AARP, Veteran with V stamp on driver’s license, most places offer a veteran 10% discount, I clip coupons, I shop on Seniors days. I sign up for stores or services for a 10% everything discount (Lowes, etc). I always ask for senior discount if not visible. Will never fly again. So, looks like I don’t need the card. Thanks for everyone’s input.

  67. Veterans Advantage makes money on the fees- and they give the merchants a kickback. So, United and other companies make vets use Vterans Advantage because United gets a buck or two pay off from Veterans Advantage for every transaction. Personally, it just shows how crass companies like United are. Other companies don’t do this. For example, LLBean uses a FREE third party to verify military discount eligibility. They probably have to pay a dollar per sale for this service. It shows they truly respect veterans. Not to pick on United, because they have lots of company in this regard, but United’s use of Veterans Advantage just shows all they’re doing is going lip service- and they’re making a buck in the process. Sick!

    1. @Greg – I am not sure why you object to paying Vet Adv for these discounts. You need to buy a membership in AARP to get their discounts or AAA to get their discounts. In my experience, the discounts that Vet Adv have arranged with the airlines and other providers were something they arranged, not just because you are a vet.

  68. Glenn, I’ve read the years of postings and you love to give AARP and AAA which is a false equivalency. First, joined AARP for their advocacy in Congress which often have been quite effective and like you said offers similar discounts other than airfare. If you want an organization that really cares about vets, MOAA puts VetAdv to shame. They have local organizations and even sometimes send out postcards for a hot issue to communicate to Congress. They played a significant role in Tricare for Life. To compare them to VetAdv just is not equivalent. I met some of the senior leadership of MOAA, retired senior officers and some really professional people. AARP is a powerful organization. What have VetAdv done for vets? Do they have a presence in Congress? I see they say they participate in some legislative efforts but seems a weak effort at best. AAA? They tow your car! The majority of the benefits you can get just having an ID card. Yes, some airlines will only give a discount to VetAdv and maybe travel insurance but bottom line, VedAdv should lobby the airlines to only require a retired ID for the discount and rely on their great members only discounts.

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