So to continue from last time, I interviewed Scott Higgins, CEO of Veterans Advantage, and Roy Asfar, Marketing VP, for further details on what the program offers.  Here are some of the discounts that they wanted to make my readers and I aware of:

AMTRAK.  15% off of any ticket.  AMTRAK was the Veterans Advantage first partner.  I am not an “East Coast” guy so I am not that familiar with AMTRAK, but I did get a chance to ride their train from NYC to see my sister in Fairfield, CT last Thanksgiving and I thought it was a nice relaxing ride.  Probably a good deal for someone like my daughter who lives in Baltimore and can take the train up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

Greyhound.  20% off any fare.  Again, I hadn’t ridden a Greyhound bus since I was a 2LT at Ft. Belvoir in 1985.  Got a chance to ride one with my daughter from Baltimore to NYC at Thanksgiving and was pretty impressed.  Internet on board and power plugs everywhere gave me plenty to do on the four hour journey.  The rest stop on the Jersey Turnpike was actually very nice with a wide variety of food similar to what you would expect at any large airport.  This seems like a good deal for those on a budget.

Travel Medical Insurance.  For a simple fee of $189/ yr. you can buy insurance in case you get very sick while traveling and need to be medevaced out.  I know from my time in Alaska that those “lifeflights” as we called them cost thousands.  Might be a good investment for those who travel to remote places or where there is sketchy medical care.

Concierge Service.  This service is included in your membership fee and is a great reference for traveling someplace and talking to an expert in the local goings-on.  Museums, shows, restaurants, etc.  I plan to try this out and see how well it works.  Kind of nice to be able to call someone for entertainment advice when in a  strange area.  I have seen this advertised for other travel services, but you usually have to pay big bucks for the conceirge service.

Prescription Discount.  I thankfully don’t need this, but my wife probably gets a couple of hundred dollars worth on meds every month.  Tricare picks up most of it, but I can see this discoount coming in handy because the expense is only going to get bigger with time.  Not to mention what might happen if Congress cuts back on Tricare like they have been discussing.  It’s hell getting old, but it sure beats dying.

Lastly, the one I am excited about most.  Scott is very close to tying up a deal for Ford’s X Program.  This is where you get a pre-negotiated discount for a Ford car.  I really like this as I hate haggling over the price with the dealer, not to mention the required “waiting while he talks to his boss”.  I know they are really out having a cup of coffee.  I could really use this for my little girl when she graduates next month and needs a car for that first job.  More on this to follow.

Posted by glenn | 6 Comments

6 responses to “Veterans Advantage – Interview with Scott Higgins, Part 2”

  1. Jayson says:

    This segment of the interview is really helping make that decision to join.

    Especially the Ford portion. I figure, when it’s time for me to buy a 2nd car, I can really leverage my memberships with Costco, USAA, my credit union, and then VetAdvantage to see who can provide the best bang for my buck.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. Aarash says:

    As a lifelong East Coaster heading to Hawaii, I’m definitely going to miss amtrak as well as the bus to NYC (as well as the metro/subway). That said, aside from those deals and the Travel Medical insurance, do you see a large value in the Veteran’s Advantage program for those outside of a major metro area? Hawaii for example 😛

  3. glenn says:

    @Aarash – It depends on how many times you will be flying from Hawaii once you get here. The 5% off of UA fares means you are saving at least $30 each time you fly to the mainland and probably more. A couple of flights and you will have already paid for the membership.

  4. Alex says:

    Hi Glenn. I was reading about Veteran’s Advantage for the United 5% discount, and it says travel must originate from the U.S. Is that accurate? I am stationed in Korea right now, so I will not be able to receive the 5% discount?

  5. glenn says:

    @ Alex – Yes, that is true. I agree that it is strange, but must be some rule United put in place. You can get the discount for flying from CONUS to Korea, but not the reverse. The VA card probably does not make sense for you if you are stationed overseas unless you would be buying tickets for family or friends to come visit you in the ROK.

  6. Lin Higgins says:

    Hi Glenn,

    Veterans Advantage provides for every member its Exclusive Benefits Plan which includes at no cost, FREE $50,000 Global MEDEVAC from Travel Guard, the leader in travel insurance, to cover you 365 days a year whenever you travel more than 100 miles from home, whether for leisure or business travel.

    In your review of benefits above, you incorrectly state the following: “For a simple fee of $189/ yr. you can buy insurance in case you get very sick while traveling and need to be medevaced out.” Please note that Veterans Advantage includes this coverage from TravelGuard with every plan–no need to pay any extra fee.

    You can see the Global Medevac benefit alone makes the program a great deal for travelers–a very valuable benefit, which far exceeds our one-year $60 annual member fee, and 3 and 5 year plans cost even less per year.

    Also, many believe this is only valuable for travel to remote areas overseas. However, it is can be used anytime you are more than 100 miles from you home in the U.S. and may be important to have this coverage even for travel in more developed areas.

    For instance, on a family vacation, we needed to emergency Medavac our son from the Turks and Caicos to a Miami Florida hospital and the expense would have been $30,000 without Medevac coverage. I don’t think anyone would consider Turks and Caicos so remote, but their small island hospital did not have the proper medical equipment to treat our son, which necessitated an emergency air ambulance to save his life.

    I hope you are still enjoying your Veterans Advantage member benefits!
    Lin Higgins

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