Few of us look forward to getting older. For many people, words like “aging” and “senior citizen” suggest growing steadily more frail, bent, and creaky and eventually moving into an assisted living facility to play bridge all day.
But as society shifts from that mindset to one that revolves around successful aging, people are starting to realize growing older has its perks. Lots of businesses offer special deals to older customers, and many of them kick in well before you reach age 65. AARP and the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) are both open to people as young as 50, and both offer a vast array of discounts for just a $16 annual membership fee.
If you dread turning the big five-oh, these bargains can help you see the bright side of hitting that benchmark birthday. And if you’ve already passed that milestone, make sure you’re getting all the goodies you’re entitled to.
Best Deals and Discounts for Older Adults
The rules for age-based discounts vary widely. Some businesses offer them to all customers over a certain age, which can be anywhere from 55 to 65. Others have deals only for those with low incomes. And some provide discounts only for AARP or AMAC members.
But whatever the rules are, you’re likely to need proof of age to get them. Bring your driver’s license or other valid ID and your AARP or AMAC card with you whenever you shop so you won’t miss out on any of these great deals.
BB&T (Now Truist) Senior Checking
BB&T (now Truist) has bank locations in 15 states ranging from New Jersey to Texas plus the District of Columbia. Its Senior Checking account for customers at least 55 years old offers these features:
- Only $100 required to open the account
- A $10 monthly maintenance fee, which you can avoid by making $500 in direct deposits or maintaining an average monthly balance of $1,000
- Free checks
- Available overdraft protection
- One penalty-free withdrawal from a CD at the same bank to cover emergency medical expenses
- Online and phone access to your account
- Free mobile check deposit
TD 60 Plus Checking
TD Bank, with branches in 15 eastern states plus the District of Columbia, has a program called 60 Plus Checking. Available to customers ages 60 and older, it offers:
- No minimum opening deposit
- A monthly maintenance fee of $10, which you can avoid if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $250
- Interest on all balances, no matter how low (rates vary by state)
- Free checks, money orders, and paper statements
- Available savings overdraft protection
- A discount of 0.25% on home equity loans and personal loans
- Online bill payment and free mobile check deposit
Some small local banks also offer special checking accounts, though the age at which you qualify for them may vary. Examples include Senior Select at First National Bank in Texas, Q Crown Plus at Queensborough National Bank and Trust in Georgia, and Silver Wings Checking at Travis Credit Union in California. Check with local banks in your area to see if they offer similar deals.
But be aware that an account with the word “senior,” “silver,” or “golden” in its name isn’t automatically the best deal for older customers. These accounts often have high monthly maintenance fees or require you to maintain a high minimum balance to earn interest. When comparing checking accounts, look at all the options and determine which one offers the best value.
Many colleges and universities across the country allow older adults to attend their regular classes for little or no cost. At some schools, you can audit classes — sit in on lectures without earning credits toward a degree — at no cost. Others go even further, allowing you to earn credits on a limited basis.
Some examples of special programs you may qualify for include:
- The California State. At The California State University, state residents ages 60 and older get free tuition on all classes. The university also waives or drastically reduces most campus fees for these students.
- Michigan Tech. At Michigan Tech in Houghton, students ages 60 and older can take up to two classes each semester for free and earn credit for them. That could be a slow but sure way to earn a free college degree.
- Ohio State Colleges. State residents ages 60 and older can attend classes at any state university in Ohio for free as long as the class has space available. They do not earn college credit, however.
You can find free or discounted college classes for older adults in every state in the country and the District of Columbia. To see what’s available in your state, do an online search of “free college classes for seniors” or “free college classes for older adults.” If getting back and forth to campus is a problem, check out free online college courses from sources like the OEDb (Open Education Database).
One of the perks of retirement is having plenty of time to travel. And if you’ve planned your retirement right, you should have plenty of money to indulge this hobby as well.
A January 2020 survey by AARP found that the average baby-boomer household expected to take three or four domestic and one or two overseas trips that year at a total cost of $7,800. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic canceled most of those plans. But in the 2021 AARP survey, more than half of boomers said they were eager to start traveling again.
Every company in the travel business is eager to appeal to your age group, even if you’re on a tight budget. To do so, they offer special deals on just about every aspect of vacation travel, from airfare to car rentals to hotels. There are loads of choice deals in the category.
Several airlines offer special fares for older passengers. These include:
- American Airlines. Although American Airlines offers special fares on some flights, the amount of the discount varies. To find out how much it is, search the website for a specific flight, then select “Senior (65+)” under “Passengers” to see what fares are available.
- Delta. Similarly, Delta offers special fares in only some markets. You can’t get these fares through Delta.com, but you can check on their availability by calling Delta at 800-221-1212.
- United Airlines. The United Airlines site mentions fares for passengers ages 65 and up to “selected travel destinations,” but it doesn’t say what those destinations are. Instead, you have to ask whether the special fare is available when you make your reservation or select “Seniors (65+)” when booking a flight through United.com.
- British Airways. Those with an AARP card can often get discounts for fares on British Airways. For instance, a current promotion offers AARP members a discount of $65 on economy-class tickets or $200 on business-class tickets through January 2022.
Bear in mind that these special age-based fares aren’t always cheaper than the airfare deals you can find online. Instead of going straight for the age-related discount, it’s worth shopping around on travel sites such as Expedia, Kayak, Travelocity, and CheapOair to see what other deals are available.
Bus and Rail Fares
If you prefer to travel by train or bus, there are discounts there too. Passengers ages 65 and up can get a 10% discount on most Amtrak trains. For cross-border services run jointly with Via Rail Canada, the discount applies to anyone over 60. The discount isn’t valid for the Auto Train, sleeper cars, and first-class or business-class tickets on non-Acela trains.
Also, many cities and states offer discounted or even free fares on public transportation for people 65 and up. For instance:
- In Miami-Dade County, Florida, anyone over 65 or receiving Social Security can get a Golden Passport Easy Card for free transit.
- Low-income people ages 65 and up or disabled can get a free transit pass that’s good anywhere in the state of Illinois.
- The SEPTA transit system in Pennsylvania gives free fares to everyone ages 65 and up for travel within Pennsylvania and 50% off the weekday fare for trips from Pennsylvania to New Jersey or Delaware.
- In Delaware, the SCAT (Senior Citizens Affordable Taxi) program gives a 50% discount on taxi fares to people ages 65 and over and people with disabilities.
Once you get to your travel destination, you might need a rental car to get around. Many companies offer special deals on car rentals, including:
- Avis. An AARP membership entitles you to discounts at Avis. You get up to 30% off the base rate on any rental plus other benefits like free upgrades and a second driver at no cost. This company also provides discounts to AMAC members, with rates as low as $25 per weekend day for an SUV.
- Budget. Another car rental company that works with AARP and AMAC members is Budget. It offers AARP members discounts of up to 30% off its base rates plus extra perks like free upgrades, discounted GPS, no additional driver fee, and limited liability for damage to the car. AMAC members get discounts of up to 25%.
- Hertz. If you’re at least 50 years old, you can save up to 20% on a car rental from Hertz even if you’re not a member of AARP or AAMC. Members of its Fifty Plus Program get discounts on all rentals plus access to additional perks when signing up for the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program.
- Payless. AARP members get 5% off base rates at Payless Car Rental. They’re also entitled to free upgrades on bookings of compact through full-size cars and a free additional driver.
- Zipcar. AARP members also qualify for discounts when joining the Zipcar car-sharing program. They pay just $40 per year for membership, a discount of over 50% off the standard yearly rate, and get $40 in free driving credit when they sign up.
You also need someplace to stay while you’re on vacation, and there are plenty of ways to save on lodging as well. Hotel chains that offer age-based discounts include:
- Best Western. Guests ages 55 and up can save up to 15% off the regular room rate at most Best Western hotels and resorts. But the discount doesn’t apply at all hotels and is subject to availability. To get your discount, you must provide proof of your age at check-in.
- Choice Hotels. Several major hotel chains, including Comfort, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, and EconoLodge, are part of Choice Hotels International. AARP members staying at all Choice Hotels can get a discount of up to 10%. It’s easy to claim the discount by booking online through the Choice Hotels website.
- IHG. The InterContinental Hotels Group, or IHG, includes familiar hotel chains like Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites, boutique properties, and luxury resorts. IHG hotels offer varying discounts to all guests who are at least 62 years old. To claim your discount, book online or by phone at 877-424-2449.
- Marriott. The Marriott hotel chain includes such brands as Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield, Springhill Suites, and Marriott itself. Guests ages 62 and up enjoy discounts of varying amounts off the regular room rate. You can get the discount when you book online or through the Marriott mobile app.
- Motel 6. Upscale hotels aren’t the only ones that offer age-based deals. The budget chain Motel 6 gives a discount of 8% to guests ages 60 and older at all its 1,400-plus locations in the U.S. and Canada.
- Red Roof. AMAC members can get 20% off the regular room rate at all Red Roof hotels. This budget-friendly chain has more than 600 properties in the U.S., Brazil, and Japan.
- Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. The Wyndham hotel chain has over 9,000 hotels, including brands like Ramada, La Quinta, and Days Inn. Its partnership with AMAC gives members discounts of up to 20% on their stays. Wyndham hotels also offer a 10% discount off the regular room rate to AARP members.
Cruises and Excursions
If you prefer a vacation that’s more all-inclusive, you can save money on cruises with your AARP or AMAC membership or sometimes just your ID. Such discounts are available on cruise lines like:
- Carnival Cruises. All travelers ages 55 and up qualify for discounted fares on Carnival Cruises. You can claim the discount by searching Carnival’s Cruise Deals for Seniors page.
- Collette. This lesser-known company offers cruises on every continent, including Antarctica. AARP members get a discount of $50 per person on all Collette river cruises plus other discounts that change over time. AMAC members can also get discounts of $50 to $100 per person.
- Grand European Travel. AARP members receive a discount of up to $100 per person on all Grand European Travel tours. Despite its name, this company offers more than European travel. It also has destinations in Africa, North America, South America, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
- Royal Caribbean. Guests ages 55 and older can get reduced fares on selected Royal Caribbean cruises. Check rates when booking online to see whether this deal is available on a particular trip.
- Cruises Booked Via TravelPerks. AMAC members get guaranteed savings and other perks on all river and ocean cruises booked through TravelPerks. This site partners with several river cruise providers, including Emerald, Crystal Cruises, and Viking.
- Vacations by Rail. If you prefer to stay on solid ground, AARP members can also save on rail tours with Vacations by Rail, which are like a cruise by train. Members get a 5% discount off the base package price on all rail vacations and tours, plus access to other exclusive offers.
If you love the great outdoors, the National Park Service offers discounted Senior Passes for U.S. citizens and permanent residents ages 62 or older.
You can pay $20 for a one-year pass or $80 for a lifetime pass. Either one gives you access to more than 2,000 lands under federal control, such as national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges.
Along with park admission, the Senior Pass gets you a 50% discount on some extra fees for special facilities and services, such as camping, swimming, and boat launching, at certain parks. However, it doesn’t cover special recreation permit fees or give you a discount at concession stands.
You must show proof of your age and citizenship or residency to get a National Parks Senior Pass. There are three ways to purchase one:
- In person at a federal recreational site; the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Store has a list of sites that issue passes
- Online through the USGS Store; both lifetime passes and annual passes are available, but there’s an additional $10 cost for processing
- By mail using the application form; applications by mail also have a $10 processing fee
If traveling isn’t your thing, there are plenty of ways to have fun closer to home. You can get discounts for dining, movies, concerts, and museums. No matter what your favorite form of entertainment is, there’s a way to save on it.
The days of the “early-bird special,” a discounted price on meals served before regular dinner hours, are over. Instead, lots of fast-food and casual dining restaurants now offer special deals you can get all day long.
But it’s not always easy to spot these deals. Many chains don’t publicize them, and some offer them only at certain locations. And while there are lists all over the Internet of restaurants that supposedly give discounts based on age, they’re not always fact-checked.
One way to find guaranteed dining deals is to check the AARP site. It names several restaurants where members can get 10% off their bill for food and nonalcoholic beverages, not including tax and tip. Eateries that offer this discount include:
- Bonefish Grill
- Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
- Carrabba’s Italian Grill
- Chart House
- Corner Bakery Cafe
- Joe’s Crab Shack
- Landry’s Seafood
- McCormick & Schmick’s
- The Oceanaire Seafood Room
- Outback Steakhouse
- Rainforest Cafe
- Saltgrass Steak House
Denny’s offers even better deals. Its AARP discount is 15%, and it has a special reduced-price menu available only to guests ages 55 and older.
A separate, smaller list of restaurants offers discounts for AMAC members. These are less upscale and more budget-friendly than most of the eateries on AARP’s list. Members can get 25% off regular-price menu orders at Papa John’s, 10% to 20% at Long John Silver’s (depending on the location), and a variety of discounts with printable coupons at Friendly’s.
Other verified places to save on dining out include:
- Arby’s. This sandwich shop doesn’t have a company-wide policy on age-based discounts. But most Arby’s restaurants offer a 10% discount for patrons ages 55 and older, according to The Senior List. At some locations, you can get a free drink as well.
- Captain D’s Seafood. Certain Captain D’s locations offer a special “Happy Wednesday” deal. Diners 62 and older can get their choice of eight dishes plus a drink for $4.99. This deal isn’t available everywhere, so call your local Captain D’s to see if it participates.
- Chili’s. Because Chili’s restaurants are franchises, there’s no standard age-based discount for the entire chain. It’s up to each restaurant’s owners to decide whether to offer one. To find out if your local Chili’s has a discount, contact the restaurant directly.
- El Pollo Loco. Guests ages 60 and up can get a 10% discount at El Pollo Loco, but it’s capped at $1 off. To get the discount, ask the cashier before you pay.
- IHOP. IHOP offers lighter fare at reduced prices to patrons 55 and older. Examples include a three-pancake breakfast and the grilled tilapia dinner.
Also, many restaurants offer discounts on a location-by-location basis. That’s especially true of fast-food restaurants that operate as franchises, such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s. So even if the place you’re dining at isn’t on the list, it can’t hurt to ask if there’s a discount for people your age.
Movie and Event Tickets
You can also save on movie tickets and a variety of other entertainment options. Places to find deals include:
- AMC Theatres. People ages 60 and up qualify for reduced-price tickets at AMC movie theaters. Pricing varies by theater and showtime, but AARP says it can be up to 30% off the regular price.
- Cinemark. Many Cinemark theaters have special Seniors Days when you can see any film at a reduced price at any time. Check the specific location for details on pricing and the minimum age you have to be to qualify.
- Regal Entertainment Group. If you’re aged 60 or older, you qualify for reduced-price tickets at all Regal cinemas. The amount of the discount varies by location.
- Showcase Cinemas. Every Wednesday, patrons ages 60 and up get reduced rates on admission and refreshments at Showcase Cinemas. The reduced ticket price is $7.75 at most locations, and a popcorn-and-soda combo costs $5.50.
- Ticketmaster. AARP members get exclusive discounts on concert and event tickets purchased through Ticketmaster. Currently, shows with special AARP prices include the Doobie Brothers 50th Anniversary Tour and several family-friendly shows to see with the grandkids.
- Museums. Many museums offer discounted admission or membership. For instance, at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, those ages 65 and over get $20 off either individual or dual-level membership. At New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, “seniors” get in for $17, an $8 discount off the regular adult ticket price (it doesn’t specify what minimum age qualifies).
- Audiobooks. AARP members can get $2 off a monthly subscription to Audible, the leading provider of audiobooks. Selections cover a wide range of genres and are always ad-free.
Discounts on Insurance
Many insurers provide discounts for AARP and AMAC members. You can save on all types of insurance.
AARP offers numerous health insurance plans for its members. You can buy Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplement, dental and vision care, and both short-term and long-term care insurance through the program. Check the AARP insurance benefits page for details.
Similarly, AMAC sells plans for both Medicare recipients and people under 65 as well as long-term care, dental, and critical illness insurance. AMAC members can also get discounts on vision care plans through VSP, dental insurance through National Care Dental or Careington, and health insurance for overseas travel through Emergency Assistance Plus.
AARP partners with The Hartford and Foremost to offer insurance policies for cars, motorcycles, and off-road vehicles like ATVs and snowmobiles. AARP also offers members discounts on The Hartford insurance policies for boats, collectible cars, and RVs.
AARP sells life insurance through a partnership with New York Life. AMAC offers numerous life insurance plans through different providers and a discount on a guaranteed-acceptance whole-life policy from Mutual of Omaha.
Home and Property Insurance
AARP offers homeowners insurance and renters insurance through a partnership with The Hartford and a mobile home insurance policy with Foremost. AMAC offers discounts on home insurance from Travelers, insurance for collectibles from American Collectors Insurance, and flood insurance.
AMAC members who are small-business owners can get a custom-tailored liability insurance policy for their businesses from Hiscox. The company provides coverage for all kinds of professionals and small businesses, including consultants, Web designers, and real estate agents.
AMAC also offers discounts on farm and ranch coverage from Travelers.
Discounts on Everyday Expenses
Getting discounts on travel and entertainment is fun, but it’s not exactly something you can do every day. Fortunately, the 50-and-up crowd can also enjoy discounts on more mundane expenses, from utility bills to car repair.
Phone and Internet Plans
Several companies offer cheap cellphone plans just for older customers. For instance, T-Mobile offers the Unlimited 55+ plan with unlimited talk, text, and data on two lines for $55 per month. Customers of Verizon who are 55 or older and live in Florida can get the 55+ Unlimited plan, which offers the same benefits as Verizon’s other unlimited plans at a discounted rate.
The highly rated Consumer Cellular offers AARP members 5% off on monthly fees and usage charges. AARP members can also save up to $10 per line per month on the Unlimited Elite Plan from AT&T and up to $45 on activation and upgrade fees. Some lesser-known companies, such as Pure TalkUSA and Club Cellular, offer discounted plans to AMAC members.
Finding cheap high-speed Internet plans is a little trickier. Many lists of Internet “senior discounts” are just free or cheap plans that offer extremely limited dial-up access — say, 10 hours per month — to people of all ages.
One deal on quality Internet access that’s targeted to some people 65 and up is Spectrum Internet Assist. According to Consumer Action, the program provides broadband Internet to low-income households for $5 or $10 per month plus taxes and fees. People ages 65 and up who receive Supplemental Security Income qualify. People on other forms of Social Security do not.
Some utility companies and municipal governments offer reduced rates on utilities. Some programs are based on age alone, while others also look at financial need. For example, in the state of Georgia, people ages 65 and up with incomes below a certain level can get discounts on electric service, natural gas, and phone service.
If you’re eligible, programs like these offer you a chance to save on your utility bills. Contact your local utility companies to see if you qualify for any special utility discounts in your area.
If you’re over 65, you could qualify for a free gym membership. Many Medicare Advantage plans include a benefit called SilverSneakers, which gives members free access to a network of more than 17,000 gyms and fitness centers across the country.
SilverSneakers also includes a wide assortment of classes at parks, recreation centers, and clubs. You can find out if you’re eligible for the program by using the Instant Eligibility Check on the SilverSneakers site.
If you’re not 65 yet but are a member of AMAC, you can get a gym membership for just $25 per month through Active&Fit Direct. This program gives you access to over 11,000 fitness centers nationwide. For those who prefer to work out at home, it offers a library of on-demand fitness videos and activity tracking through fitness devices, equipment, and apps.
If you don’t qualify for either of these programs, don’t give up hope. Gyms and fitness clubs sometimes offer age-based discounted memberships. Check with your local gyms to see if there are any deals available.
You may be able to save on haircuts at national chains. For instance, Great Clips notes that some locations offer age-based special pricing. But because these chains are usually run as franchises, the discount varies from one location to the next. Ask about deals available at your nearest location.
If you go to a local barbershop or salon, ask there too. Even if they don’t typically have discounts for your age group, they might be willing to give one to a loyal customer.
You can sometimes get a price break at the auto mechanic. For instance, Pep Boys offers a 10% discount on auto parts and repair services to customers ages 55 and up. Some Jiffy Lube locations offer discounts on repair services as well, but they vary by location. And you can always ask for a discount at your neighborhood repair shop.
For fashionable over-50s, there’s fantastic news: Some of the best deals for this age group are at clothing retailers. Stores that offer discounts include:
- Brooks Brothers. All AMAC members can sign up for the Brooks Brothers Corporate Membership Card, which gives them 15% off full-price merchandise. The discount applies at Brooks Brothers stores in the U.S. and Canada and on phone and online orders.
- Goodwill. Many Goodwill stores offer discount days. For instance, at Goodwill’s North Central Wisconsin store, shoppers ages 60 and up get 10% off all donated merchandise every Tuesday. At the Southern California store, adults 55 and up get 15% off on Tuesdays. Check with your local store to see if it offers such a discount.
- Kohl’s. Every Wednesday, shoppers ages 60 and up get a discount of 15% at Kohl’s department store. This discount applies in stores only, not on Kohls.com. You also can’t combine it with any other discounts, such as Kohl’s Cash.
- Ross. At Ross Dress for Less, shoppers 55 and older get a 10% discount every Tuesday. The store may ask you for ID to prove your age.
- Fred Meyer. At Fred Meyer, shoppers ages 55 and up get 10% off selected items on the first Tuesday of every month. The discount applies to all the store’s private grocery brands, including Fred Meyer, Kroger, and Simple Truth, and non-grocery products like apparel, home goods, most electronics, and jewelry.
- Harris Teeter. Every Thursday, Harris Teeter gives customers ages 60 and up a 5% discount on all groceries. However, the discount doesn’t apply to fuel purchases, prescriptions, tickets, or gift cards. To get the discount, you must have the grocer’s loyalty savings card and let the cashier know you’re eligible.
- Hy-Vee. Discounts are available at many Hy-Vee locations, but the discount and the age limit vary by location. For example, one Omaha store provides a 5% discount to people 55 and older every Wednesday. Search for your store on the Hy-Vee website to find out if your local store offers a deal.
- New Seasons Market. At New Seasons Market, a small chain operating in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington, every Wednesday is Senior Wednesday. All customers ages 65 and older get a 10% discount on most products.
- Weis. At Weis Markets, a small chain in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York, shoppers 60 and over can get 10% off on store-brand products every Tuesday. To qualify, you must present a valid ID.
Some drugstores offer special programs to make your meds more affordable.
For instance, the Wellness65+ program at Rite Aid offers a host of benefits for people ages 65 and up. They get 20% off most nonprescription purchases on the first Wednesday of every month plus a free pharmacist consultation and special activities, products, and information.
At Walgreens pharmacies, you can take advantage of Seniors Day promotions if you’re at least 55 or a member of AARP. On these days, you get 20% off in-store and online purchases plus extra rewards on your Balance Rewards loyalty card. You must first sign up for the Balance Rewards program to qualify for these deals.
Other pharmacies offer special deals just for AARP members. Members get a free prescription discount card they can use at over 66,000 pharmacies nationwide. AMAC also offers a prescription discount card, which you can use at CVS, Rite Aid, Safeway, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart.
These are just some of the places people over 50 can find discounts. Many other stores, large and small, offer perks for customers over 50 — far too many to list. On top of that, store policies are constantly changing, so a store that doesn’t currently have a discount might start offering one in the future.
To ensure you don’t miss out on any deals, get in the habit of asking for discounts wherever you shop. You have nothing to lose if the store says no and plenty to save at the stores that say yes.