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Published Sep 19, 2022 8:22 AM

Finding hotel discounts for military members isn’t as easy as it would seem. While every major hotel chain claims to offer some type of military discount, there’s often no published discount rate, and offers vary by location. Many times, the discount isn’t any better than a rate made available to AAA, AARP, or even the public at large. 
Yet, there are some true bright spots and benefits that go beyond saving a few bucks off your hotel room. We’ve cut through the crap and have some recommendations for the best hotel discounts for military members that you can actually use.

Best Hotel Chain

With just north of 3,000 hotels between them, budget chains La Quinta Inn and Super 8 together rank as the best hotel chain. Their parent company, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, offers a 12- and 15-percent discount, respectively, off the best available rate and up to 20 percent off through programs like VetRewards and Armed Forces Vacation Club.

Additionally, if you’re a military member who signs up for Wyndham’s reward program, you’ll instantly receive gold-level membership plus 1,000 bonus points after completing your first qualifying night. The benefits are available to active and retired military and their spouses, as well.

However, there are a couple of drawbacks to the Wyndham military discounts. According to the fine print, they only apply to La Quinta Inn and Super 8, which rank at the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys. However, the Wyndham Rewards Program applies to all 22 Wyndham hotels, which include budget, mid-tier, and luxury brands.

Key Features
  • Up to 20 percent discount off the best available rate for active and retired military and their spouses
  • 1,000 bonus points for military members completing a qualifying stay
  • Automatic upgrade to Wyndham Rewards Gold level membership
Why It Made The Cut
  • Wyndham offers a consistent 12 percent off the best available rate at participating hotels and up to 20 percent off through other programs. These discounts extend to spouses, as well.
PROS

Large number of properties to choose from

Earn additional perks with Wyndham Rewards program

CONS

Fewer upscale and luxury properties than other hotel chains

Best Hotel Discount

Extended Stay America ranks as the best hotel discount because when you book through programs like VetRewards, you can save up to a whopping 45 percent off. Plus, the company will honor Defense Department rates at or below 75 percent off per diem if you stay longer than a month.

Additionally, Extended Stay offers a host of amenities like standard suites equipped with kitchens, on-sight laundry, free breakfast and Wi-Fi, and they’re pet-friendly facilities. Also, where available, guests will have access to pools, fitness centers, and van parking.

Despite the generous discount, Extended Stay does have a few drawbacks. First, it only has about 550 locations across the country. Second, the rewards program is more of an email with promotions, meaning you don’t earn points or anything. And finally, it isn’t ranked in either of the customer satisfaction surveys we reviewed.

Key Features
  • Offers up to 45 percent off for military
  • On-site guest laundry facilities
  • Pet-friendly accommodations
  • Free breakfast and Wi-Fi
Why It Made The Cut
  • Extended Stay America offers up to 45 percent off hotel rooms for servicemen. Plus, the home-like amenities make sense when staying for relocation or vacation.
PROS

TDY and PCS rates offered at hundreds of locations

Honors DoD flat-rate policy

Suites come with kitchens and home-like amenities

Guest laundry facilities

CONS

Fewer locations than other brands with just 650 options

Best for Veterans

With more than 6,000 locations worldwide and a minimum five percent military discount rate, IHG Hotels & Resorts ranks as the best for veterans. The British company owns 17 brands, ranging from midscale to luxury, and offers a generous rewards program.

According to the fine print, the military discount applies to all military personnel, veterans, and their families. While the discount starts at five percent, it varies by hotel and availability. Also, it’s only offered by participating hotels and does not apply to IHG Army Hotels, which are the 40 on-base hotels across the country.

As a company overall, IHG rates as one of the highest for customer satisfaction. It received high marks on both ACSI and JD Power surveys in 2021 and 2022. IHG brands like Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, and Crowne Plaza are also ranked as some of the best hotels.

IHG also ranks in the top five for rewards programs. You can earn reward points on hotel stays and credit cards, and use points on booking hotels and air travel.

Key Features
  • 40 on-base hotels
  • Leisure travel discounts
  • Amenities often include free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, pet-friendly rooms, and guest laundry
  • Includes brands such as Six Senses, Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites
  • Rewards program can help you earn more perks, such as free night stays
Why It Made The Cut
  • IHG Hotels and Resorts offers a bit of everything in terms of discounts and amenities, including 40 on-base hotels active and veteran service members can access at very favorable rates.
PROS

On-base hotels are a great value and cater to servicemen and women

One of the best customer satisfaction rates in the industry

Over 6,000 properties worldwide

Basic and luxury properties available to book

Quality, budget-friendly properties

Can earn free nights with rewards program

CONS

Discount rate determined by individual hotels

Best Budget

All over the country, Red Roof Inn routinely offers one of the, if not THE, cheapest hotel rates. You’ll often see prices less than $50. Therefore, we rank Red Roof Inn as the best budget for military hotels.

Red Roof Inn offers a flat 10 percent discount rate to military members on leisure or official travel, along with their friends and family. All you have to do is go to the company’s website for the discount code. Also, if you book a room through VetRewards, you could save up to 20 percent on your rate.

Additionally, Red Roof has a loyalty program, dubbed RediRewards, where you can earn points for not just hotel benefits, but also other travel and lifestyle discounts, as well as gifts. Plus, the program and military discount apply to all Red Roof brands, including Red Roof Inn, Red Roof Plus, The Red Collection, and HomeTowne Studios.

However, there are some drawbacks to Red Roof. If you’ve ever driven by one, it’s usually a wide open parking lot and there’s no shortage of crime stories set in a Red Roof Inn. Still, Consumer Affairs reports that the brand earned a 3.9-star rating from reviewing customers.

Key Features
  • 10 percent discount for service members, veterans, family, and government contractors
  • 20 percent discount for service members with a VetRewards card
  • Pets stay free
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Stay at 670 properties worldwide
Why It Made The Cut
  • Red Roof Inn offers a straightforward and comprehensive 10 percent discount at all of its hotels nationwide. For those who have VetRewards, the discount is 20 percent.
PROS

10 to 20 percent discount available

Affordable economy and midscale rooms

No additional charge for pets

CONS

Fewer choices and locations with just 670 properties

Best for Families

The Armed Forces Vacation Club sells available condo weeks (think timeshare) to members of the armed forces at rates starting at $379 for the week. That works out to be around $54 for the night before taxes. That’s pretty sweet, especially considering you’re renting a condo with a full kitchen, living room, and other resort-like amenities.

Availability is good, especially in popular destinations that have an overabundance of timeshares (we’re looking at you, Orlando, Branson, and Las Vegas). There are also resort weeks available in locations like Maui for $999 for the week.

The biggest downside is the property you want may not be available for the dates you need (due to the space available nature of the discounted condo weeks). It’s also worth noting that many of the properties may be past their prime. Before you book, take a good look at the pictures and the reviews online, as some of the properties can be quite dated.

Membership is free to members of the armed forces. There is a premium version available that claims to unlock more discounts and availability, but it’s not necessary. You’ll likely be able to find something with the free version.

Key Features
  • Weeks of condo use sold at discounted rates, most at $379
  • 1-, 2-, or 3-bedroom condos available
  • Free membership for all veterans, active, and retired members of the U.S. military, civilian employees of the DoD, and their immediate families
Why It Made The Cut
  • For a family, $379 for a week at a resort is a killer deal. The properties available here are also typically condo-style with a kitchen and living space. This is great for traveling families.
PROS

More than 4,000 worldwide resorts may have a week available

Condo living (namely, the kitchen) can help you save money

Free membership

CONS

Some properties appear older and outdated

Dates and property availability may not fit your schedule

Best Booking Engine for Hotels

American Forces Travel is the only official Morale, Welfare, and Recreation leisure travel website. It is powered by Priceline and discounts can range between 40 and 60 percent on certain properties. The website isn’t limited to hotel deals, either. Members of the military can also access deals on airfare, car rentals, packages, and cruises.

Unlike Veterans Advantage, you do not have to pay a membership fee to access these discounts. You do have to be eligible to use MWR programs to access the site. You’ll be asked to verify your ID through the Department of Defense the first time you use the site. After that, you’ll be able to search and book deals through the website.

One downside you may notice is many of the deals you’ll see are also available to members of the public on other websites. This is due to the sheer number of search results you’ll see, most of which aren’t exclusive deals for members of the armed forces. It’s still worth searching, and you can even use your Military Star card on purchases made through the site.

Key Features
  • Discounts on hotels, car rentals, cruises, airfare, and event tickets can be as much as 40 to 60 percent
  • Only official MWR travel site
  • No membership fee
Why It Made The Cut
  • American Forces Travel is like Priceline for military bookings. You can save quite a bit of money using this travel booking engine — up to 50 percent on hotel rooms.
PROS

Deep discounts much like you would see on Priceline

Variety of travel to book

Searches and compares over 1.2 million properties worldwide

Able to use Military Star card to book hotel rooms

CONS

Inconsistent discounts across brands

Some users report seeing the same deals as they would on a public-facing site

Best in Las Vegas

Caesar Properties ranks as the best military discount for a hotel in Las Vegas. With the Caesar Rewards program, you can get up to a 30 percent discount plus other perks at 10 hotels on the strip in Sin City and more across the country.

When you sign up for the Caesar Rewards Salute Card, you’re automatically upgraded to receive “platinum” status, which opens you up to things like valet parking, discounts at gift shops, and complimentary stays. It’s a free program for active or retired military, as well as their spouses and dependents.

While the discounts and perks are great, they do have some drawbacks. Mainly, Caesar Properties include some of the poorest rated hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. They’re great if you’re in your 20s and want Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but not so great if you want to be wine and dined.

Key Features
  • Discount rate up to 30 percent for members of the military
  • Applies to Bally’s, Harrah’s, Paris Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, The Flamingo, Planet Hollywood, Circus Circus, and more
Why It Made The Cut
  • Caesars Properties offer up to 30 percent off the lowest hotel rate for U.S. and Canadian military. Popular hotels include Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Circus Circus, and others.
PROS

Available to active duty military, veterans, military spouses and dependents, retirees, reservists, and surviving spouses

Additional discounts at casino gift shops with the Salute card

CONS

Discount restrictions extend to Caesars Rewards loyalty member offers

Other promotional packages where spa, dining, or show tickets are included are not eligible for the military discount

Things to consider before booking a military discount

Every major hotel chain offers some type of discount for military personnel, but it’s not standard across hotels and most of them are not publicly published. Some of these are “discounts” in name only, meaning you can get the lowest available rate without selecting the military discount. 

The only way to determine the government or military discount for most hotel chains is to tap in the dates of your trip directly into the hotel chain’s search engine. Discounts vary by the individual hotel and date of your trip. 

FAQs about hotel discounts for military

Q: Do military members get discounts on Airbnb?

A: No, Airbnb does not offer a military discount, but Airbnb hosts can. If they do, it’ll be listed in their terms and conditions.  

Q: Do military spouses get hotel discounts?

A: Hotel policies vary for extending military discounts to family members. Some require active-duty status while others offer discounts for leisure travel to household members. It’s best to check with the hotel you’re planning to stay at. 

Q: Do you need to show proof or military ID to get a discount?

A: Most hotels require you to show proof of ID for your discount, though it’s possible you may not get asked for it at check-in. It’s always a good practice to bring it with you. 

Q: What hotel chain offers the highest discount?

A: It’s difficult to ascertain what hotel offers the highest military discount, especially since most hotel chains let their franchise owners determine the discount for a hotel room. IHG, Wyndham, and Red Roof all advertise up to 20 percent off a hotel room through the VetRewards program, while Extended Stay America claims the discount can be as much as 45 percent. 

Q: Do hotels have discounts for law enforcement or federal employees, too?

A: Yes. Many hotels offer discounts for law enforcement or federal employees. Check for a category called government discounts on the hotel’s website.

Final thoughts

Hotel discounts for members of the military can vary widely, and some truly aren’t a real discount, which is frustrating. With the sacrifices military families make, a few bucks off the hotel room shouldn’t be something you need to fight for. Hopefully, you found this list useful and can book a hotel deal for some well-deserved time off. 

Methodology 

Our evaluation of the best hotel discounts for military took into account the entire value of what is offered by the hotels. This includes:

  • Discount amount
  • Hotel perks like free parking, free breakfast, pet-friendly hotels, early check-in or late check-out, hotel or bar vouchers, free Wi-Fi, guest services, and other hotel amenities
  • Customer satisfaction surveys and rankings by the American Customer Satisfaction Index and TripAdvisor
  • Overall quality of the hotel chain

Recognizing that hotels have different strengths, we sought to find the best discounts in several hotel categories, from condo-style arrangements to budget-friendly hotel rooms. 

All major hotel brands were evaluated. Some hotel chains simply don’t offer a discount any greater than what the public at large can book. These options were eliminated from our consideration for best hotel discounts for the military.