How to Evaluate a Military Discount



We have a movie theater near our house that I love. It offers all the latest movies, the reclining seats, lots of movie times including early morning weekend showings, and it offers a military discount. Bingo! I rarely go to another theater.


There are a number of considerations that you need to take into account before giving your business to a company that offers a military discount. There are five key items to consider.


Military Discount Rule #1 - Do I Really Need This Purchase at This Time? The best place to start is to really confirm that you do need the item. Is this item going to make things easier, safer, help you at work? Taking time to truly understand why we want something helps us understand the purchase choice. Often times, the thought of a discount can sway us into buying something we do not really need.


Military Discount Rule #2 - Do I Admire the Company & Their Products? We all know great products and services that great company’s offer. We can all point to great technology, computers, and recreational items that we know and admire. We all can also point to products and services that do not meet those high standards. Discounts can potentially sway us to purchase items that are less high quality – do not be swayed.


Military Discount Rule #3 - Is Their Pricing Competitive With the Quality They Offer? Good prices should reflect the quality they offer. We would never expect to pay $100,000 for a Yugo – a failed Yugoslavian imported car of low quality. Look for products that are priced reflective of the quality that they offer sold by reputable stores and dealers. If you see high quality products sold by unknown stores or companies at very low prices – you should be very aware of a potential rip off or scam.


Military Discount Rule #4 - Do or Would I Recommend This Company to Others? The best testament to a product or a company is if you would recommend it to others. Social Media, the Better Business Bureau™ and recommendations from friends and family are all areas to get feedback on a company and their products. A company may try to overcome negative business practices with high discounts as a way to sway unsuspecting patrons.


Military Discount Rule #5 - Would I Shop Their Store Without the Discount? A discount should be an added benefit of buying a quality good or service from a reputable company that is offered at a fair price – pre discount. If you would not shop there without the discount, then why are you shopping there?


If you answer “Yes” to all of these questions, then you have an item you need, quality you respect, a competitively priced product, a company you recommend to others, and a product that you would buy WITHOUT the discount. You now have a company that you can shop and use that offers a discount to the military – a great deal!


The rationale for this exercise is that often times the thought of a “discount” can lead us astray to purchase things we do not need or purchase from a disreputable company. The last rule if you would shop there without the discount is really the most telling. I shop at a sports store that does not have a military discount when other sports stores do. Why? Because that store is well run, has great quality, offers “no question” returns, and has competitive prices. It is a well-run store and a business with good prices, just no military discount. The military discount needs to be seen as the cherry on top of a sundae. After all, you buy the sundae, not the cherry.


Military discounts are a great benefit that many businesses offer, but select the business based on their quality, reputation, ethics, and the value they deliver. Don’t be swayed by a discount on a potentially bad product or service.


Have something to add to this article? Share your thoughts below:


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About the blogger:
Chad Storlie is the author of two books: Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and Battlefield to Business Success. Both books teach how to translate and apply military skills to business. An adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University and Bellevue University in Omaha, NE. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces officer with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published in The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, and over 40 other publications. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.



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Prolific Contributor

Military Discounts are terrific when you can find them.  Most companies offer military discounts but do not advertise them.  Sometimes is best tojust ask before you shop.  Companies that you would not think of may offer discounts to the Military.  I would like to mention some, but for fear of being inundated with counterposts from comapnies not mentioned, Ill just say the best policy is to ask if they shopping center, store or even web based store has a military discount.


USAA implies they offer military discounts.  Yet in thier fine print and operating policies they do in fact say that they do not offer a Military Discount. Only superior products.  Thats right a company that dresses it self up in your uniform, gets all in your personal military life, does not offer you a Discount!  Its a fact read USAA policies on military discounts!  Tey are non existanent.


Why does USAA not offer the Military community that thier own President claims that there is no other organization that cares more for the Military than USAA?  The answer is simple.  USAA is simply a financial Institution with one goal in mind!  To make a profit.  Oferring discounts takes away from profits. 


There are many real and authentic Military Organizations and associations out there that do help the Military.  USAA even boasts of thier relationships with these organizations.  These relationships make you believe that USAA is really all about helping the Military, when in fact that steal your own uniforms, pout them on models and create a website that looks more military oriented than most Military oriented Organizations.  Claiming affiliations with the American Legion, Disabled Veterans of America.  Countless others!  The only relationship that USAA has with these Organizations is that they advertise thier services and products on the websites and magazines. Paid for affiliations. 


When you need help completing your disability claim do you go to the American Legion  or Call USAA for a loan?  Chances are you will not qualify for a loan because your disbilitay rating and award has not been completed, but USAA claims over and over again how they help military families.  The only help that USAA gives the military families is a bank to make thier deposits, a one stop financial shopping center with products that are more expensive that most of thier competetors.  Shop around and you will see exactly what I mean.


USAA started as an insurance company.  They now own many!  They own so many that chances are they can beat most competiters with a price.  But with that price, they try and get you to buy into all thier other services.


So you save 100 bucks a year on a car insurance policy which can be cancelled anytime they want.  If you have been reading the complaint posts , I wiuld be very weary of trying thier Insurance.  Save a hundered bucks on car insurance, but get a credit card that is 2% less than the legal maximum of most states, and even illegal in some states.  That rate is subject to thier approval not only on your so called creit score that they get from Equifax, when they openly promote the use of Experian.  Yes those free Credit monitering services are provided by Experian, but USAA uses Equifax for thier credit determinations.  Kinda confusing as to why they would do that?  Fact is USAA is very confusing period. 


When you own bunches of insurance companies and Insurance underwriters, USAA can beat the competition, but how long are they going to allow you to be underwriitten to receive that "Discounted" rate, when it is not even discounted.  USAA shops with all thier underwriters and insurance companies to see who will buy your policy at the lowest rate.  The same as financing a car.  But there are no guarantees to how long you can keep that rate or the coverage. 


When you take a 6 year old kid, dress him up like a soldier. Saluet the flag , is patriotic and make s you feel good.  When a 26 Billion Dollar company dresses itself up like a military member, waving the flag and breaking every rukle in advertising and FTC regulations by doing so, Specifically attacking and profiting from our sense of pride, and sense of belonging together.  That is a Shame! 


FACT:  USAA is not, never was and never will be a military organization.  They are not allowed to be because they are a profit making Financial Instutution.  The Name USAA in itself attarcts thousands of military, and when they visit the website seeing themselves saluting the flag!  They are signing up for a bill of goods that is not a bit different than other finamncial institutions.  They are not a Military Organization.  If they were they would provide low interset loans to the military rather than 2 pints under the legal limits.  They are and always have been a Financial Compnay dresses in a military uniform.


Not affiliated with the government agencies they claim.  Not a member of the Better Business Bureau and not even a member of the FDIC which insures your money in thier bank!  Thinks about it.


SHAMEONUSAA.ORG is coming to provide you the facts about what USAA really is.  If you have any questions now while the site is being built, post them here or send a message to admin.


Thank you


Chuck George

misguided USAA Customer and Member



Briana Hartzell USAA

Dear Gruntstuff,

As we have acknowledged your other posts with similar concerns; I would like to leave you with USAA mission statement. This statement is read before every meeting, presentation and activity at USAA. In my opinion, illustrates the passion and dedication USAA has for it's military members.


USAA’s mission is to facilitate the financial security of its members, associates and their families by providing a full range of highly competitive financial products and services. In so doing, we seek to be the provider of choice for the military community.


We do this by upholding the highest standards and ensuring that our corporate business activities and individual employee conduct reflect good judgment and common sense, and are consistent with our core values of Service, Loyalty, Honesty and Integrity. Our values mirror those of the military community and our membership, and form the foundation on which we perform our work and conduct ourselves.


Most important will the dealer give you the military discount in addition to their sales price to the ordinary civilian customer. Only good companies will for example Home Depot makes you choose between the standard sales open to any customer or the "military" discount. Lowes their top competitor gives their sales price and the military discount. One really cares about the military and the other uses the discount to suck in unwary. I have frequently brought this to attention Home Depot store managers and they are bound overall policy of Home Depot. Guess where I take my business?