As the holiday season approaches, everyone will be looking for the best ways to save money. As a federal employee, you have a number of options to stretch your hard-earned cash. Take advantage of these exclusive deals, because they aren’t available to the general public.
Many businesses offer unadvertised federal employee discounts. While not all do, it’s a good idea to begin by assuming everyone offers one; it’ll increase your confidence and make it easier to ask, which will ultimately save you money.
Discount rates do vary depending on the current competition in various markets. For example, major phone companies largely offer the same federal employee discount (15%), but hotels will offer a variety of discounts depending on their location and how often or likely they are to host federal employees. Your position within the federal government can also have an effect on the discounts you are eligible for. For example, employees of the U.S. Postal Service may receive different discounts than employees of the Department of Agriculture.
Military members are in a class of their own when it comes to discounts. However, most federal employee discounts also extend those benefits to members or veterans of the military. In fact, military members can frequently find even more benefits, ranging from discounts at your favorite clothing stores to a percentage off at certain restaurants.
Each of the following deals and discounts was confirmed directly with the providers for the 2014 holiday season. Enjoy!
General Websites for Federal Employee Discounts
Fedsave.com and RecGov.org are two websites that offer the opportunity for federal employees to register and receive regular updates and offers on discounts for federal employees. RecGov tends to focus more on travel, while Fedsave offers discounts on everyday items like electronics and gifts. These sites offer discounts that are otherwise unavailable, even to federal employees. As such, you must be registered with the site to get the deal.
Employee Marketplace is another aggregate website, which gleans a variety of discounts for federal employee members from all over the web. When you sign up for this government employee discount site, you’ll receive ongoing information on discounts based on your location.
Many of the deals on websites such as these are time-sensitive, so sign up today to take advantage of great coupons, discounts, and flash sales before they disappear.
Travel and Vacation Deals and Discounts
Government Vacation Rewards is a free online program that offers military and government discounts on travel, including airline tickets, car rentals, hotels, and other vacation rewards. According to this program, discounts vary depending on your destination and length of trip. Nevertheless, GVR advises users to “expect to save $150 or more on your vacation.” This rewards program also offers a bonus discount after certain amounts are spent through the website. Compare this with your usual travel rewards program through your bank or favored airline. You may be able to combine multiple discounts to save even more money on travel!
The Federal Discount Lodging Directory is another database-style website that searches for federal employee discounts in both domestic and international hotels. It clearly states federal employees must identify themselves as federal employees and request the government per diem rate when making a reservation, so be sure to plan ahead.
FedCruise.com guarantees the lowest cruise prices available for federal employees and military members. Expect to save $100 to $200 on cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe and other destinations.
Alamo car rental has been a highly trusted car rental service since 1974. This company offers two different travel deals for federal employees. Use the code “AF8621ADP” at checkout to add a free day of rental to an existing 5-day reservation. You can also use the code “AU5751ADC,” which gets you a free one-class upgrade (such as from a compact car to a sedan) on any reservation in the United States or Canada. Both deals are valid through the end of 2015.
Avis Rent A Car has a Government Rate Program. While it doesn’t specify on the website how much the discount is or what special offers are included, there is a phone number to call if you want more information. Get in touch with Avis at 1-800-633-3469.
Travelodge offers a government discount program with allowable rates within the available per diem.
Best Western hotels also offers a discounted rate based on U.S. government per diem for government employees.
Many major cruise lines, such as Carnival, Norwegian, Disney, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean will offer a federal employee discount when booking your cruise over the phone. However, these lines do not advertise a discount online. Be sure to mention your federal employee status when booking. While the company will not ask, mentioning that you are a federal employee may allow you to receive a discount.
The Better World Club is an environmentally friendly auto club that offers roadside assistance for cars and bikes (think AAA, but more environmentally friendly). Federal employees get 10% off a new membership.
Of course, if you’re out on the road or taking an exotic trip, it’s important to have the safety and security of travel insurance. Capitol Benefits Personal insurance offers travel insurance discounts for federal employees that are members of the Recreation and Welfare association. Membership in that organization is approximately $7/year.
Basic Convenience and Daily Living Discounts
The telephone company T-Mobile offers a federal employee discount when switching to their service. Federal employees receive a 15% monthly service discount, and all activation fees are waived. The promotion code is: 15327TMOFAV. Even if you’re already using T-Mobile for cell phone service, you can call the company’s customer service line at 1-877-453-8824 to check and see if any additional discounts apply to your service. You can also use the readily available online sign-up service to see if you qualify.
Not to be outdone, AT&T also offers a 15% discount to military or civilian federal employees. You may also be eligible for a $25 discount on your order, discounts on select phones and data plans, and occasional offers for special packages. AT&T’s government and federal discount web page can walk you through the setup process.
Verizon Wireless also offers the standard 15% discount to government employees. Check the company website to determine if you are eligible.
Nannypro.com offers federal employees a whopping 30% off a family membership to this nanny and babysitting service. You can claim the discount by using the coupon code “fedsave” at the checkout. This is especially useful for military families who may need childcare services in a new town or city.
In many states, Geico Insurance offers a federal employee discount for automobile insurance. Check the site to find out if your state qualifies.
Hewlett-Packard offers federal employee discounts on select items that range from 8%-10% off the ticketed price. To get access to these offers, visit the HP Federal Employee Discounts Web Page and fill out the application using “2344” when asked for the “company code.” Once the form is complete, use the website to shop as you normally would. Certain items will be flagged with a Yellow Tag, which indicates a federal employee discount.
Dell, another technology company, has an online “Government Store” that offers 5-15% discounts on select items.
Microsoft’s Home Use Program for government employees offers an undisclosed discount on software.
The Apple Store for Government offers special prices for government employees. These price discounts apply to some (but not all) products. You can reach this subsection of Apple at 1-877-41-APPLE.
Gifts for Friends and Family
1-800 Flowers.com offers a 20% discount on any order of flowers, baskets, balloons, or popcorn using the code FEDSAVE. No proof of employment is necessary; simply enter the promotion code where indicated during the checkout process.
Gift Basket Villas, which offers gift baskets filled with gourmet crackers, cheese, chocolates, cookies and other products, offers federal employees a 10% discount if you use the coupon code “FED10.”
Silk Plants Direct offers a 10% discount on every online purchase if you list your employer at the checkout time.
For the outdoor enthusiast in your family, you can call the customer service line at Bass Pro Shops and ask about a federal employee discount. The company doesn’t advertise it on the website, but several aggregate websites state there is a discount available.
Macy’s Department Store offers occasional special deals to government employees. They don’t advertise these discounts on their website, but calling customer service or asking in-store can help determine if they’re running any current specials.
Restaurants and Dining
The following restaurants offer 10% discounts to federal employees: Denny’s, IHOP, TGI Friday’s, Long John Silver’s, and the Hard Rock Café. Some Applebee’s locations also offer a 15% discount. Let your server or manager know ahead of time, especially if you plan on dining with a large party.
More Discounts Are Always Available
This list only presents companies actively advertising discounts and deals for federal government employees. Many other stores and chains also have discounts available, so you should always ask when booking travel, making purchases, or signing a new phone or internet contract. Especially as the holiday season rolls around, stores may have seasonal promotions where federal employs and members of the military can receive in-store benefits simply by mentioning their employment or showing identification at checkout. Happy holidays!