Top Christmas Deals for Federal Employees

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By on December 6, 2017 in Pay & Benefits with 0 Comments

Wrapped Christmas gifts in a red and white Santa hat felt bag against a snowy background

Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank for federal employees. Some of the benefits received for working in service to the nation are the discounts you can receive during the holiday season. Whether spending for gifts, for travel, for dining out while shopping, or even finding a place to stay, there are many ways to save this holiday season.

Start With Your Credit Card

It’s not uncommon to put many of those gift purchases on a credit card at this time of year. Why not save money on cash withdrawals and earn rewards for airfare purchases by getting a credit card for federal employees. One example is the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Card, which offers no-fee cash advances and some of the highest rewards available for airfare purchases.

Another great card to have right now is Discover, which is giving cardholders 5% off at Amazon and Target through the end of the year. If you’re not already a cardmember, apply today and get $50 cashback or 5,000 miles. Credit Unions for government employees often offer a discount on using their bank cards. You can compare offers to find a plan right for you.

Get Cash Back When You Shop

Here’s another bonus – do all of your online shopping through a cashback website like Ebates and you’ll earn money for everything you buy online.

Shop Small

Many small businesses won’t advertise discounts for federal employees, but the owner has the freedom to adjust prices in ways the manager of the big box store may not. Simply ask if your local small business offers a discount for federal employees, and you may be surprised how many suddenly discover that it’s a good idea to provide that benefit.

Gift Giving

Find a discount on popular gifts at some of these sites:

  • What do you buy for the person who has everything? Why not a bouquet of flowers? offers significant discounts for government employees.
  • Gift Baskets. Get a 10% discount from Gift Baskets Overseas.
  • Chain Stores. American Eagle, Banana Republic, Coach, Lady Foot Locker, Pac Sun, and Payless offer government employee discounts at many of their stores. Ask the manager if they offer the discount in your store.
  • Get 15% off YETI coolers with this offer.
  • Columbia offers a Professional Purchase Program for government employees who work in the outdoors.
  • Costco. Offers new members who are government employees three free products and a savings bundle valued at over $60.

Don’t forget, if you are purchasing a gift for a coworker, ethics rules come into play as to how much you can spend. Check out these great gift ideas that won’t get you in ethical trouble. 


An almost unavoidable part of the holidays, travel doesn’t have to be stressful when you save money with these discounts.

  • Airlines such as JetBlue, Southwest and American Airlines offer discount programs for government employees. Other airlines may offer discounts on select routes, so be sure to ask when planning your flight. These programs may be available only through the airlines themselves, not through other discount booking sites. To take advantage of these deals, contact the airlines directly and ask about discount programs for government employees.
  • Several hotel chains offer discounts for government travelers. Best Western, Choice Hotels, Hilton, La Quinta, Marriot, Starwood Hotels, and Wyndham Hotels are some of the more notable. But even if you’re going off the beaten path where only a local hotel exists, be sure to ask when booking your stay. Like airfare, these discounts are generally best found by going through the hotels themselves, not online discounters.
  • FedCruise is a cruise planning and booking service specifically for government employees. Things are always changing, and new discounts and offers for federal employees are always becoming available.
  • Car Rentals. All the major car rental chains offer discounts for government employees.
  • If you’re going to be on the road this holiday season, you may save with a discount program from AAA.

When planning your travel, you can use a site such as FedTravel or IDT to search for travel deals. While government employee offers may be found directly from the airlines and hotel chains. it pays to compare their prices with what you can find at discount sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, or Priceline to see if other discounts are better.


Tech gifts are always popular during the holidays. Perhaps you’re thinking of getting someone a new gadget – or upgrading your own! Here are some ways to save on those technology gifts

Cell phone carriers offer discounts, usually available to new customers only. If you’re looking to make a switch or buying a new phone as a gift this year, consider these carriers:

  • AT&T
  • Verizon
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • Virgin Mobile

Each of these offers a discount for federal employees ranging from 5% to 20%. While these discounts are typically only for new customers, if it’s time to renew your contract, it pays to ask for your government employee discount. Some agents may be able to extend the discount to you just for asking.

Who doesn’t like getting a newer, faster computer? Major computer sellers recognize the value of your service and offer significant discounts for the asking.

  • Dell
  • HP
  • Lenovo
  • Apple

Again, these are companies known for having discounts. However, when making a purchase, ask your retailer if it offers a government employee discount. Many salespeople and managers have the discretion to offer a small discount and may make it available. Another one of the biggest technology bargains you can find is the Microsoft Home Use Program. You may be able to download one of the following products for only $9.95.

  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016
  • Microsoft Office Home and Business 2016 for Mac
  • Microsoft Visio Professional Plus 2016
  • Microsoft Project Professional Plus 2016

Dining Out

Having family over for the holidays is one of the highlights of the season. But who has time to cook for everyone amid the busy schedule of shopping, holiday events, and travel?

Many major restaurant chains offer a discount for federal employees. Be sure and ask for the discount or call ahead to be sure the restaurant offers this benefit.

Wrapping Up

One of the keys to finding that discount is simple – just ask.

There are a number of places that don’t have formal discount programs in place that will happily grant you a discount for the asking. This especially holds true for small businesses in your hometown. Establishing a relationship with these businesses could get you a discount you can enjoy all year long.

© 2019 Jason Kay. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Jason Kay.


About the Author

Jason Kay is a professional resume writer and regular contributor to, a professional federal resume service and repository of sample KSA statements.