Let me say first of all that as much as I fly on United, I am a total bone-head for not doing this sooner.  I have meant to do it for a long time, but kept putting it off or forgetting…silly, silly me.  Essentially, there is a very easy way to get 5% off of your United flights by purchasing a membership to Veteran’s Advantage.  You don’t have to have been a veteran yourself to qualify to purchase a membership – all of the following are eligible for membership.

  • U.S. Veterans
  • Active Duty military
  • National Guard & Reservists
  • All branches, all periods of service
  • Next of kin: Fathers, mothers, sons or daughters.

The cost to join is $59.95 for a year, but they do run specials, such as the one I signed up under, that offer 20% off.  They also offer a 30 day trial (though it comes with a $4.95 processing fee).  Once you pay the fee, you get a code that provides 5% off United operated flights that originate in the US.  If you get the membership at a 20% discount, you would need to book just under $1,000 worth of United flights a year to break even.  That threshold is doable for many families who fly United since booking multiple tickets adds up quickly.  I have booked way more than that for my family this year, so I have been leaving money on the table by not having this discount…sort of.

There are a few drawbacks to the 5% off.  The first is that to enter the code you need to use the United website to book your flights.  If you like to go through a portal, like Ultimate Rewards, to purchase your tickets through Travelocity for 2x Ultimate Reward points, then you have a decision to make since both can’t be used at the same time.  Additionally, if you like functions like FareLock, they won’t show as available when booking with the Veteran’s Advantage 5% discount.

So, it’s not a discount that you can pile on top of some of the other things you are already doing to get the most for your airfare purchases, but it is a great way to save some real cash on a booking.  I would assume that it stacks with the United.com $5 Club membership since I don’t see any terms of that membership that state otherwise, but I can’t swear to that from personal experience quite yet.  Can anyone else vouch for this one way or the other?

To use the discount, just enter your “unique travel discount code” on the United website where it asks for your “Offer Code”.  Your Veteran’s Advantage Member ID is displayed as soon as you purchase your membership.

The search results will then display a blue star next to the fares that were eligible fares.  They should show a 5% reduction over the fares when searched without using the offer code.

In addition to the 5% discount on United, there are many other discounts or specials with companies such as: Amtrak, Greyhound, Thrifty, Verizon Wireless, Wendy’s, Target, Apple, and more.  I haven’t yet taken advantage of the discounts from the other retailers, but if your family is able to take advantage of many different benefits then your membership is that much more valuable.

I’m impressed at how lucrative purchasing airline tickets can be.  If I had to purchase one airline ticket that retailed for $300 from United, I could use the Veteran’s Advantage code to save $15, bringing the price to $285.  I could then (theoretically) use the United.com Club to get $5 in credit to use on a future flight.  I would get 3x Membership Reward points by using the Amex Premier Reward Gold or Amex Business Gold Rewards for a total of 855 points.  If you value those at 1.5 cents a piece, that is another $12.82 in value.  Of course, you then still earn miles by flying the ticket.  For the heck of it, say the ticket earned 2,000 United flight miles.  Valuing those also at 1.5 cents each (though I personally value them higher), that is another $30 in value on the redeemable miles.  That doesn’t even bring into the equation the value of the elite miles earned.  That brings the total in value earned/saved on a $300 ticket that goes 2,000 total flight miles to at least $62.82 by being a little strategic.  That’s not a life changing amount, but it certainly adds up over the course of a year.

I’d love to hear if anyone has experience with Veteran’s Advantage!

Posted by Mommy Points | 15 Comments

15 Responses to “Save 5% on United Flights + More Benefits”

  1. IDGflygirl says:

    Thanks for the heads up! Will check it out!

  2. Vivek D says:

    I know this would be very immoral but I do not qualify based on what you described above. During the registration process, do they ask the name of the service member or can anyone really join?

  3. frequent travel gal says:

    Ive been using this for years and it more than pays for itself, especially when booking BF flights (even when they are onsale). It does stack with the $5.00 and you get the discount on all pax in the record. Its also great for my Amtrak travel, though sometimes it is not available on all fares.

  4. Levy Flight says:

    It would be immoral, Vivek. This is a benefit for those who’s family members have put themselves in harms way for the benefit if others. We should not endanger that benefit to them by exploiting the system. My $0.02.

  5. Vivek D says:

    I absolutely agree Levy. After I posted that comment, I was shameful of myself and will not be signing up.

  6. mommypoints says:

    @IDGflygirl, hope it helps!
    @Vivek, I can’t answer the moral portion, but they do not ask for names, just era and branch of service.
    @frequent travel gal, glad to know it stacks with $5. Thought it would, but good to know for sure!
    @Levy, I also would not sign up if I wasn’t eligible, but one has to assume they are making money off of this, too.
    @Vivek, don’t be shameful – we all have to make these types of decisions all day long. Sounds like you made a good one for you in the end. ;)

  7. Gene says:

    Thank you so much for this post. My partner is a veteran, and this could save us several hundred dollars per year!

  8. Jen says:

    They also have a special offer available that if you enroll you can get a free companion airline certificate. you have to use the link under the bonus. It doesnt give full terms and details. Only says major airlines included. Enroll by October 4, 2012

  9. Doug says:

    I have been a member since the inception of Veteran’s Advantage. The Military Frequent Flyer on Boarding Area did an interview with Scott Higgins the CEO/Founder and provides some further insight into the program and discounts. I have never had an issue with the service and every discount has been honored. I have taken advantage of the AMTRAK discount more than anything else, it gives a better discount than any other program/offer. This program like any other large volume club/program makes their deals to companies based on the customer base they can bring to the company. In this case they sold the veteran customer base to the companies and then the discount is given. So as Mommy Points brings up they (both VA and the companies giving the discount) are making money off of this. VA does not take away anything from us veterans, in this case it assists. Also if this was an inclusive program then theVA would make the eligibility for it more restrictive, like requiring a DD 214 (discharge papers) for someone to join. The more the merrier and better discounts is my opinion. But as with all travel and as Mommy Points pointed out we all make these type of decisions on a daily basis, do what makes you feel better about yourself.

  10. glenn says:

    Although the 5% discount on UA is their most valuable discount, the Ford X-Plan discount introduced last May can also save you hundreds of $. I have found the car rental discounts quite valuable too.

    And Mommypoints did forget one category of eligibility: spouses.

    Glenn (TheMilitaryFrequentFlyer)

    • mommypoints says:

      @Glenn, thanks for that tip! I copied directly from their site regarding who is eligible, but I guess they assume spouses are lumped in with next of kin. They are absolutely included though, so thanks for pointing that out!

  11. […] you’re a veteran or are the immediate family member of a veteran, you can save 5% on almost all United flights by signing up for Veteran’s Advantage which costs about $60 a […]

  12. Dan says:

    If I sign up, do I get the 5% discount for both my wife and myself? Or do both of us have to be enrolled in Veteran’s advantage to get the United discount

  13. June says:

    How/where do you enter the code? Is it tied to your Mileageplus account?

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