A recent policy change makes 16 million veterans eligible to receive travel discounts of up to 60 percent off through the American Forces Travel (AFT) website, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
Previously, only active duty, National Guard, reservists, their families and DOD civilians were eligible. Now, all honorably discharged veterans from any branch of service are granted access.
AARP Travel Benefits
AARP members, regardless of military service, have access to a variety of travel benefits including 10 percent off at select hotels, up to 30 percent off select car rentals, up to $300 in extra onboard credits for select cruises, and a 5 percent rebate (up to $350) on eligible group hotel bookings. Visit the AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia or call 800-675-4318 to book travel.
The AFT website offers over 1.2 million hotels in 71,000 global destinations along with flights, rental cars, cruises, vacation packages and event tickets. Discounts can range from 35 percent to 60 percent off traditional pricing, according to AFT.
AFT launched in 2019 as a Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program designed to provide travel benefits to the military community. The website is operated by Priceline, the online travel agency, at no cost to the DOD. Meanwhile, the program generates revenue to support quality-of-life programs for service members and families, according to DOD.
First-time users are required to provide their service information to determine eligibility through the DOD's Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). Once verified, trips can be booked at any time.
Those who are eligible for American Forces Travel discounts include:
- All current active duty military (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard)
- All members of the reserve components and National Guard
- Coast Guard Auxiliary Active Duty
- All current active duty and retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- All current active duty and retired U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)
- All retired military, including those in the Reserves and National Guard who are retirement eligible
- All Medal of Honor recipients
- All veterans with service-connected disabilities, all veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, all veterans who are former prisoners of war, all individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.
- Eligible family members who are officially sponsored (ID card holder) by authorized patrons in the above categories
- All Department of Defense and Coast Guard civilians, including appropriated funds (APF) employees and nonappropriated funds (NAF) employees
- Full-time, paid employees of the American Red Cross and United Service Organizations (USO) hired in the United States and serving at U.S. DOD installations overseas
- All Veterans of the United States Armed Forces with a discharge status of honorable or general under honorable conditions.
Source: American Forces Travel
Aaron Kassraie writes about issues important to military veterans and their families for AARP. He also serves as a general assignment reporter. Kassraie previously covered U.S. foreign policy as a correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency's Washington bureau and worked in news gathering for USA Today and Al Jazeera English.