So you're trying to squeeze the value out of every dollar, are fast approaching the half-century mark and a little embarrassed by the AARP membership offers finding their way to your mailbox. Relax. Senior status has its rewards, with promises of price cuts for everything from hotels to truck rentals to restaurants.
Increasingly, with the economy in the doldrums, local businesses are stepping up their discount offers, said David Smidt of seniordiscounts.com. "What we tell our users is, just ask. It can never hurt to ask,'' said Smidt, whose Web site lists more than 170,000 locations nationwide that offer price breaks to older patrons.
All discounts aren't equal, though. You might get a lower price without the standard senior offer. Do your research. Some discounts can't be combined with others or have other stipulations, such as hotel room availability.
While Southwest Airlines is the only airline now offering a senior discount, the fare is not necessarily the lowest, said Markus Mittermayr of St. Petersburg Travel Center. The advantage is that the senior fare offers flexibility and is fully refundable, he said.
Something else to consider is that discounts are not necessarily offered at all locations of a particular business.
Additionally, the definition of "senior'' is a changing one, with starting points at 50, 55, 60, 62, 65 and up. Whatever it is, smile the next time a well-meaning clerk assumes you're over the hill and hands over a "senior coffee" or other old-age discount.
A sampling of perks that come with age
Southwest Airlines: Discounts for travelers 65 and older. Fares are refundable.
Amtrak: Travelers 62 and older get 15 percent off the lowest available fare. Restrictions include sleeping accommodations and the Auto Train.
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA): Reduced cash fare for those 65 and older. Daily and 31-day unlimited reduced fare GO Cards are not valid on the 100X and 300X routes. PSTA, HART, government ID or Medicare Card required.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART): Discounts on one-way fares and day passes for seniors 65 and older. HART ID required.
Marriott: Hotels like the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg offer at least a 15 percent discount on room rates for those 62 and older.
Hyatt: Exclusive discounts off the daily rate for AARP members, and summer offers at Grand Hyatt, Andaz, Hyatt Regency and Hyatt hotels and resorts in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean; at Hyatt Place and Hyatt Summerfield Suites hotels in the U.S.; and Hyatt hotels and resorts outside the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.
Best Western: Offers 20 percent discount to AARP members and guests 55 and older.
Bealls: Shoppers 50 and older get a 15 percent discount, usually twice a month, at the chain's department stores. Go to bealls florida.com for current dates. Mondays, Bealls Outlet stores offer a 15 percent saving to those 50 and over in their Monday Club.
Ross Dress for Less: Discounts on Tuesdays for shoppers 55 and older. The Every Tuesday Club discount is 10 percent.
Prime Outlets Ellenton: Prime Time Tuesdays is for shoppers 55 and older. At guest services, seniors can pick up a weekly discount sheet to save 10 percent.
National parks: Senior pass entitles U.S. citizens and permanent residents 62 and older to free entry to parks that charge entrance fees. The lifetime pass costs $10 and entitles seniors to 50 percent off such fees as camping and boat launch.
Movies: At AMC theaters, moviegoers 60 and older get a discount on Senior Day — Tuesdays — for all shows. Holidays are excluded. Discounts are around $4 off a full-price adult ticket, but prices may vary, so check theater listings. Muvico theaters offers Senior Tuesdays for moviegoers 55 and older. Holidays and special engagements are excluded. There's an extra charge for 3-D films.
Jiffy Lube: A 10 percent vehicle maintenance discount to seniors older than 60 who ask. Call first to find out which locations offer the discount.
Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2283.