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The benefits of showing your age? Discounts for 'seniors' that are worth getting carded for

If you are 62 and beyond, discounts await. Even though many baby boomers don't exactly embrace being called "senior," most of these deals do come with that word preceding "discount". For some senior discounts, including those from Southwest Airlines and the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, you'll have to wait until you are eligible for Medicare. Others begin at 50. Disclaimer: The Times has no connection to these discounts, which you should confirm before buying anything.

National parks

At 62 and up, for just $10 you get a Lifetime Senior Pass (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) that will cover entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. It may be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail by application. (Cost of a Senior Pass through the mail is $20 — $10 for the Senior Pass and $10 for processing the application.)

nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

Amtrak

Visiting Northern California this fall? You can save 50 percent off regular, full adult fares on the Capitol Corridor route on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays before Oct. 27. Or, generally on most Amtrak trains you are eligible, beginning at 62, for 15 percent off the lowest available adult rail fare (exceptions include the Auto Train and fares in business, first class, and sleeping accommodations).

Greyhound

You save 5 percent off unrestricted fares at 62 and up. (Example: Tampa to Tallahassee this week was a standard senior fare of $50.85, down from $53.50.)

Hotels

If you can't find it online, call the hotel and ask about a senior discount. Marriott's Senior Discount program, for example, offers travelers 62 and older 15 percent or more. At Wyndham hotel brands, you may save at least 10 percent on the best available rates. Or, if you are an AARP member (age 50 and up), it's even a better deal, up to 20 percent. (A senior rate for a king room at the Wingate by Wyndham in New Tampa midweek in October was $103.77, with tax, when we checked. For AARP members, it was $92.24 with tax.) Best Western also offers 10 percent or more off regular room rates for those 55 and up, as well as AARP members.

Eating out

Some chains offer senior discounts, which vary by franchise and age. So don't forget to ask at a restaurant such as Sweet Tomatoes or Village Inn, check out the 55+ Menu at Denny's, or say "Senior Discount please" when ordering coffee at Dunkin' Donuts.

Shop around

Retail discounts can depend on the day of the week. For example, Tuesdays you receive 15 percent off at Bealls (50 and up); Wednesdays, 15 percent off at Kohl's (60 and up). On the first Tuesday of the month, it's 15 percent off at Belk (55 and up).

Share your discount! If you are 50 or older, we'd like to hear your tale about the best senior discount you've encountered in Florida or while traveling. How did you find the discount? How much of a percentage break did you receive? Did your children make fun of you for receiving it? We'll print a selection of the discounts in our November LifeTimes magazine. The writer of the best item will win a free signed copy of Janet K. Keeler's cookie book, Cookielicious. E-mail your story in 100 words or less by Sept. 30 to features@sptimes.com (and please put DISCOUNT in the subject line).

We want your input What tips do you have for saving money in this awful economy? Share your secrets for publication in an upcoming feature. E-mail us at heresthedeal@sptimes.com, on Facebook at Here's the Deal Tampa Bay; on Twitter

at @HeresTheDealFL.

The benefits of showing your age? Discounts for 'seniors' that are worth getting carded for 09/16/11 [Last modified: Monday, September 19, 2011 8:26am]

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