July 19, 2008

Bargains4Seniors in the News!

David Sattler usually orders frugally off the value menu at Burger King. But on a recent burger and soda run, the 52-year-old advertising writer's bill was even lower than expected. A senior discount was applied. "I hadn't realized that I got the senior discount until I sat down in my seat and looked at the receipt," says Sattler, who sports thinning hair and a beard laced with silver. "I think it was funny that the cashier was quite sure that I should get the discount, because when I was 20 I would have looked at me as someone quite ancient. So, I am pretty sure she looked at me that way."

Of course, most people won't get a senior discount unless they ask, and many vendors require you to show proof of age or flash an AARP membership card.

Here's a look at how to negotiate some key senior discounts:

Hotels. Nancy McDonald, 72, a retired middle school music teacher in Roswell, N.M., makes frequent overnight trips to Albuquerque to buy new piano music to play at her church. Securing a senior discount of between 10 and 20 percent off her hotel room is an important factor in her hotel choice.

If you pay a $12.50 annual fee, an AARP membership card can famously get you 10 percent off most hotel rooms, as well as a multitude of other discounts. But, as with airlines, the senior rate isn't always best. A recent online search for a hotel room in Boston listed the best senior rate as $329.95, but a separate search for the best overall rate at the same hotel was $319.95.

Joel Kriner, founder and editor of the age 55-plus website Bargains4Seniors.com, based in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, says there's a strategy you should use to score the best hotel prices. "When calling to make reservations at a hotel, always ask for their best price. Once you get a quoted best price, then ask for the senior discount," says Kriner. He says some sales representatives will give you a bloated price quote if you reveal up front that you are going to ask for the senior discount.

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