PROFESSIONS WITH PERKS
Does your job entitle you to discounts on clothing, travel, computers, cars, or even a house? Aside from regular employee benefits, people in many professions enjoy employee discounts from the companies where they work. In some cases, other businesses offer discounts to show appreciation for people who provide a public service. Either way, these 10 jobs promise savings for those who take advantage.
Teacher discounts are some of the most common. Many dedicated teachers purchase school supplies and other necessities with their own paychecks. At Barnes and Noble, a discount card for educators offers 20 percent off classroom purchases. A.C. Moore, the arts and crafts store, extends a 15 percent discount to teachers (including parents who home-school their children). Teachers who join the Office Depot OfficeMax Rewards Members program can get 2 percent back in rewards on all purchases as well as special members-only savings. Discounts for teachers don't stop at classroom supplies. Among a handful of retailers offering teacher discounts on in-store purchases is Ann Taylor Loft, purveyor of affordable, work-appropriate women's clothing. The store gives teachers 15 percent off full-price purchases.
Government employees, including public educators, can purchase homes at half price through the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Good Neighbor Next Door program. The primary requirement is that they remain in the home for at least three years. Government workers have access to other exclusive discounts, including vacation deals. On the Government Vacation Rewards website, government workers (and military personnel) can book hotels, cruises, and rental cars at discounted rates. Federal, state, and local government employees get discounts on Apple products through the company's Military/Government Purchase Program reportedly of up 15 percent. Sprint reduces monthly phone service plans by 15 percent for government employees.
Discounts for military personnel often extend to their families. Spouses and children of eligible service members can take advantage of free memberships and respite child-care services at participating YMCAs. Military families also receive 20 percent off admission to Six Flags and free admission to SeaWorld parks, including Busch Gardens. No matter where you go, it's worth asking if there's a discount for veterans or active military.
Most airlines offer employees and immediate family members free or deeply discounted airfare anywhere the airline travels. Delta Air Lines, for instance, offers employees free or dramatically discounted flights to hundreds of U.S. and international destinations. Even low-cost airline JetBlue offers employees free standby tickets (for seats that haven't been filled by paying customers). Flight attendants sometimes also receive buddy passes for friends and family.
People who work for car companies and dealers typically receive discounts or preferential pricing on cars. CarMax offers employees and their immediate families a hefty $500 discount on a new car and covers the cost of a used car up to $3,000. Honda and Toyota feature employee lease and purchase programs as part of their benefits packages.
In addition to healthcare and education benefits, academic hospitals such as Duke University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital offer various employee discounts, such as special rates for fitness club membership or discounts on prescription drugs. Certified first responders receive 10 percent off Under Armour purchases and emergency medical services personnel qualify for discounts on Oakley products (both programs are also open to military personnel).
In addition to offers for public employees, such as the HUD Good Neighbor Next Door home-buying program, police officers can take advantage of discounts exclusive to law enforcement. Automaker Ford has offered discounts of up $1,000 for first responders. Costco offers coupons worth more than $60 to police who join the popular warehouse club. Police also enjoy a 10 percent discount on top of any promotion at Sandals Resorts, as well as discounts on Royal Caribbean cruises.
Forget online booking sites. At chains including Marriott and Hilton Hotels and Resorts, hotel staffers from managers to housekeepers receive discounts on hotel rooms as part of their benefits packages. These exclusive discounted rates can reach up to 50 percent off. Under the Hilton family travel program, family members can also take advantage of special rates.
Most retailers offer employee discounts on the products they sell. Although this can help make up for pay at or near minimum wage, clothing retailers often require their workers to buy and wear the store's merchandise.Target employees enjoy a 10 percent discount at the store and online, and a 20 percent break on certain specified items, like produce and Simply Balanced merchandise. Discounts at dozens of other stores are listed at Rather Be Shopping.
Discounts for clergy and religious workers are less common these days, but they do exist. Some companies offer special rates on lodging for traveling clergy. Christianity Today has come up with a list of places where pastors can go on a free or discounted getaway, including the Hampton Inn and Suites in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.