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Senior discounts

Now that I am over 60, I was wondering if there is somewhere I can search for a list of the various discounts I can use for trains, museums, sites, etc. or is it best to go country by country, city by city, site by site? Does anyone know if AAA or AARP has that info? I don't want to have to search if there is a handy website. While I certainly don't mind paying full price a little discount now and then might be nice!!

Posted by
5698 posts

We have found that most museums and sites in EU countries only offer senior discounts to residents of the EU. We did receive senior discounts in Scandinavia and the U.K.

Posted by
5308 posts

In a word, no -- I haven't found a comprehensive list of senior discounts. France had discounted train tickets. Germany and Austria had discounts at museums. Vienna had 2-for-1 transit tickets. But you can always ask at the ticket counter and the worst that could happen is that they say "no"

Posted by
2953 posts

There is a senior rail card in Great Britain that costs 30 pounds for one year. Then, 1/3 off fares. If you are taking several train trips that may pay off. About half the sights we have gone to have a concessions price (what a senior discount is called here). I think you just need to ask as you go in Great Britain.

I did have a bright moment when one bus driver asked for ID to prove I was 60 because he said I didn't look it. He had no idea how he made my day!

Posted by
4506 posts

Cbrochu,
If you plan to travel to Spain, you qualify to buy a 'Tarjeta Dorada' (Golden card )which will entitle you to discounted train tickets on all Renfe trains. Keep in mind that the discount will be on full priced tickets, so you may save more money by booking your tickets in advance (without the TD). You can buy the TD in any train station in Spain.

Have fun finding all the discounts and let us know what you find out! ;-)

Posted by
2329 posts

We are in Portugal and finding deeply discounted senior rates at museums, the Palaces at Sintra, etc. We were warned we need to show ID, but so far, I guess we look ancient enough that they are not bothering. But, I don't think you'll find a list of such prices.

Posted by
16826 posts

It varies within country as well as country-to-country. And govenment-run museums, etc., seem more likely to,offer discounts than private operations. In France I found there were what seemed to be regional differences, with more discounts along the Riviera.

I agree that the first place to check is the trains. I have benefited from senior discounts in Italy, Spain and France so far. You have to cover a good bit of ground in France (or buy last-minute TGV tickets) to make the 60€ French Senior+ Card pay off, though. In my experience the cards seem to provide a benefit even on discounted fares, but it may be a lower percentage discount.

Availability of discounts is usually addressed on the websites of tourist attractions, so you can check out the situation ahead of time in most cases.

Posted by
5698 posts

We have found that most museums and sites in EU countries only offer senior discounts to residents of the EU. We did receive senior discounts in Scandinavia and the U.K.

Posted by
13958 posts

Most sights in Spain give discounts to anyone over 65.

Posted by
359 posts

Portugal train system offers senior discount - 50% off but are insistent that you show your passport each time. You can buy tickets on-line but the train attendant show up at your seat to check your passport also. Great deal!

Posted by
20624 posts

No master list. You just have to ask a lot and it is hit and miss. Our experience is that Spain was the most generous. Just ask and be prepared to show passport. Use the word senior, pensioner, or just look old. Often you will see the discount price listed on the pricing board.

Posted by
2865 posts

The advice to "just ask" is good. You never know. Sometimes in countries which officially give discounts only to EU citizens a friendly counter person will give it to you. Some non-government sponsored sites will also. My husband got the OAP (old age pensioner) discount in the U.K.
when he was only 57 because he was.retired and, therefore, entitled to it.

Posted by
6 posts

Can anyone from the US verify that they were able to buy a Senior Card (the Carte Senior+) when they were in France (60 Euros)?
You can't buy it from the US apparently (tried the SNCF site and Rail Europe, which won't give Senior fares). I wonder if it's restricted to European citizens, even when you go to buy it in France.

Posted by
20624 posts

savio, you asked that question before and the answer is still no. Limited EU citizens.

Posted by
16826 posts

I think there's a typo in Frank's response. You do not have to be an EU citizen to buy France's Carte Senior+. I bought and used one myself earlier this summer. Purchased it at the Nice Ville station. They weren't busy at the time and the whole process took no more than 20 minutes.

Posted by
8293 posts

Sometimes It seems to depend on the ticket agent as to whether a discount is available or not. In Taormina one year to enter the Greek theatre site we inquired about the senior entrance fee. We were asked to show our passports. The young woman consulted a list and allowed us the discount. Directly behind us were 3 senior American women from a cruise ship (you could tell by the silly hats they wore) and they were refused the discount. They were outraged, though you would think if they could afford a Mediterranean cruise a few euros discount would be neither here nor there. Why were they obliged to pay full price? Who knows? Only the young lady in the entrance kiosk.

Posted by
16826 posts

I agree that senior discounts at sightseeing attractions vary in availability, and I'm not surprised that the rules are sometimes applied inconsistently. I was given the over-65 discount a couple of times in Spain when I was 64-1/2. (Perhaps I looked poor.) I've never heard of such incomsistencies in sales of senior rail discount cards. If the online info doesn't say anything about a citizenship requirement, why would a rail employee invent one?

Posted by
396 posts

acraven: I'm very surprised it took as long as 20 minutes for you to be issued with a Carte Senior+. I get mine at the CDG station on a busy morning and it took much less time than that. But you do need to be prepared with a passport-type photo that is then attached to your card.
You can buy rail tickets for France from 3 months ahead on the Loco2.com website and receive the Senior+ discount if you opt to pay in euros (select this first in the header before searching for your journey); then use the 'add railcard' option before selecting a particular train and the discount price will be offered. You can do this from overseas even before you get your card as no reference number is required, but then you must buy it at the first station before you travel.
When tickets are checked on the train you will need to show the card to the inspector together with your ticket.

Posted by
16826 posts

It was probably less than 10 minutes, but I'm not sure and was trying to be cautious in my post. The staff person left her desk for a while and returned with a small bundle of flowers for me. I got the impression that it was a standard procedure in Nice, but I don't know why.

Posted by
4468 posts

My husband got the OAP (old age pensioner) discount in the U.K. when he was only 57 because he was. retired and, therefore, entitled to it.

OAP explicitly means in receipt of a state pension, not just retired and my understanding is the earliest age for this in the USA is 62. Having said that, UK attractions generally have a non-bureaucratic attitude to discounts for people of a certain age as they these days tend to be little more than a pound or two. Travel companies are much stricter.

Posted by
258 posts

Sorry for not getting back...
Thank you for all the replies. My fall 2017 trip had to be postponed for now but I will check out who gives discounts when I head back to Europe in 2018.

Posted by
17653 posts

The K-D website online broshure (last page) says that seniors (60 or older) get a 30% discount on cruise tickets. Nothing on the website says you have to be a German or EU citizen. Does anyone know for sure? It also says that holders of a valid Bahn ticket get a 20% discount, and I think I have heard of Americans getting that.

Posted by
5497 posts

Food (at a senior discount) for thought:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/senior-discounts-arent-necessary-and-actually-can-do-harm_us_56f97555e4b0a372181a8113

As noted by Dan Campbell in a USA Today Op-ed piece, senior discounts
actually “add insult to injury to the very people who are being
saddled with trillions of dollars in debt to support entitlement
programs for the elderly, such as Medicare and Social Security.” I
would say they add injury too. Businesses have overheads and profit
margins to meet. If discounts are given to a few, the higher prices
are being paid for everyone else
.

That said, senior discounts on season ski passes make sense. Us older folks can't ski as far as the regulars.

Posted by
17653 posts

What about all of the coupons for lower prices you get in the paper. Do people deserve lower prices just because they bought a newspaper?

I do go to Denny's because of the 20% AARP discount, and I'm sure a lot of other seniors do too. Without our business to help cover fixed cost, everyone else would have to pay more. And Denny's does have a senior menu with smaller portions for only a slightly lower price.

when restaurants do discount meals for kids, they also shrink the portions. So what they’re really doing is selling a smaller
portion of food, not discounting the price for them.

Anyone with a modicum of knowledge of restaurant economics knows that the cost of groceries is a small portion of the cost of providing the food. More significant is the cost of labor to prepare the food and the cost of labor to serve the food, plus overhead. If a kid gets a half portion for a half price, it probably doesn't take any less time to prepare and serve it. So those of us who pay full price are subsidizing the children's dinner.

But the thing that really toots my horn is that stores aren't allowed to add a surcharge for people using a credit card. Anyone who uses a credit card is getting a 4% subsidy, so those of us who pay cash have to pay more. And part of the "more" goes toward giving the cc user "dollars back".

And the worst case is health care providers. My daughter had elbow surgery, and the hospital sent us a bill for $10k, for "surgery",saying the insurance company wouldn't pay it. The insurance company said they wouldn't pay it because they only paid for negotiated items on the schedule, and the bill wasn't itemized. For month we went back and forth, with the hospital refusing to give and itemized bill and the insurance company refusing to pay and unitemized bill. And we were caught in the middle. Finally, the hospital sent and itemized bill and the insurance company paid them, according to the negotiated contract, $3k!

So, if you think the 20% discount negotiated by AARP for seniors is unfair, make sure your pay you hospital bill at full (uninsured) price; don't make the uninsured pay for you.

Posted by
258 posts

Until or unless discounts are no longer offered, I will seek them out. Whether or not I use them is another story. It will depend on the situation. Clearly the businesses offering the discounts find it financially or socially in their interest to do so otherwise the discounts would not be offered.

Posted by
5308 posts

Kind of like the birthday " discount" -- for the one person who gets a bargain meal or admission, there are probably several others in the party who would not have gone to that restaurant/attraction on that day, so net positive revenue to the company offering the discount. Marketing 101.

Posted by
11613 posts

Best advice is to ask. In some places the age is 60 or 65, nationality may or may not matter.

Paying full price is the norm, discounts are reductions of that price. So to imply that paying full price is some sort of penalty just doesn't make sense.

Health insurance companies? I think they hope I die.

Posted by
1 posts

Recently in Spain we received senior fare prices on local trains without needing any type of discount card. Also got discounts at most places without showing IDs

I'm pretty sure in Venice for the Biennale art festival only my wife got a discount because she had an EU pass. Also got train fare discounts.

Posted by
4468 posts

Anyone who uses a credit card is getting a 4% subsidy.

Not in Europe they won't be as transaction charges are capped at a maximum of 0.3%. Even before that it was generally at or below 2%. Debit cards are 0.2%.

Taking cash isn't free to a business either.

Posted by
16826 posts

Yes, counting out cash and balancing at the end of the day takes quite a bit of time. And any cash transaction requiring change to be given is an opportunity for a error to occur. Resolving out-of-balance conditions is time-consuming .

Posted by
3 posts

We recently spent 27 days in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Many of the tourist areas had a discount for seniors including the theatre! We found them to be a "Senior Friendly" touring area.

Posted by
23 posts

I found excellent discounts, called "concessions" in Scotland. Some places it was listed, others I had to ask. In a few, e.g., Sterling Castle, it was several pounds.

Elsewhere I too find that much of it is limited to EU residents. Still, worth asking, though 60 might be a bit young yet.

Posted by
42 posts

Just for the laughs. I live in Victoria, B.C., Canada, which because of its relatively mild climate attracts a large number of retirees who no longer are willing to shovel their driveway out many times every winter. I have seen a t-shirt available for purchase downtown which reads," I'm a senior- give me my damn discount!". I don't know how this would travel overseas; humour can be tricky across cultures. But I agree, it never hurts to ask; whether an official policy or just a nice person willing to cut you a break.

Posted by
1 posts

You might also ask if they give discounts for veterans. I saw a sign that gave a list of discounts, and veterans was on it. I said I was a U.S. veteran, and they said that counts, so you never know you just have to ask.

Posted by
3 posts

Regarding the K-D boats, we got the discount price when we bought tickets last year. Actually I asked for one adult and one senior fare because my husband was 60 and i am 1 1/2 years younger than he but was charged for 2 senior tickets. Didn't realize it until I had left the ticket window and recalculated what I should have paid. Never was asked for any proof of age.

Posted by
1 posts

My friend and I recieved a senior discount in London on a round trip boat trip down the Thames to Hampton Court. No I D required
I am 74 my friend is 63 but prematurely grey and walks with a caneso she got a discount too.

Posted by
17653 posts

Never was asked for any proof of age.

Maybe she looks old (but don't tell her).

I'm always amused by the sign in the liquor store near me. It says, "we check ID of anyone under 50." How do they know if I'm under 50 without checking my ID? OK, here's my ID that shows I'm over 50. Now you don't have to check my ID.

Posted by
35 posts

I received a seniors discount on the London ferry to Greenwich when i had just turned 60. No ID required. SIngapore has many concessions also eg. The Orchid garden at $1 instead of $5. In Darwin and Cairns some buses are free and others discount by 15%.

Posted by
9 posts

When we were in Belgium recently, we bought a senior train ticket for 6 euro, and travelled to Brugges, Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. Very inexpensive.

Posted by
275 posts

I was in Prague recently and was told by the guy at the booth for a tram pass that if I had a passport size photo of myself, all travel would be free. I must have succeeded at looking old!

Posted by
7645 posts

Lee - The KD discounts are legit. They haven't even asked for ID and you only have to be 60, so I must be looking my age or they figure no one will lie about being older? Student discount too and the train ticket gets you a discount. You can only use one of them though, not both.

Posted by
258 posts

Thanks for all the responses. Not sure of exact itinerary as yet but I will consider all options for myself and sister in 2018.

Posted by
503 posts

SInce many of the people on RS tours are "seniors", I wonder if the tour department asks for the discounts when they are booking the tour functions?
As for Mr. Campbell and his article about younger people having to finance "entitlements" for seniors, like social security, I take issue with that. Social Security is NOT an entitlement. It is your money that your and your employer paid into for years with the promise that you would get it back. This is not an entitlement.