Exclusive Military Discounts, Benefits & Rewards for
Active Duty Military, Veterans and Their Families
Exclusive Military Discounts, Benefits & Rewards for Active Duty Military, Veterans and Their Families

Veterans Advantage Blog


Actor, writer, musician, advocate and fellow Vietnam veteran, Tucker Smallwood has been in over 30 films, performed in more than 40 theatrical productions and voiced over 1,000 television and radio spots. With the excitement and film frenzy leading up to the Oscars on February 28, we recognize him as a CelebVet and applaud his work on an Oscar-nominated film that’s near and dear to our hearts at Veterans Advantage.

He lent his voice to the HBO documentary Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam. Dear America is based on the book of the same name and features letters, stories and anecdotes compiled by the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission, which I was honored to co-chair. Dear America won HBO its first Emmy and a documentary on the making of the movie was nominated for an Academy Award.

Smallwood has also been in some much-loved television series, including Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Seinfeld and Friends, and feature films like Presumed Innocent and Deep Impact. Though he hasn’t received an Oscar nomination – yet! – Smallwood serves as a celebrity ambassador for Veterans in Film and Television (VFT). This year, VFT member Hank Hughes’ short film, Day One, has been nominated for an Academy Award. We wish VFT and Hughes good luck, and thank Smallwood for entertaining us over the decades!


After 256 games played in the 2015-2016 NFL season, the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers not only won their divisions handily, but were victorious in their respective conference championship games. So, with Super Bowl 50 taking place on February 7, we will once again have a VetFamily member coaching a Super Bowl team: the Panthers' Ron Rivera.

Rivera is the son of a 32-year Army veteran and was raised and educated on numerous military bases in Europe, Central America and throughout the U.S. He was a standout linebacker in high school and almost wound up in the Army himself after being heavily recruited by West Point, but chose to follow a different path, still carrying with him the many military values learned from his father. That path eventually led Rivera to the NFL and twice to the Super Bowl, first as a player with the 1985 Chicago Bears and now, in 2016, as head coach of the Panthers.

Under Rivera's leadership, the team actively supports many military members stationed in North Carolina, going above and beyond the NFL's annual Salute to Service campaign. Rivera often invites military members and veterans to attend practices and speak to his team, inspiring even the most famous players in the locker room, including quarterback Cam Newton.

So, in just over a week, keep an eye out for Rivera on the sideline as the Panthers and Broncos battle it out in the Bay. And whether you're watching the Super Bowl on the big screen at home, on Verizon's NFL Mobile app or at Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium itself, we hope you enjoy the game!

Continue reading.


Early Thursday we were already feeling the effects of Winter Storm Jonas, expected to arrive full-force in the Mid-Atlantic region tomorrow. According to the National Weather Service, Jonas is a “potentially crippling winter storm” with anticipated snowfall of up to two feet around Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and significant freezing that could reach as far south as Kentucky and North Carolina.

Along with the expected power outages and snow-choked roads, flight delays and cancellations are clearly expected. Airlines operating out of airports near the storm are already issuing waivers for travel over the weekend, including our two great partners: United Airlines and JetBlue, both of which are keeping customers up to date on Twitter (@united and @JetBlue) and on their websites. The travel waivers they issue will allow passengers affected by the storm to change to alternate flights without paying a fee.

 

 

And, as I’ve said before, kudos to those of you who prepare for such dangerous storms by keeping a stock of emergency supplies close at hand, helping alleviate the strain on emergency services when disasters hit. Building and maintaining a disaster supplies kit, or 72-hour kit, is a responsibility we should all take seriously long before a crippling winter storm threatens, and a number of our partners offer much of what you’ll need.

So when you build your first 72-hour kit or need to refresh your current supplies, take a look at this list from ready.gov and consider how much you can save with your Veterans Advantage member benefits: buy extra phone chargers and accessories from Verizon Wireles Stores nationwide at 25% OFF, find first aid and personal sanitation supplies with 20% off in store at CVS/pharmacy and on CVS.com, get a powerful flashlight and spare batteries from officedepot.com or your local Office Depot or OfficeMax Store with 20% savings. Online shop for emergency gear at Coleman.com and be rewarded your service with our exclusive offer of 35% OFF site-wide until the end of February, and buy additional warm clothing with 10% OFF brand-name winter gear from Eastern Mountain Sports

Good luck to all in the path of Winter Storm Jonas this weekend, especially our service personnel and first responders who will be looking out for the rest of us. Stay warm and stay safe.


A mere two weeks into 2016 and it’s clear that military and veteran issues are already dominating the news. From cities pledging to end veteran homelessness to the Defense Department’s implementation of new goals and procedures related to the Medal of Honor and other combat awards, 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for our nation’s military and veterans.

Our Cover Story this week focuses on another big military story that is receiving a lot of media attention: the continuing investigation into the disappearance and capture of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl spent almost five years in Taliban captivity before his release in May 2014, but the circumstances surrounding his initial disappearance have been questioned by many here at home. The controversy of his capture and eventual release – that freed five enemy commanders from Guantanamo Bay – was recently thrust back into the spotlight when his story became the subject of the popular podcast Serial


This holiday season, we reflect on this past year with a deep sense of gratitude and hope for the future. In 2015, Veterans Advantage was blessed with many gifts as we continued to advocate for greater benefits for all who serve, and we grew tremendously, both inside our company and within our military community.

We added five new partners, including Liberty Mutual Insurance, Universal Orlando® Resort, Zipcar, Verizon Fios and Office Depot and OfficeMax, to our coalition of patriotic companies recognizing the veteran and military communities. And, for the first time in our 15-year partnership with Amtrak, we made the discount available to the family members of U.S. military personnel and veterans. Together with 1800Flowers.com, we upgraded our discount from 20 percent to 25 percent for family members and 30 percent for those who serve, or have served, in the U.S. Armed Forces. 

In addition, we were selected by the City of New York to be the national benefits provider for the mayor’s initiative – IDNYC with Veteran Designation – to serve the city’s 250,000 veterans. We once again participated in Veterans Week NYC, a month-long celebration of military service, which we co-founded four years ago. There, our members participated in America’s Parade on Veterans Day (sponsored by AVIS/Budget), we hosted a screening of Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam (sponsored by IMAX and HBO), and we brought together Olympians and Veterans Advantage members at our fourth annual Heroes Meet Heroes (sponsored by Foot Locker). We also opened a digital development office in Salt Lake City, Utah, to better serve our members and pursue our mission.

At the heart of our mission remains our advocacy: to deliver greater respect, recognition and rewards to all those who have served and continue to serve in our nation’s military, and their families.

This year, the greatest gift of all has been your continued support of our mission. In return, we hope that we have helped you enjoy your holiday that much more – whether by helping to place more gifts underneath the tree thanks to partner discounts, or allowing you to celebrate with family thanks to savings on airline, train or bus tickets. As Lin and I celebrate with our family, you, our members, are in our thoughts. The privilege of celebrating this holiday wouldn’t have been possible without your service and sacrifice to our country. Thank you.

Time For Families


In CelebVet Jamey Johnson's song South Alabam Christmas, Johnson recalls his holiday memories as a child growing up in Montgomery, Alabama. And as we listen to holiday music this season, we're reminded that most of these songs focus on relationships: relationships with friends, family, loved ones and even strangers. It's a reminder that the holiday season is about community.

Here at Veterans Advantage, we're always looking for ways to bring military and veteran families and communities together, because we believe that when one person serves, the entire family serves. And that's why we partnered with Universal Orlando® Resorts – just in time for the holiday season. Universal Orlando Resort vacation packages are the perfect way to bring families, friends and loved ones together for an unforgettable vacation.

As we celebrate our partnership with Universal Orlando, we also take a moment to acknowledge the late Ralph J. Roberts - Comcast's former CEO, a Navy veteran and previous Veterans Advantage TopVet. Since 2001, Comcast has acquired both AT&T's cable business and NBCUniversal - the parent company of Universal Orlando. As we partner with Universal Orlando, we're reminded of Roberts entrepreneurial spirit and excitement for life.

To read about TopVet Ralph Roberts, click here.


It’s been hard to contain our excitement here at Veterans Advantage, but we’re ready to share some amazing news: we’ve partnered with Universal Orlando®!

In September, I spent three days at Universal Orlando, along with my spouse, Lin, and our son, Parker, who heads our Veterans Advantage Digital Development Office out in Salt Lake City. Over these three days, our family experienced some of Universal Orlando’s best-loved attractions, including the seasonal Halloween Horror Nights and the new audience favorite – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™.

And I must say, we loved our time at Universal! Parker took advantage of Universal’s thrilling Dueling Dragons ride (quite a few times, I might add!), but our family favorite was Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™. We entered the attraction and were immediately transported to the films, surrounded by bank vaults, dragons and wizards – we even came face-to-face with Voldemort himself. With such an engaging ride, it was hard to be anything but immersed in Universal’s world of movie magic and family fun.

And that’s another reason why this trip was so special to me: I was able to spend some quality time with my family. It’s really easy for all of us to get busy, so a three-day trip to Orlando to enjoy spectacular attractions was the perfect way for us to reconnect. But reconnecting and spending time together can be more challenging for some, since entire families often feel the emotional, physical and mental traumas of war as acutely as their loved ones who are U.S. service members. At Veterans Advantage, we believe that when one member of the family serves, the entire family serves, and we’re always looking for ways to bring families together.

After experiencing all of Universal’s offerings – their jaw-dropping theme parks, unforgettable dining and family-oriented entertainment – I knew Universal Orlando would make a great vacation spot for our nation’s military and veteran families. And, luckily for us, Universal Orlando was eager to do something special – something big – for the military community.

We hope you’re able to enjoy some family time soon, whether it’s as easy as sharing a meal together or as exciting as sharing a rollercoaster ride. To learn more about our partnership with Universal Orlando, click here.


November was a busy month for us here at Veterans Advantage. On November 1, we kicked off the fourth annual Veterans Week NYC - during which we hosted a series of events for our own members, their families and special guests.

These events ran for the entire month of November, and acknowledged and celebrated the service and sacrifice of all our nation's veterans, military personnel and their families. Check out the feature article to read more about our participation in "America's Parade," our special screening of HBO's Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam, and Heroes Meet Heroes.

It was also a busy month adding new partners! We added Liberty Mutual Insurance and Zipcar to our coalition of incredible partners, with generous discounts from both.

These new partnerships were in addition to two other new partnerships that came in 2015: Verizon FiOS and Office Depot and OfficeMax. So as we start December and another year draws to a close, I'm happy to share the continued growth of our program and the new savings we offer all of you.

Be sure to check out Liberty Mutual Insurance and Zipcar's exclusive discounts in Members Only.


Veterans Advantage co-founder and CEO Scott Higgins (left), seen here with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller at the Marine Corps Birthday Gala on the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York City.

This Thanksgiving, we’d like to acknowledge our deployed U.S. military members, who often go without the usual comforts we associate with this holiday. Instead, they gather in chow halls, mess tents or even simpler settings, sometimes rationing their food supplies or fashioning their own versions of a Thanksgiving meal.

At the Marine Corps Birthday Gala on the U.S.S Intrepid in New York City, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller recalled one of his own deployments, sharing a powerful anecdote about how he and his fellow troops saved peanut butter and jelly from their MREs to use as frosting on their Thanksgiving Day pound cakes. In their own small way, they celebrated a great American tradition, despite being so far from home.

This Thanksgiving, we feel overwhelming gratitude for our U.S. armed forces and veterans – individuals who have sacrificed so that we can enjoy our many comforts. We also feel profound gratitude for our military families, who often sacrifice just as much as their service members. So whether you’re grateful for your own military family member, your friends, your health or just a day to spend with the people you love, we can all take a minute this Thanksgiving to acknowledge our nation’s defenders.

From our military family to yours, happy Thanksgiving. 


 

 

In a weekly address on November 14, 2015, President Obama emphasized the importance of hiring our veterans, stating: “As our veterans will tell you themselves, they’re not finished serving their country. As I tell small business owners and CEOs on a regular basis, if you want to get the job done, hire a vet.” Here at Veterans Advantage, we strongly agree with the president’s call to action and have consistently advocated for veteran employment over the years.

We have built a free jobs board for companies looking to hire veterans. Veterans Advantage hosts this free resource for any company of any size, anywhere in the nation, to post an unlimited number of openings for an unlimited period of time. The only requirement we ask of these companies is that they actively try to fill any job openings with veterans. And veterans who search for work using our board are always assured the positions they apply for are "vet-friendly" employers.

On a related note, I recently found out that Edge4Vets has a great upcoming veteran employment workshop that I’m excited to share with you.

On December 2, 2015, the Edge4Vets workshop series will offer veterans a free employment workshop that focuses on how veterans can translate their military skills to the civilian sector. Veterans attending the workshop in New York City can connect with Edge4Vets’ partners in finance, pharmaceuticals, aviation, security, media and IT and will receive individualized advice on connecting with HR representatives and hiring managers.

The event will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Intrepid (West 46th Street and 12th Avenue), and participants will also receive passes to tour the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in the afternoon. 

To RSVP or learn more, click here

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A view from the corner office of Founder & CEO, Scott Higgins, Vietnam Veteran.

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