GM has one of the best military discounts around as far as auto manufacturers are concerned. This discount can net you savings as large as a grand. No joke.
But auto manufacturer discounts are inherently flawed. More often than not, when you’re buying a new vehicle you’ll haggle over price. However, the presence of a military discount makes it hard to tell if you’ve negotiated a deal that’s truly $1,000 better than you would have been able to do otherwise — or if the whole thing is just a moot point in the end.
That said, the discount is still worth pursuing. With a few smart shopping tricks, you can score epic savings on your new vehicle purchase whether you use a military discount or not.
For more money-saving shopping tips, be sure to download The Krazy Coupon Lady app.
The GM military discount is $500 or $1,000 depending on brand.
The GM military discount gives you a different amount off depending on which brand of GM vehicle you’re purchasing:
- Chevrolet: $500 off
- GMC: $500 off
- Buick: $500 off
- Cadillac: $1,000 off
Only certain models are eligible at any given time, and the discount only applies to new vehicles. Here’s the current list of eligible vehicles.
TIP: If you’re looking to get in on the EV revolution, the Chevy Bolt does qualify for its three most recent model years. Depending on your income, you can also get a tax credit worth up to $7,500 for purchasing a new EV.
Who qualifies for the GM military discount?
Only certain branches of the military qualify for the GM military discount:
- Air Force
- Marine Corps
- Coast Guard
If you meet branch requirements, you can qualify for the GM military discount as long as you fit into any of these categories:
- Active duty
- National guard
Military spouses of any of the above also qualify.
Get your GM military discount code before you go shopping.
To claim the GM military discount, you have to verify your military affiliation with GM’s third-party partner ID.me. And you have to do it before you go shopping.
You can verify by linking your USAA account or signing up with your .mil address. If you’d prefer to submit paperwork instead, you can use one of these forms:
- Reserve activation orders
- Enlistment contract
- NGB Form 22
- Reserve separation orders
- Veteran identification card
- Veteran health identification card
- State ID with VETERAN endorsement
- DD Form 1300
TIP: Your ID.me authorization number is only good for 90 days. If your vehicle is delivered after the 90 days, you won’t qualify for the military discount. Make sure to time your ID.me authorization accordingly.
You’re supposed to ask for the GM military discount before negotiations.
Technically, you’re supposed to mention the military discount from the get-go when you’re purchasing your vehicle. You’re not supposed to negotiate the price down, then ask for an additional discount.
This is a real bummer because it’s hard to know if you’re actually getting the best deal or if that extra $500 to $1,000 was something you could have negotiated into the price anyways.
Related: Hertz Military Discount
Not all dealerships participate in the GM military discount.
Just because there’s a Cadillac dealership doesn’t mean they’ll automatically accept GM’s military discount. Each dealership’s participation is voluntary.
Their decision on whether or not to participate could change throughout the year, too. Participation can vary by vehicle model on top of the calendar month.
Combine military buying programs with the GM military discount.
If the idea of negotiating over vehicle price is giving you hives, there are military car buying programs that can take the work out of it for you. Organizations like USAA and TrueCar help you find vehicles at pre-arranged prices and can get the military discount applied for you.
End of the year is the best time to buy a new vehicle.
Hands-down, the best time of year to buy a vehicle is the week between Christmas and New Year’s. But you’ll be able to negotiate huge deals from Black Friday forward.
That’s because at the end of the year dealerships are trying to meet annual sales quotas. If there’s any gap between their actual sales numbers and this quota, they’re highly motivated to sell you a car — even if it’s at a budget price.
The same holds true for the end of the month or the end of any given quarter. But because annual, quarterly, and monthly quotas all converge during that last week of the year, that’s when you have the best leverage.
Dealerships are less likely to participate at the beginning of the year.
At the beginning of the year, sales quotas reset, so there’s not as much of a fire under the dealerships in terms of motivation to sell.
The beginning of the year is also when new models are released. When these models are hot off the press, dealerships are less likely to come down with their pricing. Typically, the highest prices are found in January through April.
But if you need a car in March, you might not be able or willing to wait two months to make the purchase. You can still time your negotiations, though. Opt to shop during the last week of March when monthly sales quotas create more pressure than earlier in the month.
Fix your credit before purchasing a vehicle.
After the purchase price of your vehicle, the next determining factor in how much money you pay is your interest rate (if you’re taking out an auto loan).
Your interest rate is based in large part on your credit score. The lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate. That interest rate will follow you for the life of the loan. We’re currently living in a high interest rate environment.
So the best move before purchasing a vehicle is getting your credit score as high as possible.
TIP: Get on pulse with your credit health. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus every 12 months.
How does GM’s military discount stack up?
As far as military appreciation discounts from auto manufacturers go, GM’s is one of the best around. Several other competitors offer a $500 military discount, like Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai.
Nissan offers a military discount on par with GM, ranging from $500 – $1,000. The only one that’s larger is $2,000 from BMW, and that’s only sometimes. The BMW military discount can range from $500 – $2,000.
Are there military discounts for used vehicles?
Yes, but you’re less likely to find them through manufacturer dealerships and more likely to find them with car rental companies who are looking to retire some of their inventory.
For example, Hertz offers $350 off used vehicle purchases for military members and their spouses.