Veterans Day Free Meals 2021 | Active Duty Military, Family Discounts and Deals

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Veterans Day free meals are a traditional way many restaurants honor and thank active duty and military veterans for their service. Veterans Day is celebrated on Thursday, November 11, 2021.

Veterans day free meals 2021

Veterans Day celebrates the service and sacrifice of all U.S. military veterans. Whether you are retired, separated, active duty, guard, reserves – this day is for you! Thank you for answering the call of a grateful nation.

Many restaurants and companies thank our veterans and actively serving military personnel for their service with a free meal or discounts. This year Veterans Day falls on a Thursday and is a federal holiday.

This article contains several Veterans Day freebies and discounts I found:

Credit Cards that Waive Annual Fees for US Military

Did you know American Express and Chase waive the annual fees on their best credit cards for US active duty servicemembers and military spouses? They do this every day, not just on Veterans Day.

This includes even ultra exclusive cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
  • Annual fee of $695 waived for US military personnel and spouses (rates and fees)
  • Best Ever Public Offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Reward Points welcome bonus (valued at $2000+) when you spend $6000 in the first 6 months
  • Earn 10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US up to $25,000 in combined purchases for the first 6 months (an extra 250,000 points potentially!)
  • Earn 5x points on airfare booked directly with airline or on amextravel.com up to $500,000 per calendar year
  • Earn 5x points on prepaid hotels at amextravel.com
  • $200 annual Hotel Credit: Get $200 statement credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or the Hotel Collection booked on Amex Travel and paid for with your Platinum Card
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credits: Up to $20 in monthly statement credits when you use your Platinum card to pay for: Peacock, Audible, Sirius, and the New York Times. Enrollment Required.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on Uber Eats and rides
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at 1 qualifying airline
  • $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, can be used for gift cards, enrollment required
  • 40 Centurion Lounges and 1200+ Priority Pass airport lounge access for free
  • $179 CLEAR Credit: Get through airport security faster with CLEAR
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Heavy metal card that looks and feels really cool
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
  • Read my full review of the Amex Platinum card for military, terms apply

If you're going out to dine out this Veterans Day, why not get a card that earns 4x points on restaurants, delivery, takeout, and groceries (including overseas Commissaries)?

The American Express® Gold Card (review) usually has an annual fee, but that fee is waived for active duty and their spouses.

American Express Gold Card military AMEX Gold Card Military No annual fee SCRA $250 annual fee waived
  • Learn how to apply for the American Express® Gold Card
  • $250 Annual Fee waived for US military and spouses (rates and fees)
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Reward Amex points after spending $4000 in the first 6 months of account opening
  • Rose Gold is back! Choose between the Gold or Rose Gold version when you apply.
  • 4x points on all restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • 4x points on US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) – includes OCONUS Commissaries
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline or on amextravel.com
  • No foreign transaction fees – great for the 4x on restaurants when travelling for fun, OCONUS TDY, or PCS!
  • $120 annual Uber or Uber Eats cash. Earned as $10 per month.
  • $120 per year credit at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House or Shake Shack (enrollment required)
  • Read my full review of the Amex Gold card for military, terms apply

I can teach you how to maximize your military credit card fee waivers in my 100% free Ultimate Military Travel Hacking Course course.

Also check out the best credit cards for military veterans.

Best Veterans Day Free Meals for Active Duty

Many thanks to all the restaurants and companies who choose to offer free meals, discounts, and deals to America's veterans. On behalf of all US military servicemembers, thank you for your tangible support!

Here is a huge list of all the 2021 Veterans Day freebies I found.

Please share with your friends and family so they can enjoy a Monday Veterans Day free meal!

Applebee's Veterans Day Free Meals for Veterans

“We are proud to serve those who serve. Over the past 12 years, Applebee’s® restaurants nationwide have served free meals to veterans and active duty military on Veterans Day to honor them for their courage and sacrifice. We invite you to join us next year on Veterans Wednesday, November 11, 2021 to continue our tradition.”

Available on November 11, 2020 at participating Applebee’s® only. Beverages and gratuity not included. U.S. veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service. Limit 1 meal per person. Dine-in only. Not valid with other coupons or discounts. Menu may vary. – More Info

Applebee's has served nearly 10 million fee meals to vets over the last 12 years. They have one of the longest running free meals for vets program.

Applebee's Veterans Day 2021 menu includes:

  • Classic cheeseburger
  • Chicken tenders plate
  • 6 oz select top sirloin
  • Double crunch shrimp
  • Fiesta lime chicken
  • Oriental chicken salad
  • Three-cheese penne

BJ's Restaurants

Nothing announced yet for 2021.

Bob Evans

Nov. 11, 2021. Free select breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. For active duty military, retirees, and veterans with ID or proof of service.

  • Crispy Fried Chicken
  • Country Biscuit Breakfast
  • Brioche French Toast
  • Mini Sampler
  • Stack of Hotcakes
  • Country Fried Steak Savor Dinner
  • Soup and Salad Combo

More info on Bob Evans Veterans Day deal.

Bone Fish Grill

No update for 2021

Boston Market

No update for 2021

Bruegger's Bagels

Nov. 11, 2021. Free medium fresh-brewed hot or iced coffee with your breakfast today. More info.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Nov. 11, 2021. Free order of 10 boneless wings and a side of fries to veterans and current military members. Dine-in or take out. Bring proof of military service. More info.

Buffalo Wings & Rings

Nov. 11, 2021. 3 Free Tenders with choice of sauce and a N/A Beverage (milkshakes & specialty drinks not included). Dine-in only. Locations.

California Pizza Kitchen

Nov. 11, 2021. Choose a pizza, full-size salad, or pasta from the special Veterans Day Menu. Participating locations with proof of service; dine-in and walk-in takeout only. More info.

Chili's

Nov. 11, 2021. Free meal from a select menu. Dine-in only and participating locations only. Proof of military service required. More info.

Choose a free meal from the following list.

Chipotle

No update for 2021

Cici's PIzza

Nov. 11, 2021. Free adult pizza buffet with Military ID. Dine-in only. More info.

Cracker Barrel

Nov. 11, 2021. Complimentary slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake when dining at any Cracker Barrel location nationwide. There is also a month-long promotion to support military families across the country in partnership with Operation Homefront. Locations.

Denny's

Nov. 11, 2021. Free Build Your Own Grand Slam® from 5 a.m. to noon for all active, inactive, and retired military personnel. Participating locations only. Please call ahead. Locations.

Dickey's BBQ Pit

On November 11, veterans can stop in-store at their local participating Dickey's for a free Pulled Pork Classic Sandwich. To redeem, a guest must present a military ID or valid proof of service.

Dunkin'

Nov. 11, 2021. Free donut to Veterans and active duty military at participating restaurants nationwide. Locations.

Einstein Bros. Bagels

Nov. 11, 2021. Free medium hot or iced coffee for veterans. More info.

Famous Dave's

Nov. 11, 2021. Free Georgia Chopped Pork Sandwich + Side – for veterans and current military members. Bring proof of service. Participating locations only. Valid for Dine-In, To Go, and Online Ordering. More info.

Fogo de Chao

50% all Veterans Day for veterans and active military. Plus an additional 10% off for up to three guests. *Restrictions apply. More info.

Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

No 2020 update.

Freedbirds World Burrito

No 2020 update.

Friendly's

Free All American Burger (fries and a beverage) during lunch or dinner. Valid military ID or honorable discharge card required. Dine-in only. Participating locations only. Find a location near you.

Golden Corral

Military Appreciation Dinner– free meal for anyone who served in the US Military (retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard or Reserves). More info

Nov. 1 – Nov 30, 2021: The 20th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation dinner is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. This year, Golden Corral is giving out promotional cards for a free meal that can be redeemed from November 1, 2021 – May 31, 2022, for Dine-in Only, Monday-Thursday. Limit one free meal per person. Promotional cards are available during the month of November, while supplies last. More info.

Hooters

No update for 2021

Houlihan’s

Houlihan's will honor America’s veterans, active-duty military, and our military families on Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11, 2021 with $10 off a $30 food purchase.

IHOP

Free Red, White and Blue pancakes from 7 am – 7 pm. Due to current events, not all locations are participating. Please call ahead to verify participation. More info.

Joe’s Crab Shack

20% Off on Veterans Day, applies to parties up to 4 or less with valid ID. More info.

Kirspy Kreme

Free donut of choice and small brewed coffee for current and former military members.

Krystal

No update for 2021

LongHorn Steakhouse

No update for 2021

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants

Nov. 7, 2021. Half-price meal from a special menu for U.S. military veterans, Gold Star Parents, and Gold Star Spouses. Participating locations only. Space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. ID or proof of service required.

McGrath Fish House

Free meal from Veterans menu.

MOD Pizza

Coupon Required. Sign up to receive your buy-one, get-one-free MOD-size pizza or salad by this Sunday, 11/8. You’ll receive a coupon on 11/9 to redeem on 11/11. More info.

Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub

From 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. Free entrée from a special Veterans Day menu with the purchase of any other entrée. Dine-in only. More info.

Olive Garden

Free entrée from a special menu. Entrées are served with unlimited soup or house salad and garlic breadsticks. Offer good for veterans and active duty military; proof of service required. More info.

On the Border

Veterans and current service members will receive a free Pick-2 Combo Meal. Dine-in only, proof of service required. Participating locations only. More info.

Outback Steakhouse

Free Bloomin’ Onion and your choice of any Coca-Cola® product. Offer available for dine-in or to-go (call-in orders only, not available online). Also available: 10% OFF Heroes Discount is open to servicemen and women, police officers, firefighters, and first responders, with corresponding state or federal service ID. More info.

Pilot Flying J

One free breakfast combo, valid at participating U.S. Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers.

Pilot Co. also will celebrate Veterans Day with a week-long special offer for all U.S. military veterans. From Nov. 9-15, all veterans are invited to enjoy a free Pilot Coffee of any size and one free breakfast offering, such as the french toast sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. The Veterans Day Breakfast Combo offer is available through the Pilot Flying J app and is redeemable at participating U.S. Pilot and Flying J travel centers. More info

Qdoba Mexican Grill

Active military and veterans get 50 percent off any entree on Veteran’s Day, November 11.

Red Lobster

In honor of Veterans Day, and to thank veterans, active duty military and reservists for their service, Red Lobster®is offering dine-in guests a free appetizer or dessert on Thursday, November 11. Guests only need to show a valid military ID or proof of service to redeem this offer.

Red Robin

Nov. 12 – 30, 2021. All Red Robin Military Royalty members can receive a Free Red’s Tavern Double and Bottomless Steak Fries, available for dine-in or take-out. You must register for the Red Robin Royalty® Program by Thursday, Nov. 5 at www.redrobin.com/royalty to be eligible for this offer.

Romano's Macaroni Grill

Free Mom's Ricotta Meatballs and spaghetti for current and former soliders, sailors, airmen, and marines. Show proof of service. Not available international locations or airports.

Ruby Tuesday’s

Free sandwich with fries or tots at participating locations, proof of service required. More info.

Shoney's

Nov. 11, 2021 (6 am – 11 am). Free All You Care To Eat, freshly-prepared Breakfast Bar for veterans and active duty servicemembers. Dine-in only, from 6:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Proof of Service required. More info

Smashburger

Veterans who come into participating locations can enjoy a free classic double Smashburger.

Sonny's BBQ

Free Pork sandwich for veterans and active military members. Service members that stop by on Veterans Day will also receive a voucher for a free BBQ Egg Roll appetizer, redeemable with a valid military ID from Tuesday, Dec. 1 to Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Starbucks

Starbucks is treating veterans, active duty service members, and spouses to a free tall (12oz) hot brewed coffee. Starbucks is also donating 25 cents for every cup of hot brewed coffee sold nationwide on Nov. 11 to be divided evenly between Team Red, White & Blue and Headstrong to support the mental health and the wellbeing of military communities. More info.

Tap House Grill

Complimentary meal on Veterans Day, November 11th. For servicemembers and veterans with proof of service. Dine-in only. More info.

Texas de Brazil

Nov 9-12, 2021. 25% off. Offer valid for up to 6 veterans or active-duty military per table/reservation. *Restrictions apply. See websites for participating dates and locations. More info.

Texas Roadhouse

No update yet for 2021.

TGI Friday's

Free menu item from Veterans Day menu. Valid ID or proof of service required. Dine-in only at participating locations. Be sure to contact your local T.G.I Friday’s for details. More info.

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill

Everyday American Soldier special – active duty military can get a free cheeseburger, fries, and drink.

Twin Peaks

Corporate-owned locations are offering current and former military members a free meal from these options: chicken tenders, Carolina pulled pork sandwich, cheeseburger, and the wedge. More info.

Village Inn

No 2020 offer.

Wendy's

Nov. 11, 2021 (6:30 – 10:30 a.m.). FREE small breakfast combo at participating locations. Offer valid in-restaurant or at the drive-thru. Not valid for mobile orders or at kiosks. Proof of service required. More info

Yard House

To honor and celebrate those who have served our country, we invite veterans and active duty military to join us for a complimentary appetizer on Veteran's Day.

More info on Yard House 2021 Veterans Day deal.

7-Eleven Convenience Store

Get a free coffee or Big Gulp® on Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day.

How to Get Veterans Day Free Meals Deals

Before you go, remember four things.

  1. You will need some form of ID. Most companies require some form of military ID before giving you the discount. Usually a military ID card (Common Access Card, or CAC), Retired ID card, VA ID Card, current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) pay stub, drivers license with veterans designation, DD214, discharge paperwork, veterans organization card (i.e., American Legion, VFW), photograph of yourself in uniform, a citation or commendation, or going in uniform while be sufficient.
  2. Not all locations participate. While the overall franchise or corporation may offer a Veterans Day free meal or discount, a specific location may not participate. It never hurts to call ahead and ask before you're seated so you are not surprised when the check comes.
  3. Leave a nice tip! Tipping is the worst and tipping culture is sexist, racist, and classist, but that's an argument for another day. Until I complete my life long goal to get rid of tipping in the US, it's important to tip based on what the meal would have cost you before the discount.Don't stiff your waitress or waiter, they're still working just as hard whether your meal cost $100 or $0. Thank them with a nice tip!
  4. This isn't a right or a privilege, but a gesture of thanks. Yes, we're all thankful for your service. If a corporation or restaurant chooses not to participate in the Veterans Day discounts or doesn't have the item you wanted available, don't throw a hissy fit. Please act like an adult. Be gracious and thankful that some organizations and companies are giving you a discount and celebrating your service on Veterans Day.

Please don't abuse this great benefit of military service that private organizations, companies, and business owners choose to give to us.

If you act entitled to perks like this, people will soon sour on giving them away. Be grateful, kind, and generous when you tip!

Veterans Day 2021 Freebies

Besides free meals on Veterans Day for military servicemembers and retirees, you can also get many other Veterans Day freebies. These free military perks include:

  • Free admission for military to many museums and attractions
  • Military discount tickets to World of Coca Cola in Atlanta
  • Military discount hotel rooms at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and other Caesar's properties around the US
  • National Parks pass military discounts (no fee annual pass)

See below for details on all of these Veterans Day 2019 freebies.

Veterans Day Free Attractions and Museums

World of Coca Cola Veterans Day 2021 Deal: Family and Friends

The World of Coca Cola in Atlanta, Georgia offers military servicemembers (active duty, reserves, and retirees) free entry to the World of Coca Cola year round. Normally this offer only applies to the servicemember, not their family or friends.

As a Veterans Day special deal, from Nov 2 – Nov 12, 2021, military servicemembers can purchase up to 4 half price tickets for their family and friends in addition to their own free ticket. Here are the full details:

Veterans Day Free Haircuts for Vets and Active Duty

Both Great Clips and SportsClips are offering free haircuts for military veterans and active duty servicemembers.

Great Clips Free Veterans Day Haircut 2021

VETERANS & CURRENT MILITARY MEMBERS

Visit a U.S. Great Clips salon on Nov. 11 and receive either a free haircut that day or a free haircut card to use at a later date. The cards can be redeemed for a free haircut from November 12 through December 10, 2021.

NON-MILITARY CUSTOMERS

Purchase a service at a U.S. Great Clips salon on Veterans Day and get a free haircut card to give to a military service member you know.

At participating U.S. salons, while supplies last.

History of Veterans Day Free Meals

Veterans Day meals started as a tradition shortly after September 11, 2001 as a way to directly support, honor, and say “thanks” to America's military veterans.

Now, every November many companies and resturant offer freebies to active duty military and veterans. Free food for active duty, veterans, and military retirees is an easy way restaurants can give back to the military community. Enjoying a free meal on November 11th was a nice treat when I was a young lieutenant not making very much money.

Companies other than restaurants often offer a special early November military discount or freebies around November 11th. Veterans Day falls just a few weeks before Black Friday and only 6 weeks before Christmas. Companies are getting ready for the end of year sales.

A full list of the restaurants that give veterans free meals on Veterans Day 2021f include

  • Applebee's
  • BJ's Restaurants
  • Bob Evans
  • Bone Fish Grill
  • Boston Market
  • Bruegger's Bagels
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • Chili's
  • Chipotle
  • Cici's Pizza
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Denny's
  • Dunkin'
  • Famous Dave's
  • Fogo de Chao
  • Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers
  • Freedbirds World Burrito
  • Friendly's
  • Golden Corral
  • Hooters
  • Houlihan’s
  • IHOP
  • Joe’s Crab Shack
  • Krispy Kreme
  • Krystal
  • LongHorn Steakhouse
  • McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants
  • McGrath Fish House
  • Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub
  • Olive Garden
  • On the Border
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Pilot Flying J
  • Red Lobster
  • Red Robin
  • Romano's Macaroni Grill
  • Ruby Tuesday’s
  • Sonny's BBQ
  • Starbucks
  • Tap House Grill
  • Texas de Brazil
  • Texas Roadhouse
  • TGI Friday's
  • Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill
  • Twin Peaks
  • Village Inn
  • Yard House

National Parks Service (NPS) Free Annual Military Pass

Grand Tetons National Park

When is the last time you went to America's greatest natural asset? The US National Parks are some of the greatest natural beauty and wonder available and you don't even need to fly to get to most of them.

Active duty, Guard, and Reserve US military personnel are entitled a free annual pass. You can pick up your pass wherever you pay entrance fees to a National Park. We've had a free pass for the past ten years. Dependents can also use the pass without the military servicemember present, which is handy when the SM is deployed.

This deal is available year round and not just on Veterans Day, so take advantage of America the Beautiful and visit the National Parks for free. The National Park System is amazing and deserves a visit. Spend your three day weekend visiting a National Park!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which restaurants give free meals on Veterans Day?

Some of the restaurants that give veterans free meals on Veterans Day 2021 include: Applebee's, Chili's, Buffalo Wild Wings, TGI Friday's, Longhorn Steakhouse, and many others.

Where can I get free meals on Veterans Day?

Some of the restaurants that give veterans free meals on Veterans Day 2021 include: Applebee's, Chili's, Buffalo Wild Wings, TGI Friday's, Longhorn Steakhouse, and many others.

Does Chick Fil A have a Veterans Day special?

Individual franchises might offer a free chicken sandwich, but there is no broad corporate policy.

Does McDonald's have a Veterans Day special?

Usually no, but individual franchises might offer something on Veterans Day.

Do military spouses get free meals on Veterans Day?

Usually restaurants only give the active duty servicemember or military veteran a free meal on Veterans Day, but sometimes spouses and families are invited to join as well.

Who has free food on Veterans Day?

Over 100 restaurants are participating in Veterans Day free meals in 2021. These include Dunkin', Applebee's, Chili's, Buffalo Wild Wings, TGI Friday's, Longhorn Steakhouse, Cracker Barrel, Red Lobster, and Golden Corral.

1 thought on “Veterans Day Free Meals 2021 | Active Duty Military, Family Discounts and Deals”

  1. As A Vet, I think it a wonderful and generous accommodation to honor our men and women who have and are serving. Thank you so much!

    Reply

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