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Deep Discounts for Employees

Contributed by mm | June 16, 2005 11:38 AM PST

The news has been out for a while: from now until July 5, everyone can enjoy the employee discount from GM. The discount can be as high as $5,000 -- if you actually are in the market for a (GM) vehicle. Is $5,000 making it the most lavish employee discount program? Thanks to Terri Cullen from WSJ, we have a chance to know some even better programs (part of free WSJ content at

GM's $5,000 discount is probably at the very top of the list, but Centex, one of the biggest homebuilders in the country, has something more: employee discount on a home purchase and mortgage services. I'm not sure if there is a cap involved, but the article mentioned a Centex employee reaping 5% discount off a $136,000 home -- that's $6,800!

And what tops the list is probably from universities. According to the article:

Some 566 colleges and universities allow a certain number of staffers to send students to other participating universities, where students receive 100% tuition scholarships. In the 2004-2005 school year, 4,260 students received an average scholarship of $21,000, according to program president Ben Norris. Schools participating in the program include Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., American University in Washington D.C., and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Remember that's $21,000 for each year in the school, and a $80,000-strong grant for the normal four-year college education! (The only caveat: the scholarship is not automatic.)

Other programs mentioned in the articles are less attractive:

• 50% off Sharper Image products is nice, but SI products are way overpriced (yes, I know they are cool).
• 30% of Barnes & Noble books? Who still buys full-priced book these days?
• 10-15% off from Dell? Still, it is not a secret that Dell has many deep discounting coupons available to the general public.

Here at Microsoft, the deal is not much better either. Yes, you can get big discount on Microsoft software and hardware, but unless you have a practical use of Microsoft server products in your home, you are only saving $10-$30 by getting the fancy mice, Microsoft Money and XBox games from the company store.

Do you happen to know some more generous employee discount programs? Feel free to share by adding a comment.

This Post Has Received 8 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.

J Commented on June 16, 2005

I work for a community bank and what do banks sell? Money! Employees (except senior officers - by law) can get all loans at the banks cost of funds plus 1%. My fixed rate mortgage is at 3.49% - I will save many thousands of dollars over the years. Oh, and as many free checks as I need.

RF Commented on June 16, 2005

If you work at Comcast Cable, you get free cable and broadband access.

dg Commented on June 18, 2005

I know everyone is down on airlines, but the benfits are incredible, and the old major airlines have the best benifits. How about unlimited travel for working airline families and their immediate children up to age 22. Yes, you have to stand standby but if you pay a very small fee, you can fly business or first. And in some airlines you can go up to five destinations on one pass before having to return to your starting point or be required to fill out forms for another pass. That means I can take a trip from New York to Chicago and say hello to Mayor Daily (sp) for a few days and then hop to San Francisco for a week and then off to Hawaii, for three weeks to surf, and play in the lava and then over to Japan for some sushi and tea and geisha girls for two weeks and then off to Alaska to witness the northern lights and the largest mosquitos in the world and take a wilderness hike for another month and get home to NY. Of corse one needs the time to take advantages of this.
Then there are all the discounts on hotels, car rentals, and many other travel related and non-travel related items.
Next there is the partnership some airlines have with other airlines where employees and retirees can travel free or with very deep discounts on competior's flights.
Speaking of retirement, not only do most airlines give unlimited passes to the retiree and his/her spouse, but also a limited number of tickets to certain listed friends or family of the retiree.
Again, the bigger, unionized airlines have the best employee benefits. Oh yes, the caveat is that you have to pay taxes on some of the travel. But hey, the savings could be in the tens of thousands.

Jonathan@MyMoneyBlog Commented on June 19, 2005

Wow, the bank discount sounds awesome. Is that 3.49% for 30yr fixed?!

FMF Commented on June 20, 2005

MM -- I still wouldn't buy a GM car. I'm mad at them. See ;-)

Todd Derscheid Commented on June 25, 2005

Best Buy's employees can buy at cost+5%. For their high-margin items (cameras, stereos), that could be half-price or better.

JM Commented on June 25, 2005

Airline employee discounts were once great. Now, flights are generally full and flying standby is marginal at best. If travel is to a particularly high demand destination (Hawaii) you might stand by for days. In many instances we purchase discount fares through individual airline web sites, or use Orbitz or other travel sites to obtain confirmed seats at rates that are not much more than those charged for standby tickets. (Most standby tkts on other airlines are charged at a %age of the FULL fare, which translates into an amount quite high.) As for hotels and cars, I can generally get the same or better rate through a travel web site or an affinity group discount.

jim Commented on July 1, 2005

I work at a defense contractor and you can buy things like tanks, fighter planes, submarines, and aircraft carriers at huge discounts. But like Microsoft server software, unless you need 90,000 tons of sovereign US territory at your command (and have tens of billions of dollars of disposable income), then buying an aircraft carrier probably isn't your thing.

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