Jubilado Discount for Seniors
There is generally confusion I have found on the forums about the Jubilado Discount. The national law #6 as of June 1987 is that any female over 55 and any male over 60 is entitled to receive a discount on specific services. This is mandated by law. This is for all Panamanians and those of us who have at least temporary visas or permanent ones. If a place of business refuses to give you the discount you can and should report the company to the agency that deals with these complaints.
The Consumer Protection Agency is called Acdeci. They have an office in David. They also have a website: Acdeco . They have English speaking employees.
As many of you know these discounts have been a great way for Panama to encourage expats to move here. Here I have listed them in as much detail as I know.
1. 50% off discount price charged for entry into recreation/entertainment places such as cinemas, sports events and public events. However this does not apply to charitable activities when the profits are for children.
2. Discount on public transportation within Panama.
- Trains 30%
- Ships and boats 30%
- Intercity bus 30%
- Airfare originating in Panama 25%. This one is still confusing. Some say you can only use this on Copa which is the Panama airline. You can only get this also if you use a travel agent who can book the flight for you.
3. Hotel and Motels
- Monday thru Thursday 50%
- Saturday and Sunday 30% Again this is confusing to many hotels. They must give the discount on whatever rate they quoted you. If they quote you a price less than the rack rate they must give you a discount on that rate, whether or not that rate is a “deal already.”
From personal experience, when you make a reservation, do it only by phone directly to the hotel. DO NOT BOOK ONLINE, DO NOT TALK WITH A 1-800 OPERATOR- DOING THIS WILL NOT GET YOU A JUBILADO DISCOUNT.
4. Restaurants that are not fondas 25% discount. A fonda is any restaurant which has less than 5 tables. The discount of 25% applies to the entire meal which means that a main dish needs to be ordered for the discount to apply. Only a 15% discount will be applied when you are eating at a fast food establishment which is a franchise.
5. Hospitals and private clinics give 15% off the total bill for services.
6. Pharmacies give 20% off the value of drugs purchased by prescription. That is what the law says but we have gotten a discount on everything we have purchased at the pharmacies here.
7. Other medical services discounts
- 20% consultation fees of general medicine and medical and surgery specialists
- 15% on dental services
- 15% for optometry services
- 20% on all prostheses and all aid accessories
8. Professional and technical services 20%
9. Personal and commercial loans 50% discount on closing fees.
10.Discount of 1% interest rate on mortgage loans
11.Electricity discount of 25% of a monthly consumption up to 600 K Wh. Anything over that amount will not be discounted.
12.Landline telephones discount of 25%. The account must be in the name of the person, a residential account and applies to one phone only.
13.Water consumption discount of 25% up to $30.00. Anything over that amount will not be discounted. The account must be in the name of a person, residential and is their home.
We have used our Jubilados for discounts with doctors, pharmacies, cinemas, our water and electricity, bus to Panama City, restaurants and hotels. Except for the last two, people have kindly given us discounts. However, we have had arguments from some restaurants who do not want to give the discounts. They say things like, “you needed to let me know before I made the ticket out that you were a Jubilado, I can’t redo it now.”
The hotels were even worse. The hotels I am speaking about are international chains. I admit I was stupid. I first called the hotel itself, they did not speak English well. I asked to make a reservation. The girl told me I had to do it online. I told her there was no place in the online reservation form to add that I wanted a Jubilado discount. She again told me to do it online and just make a note and ask for it at the front desk when checking in. So I did the online reservation.
When we arrived in Panama City we had just gotten off a 8 hour bus ride, been up since 4 AM. We got ready to check in and I requested the discount. They began by saying our room was not ready yet, (even though we were well past the check in time). Then they said I could not have the discount because I did not mention it when I made the reservation. I said that I had called and talked with someone there who said I could do it at checkin. By this time I had 3 front desk people all talking amoungest themselves.
I said we were staying two nights and I wanted the discount. Two people left I guess to talk to the head person. Okay 30 minutes had passed by now and I am still standing at the front counter, tired and weary. One gentlemen came back and said the best they could do is give me a discount on one night. I know I should have said no and gone to find another hotel. But we were both tired and I didn’t feel like lugging luggage here and there to look for another hotel so I said okay.
I now know that it is a law and that I was entitled to the discount. I read a recent forum post by someone who had a similar experience. She now brings copies of the law with her when she goes to Panama City in case they quarrel with her about it. Since we have been here we have learned which hotels in Panama City are gracious to expats and those which to stay away from. Too bad I did not know that info earlier.