Commissary and Exchange – Benefits

Tax-free shopping and discount goods and services sound like a dream. As a service member, they are very real. Take advantage of tax-free shopping, great savings and more benefits when you shop at a commissary or military exchange.

Commissary savings

Buying groceries at the commissary can offer you great savings and make a noticeable difference in your household budget because:

  • Food and household items are sold at cost plus a five percent surcharge.
  • On average, shoppers can save more than 30 percent compared with shopping in town.
  • You can also find savings of 50 percent or more during the commissary customer appreciation case lot sales.

Commissaries also offer other perks that you may not know about, such as:

  • Commissary Rewards Card: Load your Commissary Rewards Card with coupons, promotions and discount savings. You can also create an online shopping list on the website.
  • Prizes: Test your luck and enter to win one of many commissary contests, sweepstakes or shopping sprees.
  • Scholarships: Your spending helps the Defense Commissary Agency and Fisher House Foundation provide a $2,000 scholarship per commissary location.
  • Gift cards: Forget brainstorming for gifts. Instead, buy gift cards your loved ones can use at commissaries worldwide.

Exchange benefits

Each military branch has its own exchange, and any military service member can shop at any branch exchange and take advantage of its savings and benefits:

  • Contest prizes: Consider entering Army and Air Force Exchange Service contests to win thousands in prizes.
  • Scholastic rewards: The Marine and Navy exchanges give military kids a monetary incentive to work hard on their grades. Check out their Superstar Student and A-OK Student Reward drawings that award kids $5,500 quarterly.
  • Family employment: The exchange offers eligible spouses an advantage in the hiring process through its Spouse Preference Program.
  • Giving back to the community: About 70 percent of what you spend funds programs that focus on military morale, recreation and other services.
  • Exchange employees: You can find exchange retail workers overseas serving deployed service members and providing products for the war-fighter.
  • Shop safely online: You can shop 24/7 through secure websites, and get free shipping on purchases over $49 or for items purchased with your Military STAR® credit card.
  • Pay and return easily: Your exchange accepts all major credit cards, your Military STAR® card or personal checks (with an ID). Most exchanges have generous return policies.
  • Get special deals overseas: If you're stationed overseas for at least 30 days, you can typically buy a car tax-free and may even be able to ship it back to the U.S. for free.