Tax-free shopping and discount goods and services sound like a dream. As a service member, they are very real. Find tax-free shopping, great savings and more benefits when you shop at a commissary or military exchange.
Buying groceries at the commissary offers great savings and makes a noticeable difference in your household budget because:
- Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving customers thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers.
- The discounted prices include a 5% surcharge, which covers costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones.
- You can save even more through the Defense Commissary Agency’s YES! (Your Everyday Savings!) program where commissaries reduce prices daily on hundreds of the most frequently purchased popular brands.
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.
- Gift cards: Forget brainstorming for gifts. Instead, buy commissary gift cards your loved ones can use at commissaries worldwide.
- Scholarships: The $2,000 Scholarships for Military Children, funded through contributions, are awarded at commissary locations annually.
- Commissary store brands: Sold under seven names including Freedom’s Choice (food items) and Home Base (non-food items), these products provide savings and quality customers look for.
Each military branch has its own exchange, and military service members from all branches, retirees and their families can take advantage of savings and benefits. Additionally, veterans with service-connected disabilities, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and Primary Family Caregivers enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers can shop in exchange stores, and all honorably discharged veterans of the military services can shop online at ShopMyExchange and MyNavyExchange. Exchange benefits include the following:
- Contest prizes: Each military exchange offers customers a variety of contests, events and sweepstakes to participate in.
- Scholastic rewards: Military exchanges reward military students in grades 1-12 who have a B grade point average equivalent or better. Find out more by bringing a recent report card to a military exchange customer service desk.
- Family employment: The military exchanges offer eligible spouses an advantage in the hiring process through spouse preference programs.
- Giving back to the community: Every time you shop your exchange, in store or online, you make life better for those who serve today. Roughly 60% of what you spend goes back to military quality of life programs.
- We go where you go: Military exchange associates, many of whom are military affiliated either as a retiree or family member, voluntarily deploy under austere conditions to serve warfighters in contingency locations around the world.
- Shop safely online: You can shop 24/7 through secure websites, and get free shipping on purchases of $49 or more for items purchased with a MILITARY STAR® credit card.
- Extra friendly credit terms: The MILITARY STAR® card’s interest rate is one of the lowest in the country among store cards.
- 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 United States for free.
- Contactless shopping: The Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s curbside pickup and the Navy Exchange’s Drive/Up Program allows customers to safely pick up merchandise curbside at select locations. Orders are ready for pickup within 48 hours of being placed.
- Private-label merchandise: The military exchanges offer private-label merchandise in categories throughout the store to save customers even more.