Beyond benefits like health care and retirement plans, life in the Military offers plenty of perks, no matter where a servicemember is stationed.
Base Exchanges & Commissaries
Servicemembers living on base will find they can purchase many household items, food and clothing at a discount in the base exchanges or commissary. A commissary is a military store that sells items to servicemembers at close to cost. About five percent is charged for store maintenance and employee wages, but otherwise merchandise is not marked up. These discounts can add up, especially when shopping for a family.
In addition to standard military benefits, servicemembers also experience various unofficial perks. In recognition and support of those involved in the Service, many companies extend special military discounts. Though not an official extension of Department of Defense benefits, such discounts are widely known and commonly used. The list of participating companies is impressive, and the consumer categories covered are vast. The following are common discounted products and services you might encounter.
- Air Travel
- Automotive & Motorcycles
- Baby & Maternity
- Books & Magazines
- Car Rental
- Clothing & Apparel
- Computers & Electronics
- Hotel & Accommodations
- Military Gear & Surplus
- Ski Resorts
- Theme Parks & Attractions
- Timeshares, Vacation Home & Cottage Rentals
- Tools & Hardware
Vacation and Leisure Discounts
The Military also offers discounted vacation and leisure opportunities to its servicemembers and their families. Each Service branch has a Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department dedicated to helping personnel with travel, recreation and social activities.
You can learn more by visiting each program’s site:
On-base entertainment resources available to servicemembers and their families include gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and parks. In addition to facilities, Armed Forces Entertainment hosts more than 1,200 exclusive entertainment shows around the world each year at 270 military installations, featuring some of the most popular musicians, comedians, athletes and actors.
For servicemembers who enjoy sports, the Military also has its own sports league: Armed Forces Sports. The Armed Forces Sports Program includes 22 different sports, ranging from basketball to golf to rugby. The program is open to all active-duty personnel and features nine national championships and 16 international championships.