Spreading the benefit
Gift cards boost commissary shopping
In theory, giving a gift card means there's no chance you're buying the wrong size, color or worst of all, an unwanted item that ends up gathering dust on a closet shelf.
Available in-store to eligible shoppers and online for everyone else, commissary gift cards are a great way to say thanks to military service members, with the knowledge that both you and they are getting the most out of every dollar spent through the commissary's low prices. That's probably why they've become such a popular gift since their introduction just under six years ago.
"Giving the gift of groceries through commissary gift cards continues to grow as people show their support for our military service members and their families," said Bob Bunch, the Defense Commissary Agency's gift card program manager. "More than three quarters of a million cards have been sold, worth more than $26 million."
And according to Bunch, unlike some retailers' gift cards, the commissary card enjoys an unusually high rate of redemption: more than 91 percent of all cards sold have been fully redeemed.
Here are some commissary gift card quick facts:
- Gift cards are available at all commissaries worldwide – on a rack at full service, front-end registers – as well as at the commissaries.com website. Just use the "Place your order" button on the gift cards page.
- Cards are good for five years from the date of purchase.
- Only gift cards purchased online incur a shipping and handling fee. There are no fees when the card is purchased in a store.
- There is no limit to the number of gifts cards that a purchaser can buy. However, DeCA officials recommend organizations and activities consider purchasing their cards online if they plan to buy more than 50 at a time.
- The cards can be sent anywhere in the United States. However, cards can only be shipped to APO, FPO or DPO addresses outside the United States.
- To check card balances, use the "Check Your Balance" button on the gift cards page.
- For customer service questions, please call 877-988-4438, which is also found on the back of the gift card. Customers can also use this number to check the balance on their card.
According to Chief Master Sgt. Stuart Allison, DeCA's senior enlisted advisor, the gift cards are appreciated by commissary shoppers for just about any occasion. "Commissary gift cards are a wonderful way for anyone to show appreciation and concern for a military member – whether for the holidays or any other time of year."
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit and make no profit on the sale of merchandise. Authorized patrons save thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to commercial prices when shopping regularly at a commissary. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773