Commissary gift cards brighten holidays; DeCA introduces new ‘open value’ format
FORT LEE, Va. – For military and civilian alike, nothing easily spans the separations of family and friends created by military service and brightens the winter holidays quite like commissary gift cards, and this year new “open value” cards let gift givers determine the amounts they want to give.
“We like to say that anyone can show their appreciation and support to military service members and their families around the world by giving them the gift of groceries,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka N. O’Neal, the Defense Commissary Agency’s senior enlisted advisor to the Defense Commissary Agency director.
The beauty of commissary gift cards is that anyone – military or civilian –can order them online and have them shipped anywhere in the U.S. or to APO, FPO or DPO addresses outside the U.S. Or they can be bought in any commissary.
The program, featuring cards in denominations of $25 or $50, has been incredibly successful. Since it began in 2011, over 1 million gift cards have been sold, said Bob Bunch, DeCA’s gift card program manager. A redemption rate that tops 90 percent shows that it’s a gift that’s not only used, but is greatly appreciated.
“This year we’re making it even more attractive to give gift cards through the rollout of new ‘open value’ cards that let purchasers put any amount between $5 and $300 on them,” Bunch said.
The new cards can be bought online, or at one of 40 commissaries equipped so far to load amounts on the open value cards. The capability is being rolled out to all commissaries, and DeCA is partnering with NEXCOM to sell the cards in Navy Exchanges, Bunch said.
“Separations created by the demands of military service are a tough part of military life,” O’Neal said. “Whether it’s a single service member or a family, using commissary gift cards lifts spirits. The commissary’s quality products and services remind them of home and they can save their money to use on other things to make their holidays memorable.”
Here are some commissary gift card quick facts:
- Gift cards are available online and at all commissaries worldwide.
- Cards are good for five years from the date of purchase.
- 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 gift cards that a purchaser can buy. It’s recommended that organizations and activities consider buying their gift cards online if they plan to purchase more than 50 cards at a time.
- Cards can be shipped anywhere in the United States. When shipping outside the United States, an APO, FPO or DPO address must be used.
- To check a gift card’s balance, go online and then click the “Check your balance” box.
- There’s a phone number, 877-988-4438, on the back of the gift cards that can handle customer service questions. Customers can also use this number to check the balance on their card.
Commissaries that carry the value gift card as of Nov. 4:
- Virginia: Fort Eustis, Langley Air Force Base, Fort Lee, Fort Myer, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Scott Center Annex, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Naval Base Norfolk, Fort Belvoir, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Naval Air Station Oceana, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren.
- Maryland: Fort Detrick, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Dover Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Joint Base Andrews, Naval Support Activity Annapolis, Forest Glen, Fort Meade
- Connecticut: Submarine Base New London
- Maine: Bangor Air National Guard Base
- New Jersey: Picatinny Arsenal, Lakehurst and McGuire Commissaries at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
- Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, Tobyhanna Army Depot
- New York: Mitchel Field, Saratoga Springs, Fort Drum, U.S. Military Academy (West Point), Fort Hamilton
- North Carolina: Marine Corps Air Station New River, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
- Massachusetts: Hanscom Air Force Base
- Washington, D.C.: Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling
- Rhode Island: Naval Education and Training Center Newport
- South Carolina: Fort Jackson, Naval Weapons Station Charleston and Charleston Air Force Base at Joint Base Charleston, Shaw Air Force Base
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, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. 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.