Who is an authorized AAFES patron?

November 5, 2008

When I introduce myself and tell others (outside of the military circle) I work for the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), not many people know about AAFES or their unique mission and patron.

One of the most frequently asked questions about AAFES is who is allowed to shop our Exchanges (commonly referred to as the BX/PX)?

Authorized Patrons

*Not all categories have unlimited authorizations, please see the expanded explanation of status available in: DODI 1330.21 Armed Services Exchange Regulations and Definitions.

Unlimited Exchange Privileges:

  • Active Duty or Reserve Uniformed and Retired Uniformed personnel.
  • Recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
  • Honorably Discharged Veterans.
  • Military Members of Foreign Nations.
  • National Guard not in Federal Service.
  • Red Cross Personnel.
  • US Civilian DoD Employees.
  • US Citizen Employees of Firms under contract to the Department of Defense.
  • Wage marine personnel, including noncommissioned ship’s officers and crew members of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, NOAA.
  • Retired Ship’s Officers and Crew members of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, NOAA.
  • Family members of personnel listed above.
  • Contract Surgeons.
  • Non-DoD Federal Departments/Agencies.
  • Dependents of members of the Armed Forces, Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service, and Commissioned Officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Separated for Dependent Abuse.
  • United Services Organizations (USO).
  • Delayed Entry Program Participants.

Limited Exchange Privileges: Limited Exchange Privileges generally exclude tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and military uniforms.

  • US Government Civilian Employees and Full-time Paid Staff of the Red Cross.
  • Armed Forces Exchange Employees.
  • DoD Civilian Employees on Evacuation Orders.
  • Family members of the personnel mentioned above.
  • DoD Civilians on Temporary Duty status.
  • Civilian Employees of the U.S. Government working on, but residing off, Military Installations.
  • Uniformed and Non-Uniformed Personnel working in recognized welfare service organization offices within an Activity of the Military Service.
  • Visitors to Military Installations.
  • Contract Technical Services Personnel in travel status; Army, Navy, Air Force Academy Applicants.
  • Foreign National Active Duty Officer and Enlisted Members, when visiting U.S. Military Installation for unofficial business.
  • Service members in Civil Air Patrol in travel status and occupying Government quarters on a DoD Installation.
  • Civil Air Patrol Cadets.
  • Members of the Officer Reserve Training Corps and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
  • Members of the Naval Sea Cadet Course.
  • Coast Guard Auxiliary Members.
  • Civilian Students and Faculty Members at Service Schools.
  • Persons suffering from hardship.
  • DoD Civilian Employees using Government-authorized vehicles for official business.

Only authorized patrons are entitled to exchange privileges, except when prohibited by treaty or other international agreements in foreign countries. For more information about authorized patrons, go to: DODI 1330.21 Armed Services Exchange Regulations and Definitions.

AAFES understands the military extended family wants to support their service members and loved ones. Although there are regulations authorizing patronage, certain items are available to purchase from AAFES for a military member.

AAFES Gift Cards may be sent to any recipient who has exchange privileges. These cards, available in values from $10-$500, are redeemable at any AAFES, Navy or Marine Corps exchange facility worldwide for most purchases of merchandise or services; they are not redeemable at Coast Guard Exchanges.

Exchange Catalog Gift Certificates may be sent to any recipient who has exchange privileges. These certificates, available in values from $25-$500, are redeemable at any military exchange facility worldwide (AAFES, NEXCOM, Marine Corps, Coast Guard Exchanges and the Exchange Catalog) for merchandise only.

Military Exchange Prepaid Calling Cards The Department of Defense Military Exchanges have been authorized to sell select prepaid calling cards to individuals and organizations who wish to purchase these cards for our troops serving overseas in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Gifts from the Homefront” Certificates now allow you to send a gift certificate to a loved one, family member or dear friend associated with the military. These certificates are redeemable by Authorized Patrons of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), the Marine Corps Exchange (MCX), the Navy Exchange (NEX) and the Coast Guard Exchange. The certificates are redeemable at all locations around the world including deployed areas. If you’re looking for the perfect gift to give that special individual anytime and anywhere, then “Gifts from the Homefront” Certificates are the perfect choice.

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