Located on military bases around the world, the military exchange is a great place to score deals on essentials you and your family need. But before you shop, it’s important to know the basics in order to score the best and biggest deals. Savings await at AAFES… if you know how to play your cards right.
Where are Military Exchanges Located?
You can find an NEX/ PX, or mini-NEX/PX, at every single military base in the world!
Full-size exchanges have everything, just like a typical big box store. You’ll find clothes, some food, home decor, furniture, athletic gear, toys, games – and more. These stores are more like Target or Walmart.
A mini-PX/NEX operates more like a convenience store, with cold beverages, limited easy-to-consume food and other quick essentials. Think about these locations like a 7-Eleven or WaWa.
What’s the #1 Reason to Shop My Exchange?
Well, for many people, it’s the sales tax. Exchanges do not charge any sales tax at all (although they do charge a small service fee), which means you get the item for the price printed on the tag. No extra costs added on. If you live in a location that charges sales tax, this could save you big bucks–especially on big ticket items like electronics, appliances or furniture.
Can I Shop Online?
Absolutely! ShopMyExchange.com is the place to score sweet deals on everything your physical Exchange offers, and then some.
Plus, your order will still be tax free! And, when you use your Military Star Card or spend more than $49, your items will ship free, too.
Does the Exchange Have Sales?
There are tons of sale items at the PX! Every week or month, your location will release a sales flyer that highlights the savings and deals available to shoppers.
There are also clearance sections, just like any other retail store.
If you’re shopping online, you’re going to want to check out the special savings section of the AAFES website. You’ll be able to score deep discounts, especially in the clearance section.
Does the Military Exchange Price Match?
PX locations in the continental US are authorized to price match to local retailers as well as national big box chain stores. OCONUS Exchanges are authorized to price match to a specific set of major retailers’ online stores.
You can do one price match per day. In order to receive the discount, you’ll need to show proof of the lower price on the identical item. Use a physical sales flyer, online item listing or something similar to show the current price or offer.
This is a great resource for big ticket purchases, especially if you time your price match to a sale or other special offer. There are different items that go on sale based on the month or season.
Appliances, for example, go on sale between December and January. So if a new stand mixer is on your wishlist, you would do well to monitor sales at major non-military retailers. During that same time period, the manufacturer might also offer rebates or money back offers.
The most important thing when trying to do a price match is that the items need to match exactly. Same brand, same model, same everything.
Can I Use Coupons at the PX?
You absolutely can use coupons at the Exchange! They accept standard manufacturers, military and military store coupons. Just like price matching, the item purchased must be identical to the item(s) listed on the coupon.
How Do I Maximize Coupon or Price Matching?
You can double dip with price matching and coupons! According to the AAFES website, you can combine one coupon with your price matched item as long as the coupon doesn’t specifically say otherwise. This is a great way to stack up the savings!
What Can I Buy at the Military Exchange?
Honestly, almost anything. And your purchase will be tax free, too!
They carry top brands like Nike, Bath & Body Works, Vera Bradley and LG – just to name a few recognizable names from across the spectrum. There are also NEX/PX-exclusive brands that produce high quality clothing for a lower cost than their brand-name counterparts.
What’s the Deal with the Military Star Card?
The PX has their own credit card, called the Military Star Card. This card provides rewards, like gift cards to the Exchange.
You’ll earn points for every dollar spent at the PX, at on-base gas pumps and at the Commissary.
Are there Military Star Card Benefits?
Military families often have a lot of feelings about credit cards, with some folks adopting a strict no-credit-card policy. If that works for your family, that is great! However, the Star Card does offer some unique discounts and perks which are worth noting. Before you open any credit card, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to expectations and behaviors you’ll both have.
But back to the Military Star Card. When you open your Star Card, you’ll save 10% off on all purchases right then and there. If you’re planning to spend on big ticket items, it might be a great idea to open a Star Card account at that time.
You won’t get discounts like that on any day other than when you open the account, but you will receive:
- $0.05 off per gallon of gas on base
- 10% food court discount
- Free shipping from shopmyexchange.com
- Special offers just for cardholders
- $20 PX gift card when you reach 2,000 points
- You get 2 points for every $1 spent using the Star Card
Those benefits make it a great deal for troops and families who get gas and groceries on base.
Are There Specialty Shops?
Authorized users can visit what’s called the marketplace. This is available online and in-person. These are AAFES-affiliated stores that accept the Star Card. For stores designated as “mall,” sales taxes may apply since they are independently operated.
In the marketplace, shoppers can find location specific items, like cell phone plans for Germany or Japan, as well as more general items, like Danners boots. In-person shoppers can do their dry cleaning, pick up a bouquet of flowers, or get a haircut. (Marketplace options vary by location in-person and not all in-person options are available online.)
I’m Moving to a New Duty and I Need Some Home Help. Does AAFES Do That?
They sure do! The Military Exchange has the inside track for professional home services, like improvements and installations. These pros are available to help with everything and anything home-related, from furniture assembly to computer network installation, from moving to home improvements.
Military Kids Can Get Rewards for Good Grades
Military kids who earn good grades at school can claim a $5 gift card with every report card!
I’m a Veteran. Can I Shop at the Military Exchange?
That’s a great question and the answer is… Maybe. It depends on your situation and the method of shopping you want to do at an AAFES location. There’s a long list of who can shop at AAFES locations, or online, based on different criteria.
If you’re a veteran and 100% service disabled, then you have full access to all exchange locations and the online exchange website.
All veterans, regardless of disability level, may shop online at shopmyexchange.com.
Shopping at Your Exchange Will Save You Money
When you shop at the NEX/PX, either in-person or online, you’ll be able to save money:
- Tax free purchases – online and in-person
- Free shipping with Star Card and orders over $49
- Price matching
- Combine price matching and coupons
- Save 10% when you open your Star Card
- Get $20 gift cards for every $1,000 you spend on the Star Card
- Clearance section deals
- Weekly sales
- $5 gift cards for kids with good grades
You’ll be racking up big savings before you even know it!
Meg Flanagan is a teacher, blogger and military spouse. She owns Meg Flanagan Education Solutions, an education advocacy service dedicated to serving families on the K-12 journey. You can find Meg on Facebook. Meg is also available as a freelance writer and personal education advocate!