The Armed Forces Vacation Club (AFVC) offers discounted vacation options in over 100 countries at more than 4,000 resorts, condos, apartments and homes for members of the U.S. military and their families. To take advantage of the offers, you need an ID card that shows that you are a member of the military, a veteran, retired and receiving military pay, a disabled veteran, a Medal of Honor recipient or a dependant.
AFVC Membership Levels
If you are not yet a member, visit the AFVC website to register.
- Standard Membership is free. It includes standard pricing and $409 in resort vacation certificates.
- Premium Membership is $119 a year or $249 for three years. Benefits include 10% off standard pricing, $359 (a $50 savings) on resort vacation certificates, the ability to book sales 24 hours before standard members, discounts for last-minute vacations, and $25 a month toward restaurant certificates (calculated on the three -year plan).
Available Vacation Destinations
Whether you are looking for a perfect destination close to home or want to explore the world, the destination guide on the AFVC website gives you a wide variety of choices from both domestic to international locations to review. Some states and countries include multiple cities to choose from and all offer a variety of featured resort options.
After choosing a destination, the website has a resort guide that allows you to compare resorts that are available.
- Domestic destinations: Arizona. Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
- International destinations: Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Canada, Caribbean, Central/South America, Europe, Mexico and Middle East.
Timeshare Condos and Resort Offers
There are more than 4,000 accommodations worldwide offered to eligible members. Some cost less than $50 per day! Accommodations may become available anywhere from two days to 365 days in advance of your check-in date. Once you book, the unit is taken out of the reservation pool, guaranteeing your stay.
Offers and Deals
There are a variety of price points and offers for every budget that start at $349 a week. Upgrades, add-ons and the time of year travel is planned affect the bottom line of these vacation deals.
- Space-A-Vacations is a one week, fixed price offer for $349 per week. The great thing about this offer is whether you are a family of six or a couple looking for a romantic getaway, the price is the same because it is based on the accommodation and not the number of people in your party. The number of resorts and condos varies with season and availability. The website allows users to sort by amenities, pricing, ratings and activities.
- Last Minute Vacations is part of the premium program that offers hotel rooms or one room studios for $309 a week, accommodations with two or more rooms are $329 a week.
- High Demand Getaways feature larger units in popular resort destinations during peak travel times.
- Short Stays cater to people who are looking for a three to four night getaway in a resort condo.
- All inclusive resort pricing is the most expensive because it includes all food and beverage costs, making trip budgeting easy. Be aware that you may have to pay a daily resort fee.
- Vacation Deals provide members with a $50 discount on newly added resorts. A recent vacation deal included discounts on new resorts located in Hawaii, California, South Carolina and Florida. In order to take advantage of upcoming vacation deals, it is important to monitor the website.
- Featured travel dates include special vacations during popular holiday travel times. Holidays include Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Easter, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day. Pricing is generally more expensive for these featured holiday getaways than those offered at other times of year due to industry standard blackout dates that most of these holidays fall on. If you are traveling by air during these busy holiday times, be sure to book early.
As a member of the AFVC, you can purchase a non-refundable resort certificate for a friend or family member for $409. The recipient can then browse available inventory for where they would like to go. There is an option to upgrade at the time of booking to include additional nights, destinations and size of the room. The cost of upgrading ranges from $240 to $1,400. Certificates expire and must be used within one year of the purchase date.
Armed Forces Vacation Club Reviews
AFVC is endorsed by the Department of Defense and the Department of Morale, Welfare and Recreation that supports leisure services for the military. On behalf of the U.S. military, deals worldwide have been negotiated with unsold timeshare space or resort space that enables this program to offer deep discounts to members and retired members of the armed forces. A portion of every sale goes back to the military.
Reviews on TripAdvisor are more about the pros and cons of the resort or condo rather than about the membership aspects of this AFVC. A typical mixed review on TripAdvisor details the failings of the property rather than the price paid when using AFVC.
Program Pros and Cons
Most vacation club memberships come with a price tag. An advantage, if you are eligible, is that membership in AFVC is free.
The disadvantage is that you usually have to spend a week in just one destination and that accommodations of choice may not be readily available in peak season. In addition, the inventory of resorts and accommodations vary and may not be available at all because they may not be part of the AFVC network.
Discounts and Comparison Shopping
In comparing costs with Expedia and Booking.com, AFVC rates are more deeply discounted. When comparison shopping, make sure that you enter in the same dates and read the room details carefully so you are comparing apples to apples. It never hurts to do your homework to make sure that you are getting the best value for your money.
- A one week stay at Velas Vallarta Suites Resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for two bedrooms is $845 on Expedia and $349 on the AFVC website.
- A stay at the Grand Beach Hotel in Miami, Florida in a three bedroom suite is $1,449 on Expedia and $869.99 for standard AFVC membership and $807.29 for premium members.
- In the Berkshires of Massachusetts, a week at the Berkshire Mountain Lodge on Booking.com is $837, compared to the AFVC offer of $349.
- In the high demand area on the AFVC website, Barefoot in the Keys, Florida starts at $688 a week for one bedroom and, on Booking.com for the same time, the room is $1,021.
Tips and Advice
Like any large vacation club, the inventory with AFVC changes almost daily. If you want to scoop up a good deal, make sure you monitor the website and plan your vacation time accordingly. Some other considerations to keep in mind include the following.
- Be flexible. There may not be as many in-season deals in popular destinations because accommodations offered include timeshare or resort space that is not being used.
- Budget your time off. Timeshare and resort options requires a one-week stay; shorter stays usually at an all-inclusive resort are available but cost a little more money.
- Check booking search engines to make sure that the deal is as good as it looks.
- Be proactive. Do research on resort reviews to make sure that the property is acceptable to your expectations and always check out things to do and see while visiting the destination.
- Read the fine print. If you are staying at an all-inclusive resort, the daily resort fee is usually not included.
Getaways on a Budget
If you are in the armed services and want to travel, the Armed Forces Vacation Club offers a diverse range of places to visit on the cheap. Standard membership is free and gives you access to a large variety of vacation options. There are a few caveats to keep in mind, however. You must plan your vacation in advance, be sure to read the fine print, and understand that to visit popular destinations in season will take planning and may cost a bit more.