Paycheck Chronicles

PCSing Marines To Use Government Travel Card

Effective 1 January 2016, new guidance requires Marines to use a Government Travel Card (GTC) for expenses incurred in conjunction with a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move.  The details were released in the first Marine administrative message of the year, MARADMIN 001/2016.

According to the message, this change applies to any PCS move in which the member completes their outbound interview after 1 January 2016.  The card is to be used for travel expenses for the service member and any dependents who travel with the service member.

What Expenses Should Go On the GTC

The GTC should be used for expenses that are typically covered in a PCS travel claim.  This includes TLA, TLE, lodging and meals en route (as paid by the per diem allowances) vehicle fuel charges (as paid by the Mileage in Lieu of Transportation allowance), airline tickets (if the member is authorized air transportation,) and expenses that would be covered by Dislocation Allowance (security deposits, utility set-up charges, household items such as window coverings.)

If You Don't Have A Government Card

Marines who do not currently have a GTC must apply for a GTC immediately after receiving PCS orders.  If the orders do not have an adequate lead time for the card application to be processed, Marines are authorized to request expedited processing.  The $20 fee will then be claimed on the travel claim.  Note that expedited processing is not authorized for overseas locations.

Marines who have had their GTC canceled may apply for a one-time reinstatement of the account.  If the account was canceled due to delinquency or two payments presented for insufficient funds (NSF), the account may be reinstated.  Accounts that were canceled after already being reinstated once, or whose cancellation is due to a charge-off or three or more NSF charges, are not eligible for reinstatement.

Marines who are not eligible for a GTC will continue to use the pay advance and travel claim system, with additional paperwork required to note their ineligibility for the GTC.

How Your Account Will Change During Your PCS Move

In order to accommodate the expenses of moving, your GTC account may have spending limits and restrictions change.  Anticipated changes include:
  • Increased credit limit,
  • Expanded approved Merchant Category Codes,
  • The account will be placed into PCS-mission critical status, which will prevent the account from aging during the move.

When NOT To Use The GTC

GTC are not to be used for moves in conjunction with entering or leaving the military, or retiring from active duty.  It is not to be used for expenses being paid for with advance pay or advance Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH.)

GTC are still not to be used for expenses in conjunction with a Personally Procured Move (PPM,) formerly known as a Do It Yourself (DITY) move.  If you are completing a PPM, you'll have to be careful to use the right payment type for the right expenses.  The GTC is to be used for expenses that would be incurred in a non-PPM move.  Your personal payment is to be used for expenses that are incurred solely as a result of the PPM.

As far as I can tell, dependents travelling separately from the service member will continue to use the usual travel advance and travel claim system.  Allowance amounts not charged to the card, such as DLA monies not spent with the card, will continue to be paid via the travel claim system.

I understand that this will be a benefit to some service members who don't currently have the funds to manage a PCS move, but it sounds like a lot of mess and difficulty to me.  For those of you, in other branches, who have been using the GTC for PCS moves, what do you think?  Good, bad, or somewhere in between.  I'm really curious!


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