Following Defense Department policy, the Marine Corps has replaced travel advances for permanent change of station moves The first Marine administrative message, or MARADMIN, of 2016 replaces advance travel pay for permanent change of station moves with a government credit card. That means you won’t have to charge expenses to your personal credit cards, and risk being charged interest, (which carry interest charges) or pay out -of -pocket. However, the new rules mean you can’t wait until the last minute before packing up and hitting the road.

The key to the new rules that took effect Jan. 1, announced in Marine administrative message 001/16, is an outbound interview on Marine Online that replaces the traditional hard copy transfer data sheets used today. To conduct the interview, start by clicking on the "personal information" tab. You will find the outbound interview in the "personal updates" section. There, confirm that you have a Government Travel Charge Card. It will be activated 10 days prior to your approved detachment date, and remain active for 15 days after checking into your new command.

Use of the GTCC for personally procured moves — formerly known as do-it-yourself, or DITY moves — is not authorized.

A Marine who does not have a GTCC must apply for the card upon receipt of orders. It usually takes about two weeks to receive the card. Marines with a short-fused detachment date can request that the card be expedited. Because that process comes with a reimbursable $20 fee is charged, an expedited card must be authorized by the command. They are not allowed for overseas locations, therefore "overseas commanders must be proactive in ensuring Marines have GTCC accounts prior to travel," according to the message.

A traveler whose GTCC account has been canceled due to delinquency or two nonsufficient funds charges within a 12-month period may apply for a one-time reinstatement. The agency program coordinator also has ways to process a temporary, one-time exception for a Marine denied due to credit reasons. An account cannot be re-established if it has been canceled after already being reinstated once, was charged off as bad debt, or has three or more NSF charges during the life of the account. In such cases, the traveler will receive traditional advance travel pay.advance  

Marines will be given an estimated travel cost when they go to the admin shop and get the first endorsement of orders. This will be the card’s credit limit. Be careful not to exceed that cost or you may be responsible for the difference. The allowance is for expenses such as lodging, food and transportation costs. In addition, some Marines will be authorized "dislocation allowance," which can be used for such things such as cleaning fees and security deposits. Be sure to keep all receipts — they will likely be needed when you file a travel claim and if you have to dispute any charges. Keep this in mind: Though you have a credit limit, the Corps does not pay that bill until you file a travel claim upon checking in at your new duty station.

For more information, refer to MARADMIN 001/16. The Corps also has prepared a video that provides policy guidance. It can be found at https://youtu.be/V7WMkMVX8GQ.