U.S. Air Force Frequent Camper Program
- Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2016 13:33
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Would you like to receive 30 nights of FREE camping at U.S. Air Force FamCamps for only $25 - $40? You can, with the Air Force's Frequent Camper Program.
The Air Force operates more than 60 FamCamps around the world, some at locations you may never have heard of. The Frequent Camper program was developed by U.S. Air Force Services to let you know where they offer camping facilities and provide some incentives to try them all. Lifetime membership in the program is only $25, which includes a logbook, "Military Living's" military campgrounds book, a set of membership decals for your RV and enamel pins, AND 5 free nights of camping. But that's only the starter kit. As you progress through the program, you can earn up to an additional 25 nights of free camping at USAF FamCamps. A pretty good deal, considering the book alone sells for about $30 - $45.
Since they want you to travel around and visit their campgrounds, the program is based on the number of places visited rather than how many nights you stay. The program is set up in tiers, each tier representing 10 FamCamps. You earn Frequent Camper awards and incentives for each tier you complete. Visit the FamCamps in any order you like and take as long as you want to reach each tier. Each completed tier earns 5 "Camper Cash" certificates, a decal for your RV and two enamel pins to mark your achievement.
The FamCamp logbook keeps track of how many FamCamps you've visited and is used to claim awards and incentives in each tier. You can earn one Frequent Camper logo stamp for each FamCamp visited. The first time you stay at a particular FamCamp, simply present the logbook when you pay for your visit and the Services staff will fill it in and stamp it with a Frequent Camper logo
The Camper Cash certificates are your most valuable incentive items. Each is good for one day of free camping at any Air Force FamCamp. There are a few restrictions on using Camper Cash certificates:
- Present your FamCamp logbook with the certificate.
- Local reservation and fee policies apply.
- Minimum of two-day stay.
- One certificate per location per month.
- The certificates are printed with the tier number and can only be used while you're working on that tier. So be sure to use all five certificates before you reach the next tier!
Once you've visited any 10 different FamCamps (and used your 5 free nights of camping), you photocopy your logbook and mail the copy to the Air Force Services HQ. In about 6 - 8 weeks, you'll receive your awards and the additional 5 Camper Cash certificates for use on the next tier.
Within 2 years, we've visited 16 Air Force Famcamps and have received 8 nights of free camping (I still have a couple Camper Cash certificates left). We've never had problems getting our logbook stamped, and advancement to the second tier went smooth. I figure our 8 nights of free camping saved us about $130. Although we travel fulltime in our RV, I doubt we'll finish all 6 tiers (60 different FamCamps), but I don't doubt we'll finish tier 4. At that point, we would have received 25 free nights of camping at Air Force FamCamps (when we reach tier 5).
You can join the USAF Frequent Camper program and receive your initial packet, for $25 - $40 (bases have been selling it at different prices), from "most" Air Force Outdoor Recreation offices or FamCamp offices. The initial packet IS NOT available by mail.
Hint: Be sure to join before you sign-in to the campground. This way, you can use a Camper Cash certificate immediately and get a free night of camping.
Here's a few Frequently Asked Questions on this program:
- Can the FamCamp staff stamp my logbook again if the last visit was in a different month, tier, or year?
No. The program is designed to encourage visits to different FamCamps. You only get one stamp from each FamCamp visited
- What if I don't travel often enough or far enough to fill in all six tiers?
That's okay! There's no time limit and no requirement to complete the higher numbered tiers. The program provides outstanding value to even infrequent campers.
- Do I actually have to stay at the FamCamp?
Yes. You must spend at least one night at the FamCamp. If the FamCamp has a minimum stay policy, you must comply with the local minimum stay rules. Drive-by stampings aren't in keeping with the spirit of the program!
- Is it okay if I use up my Camper Cash certificates at the first five FamCamps and don't have any other places I plan to visit to complete the tier?
That's fine. You don't need to redeem a certificate to get your logbook stamped at a FamCamp you're visiting for the first time. It's up to you to use the five certificates while visiting the ten different FamCamps required to complete each tier.
- If a base operates more than one FamCamp, can I have the logbook stamped at each?
Yes, each FamCamp you visit can be entered into your logbook and credited towards completing a tier.
- Can I redeem the Camper Cash certificate or get my logbook stamped at any military campground?
No. Only Air Force FamCamps participate in the program. Visits to Army, Navy, Coast Guard, or Marine campgrounds won't be credited towards completing a Frequent Camper tie.
September 1, 2008 Update:
The USAF Frequent Camper Program appears to be having problems. While the program still exists, it's difficult to find new member packets. No new packets were produced for over a year and many Air Force installatins ran out, or have decided NOT to carry them. In late 2007, new packets were being produced and distributed again, but many USAF locations still don't have them. It may take looking around at different USAF FamCamps until you find a new member packet. These new member packets ARE NOT available on the web or through the mail
In addition to the difficulty in finding new member packets, the redemption of moving up to the next tier is experiencing LONG delays. Some users report that it takes more than 6 months to get the next tier returned, or you need to send the upgrade in again, or call the Program Managers office to find out where your upgrade is
These problems are partly attributed to MISUSE by campers. The USAF Frequent Camper Program is meant to get users to visit different USAF FamCamps. It's not meant to be an abused free camping program. Please... only purchase ONE new member packet and use the Campers Cash coupons at different FamCamps. Please obey all rules and don't attempt to get your book stamped at the same FamCamp more than once. Those campers that are abusing this program are runing it for everyone!
Sepember 3, 2010 Update:
Unfortunately, there hasn't been any improvement in the USAF Frequent Camper Program. There are still NUMEROUS problems with getting new member packets and with getting upgraded to the next tier. Reports are still constantly received that members are not getting their upgraded tier returned to them. Some people have called the Program Managers office and received the "run around", or don't get satisfactory results. Personally, NONE of my phone calls or email inquiries have received any response.
If you encounter problems, here's the last known contact information for Mr. Phil Heeg, the Program Manager:
AFPC/SVP Frequent Camper
2261 Hughes Ave, Suite 156
JBSA Lackland, TX 78236-9854
While I encourage giving Mr. Heeg every opportunity to resolve any problems you have, here's his chain of command:
- Mr. Black; 210-652-3371
- Mary Morgan (Dir); 210-652-5314
January 1, 2011 Update:
I've received numerous emails about this program. Most of these emails were from frustrated members, not getting any response from the USAF Program Managers. However, I did receive the following message that is encouraging:
"I emailed you a few days ago concerning contact info and lack of response from the managers of the program. After spending considerable time on the phone with the CO's office at Randolph AFB, I was able to get the following CURRENT and CORRECT info:"
Frequent Camper Program
2261 Hughes Ave, Suite 156
Lackland AFB, TX 78236
Mr. Frank Black (in charge): 210-395-7209
Mr. Phil Heeg (asst): 210-395-7234
Secretaries : 210-395-7489/7248
June 2012 Update:
Campers are still reporting problems with this program. Stil the same issues. Mainly, campers can't get a response to their inquiries or when they mail in for a tier upgrade. The initial USAF Frequent Camper Program packets are also still hard to find.
A new phone number for Mr. Frank Black has been reported. According to Mr. Black, his phone numbers are (210) 395-7489 or (210) 395-7512.
January 2014 Update:
A few updated info was recently received:
The mailing address is slightly different at:
Frequent Camper Program
2261 Hughes Ave, Suite 156
Lackland AFB, TX 78236
April 2014 Update:
It seems the different USAF bases are selling the new membership packets at different rates. Within the past 3 months, I've seen the new member packet sell for $28, but I was also notified by readers that they recently paid $40 at another USAF base.
September 2016 Updte:
Thsi program is still plaqued with management problems. Here's a recent email I received from a website member:
"Mr. Heeg is not answering my calls and we still have not had a response to our Frequent Camper Program Tier upgrade....although we mailed our completed information in May. Specifically....
May 18, 2016. Sent in copies of logbook with completion of Tier One
Called on Aug. 3, 2016 spoke with Mr. Heeg and confirmed our address and he stated the Tier 2 packet would be mailed out in a few days.
Called Mr. Heeg again on Sept. 9, 2016, he stated packet had been sent and we should have received it by now. He also said that he would send out a replacement and to shred the first if it finally arrives.
Called Mr. Heeg again on Sept. 19, 2016 and he stated that he did not have our Tier 1 packet.
Have attempted to call multiple times and our call is never picked up.
This could be a great program to promote Fam Camps....if it were properly administered."