Travel Made Easy: Reservist plays critical role in new MWR discount travel website Published July 31, 2019 By By Bo Joyner Discounted rates on airline flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and event tickets are now available online for all current and retired Reserve Citizen Airmen and their eligible family members. “AmericanForcesTravel.com is an exciting new benefit available to all service members. It is the only official Morale, Welfare and Recreation e-commerce site offering travel and event discounts to service members and their families,” said Ken Sorg, an Air Force Reservist who helped lead the development of American Forces Travel.com while serving as a civilian program analyst on the Office of the Secretary of Defense staff. Sorg, an individual mobilization augmentee chief master sergeant assigned to Headquarters Air Mobility Command’s Manpower, Personnel and Services Directorate at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, said the perspective he has as an Air Force Reservist was critical as he led a three-year joint transformational effort to modernize the DoD MWR leisure travel program. “That’s the advantage we have as Reservists,” he said. “We wear two hats so we bring two perspectives to the fight. While leading this working group, I always kept the Reserve as part of the conversation. We now have the opportunity to reach more than 800,000 Guard and Reservists who may not have had access to their earned MWR benefits before. Now, wherever their phone or computer is, they can access this travel/entertainment benefit and not have to live near an on-base Tickets and Tours office. “This is a great service for all military members, but I think it’s especially beneficial for Reservists and Guardsmen who may live hundreds of miles away from a base and aren’t at their base every day.” The web site launched in January and Sorg said the response so far has been phenomenal. “We’ve had more than 270,000 authenticated patrons – people who have signed up and been authenticated on the site. The site has saved shoppers more than $600,000 and generated $425,000 to improve quality-of-life initiatives for the DoD,” he said. Sorg said American Forces Travel.com is unique in that the Joint Service’s team worked with a commercial company to make it happen. “We entered into a no-cost contract with Priceline to create the American Forces Travel website,” he said. “Priceline has the expertise in this area so we thought it didn’t make sense for us to reinvent the wheel. Priceline maintains the site and pays the services a commission for every booking made. We take that money and put it into quality-of-life initiatives for our service members.” He said the site recently began offering discount event tickets in addition to discount travel options. “We started out with travel and we just added event tickets to the site and the response has been great. Anybody who has ordered event tickets from some of the popular web sites knows that there are often a lot of additional fees tacked on at the end. Patrons of AmericanForcesTravel.com won’t find these on our site so they’ll save a lot of money on their event tickets.” Sorg said that since the internet is now easily the most popular way to research and book travel, it made sense for the Joint Services to offer an MWR discount travel website. He said the success of AmericanForcesTravel.com should lead to more collaborative and transformative MWR efforts in the future. Check out AmericanForcesTravel.com for eligibility requirements and to sign up.