Acceptance of frequent traveler miles, credits, points, and tickets: use to facilitate rest and recuperation travel of deployed members and their families
Subject to subsection (c), the Secretary of Defense may accept from any person or government agency the donation of travel benefits for the purposes of use under subsection (d).
Authority to Accept Donation of Travel Benefits.—
Travel Benefit Defined.—
In this section, the term “travel benefit” means—
frequent traveler miles, credits for tickets, or tickets for air or surface transportation issued by an air carrier or a surface carrier, respectively, that serves the public; and
points or awards for free or reduced-cost accommodations issued by an inn, hotel, or other commercial establishment that provides lodging to transient guests.
The Secretary may accept a donation of a travel benefit under this section only if the business entity referred to in subsection (b) that is the source of the benefit consents to such donation. Any such donation shall be under such terms and conditions as the business entity may specify, and the travel benefit so donated may be used only in accordance with the rules established by the business entity.
Condition on Authority to Accept Donation.—
Use of Donated Travel Benefits.—
A travel benefit accepted under this section may be used only for the purpose of—
facilitating the travel of a member of the armed forces who—
is deployed on active duty outside the United States away from the permanent duty station of the member in support of a contingency operation; and
is granted, during such deployment, rest and recuperative leave, emergency leave, convalescent leave, or another form of leave authorized for the member; or
in the case of a member of the armed forces recuperating from an injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during such a deployment, facilitating the travel of family members of the member in order to be reunited with the member.
The Secretary shall designate a single office in the Department of Defense to carry out this section. That office shall develop rules and procedures to facilitate the acceptance and distribution of travel benefits under this section.
For the use of travel benefits under subsection (d)(2) by family members of a member of the armed forces, the Secretary may, as the Secretary determines appropriate, limit—
eligibility to family members who, by reason of affinity, degree of consanguinity, or otherwise, are sufficiently close in relationship to the member of the armed forces to justify the travel assistance;
the number of family members who may travel; and
the number of trips that family members may take.
The Secretary of Defense may, in an exceptional case, authorize a person not described in subsection (d)(2) to use a travel benefit accepted under this subsection to visit a member of the armed forces described in subsection (d)(1) if that person has a notably close relationship with the member. The travel benefit may be used by such person only in accordance with such conditions and restrictions as the Secretary determines appropriate and the rules established by the business entity referred to in subsection (b) that is the source of the travel benefit.
Services of Nonprofit Organization.—
The Secretary of Defense may enter into an agreement with a nonprofit organization to use the services of the organization—
to promote the donation of travel benefits under this section, except that amounts appropriated to the Department of Defense may not be expended for this purpose; and
to assist in administering the collection, distribution, and use of travel benefits under this section.
In this section, the term “family member” has the meaning given that term in section 481h(b) of title 37.
Family Member Defined.—
(Added Pub. L. 108–375, div. A, title V, § 585(a)(1), Oct. 28, 2004, 118 Stat. 1930; amended Pub. L. 109–364, div. A, title X, § 1071(a)(20), Oct. 17, 2006, 120 Stat. 2399; Pub. L. 112–81, div. A, title V, § 576(a)–(d)(1), title VI, § 631(f)(4)(A), Dec. 31, 2011, 125 Stat. 1428, 1429, 1465; Pub. L. 112–239, div. A, title X, § 1076(a)(9), Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 1948; Pub. L. 115–232, div. A, title X, § 1081(a)(25), Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 1985.)