Changes To Edelweiss Eligibility Hit Many


A recent review of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States and Germany has resulted in significant changes to eligibility criteria to use the Army’s Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany.  Many active duty service members and retirees who have previously been permitted to utilize the Armed Forces Recreation Center facility will find that they are no longer able to stay there.

Under the clarified rules, retirees who do not live in Germany may not stay at Edelweiss unless they have been in Europe at least 30 days prior to their visit.  Retirees who live in Germany can stay at the hotel if they have proper tax authorization from a German customs office.

Servicemembers who are not based in Europe United States are also prohibited from staying at the popular resort unless they are traveling with a sponsor who lives in Germany, or they have been in Europe for longer than a month.

Military, civilians, and certain contractors stationed within the European Command will not see any changes to their eligibility.  And, I have to admit, I find the language about certain areas a little confusing.  If you’re not sure, ask!

This is a major change for those who enjoy the Edelweiss facilities during shorter trips to Europe, particularly retirees, who will now be ineligible unless their travels are longer than 30 days.

Some people have applauded the change because it may make it easier for those are stationed within Europe to get reservations for the often-booked resort.

There are many categories of eligibility to use the Edelweiss resort, and there are some fussy bits to the rules, and the details are far too specific to include in this post.  If you have any questions about your eligibility to use the Edelweiss facilities, look to the Edelweiss official website for more information and up-to-date eligibility requirements.  Otherwise, give them a call and see if they can help you figure out if you are currently eligible.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • JohnD

    With so few troops in Europe, these sites,should,be turned over to,the Germans, sold to,hotel,chains there is no need for them!

    • Steve

      With all those commas, I channeled William Shatner as I read your response.

    • Navyjag907

      No, they shouldn’t be. They’re a treasure and we should hold on to them for as long as we have troops in Europe or naval forces in the Med. They contribute to higher morale which is what they’re there for.//I have fond memories of staying there as a child and teenager when my Dad was stationed there and I want others to have the same memories.

  • Andy Anderson

    Close it down and open up something new in a country that wants us.

  • oscar gibbs

    that is going to really hurt their business. I hope to see that changing back in the near future or they will have to close. Hope that doesn’t happen, always enjoyed staying there.

    • guest

      I agree. If I were stationed in Germany, I could stay anywhere I want.

  • Frank Stroupe

    This is a great resort and will certainly be missed by retirees. I don’t see how they will make it. I would hope the military would attempt to reach an agreement with German authories.

  • Kirk Fernitz

    Frankly, if I’m stationed in Germany I wouldn’t (& I don’t) use the Edelweiss Resort. There are so many other options available that you learn about & trust. You become familiar with the surrounding and the prices out in the economy are compatible (you just need to know where to look).
    However, for anyone from the States, especially our retirees, who take the occasional trip to Germany, the Edelweiss is a good place/option and provides them with that certain “American” atmosphere that they are used to. This new policy will just turn-off a great number of servicemen/Veterans & retirees. I’m sure the outcry would be the same if all of the sudden OCONUS service members/retirees could stay at Army resorts in Hawaii or Orlando. Kir

  • Robert Sweet

    If the Germans don’t want us there or anywhere in Germany, why don’t they just say so? Italy is a good place and could use the tourist business!

  • daBear

    This makes no sense…does this mean the rules will change for the Dragon Hill Lodge or the Hale Koa or Shades of Green? Its frustrating to learn that as a 30-year Airman now retired I cannot use this MWR program simply because I do not live in Germany (or haven’t traveled there for 30 days…). Either the SOFA needs to be tweaked or the hotel has to be shuttered and moved elsewhere in Europe.

  • BobK

    The German tax authorities tried to soak the military contractors and if that had worked were talking about going after the DODDs teachers too. This was contested in the courts and the German government eventually lost, but some victims had their savings confiscated and suffered serious privations for several years before their money was returned. Now they are going after benefits in a different direction.

  • marine1968

    Maybe Poland would have us……

  • Orron

    Just got back from a 10 day stay at Edelweiss with family and friends. Retired after 21 years USMC and am now seeing all the “benefits” eroding away. Assuming this has been caused by the German Government, maybe we should pull all military out of Germany and let their economy cover the loss. That’s assuming this is the cause of the German Government as our current Government has been causing the loss of “benefits” is all arenas.

  • Guest

    Reitrees cannot stay at the Edelweiss any longer under the old rules now being strictly enforced. However Army Lodging at the Army’s major bases in Germany will allow Retirees to stay there. So what’s the major difference between the two? Guess the audit review has not caught up with MWR but has with AFRC. Additionally, it seems odd that the DoS folks stationed in Europe remain authorized to continue to utilize the Edelweiss mainly because they issue their own privilege cards and include MWR privileges authorized. They are not a DoD asset. I also noticed that this rulling came down after the G7 Summit held near Garmisch. The Edelweiss was completely booked to support the Executive Branch and basically NO DoD folks were authorized to use the Edelweiss during a 2-3 week period. Finally, based on the new rules I guess the Edelweiss will no longer accommodate soldiers stationed in Middle East or their families on R&R. Feel sorry for AFRC especially since they invested so much money into this project.

  • Dan

    I went to Germany ITT from RVN so we went right into quarters,1973-’76. I wish I had declined the quarters and we had lived on the economy. Rec areas were so difficult to make reservations in we bought a VW camping bus and a tent and stayed in on-the-economy campgrounds in FRG, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. They had clean heated bath/shower rooms and other top notch facilities. That is the way to see Europe. Turn the Rec Areas over to the locals.

  • MAT

    So if its called the “ARMY’s” resort, why can’t the Army use it? Sell it back to the Germans and pull all of our forces out.

  • Sad

    The point of our responses should center on the loss of an earned benefit and the lack of action by our elected officials. All active component, national guard and reserve members and dependents as well as all retirees, should write to their congressman/woman, senators and veterans organizations to voice their disgust over this insult. Be sure to ask for a report of their final action on your complaint. Even if you have never utilized Edelweiss facilities or never plan to use the facilities, complain because this is just another loss for all military members, retirees and dependents.

  • Medic

    As a 30 year army retiree from Missouri my wife and I are heart broken that we can no longer get in the worlds best hot tub at Edleweiss. We have spent thousands of dollars over the years at the resort and in the German ecconomy. It does not make sense as when we were there last in Setember 2012 there were empty rooms? If anyone needs to to sign a petition let me know. Phil Patterson

  • Concerned Leader

    I am an active duty soldier stationed at Fort Knox, KY. While recently visiting Germany, my wife and I were ineligible to stay at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort because of the new interpretation or enforcement of the Status of Forces Agreement. Staff at the hotel informed us that they have been told that IMCOM is planning to turn the resort over to the Germans and that the reason they have recently changed the rules is that IMCOM WANTS occupancy rates to be lower as justification to close the facility. When we visited the hotel, we were among the few people in the lobby speaking English. Odd that my wife and I, as an active duty family, could not use this US Army MWR facility, but that NATO member nation families could use the facility. What would our members of Congress think of this atrocity? Once again, our benefits erode and no one seems to care.