Terminal Leave vs Selling Off Your Leave

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There is a big misconception about what to do with your accrued leave when you ETS. Over and over, I hear soldiers say that it is better to take terminal leave than to sell off your leave days. This is because when you sell off your leave days, you only get paid a prorated amount for base pay, and you do not receive BAH or BAS pay. Therefore many believe you make out better by taking terminal leave because you will get all of your pay for those days.

I disagree with this concept. If we are talking about how to get the most out of the army, then it is actually better to sell your leave. I’ll explain why.

Assume we have a soldier who joined for precisely four years and is about to ETS with 60 days of leave accrued. If he decides to take terminal leave then he will sign out of the army at three years and 10 months in and finish his time of two months on leave. He will have collected four years of BAH, BAS, and base pay.

Now, if this same soldier decides to wait and sell his 60 days of leave, then he will report for duty all the way up till four years in then collect on 60 days of base pay. He will have received four years of BAH, BAS, and base pay plus two months of base pay.

For a specialist, that is about $4400 extra by selling off his leave.