So your job is sending you somewhere on business. Some of you may see it as a pain in the butt, but I get dollar signs in my eyes and start figuring out how many miles/points I’ll be racking up! Hopefully, your employer gives you the option to handle all of this yourself. I know my company has a travel department but I have the option to make all arrangements myself, pay with my own credit cards, and get reimbursed in a few short weeks.
Business travel consists of a few core expenses, and I’ll be breaking down the two most important ones in this first of two posts.
This one is pretty easy. Fly with your preferred airline whenever possible! If you have a co-branded credit card (Chase OnePass, Delta Amex, Citi AA Visa, etc.), book through the airline’s site and use its respective card. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, sign into Ultimate Rewards Travel and book your flight there for triple bonus points. If you have an American Express Premier Rewards Gold card, you can just book on any airline’s site and receive triple bonus points (my preferred method). The key to the #hustle is getting multiple bonuses per purchase.
If you hold elite status with an airline, you should definitely try to book a higher fare class (within monetary reason) to get higher priority on the upgrade list. Nothing like a free upgrade to First class on a free flight!
Finding a hotel should be pretty easy. Often times a company will have agreements with certain hotel chains, and you will receive a discounted rate. If you are lucky, you can book the hotel with your own credit card (hopefully one with a bonus) and get reimbursed afterwards. If your company insists that the travel department reserve the room, you can still supply your membership number when checking in and receive credit for the stay. You just won’t get those credit card points. Regardless, you should be signing up for the loyalty program of any and every hotel you are staying at. The decision that you have to make is whether to credit your money spent to that loyalty program or not.
There is also the option of crediting your stay to partners. e.g. Every dollar spent at the Marriott can be credited to your Delta SkyMiles account as 2 miles. If you are working towards a hotel award (free night), you may want to credit your stay to the hotel program. If you do not travel often and would prefer miles, most airlines partner with hotels so you can get mileage credit for your stay. This is what I do for the most part since I’d struggle to stay even 15 nights in a year. Here is a list of each major hotel chain and their conversion rates from dollars to miles:
Another great tip is if you need any services like Wi-Fi, room service, or anything in the hotel, charge it to your room! All that spend on your final folio is going to earn your points or miles. And if you pay with a co-branded credit card or one with a hotel bonus, you’ll get a hefty double dip. Remember, it’s all about bonuses on top of bonuses!
Stay tuned for the second half of this post on Dining & Transportation…