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Business Travel That Pays

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© Richard Seagraves

Frequent flyers’ travel can yield miles and points—for the company.

When companies are trying to save money, they sometimes look to save on travel expenses by using the miles earned by their business travelers to redeem for business trips. This idea crops up occasionally, and there was a time when “Who owns the miles?” was a topic in the executive suites of companies across America. Companies took into consideration the potential backlash in employee morale and legal restraints for “retro” ownership of miles along with the strategy of how to manage rewards from business travel when they are often mixed in with rewards earned from personal travel. After all, the programs themselves insist in their terms and conditions that one membership per member is the rule. There are three strategies companies can use to benefit from employees’ travel.

Earn Awards From Travel Providers

There are business programs offered today by various airlines that feature split-level rewards for corporations. These types of benefits are fairly similar among airlines offering programs for businesses, and all continue to let the actual travelers earn their own miles and points. Programs currently available include American Airlines BusinessExtrAA and British Airways On Business. Each allows a company to earn travel awards beyond those earned by its travelers. And Continental’s RewardOne was consolidated into United’s PerksPlus and continues. More information on this program is at perkspluspartners.com.

Cash In On Credit Card Programs

There are also third-party programs that help create corporate value from expenses. For instance, Zevez is a service that turns your accounts payable system into credit card rewards. Businesses pay by card to improve efficiency, receive rebates or reward points and miles, improve cash flow for 30–45 days and save on banking fees. More information on this unique program is at zevez.com.

Redeem Travelers’ Miles

And finally, there is the topic of miles and points that are given directly to the company. A service called AwardMax focuses entirely on the company’s miles and points, not the individual business traveler’s. The miles and points earned by the travelers are used as redemptions for corporate travel, in essence reclaiming awards from the travelers themselves. Not always wildly popular, it is nonetheless a solution. Looking at the possibilities could easily go on for pages, but this overview gives ideas for companies to cut travel costs using miles and points.

Key Takeaway

Businesses should look to employee mileage earning power as an opportunity.

Randy Petersen is widely regarded as the world’s leading expert on frequent-flyer programs. He founded FlyerTalk.com in 1998—the largest discussion forum on loyalty programs—and MilePoint.com in 2011. He is also publisher of Inside Flyer magazine. He holds more than a million miles in at least five airline and four hotel loyalty programs. He can be reached at editor@executivetravelmag.com.


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