InsideFlyer recently conducted a survey among frequent flyers asking about company travel and frequent flyer programs. More than 66 percent of those responding to the question, “Does your company dictate which airline(s) you can use for business travel?” said no, their company does not specify the airline(s) they must fly. The same question was asked about their company dictating which hotel groups they could stay in and more than 75 percent said that their company does not dictate which hotel group they could use.
More than 57 percent said that more than half of the miles and points they earn are on company travel with just over 23 percent saying that company travel accounted for 25 to 50 percent of their miles/points earning. And when it comes to spending those miles/points on company travel, more than 87 percent said that they spend less than 10 percent of the miles/points earned on more company travel.
When it comes time for elected officials to spend their miles/points earned through flights paid for by taxpayers, more than 48 percent said that the elected officials should be able to spend the miles/points for personal leisure travel while 39 percent said they should not, and the rest did not have an opinion on the matter.
In answer to the question, “How would you feel if your company said that the miles and points you earn for business travel must be spent on business travel only?” over 62 percent chose the statement, “I’m going to spruce up my resume and start looking elsewhere” while only just over seven percent agreed with the statement, “It’s only fair, they paid for the travel so the miles/points should be used for company travel.” As one traveler mentioned, “When I travel, as far as I’m concerned, I’m ‘working’ for 24 hours but only getting paid for eight. If I’m away from my family because of work, I’m working. The least a company can do is let me keep my miles/points. If they don’t, then I don’t travel.”
Another question asked was, “If your company has specified travel policies, do you always comply with the policies?” Fifty percent said, yes, “Most of the time” while over 36 percent said, “Always.” and only three percent said, “Hardly ever.”
We also asked, “If you weren’t able to spend your miles/points earned from company travel on personal leisure travel, would you want to travel less?” More than 63 percent chose the statement, “Yes, I view the miles/points I earn as additional compensation for being on the road.”
Along with the survey, we heard from travelers about how their company views travel in the down economy. Quite a few said that travel has not changed much, but then several commented something similar to this, “We are asked to use low-cost carriers, or restricted tickets wherever possible. Also, we’re trying to rely more on video conferencing than travel for meetings.” Another traveler commented, “I am traveling much less and am always on the lookout for good deals. My company likes that I use my status to get good deals.”
But then, not everyone is facing the same challenges, “I’ve experienced no change at all. We do not have a bad economy in Brazil. Our economy continues to grow rapidly.” And there are others who are slow to change, “I used to get flights in first but now I’m flying business. If I had to fly coach I wouldn’t bother traveling.” And a final comment, “My company did have a policy that miles earned on business travel had to be used for travel on business, but killed that about a decade ago. Too much hassle and lower morale. I hope they don’t think about reinstating it.”