Optimizing rewards when you are not the one paying

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by FlyingBear, Sep 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    As a regular business traveler, I get to accrue miles/points with the airlines/hotels, but my airline tickets are bought for me and the hotels are paid with corporate card, so that limits the types of promotions and ways I can get those miles. I'd love to hear how other people in my situation maximize their miles/points accruing ability.

    So far this is what I do:
    - Enroll in any of the fly/stay X number of miles/days promotions. Sometimes that does not work as it requires booking directly from the site of the airline/company. Particularly true with some hotel chains, so if an hotel reservation is made for me, I am out of luck
    - If I reserve hotel on my own, I go through sites like fatwallet.com/mrrebates.com/etc to get cashback on the amount. It's not too much, but at 2-5%, it adds up through the year. Going through Expedia also helps, as you now get some sort of return in 3 different ways.
    - Same for airline tickets, but that only applies for foreign small scale airlines, so sites are hard to come by and typically it is only $4 for booking

    And that's about it, any other ideas are welcome!
     
    JohnDeere19 likes this.
  2. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Sounds like you have a good start. Do you get to keep the points from the corporate card?

    Enroll in Business programs if you company currently isn't (i.e. AA Business ExtrAA and BA On Business).
     
  3. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Even working for big companies (where they are usually more strict than not on use of the corporate card), usually once a month I'd "accidentally" use my personal card for a large charge. Usually a four-digit hotel stay. They will still reimburse you, but it often took a manual report, the same you'd use for cash taxi fares.

    It wasn't worth it for nickel and dime charges, and flights are usually more tightly controlled in terms of payment...but hotel is one where the amount was large enough to be worth the hassle.

    At Merrill, they let keep us the points on our Corp Amex cards. You never saw so many people fight over the bill at restaurants. I racked up an easy half million points in less than two years there. ;)
     
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  4. adexpert
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    adexpert Silver Member

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    So if I follow your post, the challenge is that you don't get to choose your flights or hotels? That's kind of a pain if so.

    As far as the charges on the corporate card, can you pay out of pocket for the AMEX points program? I know some places don't let you do that.
     
  5. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    There are no points on the corporate card (JPMorgan Visa) and we pretty much have to use it for anything that's not cash. All transactions are reviewed as it is and even more so if they are cash or on a personal card. All airplane tickets are bought by our internal travel agent and while I can influence what airlines to go with (I try for MileagePlus), if they see something cheaper, that's the way I am flying. So I am quite familiar with a 7 hour layover in Denver on the way to Europe just because it was a little cheaper... If I was paying with my own card, that would certainly affect what I get and what card I would use, which would be a rather noticeable chunk of miles/points too. For hotels, it is basically whatever regional guys decide, so I have points in at least 6 different chains.

    So the overall exercise in getting more points might seem a little bit on the penny-pincher side of things, it doe snot add much to the overall trip planning/execution.

    Another way to add points that I just saw in the forums is using Topguest. Will find out how well it works in Europe next time I am traveling.
     

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