How to earn more points booking business travel

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Business owners can get more frequent flyer miles for each flight

By Damon Brown  |  Published: May 7, 2018

 

 

If you’re an entrepreneur who has to pay for your own business
travel, it’s important to get as much out of every dollar you spend. A little
bit of research and some rewards strategizing can help you earn more free
flights, so you can put your money where it serves you best – back in your business. 

Over the past two decades of being a small-business owner, I’ve
come up with my own ways of traveling on a budget while maximizing the benefits.

While I sometimes envy company
employees with all-expense-paid corporate credit cards and no worries over a
budget, I’ve discovered when it comes to rewards, business owners have an edge.

We can earn more points than any corporate business traveler by taking
advantage of the opportunity to double (and sometimes, triple) dip.

Another set of frequent flyer points

The major airlines have two sets of frequent flyer points:
personal and business. The personal ones are what people usually discuss when
they say, “frequent flyer points.” The business points are a separate program
built for companies, so their employees can be rewarded for their travel even
when the company itself is footing the bill. 

Delta Skybonus, American Airlines Business Extra and United Perks Plus all provide business frequent flyer miles. Each system
requires you to register your business, which means providing your business ID
or, if you are a solo proprietor or entrepreneur like myself, your Social Security
number. You can then give a unique business frequent flyer number to include
when you or your employees book a flight. 

The benefits of business accounts

The great part is that your personal and business frequent flyer
points are separate entities.

In the case of American Airlines Business Extra, I receive one business point for
every $5 I spend on a flight
, in addition to the personal points. It
works for flights booked through American Airlines, including affiliates like
British Airways and Japan Airlines. The Business Extra point rewards start at
600 for a flight upgrade and go as high as 25,000 for a free anytime
first-class flight from North America to the South Pacific.

As you can tell, business points in general are not as lucrative
as personal points. However, remember this is a passive gain – you’re not doing
anything extra to earn these points. Instead, you’re being rewarded for running
a business.

Triple dipping with credit cards

A simple triple-dip strategy is to use your rewards credit card to
pay for flights rather than using a nonrewards card.

For instance, I regularly
use my Citi ThankYou Premier Card to book American Airlines flights. The Premier gives me 3
points per dollar spent in Citi ThankYou points for travel, American Airlines
adds personal frequent-flyer miles for the cost of the flight and then American
Airlines delivers a Business Extra point for every $5 spent on the
same flight.

Even better, I can use the ThankYou points later to book flights
that, to the airlines, are taken the same as a cash or credit purchase. I then
have the opportunity to earn even more personal and business points from the
airline.

Understand the limits

There are some limits to the dipping. First, the business programs
of the carriers vary widely. For example, Delta Skybonus requires a minimum annual spend of $5,000. If you don’t meet
that qualification, then you aren’t getting the points, assuming you are even
accepted into the program.

Second, these programs are designed for people who are actually
running a business. Ethically and otherwise, you should join these programs
only if you are an actual business owner.

So, while you may not have a corporate account and a daily
stipend, you do have a chance to earn more than you may be doing now. Depending
on how often you travel and how much you spend, those extra points can add up
quickly and allow you to grow your business while on the road. 

 See related: Adding a separate rewards card for business travel, Business credit card – reviews





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