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Extra Special

Booking sites offer more bang for your buck--and then some.

Many low-fare carriers now offer special online booking sites for companies willing to book directly with them instead of through travel agencies. All the programs are free-there are no sign-up or transaction fees as there are with online agencies. Since the carriers already offer significant discounts, don't expect more price breaks, but look for perks like these:

  • AirTran-A2B Corporate Travel: AirTran nixes change and refund fees for members flying on all but its least expensive sale fares. Members also get advance seat selection, frequent-flier bonuses and priority boarding. Upgrades to business class are $35 to $50, but members who pay nonsale fares can upgrade free of charge. Visit www.airtran.com/programs/a2b.
  • JetBlue-CompanyBlue: In addition to JetBlue's well-known perks like live satellite TV and leather seats, members get benefits like free flights if travelers are delayed more than two hours due to nonweather events. CompanyBlue also offers travel reports that track air travel spending, itineraries and flight credits. Visit www.jetblue.com/companyblue.
  • Southwest-SWABIZ: With SWABIZ, travelers can book Southwest flights plus make reservations at more than 30,000 hotels and 30 car rental companies. Also, companies can customize their SWABIZ pages to display only those suppliers with which they have specially negotiated deals. And through the end of this year, travelers booking trips on SWABIZ earn double Rapid Rewards frequent-flier credits. Visit www.swabiz.com.

Check out similar offers from other low-fare airlines like ATA's Corporate Partner Program at www.ata.com or America West's AWACorplink at www.awacorplink.com.


, travel correspondent for CNN Headline News, is author of The Unofficial Business Travelers' Pocket Guide.

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This article was originally published in the November 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Extra Special.

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