Maximize Business Travel Perks

Smart ways to make your business travel planning easier on your budget

Small businesses now have access to a range of travel programsformerly available only to the largest enterprises. Discountprograms, travel incentives, and other services that simplifybusiness travel can save your company money, and reduce the overallhassle of travel planning. Below are some of the most common waysyou can make your business travel planning more efficient andeasier on your budget.

Enroll in airline programs
Everyone knows about airline frequent flyer programs. But smallbusiness owners are often unaware that many airlines also offerother frequent travel perks aimed at small businesses. Theseprograms are designed to reward small businesses that choose aparticular airline by awarding them bonuses based on how oftentheir employees fly. In many cases, the employee receives frequentflyer mileage while the company also receives its separatebonuses.

Utilize online travel planning services
Unlike large enterprises, smaller companies typically do not have adedicated travel planner who can identify price breaks, record userpreferences, and manage the booking process. But by using theInternet small businesses can gain some of the benefits a dedicatedtravel resource offers, by using powerful tools to quickly locatethe best price, store traveler profiles (including airlinepreferences, seat preferences, frequent flyer numbers, etc.), andreceive written confirmation via email.

Take advantage of travel reports
Many online services also provide your company with detailed travelreports, a common tool used by travel planners at larger companies.These reports provide detailed information about air travel, carrental, and hotel stays, and can provide a useful record of travelexpenditures.

Negotiate rates for car rental and hotels
A growing number of rental car companies offer special corporateaccounts for small businesses that rent cars as few as five timesper year. These programs provide discounts as well as other"club" benefits such as express check-in, dedicatedmembers-only phone numbers, and a Web site to make reservations inadvance. The large hotel chains also offer negotiated rates tobusinesses that commit to a set number of nights.

Look for available perks and discounts
You may be able to get business travel discounts through your tradeassociation, chamber of commerce, or your charge card provider.These perks may go beyond simple discounts. For example, AmericanExpress Business Platinum Card® members have complimentaryaccess to Continental Airlines' Presidents Club® andNorthwest WorldClubs® when they're flying on theseairlines.

The viewsand opinions contained herein are not necessarily those of AmericanExpress and are intended as a reference and for informationalpurposes only. Please contact your attorney, accountant or otherbusiness professional for advice specific to yourbusiness.

Copyright © 2002 American Express Company. All RightsReserved.

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