Business Travel 101: Should You Join A Loyalty Program?

28 February 2017

While it's true that business travel is not without its challenges, it is also definitely not without its perks. Professionally, it offers a change of scenery and provides a sense of independence and responsibility; however, one of the biggest perks comes from joining loyalty programs. Frequent flyers and hotel loyalty programs offer the chance to pick up pretty decent bonuses. Discounts on rooms and flights are just the beginning. And, if you work with an FCBT Travel Manager, you can reap the rewards with minimal effort. Here's everything you need to know ... 

An airplane taking off If you fly often, stick to a single airline and reap the most rewards from your loyalty membership

Frequent Flyers

Perhaps the biggest perk of frequent business travel is the opportunity to rack up status and frequent flyer points. Though, there's plenty to consider before you sign up. To get the most benefit, it's essential you choose the right program for you.

Pros:

  • Many programs are free to join and are obligation free.
  • Collecting points allows you to redeem them for bonuses such as free flights and upgrades.
  • Most programs allow you to earn points even when flying with partner airlines.
  • The more you travel, the more status you earn, which helps you earn even more points.
  • Higher status comes with even better perks, such as lounge access, priority boarding and extra baggage.
  • Almost all major frequent flyer programs also offer business frequent flyer programs, which can be used in conjunction to benefit both you and your company.
  • Depending on the program you join, you can earn points on everyday spending even when you're not flying.

Cons:

  • If you don't travel frequently enough, you may lose status.
  • If you're not loyal to one airline, it can be difficult to get the most gain out of your frequent flyer program.
  • Some programs feature an annual membership fee, which can seem like a lot if you're not travelling enough to really reap the benefits of your membership.
  • Points can expire.

How to get the most out of your program:

The biggest rule of thumb when it comes to getting the most out of your frequent flyer program is loyalty. In order to gain the most rewards, it's best to choose an airline and program and stick with it. Every time you fly, book with your chosen airline. Here are a few other pointers to consider:

  • Find out if your business uses a corporate frequent flyer program. If it's compatible with your personal account, make sure you give your frequent flyer number to your travel booker to ensure you get personal points every time you travel.
  • Choose wisely when it comes to redeeming your points. Free flights and upgrades are the best way to get the most value out of each point.
  • Don't let your points expire. Make sure you read up on validity periods and use your points before you lose them.
  • Work with your FCBT Travel Manager to take advantage of every point earning possibility.
  • Look into everyday spending opportunities to earn more points. You could be racking up points every time you use your credit card, purchase petrol or go grocery shopping.
A woman checking in to a hotel Hotel loyalty programs are a great way to score discounts and even free rooms

Hotel Loyalty

Every time you travel for work, chances are you're staying in a hotel. And that hotel probably offers a rewards program. Almost all major chains, such as Hilton and Marriott, offer guests the opportunity to sign up to their loyalty programs, which can reward frequent travellers with such bonuses as free rooms and discounts. But, like frequent flyer programs, it's essential you choose the right program.

Pros:

  • Many programs are free to join and obligation free.
  • You can often score exclusive discounts just for joining a hotel loyalty program.
  • Many are compatible with credit cards and allow you to double your points with each stay.
  • Some programs offer status levels and the higher up you go, the bigger your benefits.
  • Some programs work in conjunction with frequent flyer programs and allow you to swap your hotel loyalty points for frequent flyer points.
  • Blackout dates aren't usually applicable when it comes to redeeming your points for rooms or upgrades.

Cons:

  • If you don't travel that frequently, it can be difficult to get the most out of your membership.
  • If you're not loyal to a particular hotel brand, it can be difficult to get the most out of your membership.
  • In all of the planning, your hotel loyalty program is often the last thing on your mind.

How to get the most out of your program:

Just like utilising your frequent flyer program to your advantage, the biggest pointer when it comes to hotel loyalty programs is to choose a program and stay loyal. Luckily many major hotels offer global networks with partnering hotels. Here are a few other ways to get more out of your membership:

  • Look into travel partners such as airlines to ensure you're earning the most possible points for booking every aspect of your travel.
  • Consider both small and large brands when deciding which program to join. Sometimes the smaller ones will offer more benefits.
  • Keep your eye out for member only promotions and take full advantage.

For more information on any loyalty programs or how you can make the most of your existing programs, contact one of our knowledgeable Flight Centre Business Travel Managers on 1300 797 826.

Carlie Tucker

Travelling is for discovering the unexpected. From fantastic meals in ramshackle joints to stumbling upon a best kept secret, I love those fortuitous travel moments that couldn't be planned if I tried.