Does anyone utilize Airline Small Business Programs with their travel? Were the savings beneficial to your organization?
This question comes from our LinkedIn group.
Yes, we have always used the points to give access to airline lounge access and upgrades to our frequent travelers or to those who have complex international itineraries.
Also, we have used our points for giveaways at the holiday party.
We use our points for status upgrades, club passes and plane tickets for reservations that can be booked well in advance (e.g. attending conferences).
We always ensure companies are signed up for the three big ones:
AA Business Extra, Delta Sky Bonus and United Perk Plus.
The TMC has to ensure their Quality Control software is loaded with them, and after a month or so int he program, run an audit of the miles/points being truly reflected on those corporate rewards program.
Then forget about it for a year
If you are working with a smaller agency, they will usually be more flexible and help you redeem those points/miles for a fee.
Just note that those airfare redemptions can't be serviced by TMC in a sense that if you decide to book all travelers on points for your holiday party, and there is a hurricane and now all tickets must be canceled, you are in trouble. Normally, TMCs have access to the airline backend systems, and routing people is relatively easy. With Points/Miles, they are just like you calling the rewards program support line, which at that time will have long hold times.
I have seen TMCs putting a rule that no more than 3 tickets can be redeemed for the same period. This prevents overpromising on service as realistically they can't help you during an emergency...