Flexible economy company policy!

Old Aug 18, 15, 11:00 am
  #1  
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Flexible economy company policy!

So my new company requires me to book a fully flexible economy for LHR to CLT which makes a 790 economy non flexible fare become 1800

I have to book it with the company credit card which is also annoying, but It got me thinking:

So I book it with the company credit card, then in theory could I call them up and change it to a WTP or even a CW ticket paying any minimal fare difference with my own credit card through turning it into a fixed fare WTP / CW?

Is this possible, or would BA refund my fully flexible ticket and then I have to rebook my WTP or CW ticket?

Has anyone done anything similar or give me some tips on getting around the fully flexible option. Admittedly, changing to a non flex ticket would be risky if my meetings got cancelled, but I'm just throwing some ideas out there!

Admittedly the 70TPs for flexible economy is good value though and it seems rather a lot when a flexible WTP doesn't get you any more TPs!
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Old Aug 18, 15, 11:16 am
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It sounds like your company want the option to re-arrange your schedule at short notice, so you would carry the risk of having to explain why you're now on a non-flexible ticket.

I think some MEPs did the trick that you're suggesting - getting a full refund, booking a cheaper option and then pocketing the difference.

If I was certain that I wouldn't need to re-arrange my plans, I'd clear it past my boss at a minimum. In my opinion, both of these schemes put your employment at risk.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by AlbaGuBrath View Post
It sounds like your company want the option to re-arrange your schedule at short notice, so you would carry the risk of having to explain why you're now on a non-flexible ticket.

I think some MEPs did the trick that you're suggesting - getting a full refund, booking a cheaper option and then pocketing the difference.

If I was certain that I wouldn't need to re-arrange my plans, I'd clear it past my boss at a minimum. In my opinion, both of these schemes put your employment at risk.
I just cannot believe that an MEP would do such a thing--defrauding the public purse

seriously I think that what the OP is suggesting could cause serious problems at work---- the term gross misconduct comes to mind

as a new boy its high risk
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Old Aug 18, 15, 11:31 am
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My employers won't pay for fully-flex, and only allow Y travel, restricted, cheapest possible etc etc.

This has caught them out a few times and ended up costing them much more that a fully-flex return would have done, despite my pointing this out and it being highly visible in my expenses claims. (no corporate card, so I have to use my own cards)

If I want a nicer seat, I upgrade myself, usually just to WTP for long-haul. As long as the e-ticket receipt has "Economy" (I've educated them to what ET and WT means in regard to this, as they are from New England) they'll reimburse it.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 11:32 am
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Yup. Ultimately if that's what the company wants, and what the company is paying for, that's what you have to do.

I would risk it personally, but I don't think I'd value the job that highly.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 11:39 am
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If you do upgrade to WTP/CW BA won't be refunding any difference, but would simply collect any additional payment. However, you should think if it is going to have any implications for your job. One thing I'd expect to do is be prepared to cover any possible change fee/fare difference or even to buy a new ticket if your employer wants to change your travel but you're now on an inflexible ticket. I am not even sure what's going to happen if the trip falls through and your company wants to get its money back.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by timbo_baggins View Post
My employers won't pay for fully-flex, and only allow Y travel, restricted, cheapest possible etc etc.

This has caught them out a few times and ended up costing them much more that a fully-flex return would have done, despite my pointing this out and it being highly visible in my expenses claims. (no corporate card, so I have to use my own cards)

If I want a nicer seat, I upgrade myself, usually just to WTP for long-haul. As long as the e-ticket receipt has "Economy" (I've educated them to what ET and WT means in regard to this, as they are from New England) they'll reimburse it.
In danger of going OT, but I'd venture a guess that over the total of your trips, paying the change fee occasionally has still been a lot cheaper than buying fully flex every time. My company policy is to buy changeable but not fully flexible fares, presumably because they've tracked over time how often people actually need to change.

As for the OP, it's not something I would do right from the start, anyway. I could see raising the question once you've established a rapport with your new boss and have a few months and a few trips under your belt. But as a manager I'd roll my eyes at a new hire who immediately started asking for exceptions on the travel policy. Although I might not view it as a firing offense, I'd be extremely irritated at an employee who converted a fully-flex in-policy fare to a non-flex out-of-policy one without telling me and then got caught out -- because remember I paid all that money for flexibility, not the employee's comfort.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 11:53 am
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The advantage of a full-fare economy ticket is that it can be upgraded with Avios to WT+ (which also puts you in with a better chance of a CW OpUp).

Upgrading with a couple of days to go, when reward seats often become available, would probably work well for you as you may know by then that there's no chance of rearrangement being required. Doesn't tend to be great value for money though unless you're Avios-rich. An AUP would probably be better.

Last edited by Foltan; Aug 18, 15 at 12:02 pm
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Old Aug 18, 15, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by CrazyJ82 View Post
In danger of going OT, but I'd venture a guess that over the total of your trips, paying the change fee occasionally has still been a lot cheaper than buying fully flex every time. My company policy is to buy changeable but not fully flexible fares, presumably because they've tracked over time how often people actually need to change.
+1. A flat policy of buying full flex simply cannot be efficient, except in extreme cases where having to change is basically a certainty.

I used to work for a company in Paris which always bought 400 fully flex Eurostar standard class tickets and inevitably used them as booked, while I was happily buying 50 returns for myself to pop home. It baffled me that they were wasting so much.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by CrazyJ82 View Post
In danger of going OT, but I'd venture a guess that over the total of your trips, paying the change fee occasionally has still been a lot cheaper than buying fully flex every time. My company policy is to buy changeable but not fully flexible fares, presumably because they've tracked over time how often people actually need to change.
Good point. This has happened quite a few times. I'll look into the changeable fare option, thanks.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 12:13 pm
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I do not think SEW247 is suggesting he claim the cost of full fare and travel on a cheaper ticket, pocketing the difference. That is clearly fraud, and is not going on here.

The problems of short-notice changes to travel plans has already been covered.

Overall, if this is a one-off, just go along with it. If it is a regular thing, perhaps discuss with your boss once you are established in your post whether you can try to get a better travel experience without costing the company more money.

If I was going to be travelling that route a lot in full Y as most of my long haul travel, I would consider crediting to AA to achieve EP status, get the 8 systemwide upgrades, and start using them (and miles and copay, perhaps) to upgrade myself to business on AA. Only if you can get the ticket issued by AA, though.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by SEW247 View Post
Admittedly the 70TPs for flexible economy is good value though and it seems rather a lot when a flexible WTP doesn't get you any more TPs!
Ummm,

LHR-CLT in Y, B or H = 70TPs
LHR-CLT in E, T or W = 90TPs
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Old Aug 18, 15, 1:24 pm
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As you're new to the company, have you just read the a policy document and thought that's what you need to do, or have you spoken to someone to check if the policy should actually be followed?

From my experience, the written travel policy is one thing, how it is actually implemented is another down to the preferences of management, the project you're on at that time, the urgent memo from the FD to cut back on travel expenditure for the rest of the FY etc.

Case in point, my wife's travel policy states 8 hours or more can be in Premium Economy. Her and a few colleagues are all flying Economy next week because that's what they could get authorised by management.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 1:30 pm
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I can only echo what others say about needing to be upfront about it with your line manager or the people in charge of the travel policy and asking if it is ok. Keep the email that says "yes" safely, and that way, if anyone gives you trouble later, you can explain that you checked, this got approved, and you did everything above board. If you fail to do that, you are taking a serious risk of getting in trouble with your employer and that is simply not worth it.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 1:40 pm
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Several thoughts, not all relevant directly to the UK, but worth discussing with your employer:

1. Some employers make bad financial decisions. It is that simple. When you are the decision-maker, you can change those decisions. Otherwise, you need to determine whether you can work under the bad policy or not.

2. Many businesses use fully refundable tickets when they are billing to a client. It is simply not feasible (or the limits of your employer's accounting system may make it not feasible) to hold non-cash balances on clients' behalf. Without some time with your employer's CFO, it's impossible to tell.

3. Some employers are sticky about their rules. Others are not. Many employers now permit the use of a corporate card to pay for some personal expenses or for the use of a corporate and personal card. In the first instance here, you would pay for WTP on the corporate card and then pay the employer the difference immediately. However, note that the UG would have to be to fully flex or refundable if that is what the employer wants.

4. Where you have a mess is the instance where dirt cheap non-flex WTP is cheaper than fully flex WT. In that case, you have a taxable income problem (as does your employer).

All of this bespeaks a relatively simple approach. As what you propose may be forbidden or the failure to disclose it may be viewed as untrustworthy, I would discuss what you propose to do with the employer. Quite clearly you would agree to pick up any change fees or losses from any situation in where a trip is cancelled or changed.
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