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Travelling for Business: How do you book upgrades for expensed flights?

Travelling for Business: How do you book upgrades for expensed flights?

Old Jan 26, 20, 6:18 am
  #1  
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Travelling for Business: How do you book upgrades for expensed flights?

I'm sure this is familiar to a number of people on this forum...

How do you book paid upgrades (above and beyond your companies travel policy or budget)? For tier points, personal sleep comfort, etc.

Often times, upgrading separately after booking incurs change fees and availability might be different. So there's an incentive to book into the preferred class of travel from the start.

Given businesses need invoices of exact amounts paid, offering to pay the difference through a different payment method, buying yourself and then expensing, or deduct from salary can get tricky since you muddy the exact amount the business is spending.

What do you do?
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:28 am
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Originally Posted by World Traveller Fuss View Post
I'm sure this is familiar to a number of people on this forum...

How do you book paid upgrades (above and beyond your companies travel policy or budget)? For tier points, personal sleep comfort, etc.

Often times, upgrading separately after booking incurs change fees and availability might be different. So there's an incentive to book into the preferred class of travel from the start.

Given businesses need invoices of exact amounts paid, offering to pay the difference through a different payment method, buying yourself and then expensing, or deduct from salary can get tricky since you muddy the exact amount the business is spending.

What do you do?
If you book through a corporate TA they should be able to calculate exactly the price difference at the time or even historically. You can then pay the difference with a personal card.

Have never actually done this yet as every time I have wanted to do it the fare difference hasnt been within the range I was willing to spend. But in theory its doable.

My company policy is for Premium Economy on an overnight return from the US. I value the better meal (and genuinely think there is quite a difference on BA) but cant sleep unless flat so its no different from Economy as far as that side of things goes.

I figure the company has made the decision that us starting the next day of work with a good nights sleep is simply not worth the four-figure per person price difference. To be honest, your workers have to pull in quite a lot of value to make this worthwhile. I am in a role that costs my company money rather than generates profit, so it is not much use complaining and I am inclined to agree with them.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:31 am
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First you should fully understand your corporate travel policy. For example in my company there is a global policy then we have some regional policies and then we have management discretions and budgets as well.
you should always speak with your manager first he/she might dealt this type of problem before and there could be solutions already in place.
so if your corp policy dictates that you must book it through a corporate TA and it can only be economy class only then your options are limited. Nevertheless you can speak with your corp TA for upgrade options too.
what I never suggest is to go ahead with assumptions or incorrect invoices etc as you could end up paying your own travel fully etc.
also if you are unhappy with your options and you have to travel every week long haul economy then perhaps the job is not that great so you could look around. Most of the time I do ask questions around corp travel during my interview to have a sense of feeling what this potential employer policy is.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:32 am
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I would need to seek approval to book outside of policy. I probably could do it anyway without approval, but if I did it would likely be queried when the invoice for the booking arrived (typically around 10 days after travel). It's all charged centrally and then the cost is allocated to wherever it needs to go.


POUGS would be charged in the same way as above.

What does your T&S policy say about upgrades or out of policy class of travel? Ours just says they are at our own expense so I'd note the difference between the fares as evidence (take screenshots ) and claim only the lower amount. The rest of it is either offset against my expenses or indeed future expenses, or else I pay the amount manually.

​​​​
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:39 am
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This all comes down to the specifics of your employer's travel policy and its flexibility. Even when one must book through a corporate TA, a growing number of employers have made arrangements for employees who wish to do so, to provide a personal credit card. The allowable amount is billed to the employer and the balance to the employee. An invoice is then generated which shows the breakdown and an explanatory note is added.

Yet others simply allow employees to book their preference but require that the entire cost is charged to a personal card and then the reimburseable amount reimbursed.

The larger issues are that there are many employers who book fully flexible fares. If an upgrade is to an inflexible fare, it may be cheap but does not meet the employer's needs. In that case, you may be stuck with the entire cost of the ticket if a change needs to be made.

The real key is to sit down and have a thorough discussion. There are some employers who are thoroughly rooted in the past and others who see flexibility as a relatively cost-free way of keeping employees happy.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:39 am
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If you are not tied to a corp TA and can book direct (even on a corp card), you can call BA within 24 hours upgrade and pay the difference on whatever card you wish.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 7:00 am
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Remember that you get a tax rebate for spending your own money upgrading work flights. There is a box on your tax return to declare the amount.

More info - https://www.headforpoints.com/2018/0...business-trip/ (my link)
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Old Jan 26, 20, 7:18 am
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Originally Posted by lcylocal View Post
If you are not tied to a corp TA and can book direct (even on a corp card), you can call BA within 24 hours upgrade and pay the difference on whatever card you wish.
This is what I'd do, but again, my job's travel policy allows me to buy with my own credit card and expense it. If you're tied to a corporate TA, things might be different.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 8:14 am
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Originally Posted by WLX View Post
If you book through a corporate TA they should be able to calculate exactly the price difference at the time or even historically. You can then pay the difference with a personal card.

Have never actually done this yet as every time I have wanted to do it the fare difference hasnt been within the range I was willing to spend. But in theory its doable.

My company policy is for Premium Economy on an overnight return from the US. I value the better meal (and genuinely think there is quite a difference on BA) but cant sleep unless flat so its no different from Economy as far as that side of things goes.

I figure the company has made the decision that us starting the next day of work with a good nights sleep is simply not worth the four-figure per person price difference. To be honest, your workers have to pull in quite a lot of value to make this worthwhile. I am in a role that costs my company money rather than generates profit, so it is not much use complaining and I am inclined to agree with them.
Why does such a role exist?
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Old Jan 26, 20, 8:24 am
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Originally Posted by mctaste View Post
Why does such a role exist?
That is often a function of poor business and accounting practice. A role such as compliance may not generate direct revenue for a business but it nonetheless does go to the bottom line if one considers that in many businesses, compliance issues may result in all manner of mischief.

As a purist matter, your question indeed is a good one. As a practical one it is the stuff of near-sighted types.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 8:40 am
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Could you place a booking on hold for whatever is in policy, then just book whatever class you want to travel in and then claim back for the "held" fare. You'll lose the 10 or whatever BA charge but it'll be cheapest, unless your company would just accept a screenshot of the payment page which I doubt many would.

This does assume that you can book the travel yourself, of course.

Originally Posted by mctaste View Post
Why does such a role exist?
Surely cost centres and profit centres aren't a foreign concept?

I work in a profit centre role and my business travel is purely domestic within the US. My company pay for F because the work I can do on the plane generates far more income than it costs to put my in the front seats, work I couldn't realistically do in Y.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
Could you place a booking on hold for whatever is in policy, then just book whatever class you want to travel in and then claim back for the "held" fare. You'll lose the 10 or whatever BA charge but it'll be cheapest, unless your company would just accept a screenshot of the payment page which I doubt many would.

This does assume that you can book the travel yourself, of course.



Surely cost centres and profit centres aren't a foreign concept?

I work in a profit centre role and my business travel is purely domestic within the US. My company pay for F because the work I can do on the plane generates far more income than it costs to put my in the front seats, work I couldn't realistically do in Y.
This is a good solution. It is simply that many businesses run their accounting systems in the 1950's and don't give any thought to the fact that making this doable has a minimal administrative cost and an outsize bang for the buck.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 2:17 pm
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We have quite a strict policy. We have to book via corporate TA using their portal. Sometimes this is more expensive than BA.com and when yiu challenge it yiu are told that’s the fare but often there are confidential negotiated fares on other routes.

Upgrades are not allowed and travel,outside of policy is frowned upon. Indeed if 1st class rail is cheaper than standard class we have to get a manager 2 levels higher to approve.

travelmis usuallyNTHe cheapest option so I plan meetings accordingly to make travel on FR and U2 impossible due to schedules at least then I can use the lounge.

This is a FTSE 100 financial firm so seems quite strict compared to other liberal policies.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 3:24 pm
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I only upgrade BA via POUG, and at that it's nearly always for tier points on short flights so the corporate TA doesn't need to get involved. We have to buy all our flights through the corporate TA.

My view is that if I POUG I know it makes the ticket partly or wholly inflexible, and if I have some sort of emergency need to change my return travel then I will have to pay the cost of some other ticket myself. So far, in several years of doing this, it has not happened - and in any case the maximum liability for a trip from a large European city is manageable (in particular when an LCC is often an option). I am more careful about POUGing an intercontinental trip, but even there if you POUG a return trip shortly before travel you should have a good idea of how likely a need for a short-notice change will be in your job and your company.

On AA, I have used SWUs, but these don't change the underlying ticket like BA upgrades do so the ability of the TA to change the ticket is not affected.

I've never tried talking to our corporate TA about changing the ticket at my own cost. Given how much value they subtract in other dealings with them, I dread to think what they'd do if I asked them to handle an upgrade.

Last edited by flatlander; Jan 26, 20 at 4:05 pm
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Old Jan 26, 20, 4:10 pm
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WFT, how does your company travel purchase policy work?

At mine we have a personal corporate card linked to Egenicia. When I make the initial booking, that is the receipt I use to claim against my corporate CC. I haven't done an upgrade yet, but I have paid for seat allocation and just did that on my own credit card (linked to my BA account). The company doesn't see anything other than the original transaction, anything after that and on my card is fine.
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