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New business traveler seeking advice

New business traveler seeking advice

Old Feb 12, 17, 10:33 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: DEN
Posts: 32
New business traveler seeking advice

Hey FT, I'm a new business traveler based out of DEN and I'm just beginning research on various aspects of the new life. I've been with this company for more than three years now and have done some travel with them for training and such, but fairly infrequent. I will be accepting a new role in about a month that will have me on the road 3-4 weeks a month, domestic, primarily in the western part of the country.

All of my business travel will be booked via company sponsored booking site/agent and paid for via company AMEX. Hilton and Hertz are our preferred partners and I've got those programs going already. A colleague here locally mentioned that she flies pretty much only SW and United to cover her work needs.

Personally, we've had a Capital One Venture card for 3.5yrs and use it for nearly all purchases and to pay as many bills as possible, $2-4k/mo I'd say. Our first rewards card and I like it since it's simple and 2% points on everything. We're married no kids, and most of our spending is on dining and shopping. Not a lot of personal spending on travel as we only do a trip a year or so. We hope to change that now that I should rack up some serious benefits once I hit the road.

So, do you all have any general advice on how to maximize my benefit? Should I consider getting one of the Chase or United cards to get a fresh jump? Any business travel advice in general? I have already applied for Global Entry for the two of us. Figured it's a no-brainer.

Thanks for any info folks! I'm excited to get started, but there is so much information here, thought I'd ask you guys where I may focus my attention.

Mike

Last edited by madmike283; Feb 12, 17 at 11:38 am
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Old Feb 13, 17, 9:14 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: London
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Welcome to FlyerTalk!

Have a read through the pinned threads in these forums - they will give you an idea of how to maximise credit signup bonuses and rewards from spending. It's a good start point and the good folks there will be able to give you more detailed advice on the specifics when the time comes. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credi...-programs-390/
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Old Feb 14, 17, 11:51 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 12
Hi Mike,

Couple of thoughts....

- Get TSA PreCheck (no brainer here of the time savings)

- Get lounge access for yourself, very helpful for flight delays or other issues where you need a quiet place to crash for a while, get work done, etc. Some lounges like United have meeting rooms you can utilize depending on your business needs. Can do day passes, annual passes from some airlines or something like Priority Pass (usually only works well in US on International lounges it seems depending on airport).

- Southwest, JetBlue, Virgin America should definitely be on your list of possible carriers depending on the routes you are routinely flying. Depending if you are going to large hub airports or doing a lot of regional stops will depend on your airline choices. I personally like to fly Delta more than United out of my regional airport (GRR) as they tend to use MD-80s which I much prefer over any regional jet that United uses.

- I like Chase cards, primarily the Sapphire Reserve or Preferred. The flexibility with Ultimate Rewards is quite good, especially since a lot of international airlines are transfer partners. The Reserve card is doing 3x points on travel/dining so can really help add up. You just missed the 100k points bonus they had going for a while! You also get your TSA/Global fees re-funded with Reserve as well.

- Hilton and American Express have their co-branded card which will get you Hilton HHonors Gold status out of the box which is useful if you are frequenting Hilton often, free breakfast/wifi/lounge access/etc. I have had good success with upgrades on Gold as well.
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Old Feb 15, 17, 1:06 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by kensiltra View Post
- Hilton and American Express have their co-branded card which will get you Hilton HHonors Gold status out of the box which is useful if you are frequenting Hilton often, free breakfast/wifi/lounge access/etc. I have had good success with upgrades on Gold as well.
Actually I am not sure if it is worth it for an actual business traveler to get the Amex Surpass. The room and meal is paid by the company credit card, so he won't get any benefit from 12x points on Hilton spent. If he really travels 3 to 4 weeks a month... he is going to get Gold status in under 2 months. It seems expansive ($75 annual fee) just to speed up to Gold for extra 2 months.

I would go with the Citi Hilton Reserve instead. At least he will get a free weekend night if he spent $10K a year on it. And $95 annual fee is good trade in for a free weekend night even if you just spend it on a Hampton Inn. The last time I spent my weekend night cert was on a 90,000 points per night Conrad ($400+ cash rate).
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Old Feb 15, 17, 2:28 pm
  #5  
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Thanks for the info guys. I have Global Entry/Pre-Check in the works. Too bad I had already applied and paid before I read about the Sapphire Reserve. After more reading I realized that the CSR was a good fit (3x dining, etc.) and that I could still get the 100k bonus by applying in branch. Along with that comes some lounge access, so that could come in handy. Thanks for the recommendation!
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Old Feb 16, 17, 11:11 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2016
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Mike,

To be honest I have had mixed feelings on the Priority Pass lounges; in many of the airports I fly out of it seems they are using mostly 3rd party lounges and/or international carrier lounges which often don't fit well flying domestically (time to get there, different terms, etc.) so I wouldn't put a ton of stock in it, really depends on the airport but many of them are for international circumstances. In review I'd much rather get a lounge membership from United/Delta that is in the terminal I'm flying if one of those carriers works. Just my $0.02
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Old Feb 16, 17, 3:32 pm
  #7  
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Thanks Ken, I kind of got that impression reading more. I'll definitely look into United since I should be using them often.
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Old Feb 17, 17, 6:19 pm
  #8  
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I don't think DL yet has a lounge at DEN.

If OP will be traveling a lot on UA from DEN, by all means get something to have a UA lounge membership, which is likely to allow use when you're flying some other carrier too.

Start by reading your company's travel policy very carefully. Are UA and WN your preferred airlines or not?

If DEN has CLEAR, the fee might be worth it. I've seen long PreCheck lines at DEN.
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Old Feb 17, 17, 10:30 pm
  #9  
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Join Date: Feb 2017
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We don't have any preferred airlines. We book via our company online travel booking site which includes WN and book based on some fare restrictions.

Thanks for the heads up on CLEAR. Sounds like it could be easily worth the $99 being here in DEN!
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Old Feb 19, 17, 2:41 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I don't think DL yet has a lounge at DEN.
They do. It's in the A-concourse and opened last summer.
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Old Feb 20, 17, 5:43 am
  #11  
 
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It seems like airfare purchases will be paid for with corp card. Kinds sounds likes hotel and meal will too? What purchases can you put on your personal rewards card to rack up your personal points?
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Old Feb 20, 17, 6:18 am
  #12  
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Yeah, unfortunately the corp Amex is used to pay for flights and hotels. I'll use the CSR for all meals and any personal travel, which won't be much this year.

We currently use the Venture to earn 2x on everything. We pay as many bills as possible with it and make nearly every purchase with it, mostly dining and shopping.
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Old Feb 20, 17, 9:40 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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be careful with UA lounge. You can use it ONLY if you are flying UA flight that day.
not worth the expense if you will be flying a hodgepodge of airlines.

It seems like most of your flights will be short (Denver to west coast cities)

Jetblue is really good and you can get their elite level and get some benefits out of it.
Southwest has a nice perk of letting you name a co-flyer that can come for almost free on any flight you take with Southwest once you have hit 100K miles. In the past (not sure if still does), it allowed you to count the bonus miles you got via credit card sign up.
The advantage of United is the fact that those miles can be used for lots of international travel (assuming the contract between your company and UA allows you to collect the miles) and their lounges are nothing special but always better than hanging out in the terminal. if you hit Gold with United you get to bring more bags if needed and you get some perks with Star Alliance.

I would also consider how much time you are on the road. Once the excitement wears off then you will be looking/wanting the quickest shortest and no connection flight to get back home and screw points and miles.
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Old Feb 21, 17, 7:22 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by madmike283 View Post
We currently use the Venture to earn 2x on everything. We pay as many bills as possible with it and make nearly every purchase with it, mostly dining and shopping.
I'm no fan of Venture as it's just a cashback card with less flexibility. There are free 2% cashback cards that have no redemption restrictions. Venture cardholders pay an annual fee for the "privelege" of having redemptions restricted to travel expenditures. Kudos to Cap One marketing department.
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Old Feb 21, 17, 8:24 am
  #15  
 
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Routes, routes, routes. I would figure out what airlines I will be flying to get where I want to go, and what airports I will be going through (including what terminals I will be in), and make decisions from that. If a colleague doing very similar work says WN and UA, then you may find that, too. In my case, I've become a UA 1K, but flying based on picking best routes for me for work travel, not loyalty.

I don't think the UA club card requires a same day BP on UA, though depending on the airport, you may not be able to access the relevant terminal if flying another airline. (The AA card, too, and I often use their lounges when I am not flying AA.) The UA card also works for other *A lounges, like LH and TK, if you are going through an airport with international connections. The UA clubs are not elaborate in the US, and not worth going to just for the experience, but can be worth it if you need a place to work or if there is a delay or long connection. If you ever have a six hour weather delay in crowded DEN, you will find out what I mean. The Amex lounges are really nice, but are only in certain locations. Priority Pass (through Amex) lounges are not much in the US (with a few exceptions like BOS), but often very nice internationally. Amex can also allow you to use DL lounges, but only if flying on DL.
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