Business Travel: Choosing the Right Credit Cards
If you’re a business traveler, you know that your credit card comes out of your wallet a lot while you’re on the road—for transportation, hotels, meals, and other incidental expenses.
And there’s a lot to think about when deciding which credit card is most appropriate for your own personal business travel. In addition to taking into account your own needs as a traveler, you also have to consider the travel suppliers such as airlines and hoteliers that your employer uses.
If you tend to fly to the same places on business, using the same airline and hotel for your trips, it may be worthwhile to select a card branded to a carrier or hotel chain—so that you can get the most out of those accumulated miles and points.
Remember, even if you’ve decided on a card tied to a specific brand, you’ll still find much to choose from. Delta, for example, has a number of credit-card options tied to airline miles.
Also, the cards from airlines and hotels come with other perks besides free flights and hotel stays.
Delta has credit cards that allow discounted or complimentary access to its airport Sky Clubs and partner lounges, as well as savings on in-flight purchases and free baggage check for the first bag. Depending on the card, Hilton Honors offers free, high-speed Wi-Fi and room upgrades when available. Cardholders who charge a certain amount in a calendar year are eligible for a free weekend night at select hotels and resorts.
Some travelers tend to go to many different destinations on business trips, flying on different carriers and staying in a variety of hotels. They may find it difficult to get the full benefit from credit cards tied to a brand.
If this fits your business travel profile, you may want to choose a credit card that offers a wide variety of ways you can redeem points, such as transferring them to partner airlines and hotels. Cards that offer multiple points for money spent on travel and dining can be a great deal for business travelers, too. Some non-branded cards offer perks like an annual credit that can be applied to baggage fees or in-flight food purchases or partial reimbursement for in-flight Wi-Fi.
Other considerations include whether or not the card has an annual fee, and if you’ll be able to “make up” the fee in rewards during the year. Business travelers who take trips outside the United States may want to look for a card that doesn’t charge a transaction fee on foreign purchases.
It’s important to take a careful look at what each card offers—including reading the fine print—and thinking about what you’ll be really getting. How much do you have to charge in order to accumulate enough points for a reward that you can use? Credit cards usually include a sign-up bonus for charging a certain amount of money within the first 90 days. Make sure it’s a bonus that works for you.
For help planning your next business trip, contact your established corporate travel agency, Travel Leaders COS.