Useful sites for business travel planning
Have you read my other article about how to survive (and enjoy) intensive business travel ? Check it out, it my explain better the reason why I suggest and recommend some of the sites below.
For business I stay within Accor group as much as possible. I chose the hotels which are conveniently located and most importantly, have a desk and proper connections to plug in all I need for my workstation. WiFi is a must, but so far I have never really encountered any issue in any hotels I visited.
I enjoy the benefit of staying within Accor ( disclaimer: I am a platinum member ). As a business person, it means free early check-in and late check-out. This is priceless when you come from a red-eye flight and need to check-in immediately. The free room upgrade is nice, but when you travel for business not that important - what is great is when you have a proper executive lounge access. This way you can also have quiet meetings there with colleagues or customers. Depending on the properties, sometimes you get some free laundry or pressing too. I have found that fidelity has its perks and makes the business travels less tiresome.
If relevant for you - you should also look into the program linking of your hotel program as well to leverage your business stays for your personal use. I have linked my Accor membership with my flying blue AirFrance account from Skyteam. This way I earn miles & status on the airline when I stay in an Accor property. I also try , when it’s relevant, to use the discount they offer for members for car rental companies - it does sometimes provide you a better service provider at the price of a low cost service provider. Always worth checking it out.
Most hotel chains release promotions such as multiply points if you “book by this time or in this countries”. Sometimes I am lucky that my travel schedule is already set and I would benefit of these offer greatly to accumulate massive amount of points for personal use. Keep an eye on your emails !
In South East Asia, I use Grab and Gojek the most. A little of Uber in Australia.
I also use public transport, because it’s often the most convenient, cheapest and provide a good scenery, like in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Australia.
I am not afraid to take local motorcycle, boats and local means to get to my destination on time. I have always valued business partners who arrive earlier or on time. ( although, I have learn to be very flexible with this since I live in Asia... )
I like Grab the most because with one app you can book all across South East Asia. Plus if you register your account for grab business, you can qualify the ride as “business”, you can then log into their website and download a nicely done summary of all the rides done under the business label. It’s easier to make your claims. It can also be linked to some claiming SAP systems (like Concur) and pre-load into your expense reports the rides directly !
Similarly to the hotel booking programs, many app can exchange their points into miles. So keep an eye out for this ! Grab reward points for example can be exchanged for Garuda and Singapore airlines miles.
If your company doesn’t make you use their credit card. Then you are free to go shopping around for one that provides maximum of points or miles for your own personal use.
I have the HSBC Premier Mastercard in Indonesia that gives me great miles conversion on Garuda. Or maybe seek an access to Priority lounges ? Some do have great benefit for business travelers.
My company books for me, so I don’t get much of a say in it. At equivalent rate and time I will tend to favor the flight that is within an alliance I am trying to build a status in. (At the moment Skyteam).
Don't forget that if you are travelling within the same alliance, you can claim the miles of this flight into your primary fidelity program. If it's not done automatically, then you have to do it manually on the primary airline website. That doesn't always brings loads of miles (depends on your ticket class) but it's always worth doing it on the long term.
There are no small savings and optimizing your fidelity programs, if you are a frequent business traveler. It can help you travel for free on your personal times. It just takes some discipline.