Which travel arrangements are best for me?


Travel rewards provide customers with great deals on flights and hotels. Read below for more details to find out which option is best for you and your team.

Flights

Flight pricing

Pricing is very dynamic due to airlines' sophisticated revenue management software — it is constantly adjusted based on:

  • Fare class

  • Demand

  • Time until flight

  • Availability

On any given flight, even people sitting in the same row are likely to have paid very different prices due to the different class fare prices.

Note: Final pricing is never guaranteed until a ticket is issued.

Flight economy classes

Make sure to note the type of flight class you book and its associated restrictions.

Basic Economy
  • The cheapest and most restrictive fare you can book with an airline

  • Still seated in the economy class cabin

  • Limited flexibility, no carry-on, no elite status accumulation

  • Mainstream airlines rolled out basic economy fares to compete with LLCs but do not actually want to sell this

Economy
  • Seat selection at the time of booking, if available

  • Other options for customizing your travel

Economy (flexible)
  • Refundable fare, but cancellation and change fees may apply

  • Seat selection at the time of booking, if available

  • Enjoy other options for customizing your travel

Flight voids and cancellations

The ticketing process consists of a two-step process:

  1. Holding a seat on the flight

  2. Issuing an actual ticket on the itinerary

For US flights only, airlines must give users at least 24 hours from the time of ticketing to cancel their seat and be fully refunded without penalties.

After 24 hours, the seat can be canceled, but the ticket may still retain some value — depending on the cost of the ticket exchange fee.

Flight ticket exchanges

Fees for ticket exchanges are very complex and vary by airline, fare class, and fare rules:

  • Generally, domestic airlines usually charge a $150-$200 ticket exchange fee for making changes to a non-refundable airfare after 24 hours.

  • For international flights, the ticket exchange fee can be up to $400.

  • Southwest Airlines does not charge a change fee for tickets, which makes it a popular choice among scrappy companies.

  • The actual cost of a ticket exchange is impossible to predict in advance and is based on two things:

    • The ticket exchange fee (which is a fixed fee, written in the fare rules at the time of original ticket purchase).

    • The cost of mark up between the old ticket vs the new ticket (which is constantly changing).

Frequent flyer program

Travel rewards supports business frequent flyer programs for travel booked through the travel rewards portal. Here's how it works:

  • Both travelers and companies can earn rewards for every flight booked.

  • Points, not miles, are earned based on the cost of tickets.

  • The airline will track purchases and send the client a certificate that can be redeemed for travel once enough airline points are accrued.

Hotels

Refundable vs. non-refundable hotels

Refundable
  • More flexibility to change and cancel.

  • May be more expensive or outside of company policy.

  • If plans change, you can cancel your hotel room reservation per the penalty period of the property.

  • If you prepaid for the room, you will get a full refund.

  • If you only reserved the room and plan to pay onsite, the reservation is simply canceled.

  • Users typically earn their loyalty points.

Non-refundable
  • Rates are often lower than refundable hotel rates.

  • Limited/no flexibility and financial penalties if plans change and you need to cancel.

  • Even when canceled ahead of time, you usually cannot cancel without penalty (in rare situations, the hotel may waive the penalty but it is solely at the hotel's discretion).

Pre-pay vs. pay later hotels

Pre-pay
  • You pay at the time of booking the hotel.

  • You must still provide a credit card for incidentals at the time of check-in.

  • This is a good option for booking with a company card as you can run into issues if you select a pay later rate with a company card.

  • Rates are often lower.

  • If it is a pre-pay non-refundable, you most likely will not get a refund or will pay penalties if you cancel the booking.

Pay later
  • A credit card is used to reserve a room, but not charged up front.

  • You put down a credit card at check-in which can be a different card than the one used to reserve the room — this card is used to pay for the full room bill plus incidentals, taxes, and any other fees at check-out.

  • May be risky for business travelers because if you use a company credit card that you don't physically have, you won't be able to use it on site because they need to physically re-swipe it upon check-in.

Resort fees and incidentals

There is a rising trend for urban hotels (especially in NYC, SF, and Chicago) to charge resort fees to boost revenue without raising nightly hotel rates.

  • Resort fees are for basic Wi-Fi, phone service, fitness center, business center, etc.

  • Resort fees cannot be waived even if you do not use the amenities–they are usually assessed per day.

  • You must present a credit card at check-in which is used for:

    • Incidentals (food/snacks, room service, etc)

    • Refundable deposit for incidentals/damages

    • Resort fees

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