How diligent are your employees when it comes to collecting and keeping track of their travel rewards points? I like to think of “Reward Point Accounting” in the terms of a retirement account: There are those who set up the account and forget about it, and there are those who constantly tweak and adjust.
Some corporations allow their employees to keep the miles and rewards points they earn while traveling for the company. Others require the employees to “reinvest” them back into the company. Regardless of how your policies are written, somebody somewhere must keep track of what was earned, and whether it was earned on behalf of the company or during a personal trip by the employee. Those points won’t count themselves, and sometimes employees need a bit of incentive to stay on top of their accumulation.
There are a zillion ways for hotels and airlines to lose track of your rewards points and your frequent flier miles. It’s happened to me. A few weeks ago, the desk clerk at the J.W. Marriott in San Francisco was quick to open a separate account for me for my incidentals (nonexpensible items), but at checkout time she lost the main folio from the account with the room rates on it. I was presented with a bill for $14.33 for the entire week. I talked to the desk manager who then found the other folio for $1,498. When I got home, I logged in and completed my expense report and that was that. Or so I thought . . .
A few weeks later, I was reconciling my rewards points and there appeared to be a 10,000 point discrepancy with my points for that hotel chain. For my stay in San Francisco, I used one credit card for my corporate expenses, and that card has a rewards system. I used a different card for the personal expenses, and that card has a rewards system as well. I received the appropriate number of points for both of those cards. However, the hotel I stayed in gives 10 points for every dollar spent while you’re there; so there’s a third set of rewards points to watch over, and as you might guess, I was 14,980 points short.
In this case, those points were mine, since my company allows me to keep them. Had I overlooked them, it would have only cost my own account. My wife is my “accountant” when it comes to rewards points, and she’s meticulously aware of “our” point totals at all times. If these were corporate points, however, an employee may have easily overlooked the error or not have bothered to recover the points. Which means you need to incentivize employees. This can be done in the form of a monthly (or bimonthly) contest where the top rewards earners get a free lunch or a gift from the corporate catalog. Keeping a posted list of the traveling employees and their running rewards totals is also an excellent free way for you to make everyone aware of where they stand.