Have you ever had a secret “good
thing” that everyone else thought was a horrific “bad thing?” Anytime anyone would offer you sympathy about
it, you’d just smile inside and laugh?
One of my first travel gig was a regular trip to Marshal Space Flight
I was told, “You’re new, so you’ll have to go to MSFC.” I’ll “have to? What could be so bad about Hunstville?” I
wanted to know. Well, the other two
sites we worked with were
and the Western Space & Missile Complex in gorgeous
lot. However, my first trip to
Hunstville was incredible! I met a
pretty girl and her co-worker who would take me mud-buggy racing, we went
fishing, enjoyed great southern food, enjoyed the company of many co-workers my
own age, etc. I started volunteering for
trips to MSFC and nobody back home in
could understand it.
Recently, I received an email from a distraught reader who’s company would
not provide him with a company card for his required travel. I saw nothing but “good news” for
him! Personally, my best traveling years
happened when I could use a personal credit card to book flights and to travel,
etc. I chose a card that would rack up some serious reward points; in my case
it made sense to use the WorldPerks Visa card for NWA since I live in an NWA
hub city. I called the bank that issued it and applied over the phone and
negotiated a higher balance in exchange for a higher rate of interest (I knew
I’d never float the balance, so the rate of interest didn’t concern me. I
explained to them that I would be using the card exclusively for corporate
travel and they opened the account with a $10k ceiling. That’s more than
enough to travel with, *IF* you’re careful and you follow some simple rules:
1. Use that card for business travel ONLY!! NO
PERSONAL STUFF!! Only put things on that card that you KNOW the company
will reimburse you for.
2. Do your expense reports immediately. Bought
your airline tix at 8am? Turn in the expense report for them before you
go to lunch that same day… the quicker you expense, the quicker you are
3. Setup your corporate expense reimbursement to go to
a direct deposit account, and pay your credit card bill online. This way,
you don’t have to wait to get back in town to collect a check, go to the bank,
etc. As soon as you get a reimbursement
check, log in and pay it toward your credit card. Don’t let it sit in your checking or savings
account for any time at all or you’ll be tempted to spend it.
4. After 3-6 months, call the credit card company,
reference your payment history, and ask for a larger balance (if needed).
The benefits to using a personal card (over a
corporate card) are significant. Having
a card in your name in which you regularly charge and pay large
moneys per month, helps your credit rating tremendously. You rack up serious
extra reward points, since you’re the one booking and buying the tickets you
travel with. Also, you should talk to
your accountant and your mileage may vary, but since it’s a personal card, I
was able to write quite a bit of my travel expenses off of my taxes.
The extra points I earned just from buying airline
tickets on my own card was enough to take my wife along with me to
Yes, there’s an added bit of risk and
accounting that you’ll to do, but isn’t it worth it to reap the benefits?
EXTRA: If you have
questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions
will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the
Expert podcast show.