One of the great perks that comes with using credit cards is the ability to earn miles and points when making purchases. This earning potential is so significant that there are actually many forums, blogs, groups, and even a “university” dedicated to helping consumers understand the myriad benefits and rewards programs available to them from credit card companies and how to maximize these opportunities. Many consumers have taken advantage of these options and turned their spending habits into significant side income-earning ventures.
Spend Wisely, Earn Rewards
Small businesses and corporations can also benefit from proper management of credit card spending and travel programs as a combined service, based on their travel habits and expenses. Business owners who use corporate cards to pay for inventory and operational expenses or conduct the majority of their business online, can potentially earn hundreds of thousands of points per month by choosing the best program that fits their corporate profile.
For example, when utilizing Amex for payroll, you can earn one Membership Rewards point for every dollar spent on payroll. There’s a small fee to use this service, but if you run the numbers (or have a credit card advisor run the numbers for you, you may find that it’s worth it for you to pay the fee since the returns will be much greater.
Another tip that many people don’t know is that individual purchases of $5,000 or more on an American Express Business Platinum card trigger 1.5 points. That means up to 1 million extra points per year!
An additional area of focus for small businesses and corporations is the classification of their business type as it relates to their credit card usage. Certain credit card programs offer double or triple the points when spending within certain categories. The American Express Business Gold Card, for example, offers three times the points for Google Advertising charges, but caps the bonus at 300,000 points per card member. Knowing this, businesses may choose to open new cards for a number of executives and employees, thereby maximizing the triple points business by taking advantage of this bonus for each of their card members or executives.
A prestigious financial services firm based in Manhattan was able to increase its rewards accrual from roughly three million miles per year to over nine million by using these and similar methods.
Apart from taking into account the business category type, business owners and executives should become familiar with the places their employees typically travel to, and choose a credit card rewards program that is either connected with the airline the employees typically fly with or that earns rewards that can be transferred to those airlines. The business can then reduce its travel expenses by utilizing the rewards earned to offset the cost of airline tickets. Often, they can also receive additional bonus miles during the transfer.
Using Rewards for Travel
Business managers should become familiar with how to use rewards programs to their advantage when actually booking rewards tickets. American Express Business Platinum Cards have a special perk whereby individuals who book tickets through the Amex Travel Portal and pay for those tickets using Amex points will receive 35% of the points back into their Membership Rewards account..
With proper knowledge of the intricate mileage network employed by various airlines and alliances (or with an expert’s advice), you can find excellent deals. A coach ticket to China may cost $1,000, or 70,000 miles, while a business class ticket to the same destination can run $6,500, or 140,000 miles. (Although mileage tickets can offer significant savings with their substantially smaller price differentials, they can be difficult to acquire. An expert who knows the system can help you find these deals.)
This is only the tip of the iceberg, however; there are many more creative ways to take advantage of the credit card rewards.
Pinny Ackerman is a partner & director of operations for PEYD, a community-based business located in the Five Towns. PEYD provides consulting services and creative solutions to help individuals and business owners nationwide navigate credit card rewards and travel industries. They offer business consulting services, with a focus on business travel and rewards management.