You own a business, so you should fly in business class
How a business credit or charge card can help you fly in comfort when travelling for work.
If travel is part of your job, flying in business class could help you start and end your journey in the right frame of mind.
But as a business owner, it can sometimes be hard to fork out money for a premium fare. So if the cost is what's holding you back, here's a look at some of the ways a business charge card or credit card can help justify the cost.
BUSINESS WITH BENEFITS
Finder's Smarter Small Business series is presented by American Express. Reward your business spending with 150,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you apply for the American Express Platinum Business card by 11 March 2020 and spend $5,000 on your new card within 3 months. New Card members only. T&Cs apply.
Cash flow and tax deductions
In most cases, travel for work is a tax-deductible expense. This means the cost of a business class fare can help offset the amount of tax you need to pay, which could make it easier to justify the expense in the long run.
With this type of expense, it's a good idea to use a dedicated business account or card to pay for the trip. This keeps your work and personal expenses separate, which can help speed up your tax-reporting process. Many business credit cards and charge cards also offer interest-free days on purchases, which could help free up your cash flow if you need to book a flight while waiting on payments. Check out other business expenses you should put on your card.
Wondering if a credit card or charge card is better for your cashflow? See our article on whether a credit card or a charge card is better for your business to weigh up your options.
If your card is linked to a rewards program, you'll earn points on your business expenses – which you could then redeem for business class flights. Depending on the card and rewards program, you may be able to use points to book through a partner travel service, or transfer them to a frequent flyer program and make a booking from there.
For example, the American Express Platinum Business charge card earns Membership Rewards points that you can use to make travel bookings with American Express Travel, Webjet or helloworld.
You can also transfer your points to frequent flyer programs including Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. See our guide to turning your Membership Rewards into perks for your business for more tips.
The Westpac Altitude Platinum Business credit card, on the other hand, earns Altitude Points that you can use directly through Altitude Travel, transfer to your choice of five frequent flyer partners (including Velocity and KrisFlyer) or redeem for gift cards with Flight Centre and Webjet.
Bonus points for flight bookings
Some business frequent flyer cards also offer additional points per $1 spent on bookings with a particular airline. For example, the American Express Velocity Business Card earns 2 points per $1 spent on Virgin Australia services and between 0.5 and 1 point per $1 on most other spending. Similarly, the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card earns 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas products and services and between 0.5 and 1.25 points per $1 spent on other eligible purchases.
But even if you get a frequent flyer card that doesn't offer bonus points, being able to earn through both the card and your frequent flyer account means you'll earn points for your business flights more quickly.
Concierge services and travel service teams
If your card comes with a concierge service or a dedicated travel service team, it could save you a lot of time comparing flights and fares. In most cases, you can simply call the service, give your dates and budget, then wait for it to get back to you with options.
Some services may even allow the use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip for you.
Airport lounge access
If you're already booked on an economy flight, or can't justify the expense of a business class fare, another option is to get a business card that offers complimentary lounge access. This gives you an opportunity to relax or get some work done before your flight, without dealing with the busyness of the main terminal.
The key here is to find a card that matches your travel schedule. If you only fly once or twice per year, a card that offers single-use airport lounge passes may be suitable. But if you're often in the air, getting a card that offers unlimited lounge access will help you get value no matter which fare class you've booked.
Bonus tip: Find a card that offers hotel upgrades
If your work trips usually last a couple of days, it may be worth looking for a card that unlocks hotel benefits like upgrades or loyalty program status.
For example, if you have an American Express Platinum Business Card, you can enjoy room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, late check-out and other benefits by booking through the exclusive Fine Hotels and Resorts service. This card also offers complimentary AccorPlus membership (valued at $395 p.a.) and elite status with hotel loyalty programs, including Hilton Honors.
If you have a Visa card, you can also access a range of hotel benefits through either a personal or business credit card, with perks like room upgrades and late check-out often available for more-premium cards. Similar options are also available through Mastercard.
While travelling for work can forge valuable connections and help seal deals, it also takes a toll. If flying in business class, accessing a lounge or even staying in a nice hotel helps reduce the stress, then it's a worthwhile investment. And with the right card, it could be more affordable than you first thought.
Disclaimer: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before applying for any products mentioned, please read the product terms and conditions and consider whether that product is right for you.
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