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post #1 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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I am looking for Advice from Frequent travelers

I am switching careers and the new position is going to have me traveling extensively. I used to travel quite a bit but it was pre 2001 when flying was alot different than it is today.

So i have a question for those of you who are frequent flyers. What are some "insider" tips that you can give me? The traveling I will be doing is 3 days at a time. The company I am working for has a travel desk that books the flights. I start on Monday so I don't know how all of the hotel and rental car bookings work yet.

Any tips that you are willing to share, no matter how trivial will be considered. Thank you

<-- Chris

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post #2 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 08:24 AM
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hotel reward points. Find a good one, use it repeatably, it will pay off

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post #3 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 08:37 AM
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^^^ This. And car rental reward points, and airline miles, too. There's a lot of points and rewards you can rack up being a frequent traveler for business.

Will all this be on a company bill or will you use your own card and get reimbursed? If the later then get a good rewards CC.

Play it smart and you can clean up on the company's dime.

Who does your company's travel desk use for travel?

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post #4 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 08:42 AM
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Become a rewards member of an airline carrier, hotel and rental car and rack up points. Before you know it you will be a Gold Awards, A-List, what have you member and will get free drinks, free nights, flights, etc.

Always pack an extra set of clothes as there is always a good chance of your flight getting canceled. For six straight weeks over the summer, my flight was either delayed or cancelled. Airlines will only put you up in a hotel ONLY if there is a mechanical problem. If it is weather related, your ass is sleeping in the airport.

Toothpaste, mouthwash and all that other shit needs to be 3oz or less or the TSA gestapo will make you check your bag in.

If at all possible, fly Southwest.

Airport bars are mad expensive but if you get a per diem like I do, then dranks are free. But I try to be conservative with that shit so I can keep that money.

There is more. I'll have to get back to you.

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post #5 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 08:59 AM
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If you fly economy, do web check-in 24 hours ahead and get a seat in the emergency exit for better legroom. It tends to be cooler by the exit, so carry an extra layer of clothing.

If you plan on sleeping on long fights, get a comfortable pair of ear plugs.

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post #6 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:08 AM
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>> Do Not <<

Use a personal card for company expenses.... if you do, *you* are *personally*
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post #7 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:11 AM
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If at all possible, fly Southwest.
This.

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post #8 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all of the advice so far. What about dealing with airport security? I have heard things about preferred flyer programs that allow you to keep your shoes on, keep your laptop in the bag if your laptop bag is TSA approved, etc.

Can anybody touch on luggage suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chills View Post

Who does your company's travel desk use for travel?
Chills, the company is associated with Accenture so they use Accenture's travel desk, I don't know if that is contracted out or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gone In 3 View Post
If you plan on sleeping on long fights, get a comfortable pair of ear plugs.
For those that sleep on flights, do those round pillows really work? the ones that go around your neck? I was actually looking at a pair of Bose QC headphones as I have used them on a friend's private plane once (the version for small single engine aircraft) and was amazed at how well they quieted the noise.


Finally, do frequent flyer programs for airlines charge to become members? For UAL and AA do those executive clubs require you to have a certain number of miles before you qualify or can you pay to be a member. If you can pay is it worth it?

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If at all possible, fly Southwest.

There is more. I'll have to get back to you.
Is this the consensus from everybody? Southwest when possible?

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post #9 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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>> Do Not <<

Use a personal card for company expenses.... if you do, *you* are *personally*
responsible for the charges whether they are reimbured or not.


Tom

Thank you - yes the company gives us a corporate Amex so that is covered.

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post #10 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLARNEY View Post
>> Do Not <<

Use a personal card for company expenses.... if you do, *you* are *personally*
responsible for the charges whether they are reimbured or not.


Tom
I use my personal credit card for company expenses so I get the points. Not sure why that is a problem. I put personal and company expenses on my AMEX Gold Card. You are personally responsible for the charges on your corporate card whether it is reimbursed or not.

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post #11 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
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For those that sleep on flights, do those round pillows really work? the ones that go around your neck?
Depends on your posture.

For me, they are not that helpful.

On long flights, I prefer to carry two mini pillows. One for lower back and another for my head. I always go for window seat so I can lean my head against the wall on the pillow.

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post #12 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:28 AM
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Congrats on the new job. I've been traveling for work for most of the last 20 years. You are right that travel today is nothing like it was in the 1990's.

Expect all flights to be full. It's rare to have an unoccupied middle seat next to you anymore. Upgrades are more difficult to come by as First Class/Business Class seat counts have been lowered to make room for more coach seats. Services on board, even in First Class, are nothing like they used to be.

Security is more of a hassle. It's better if you are Priority level in any frequent flyer program, as you get access to shorter security lines and often the priority lines don't use the scanners, just the magnetometer.

Pack so you can pull your PCs and large electronics easily to have them scanned by the x-ray separately. Look to wear belts and other metal objects that have little or no ferrous content so you can leave them on when going through the magnetometer. Keep liquids and gels in a quart zip-loc bag and also pack that so it could be pulled quickly for the x-ray scans.

The rules for security are continually changing in subtle and not so subtle ways, so stay alert and keep up.

I hope you enjoy the job. The travel isn't much fun anymore.

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post #13 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:31 AM
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Frequent flyer programs do not charge to join. Airline clubs do charge, usually $400-500/yr, which can be discounted if you reach the top level of their frequent flyer program. Also, if you have an Amex Platinum Card, you have access to the Delta clubs when you fly Delta, even if you aren't a club member.

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post #14 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:31 AM
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Pick one airline, one hotel chain, one car rental company. Get your points. Watch for promos to earn air status faster.

If you have a layover, get a seat as far forward as possible (skip the exit row) so you can get off quicker and get to your next flight.

If you will be having frequent layovers, fork out the money for the airline club (check the list of cities and match against your typcal layover hub(s) before you shell out the dough).

Be very, very nice to the gate agents. They control everything.

Don't be drunk on the plane. Don't talk too much on the plane. Don't smell bad.

If at all possible, AVOID Southwest.

Keep your carry on bag packed at all times-- so have 2 of everything on hand. My laptop bag fits a change of clothes, and is always stocked with: toiletries (everything fits in the 1 qt clear bag), extra headphones, ear plugs (for hotels more than for the plane!), a small travel blanket (I use this as a pillow or lumbar, but also in case I'm chilly), spare chargers, work stuff (usb, pens, business cards, etc), and a few healthy snacks with a good shelf life (granola bars, usually), a small umbrella, tissues, and a dry washcloth (I find it helps to have on hand if I get caught in the rain walking into a meeting). It's sort of lame that all this is in my bag the days I'm in the office, but it helps a ton when I have to pack.

When you aren't traveling on a tight schedule, check your bag whenver possible. A lot of people disagree with this, but I find it's so much nicer to have freedom in the airport than be carting around your suitcase and laptop bag. I just have a wheeled laptop bag and that's it-- no purse; I check my small rollaboard.

Invest in a comfortable, versatile pair of shoes. Several years ago I plunked down the cash for a nice, comfortable pair of soft Cole Haan loafers. They look very polished with jeans and go with all my suits. People who wear uncomfortable shoes to walk through airports are batshit. You can't do that every week; your body will hate you.

Do a quick yelp (or other) search of the city before you go, and note a few places you can grab a healthy meal. DO NOT try to sample every city's speciality delicacy. If you do, you will look like shit in 6 months. I eat at Jason's Deli a lot when I'm on the road-- lots of options, and they post calories.

Find an exercise routine you can do with nothing but shorts, tshirt, and sneakers, and stick with it. Don't treat your business travel like vacation-- treat it like any M-F at home. Make sure you get your exercise in. Hotel gym is ok, or jog to see the city you're visiting. I paid for some exercise videos I could do in my hotel room in the winter months (or in the cities where running was not so safe).

Don't screw any of your colleagues or anyone else for that matter just because you're away from home. People figure that shit out even if you're traveling alone.
On a related note, don't talk to people sitting at the bar just because they are sitting at the bar. Most business travelers sitting alone are doing so because they enjoy that time alone.

Do NOT violate your company's travel policy or reimbursement policy in any way. It is just not worth it. If they say you can't use the money for alcohol, then don't use it for alcohol. You have a job, buy your own.

Enroll in the TSA pre-check.
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post #15 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:31 AM
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This is all good advice, and I only fly Southwest and have been on A-List for years, highly recommend it. We have more free flights then we typically need.

I have a question for the other frequent travelers, does your company pay to get you to the airport via cab? Or how does that work for you? I travel with a lot of equipment so my work pays for me to take a cab from Wrigley to Midway (about$45 each way).
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post #16 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
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I use my personal credit card for company expenses so I get the points. Not sure why that is a problem. I put personal and company expenses on my AMEX Gold Card. You are personally responsible for the charges on your corporate card whether it is reimbursed or not.

Things you charge on your card, you are personally responsible for.


Things you charge on your corporate card as an agent of your business, your business is responsible for.

Credit card companies may try to blur the lines and get you personally to pay.... but push come to shove, you are NOT personally responsible.



Let's say ... just for a worst case example ..... you charge 25K of meeting supplies / room / food on your card for an event next Month.

Monday you get the call, the company went bankrupt and you are out of a job.


Your card you are fucked..... their card you are not.


Tom


BTW .... I am not talking about personal charges on your corporate card - that's another topic.

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Last edited by BLARNEY; 10-25-2012 at 09:36 AM.
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post #17 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:37 AM
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Personal card is the way to go. Get an airline rewards card and sell your points for cash on craiglslist or to fam and friends.

"includes 10 used-car dealers or auto repair shops, 11 liquor stores and bars--two of which advertise lingerie fashion shows and a third billed as a "gentlemen's club"--three cut-rate motels and one trailer park. The squat, brick municipal building is next to a currency exchange and a few steps from an adult video store. The bars open at 10 a.m. and close at 6:30 a.m."

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post #18 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
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I have a question for the other frequent travelers, does your company pay to get you to the airport via cab? Or how does that work for you? I travel with a lot of equipment so my work pays for me to take a cab from Wrigley to Midway (about$45 each way).
We can choose to drive our own cars and park at the airport, for which we are reimbused. We can choose additional rewimbursement for mileage OR gas, but not both. There are no rules on airport parking; I typically park close in and charge the extra money, but I figure I'm a woman whose flights often land at midnight and that's safer for me.

Our other choice is to take a taxi, for which we are fully reimbursed and don't have to provide receipt unless it's over $75.

I have taken shuttles and public transport in some cities, and that's all fair game as well. On rare occasion I will take a sedan service, but the company discourages it. I only take it when (1) I think there's a legitimate safety issue with a cab or (2) the sedan service costs the same as a taxi.

I have tons of equipment for my training classes, but I FedEx overnight it to my hotel rather than lug it.
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post #19 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:40 AM
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Personal card is the way to go. Get an airline rewards card and sell your points for cash on craiglslist or to fam and friends.

Dick


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post #20 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:40 AM
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Choose a hotel group and stick with it. The Hilton Honors program allows you to use your points at some very nice hotels in some very nice places.

"includes 10 used-car dealers or auto repair shops, 11 liquor stores and bars--two of which advertise lingerie fashion shows and a third billed as a "gentlemen's club"--three cut-rate motels and one trailer park. The squat, brick municipal building is next to a currency exchange and a few steps from an adult video store. The bars open at 10 a.m. and close at 6:30 a.m."

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post #21 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:40 AM
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Every place I've worked will pay for cab/car service to/from the airport, or mileage & parking fees for using my personal vehicle.

The remote covered garage at Midway is great at $14/day and you are out of the rain/snow/sun. Use the west entrance to the garage. Less people do, and you can usually get a spot close to the elevators on Level 2 or 3. Use the pay machines when you return, avoids having to sign the CC slip, and gets you out faster.

As far as using or not using Southwest, it really comes down to where you fly out of, and where you go. If you are traveling regionally, Southwest has direct flights to many places. If you are headed international or a lot to the Coasts, other airlines from O'Hare will probably be better.

In my case, I'm much closer to Midway than O'Hare, and I find getting into and out of O'Hare on the ground to be a major hassle. Midway in/out on the ground is much easier and faster for me. So I use Midway. Unfortunately, most other airlines have pulled out of Midway and left the business to Southwest.

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post #22 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:42 AM
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Does everything go on the company card? Meaning food, gas, lodging, car, plane? If so, you have lost a main advantage of business travel. Having everything on a personal card, and being enrolled in programs, you can vacation for free for years.

"includes 10 used-car dealers or auto repair shops, 11 liquor stores and bars--two of which advertise lingerie fashion shows and a third billed as a "gentlemen's club"--three cut-rate motels and one trailer park. The squat, brick municipal building is next to a currency exchange and a few steps from an adult video store. The bars open at 10 a.m. and close at 6:30 a.m."

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post #23 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:45 AM
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Does everything go on the company card? Meaning food, gas, lodging, car, plane? If so, you have lost a main advantage of business travel. The "programs" are where you get some nice perks.
My company uses Citibank cards, and formally used AMEX. In both cases, we can pay the annual fee to be in the card's program if we want, and keep the points for ourselves. Check out the rules, then make an informed choice. It's not always so clear cut, until you understand the rules you are playing by.

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post #24 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:46 AM
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Do not fly southwest. Ever. Do not fly Delta, United, or Spirit, ever. Anyone who thinks Southwest is a good airline either doesn't know any better or has zero status with a good airline. United oversells almost every flight, and there is nothing worse than being stuck with a bunch of whiney family units because you were too cheap to fly a better airline (Southwest).

American and Virgin are preferred. American have never given me grief over luggage or told me a flight is oversold. Virgin is typically a $20 upgrade for free food and entertainment on short flights, plus the added bonus of more leg room.

Never check luggage. Never fly airlines that force you to check luggage *cough* Southwest *cough*. Get yourself the maximum sized roller carry-on and use it. No need for that fancy TSA laptop crap, just unzip, pull it out, and whack it in a carry container; takes almost zero extra time. Don't carry a separate laptop bag.

Put your wallet, keys, etc.. in the upper zip pocket of your roller bag before security. If you want to wear a belt, leave it till after you arrive at your destination or put it on after security.

Go for the exit row seats, but never take the first exit row if there are two. First exit won't recline typically.

If you're in a rush and the security line is packed, consider upgrading (especially if it's with points or cheap.) Upgrading will get you priority access through first class line.

Whatever airline you are stuck with, see if you can get yourself their version of the three month challenge. AA's is here http://flyerguide.com/wiki/index.php/Challenge_(AA)

The AA challenge will get you Platinum in a couple of weeks of flying. I think there is a fee for it these days, but you having Platinum makes life wayyy easier. Free lounge, priority boarding, priority security lane, priority upgrades, priority standby, etc...

Once again, fuck Southwest and United.
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post #25 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:47 AM
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How you found us: Shit, you know I'm a clsb OG!
           
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteSeatEnvy View Post
Does everything go on the company card? Meaning food, gas, lodging, car, plane? If so, you have lost a main advantage of business travel. Having everything on a personal card, and being enrolled in programs, you can vacation for free for years.
He's right, it's a pain in the ass by usin your own card will mean thousands in cash back rewards and points up the wazoo.


Bring rubbers for all the road hoes.

Chris
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post #26 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:49 AM
yo quiero su taco
 
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Woodridge
Posts: 12,745
Location: Woodridge
Sportbike: Honda CBR 954 blk/slvr
Years Riding: 10 years
How you found us: They found me. Follow the white rabbit.
           
I like southwest cause often times they get you there early.

"includes 10 used-car dealers or auto repair shops, 11 liquor stores and bars--two of which advertise lingerie fashion shows and a third billed as a "gentlemen's club"--three cut-rate motels and one trailer park. The squat, brick municipal building is next to a currency exchange and a few steps from an adult video store. The bars open at 10 a.m. and close at 6:30 a.m."

Quote:
Originally Posted by admin View Post
Something must be fishy...I am going to go poke around in the back end..

Last edited by whiteSeatEnvy; 10-25-2012 at 10:05 AM.
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post #27 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:50 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Morgan Park, IL
Posts: 3,762
Location: Morgan Park, IL
Sportbike: A couple
Years Riding: too long to have any sense
How you found us: NESBA
           
Company travel desks -

If possible, build a relationship with ONE single travel agent. This will serve you much better than a lot of other tricks, as travel agents and gate agents can easily make your life easier, or make it hell. Treat all these service employees with respect, and show your gratitude with appropriate tips, which you expense as "gratuities". The tip money is some of the best money I spend on trips. It's amazing what people will do for you when you are in a tight spot if you show some gratitude.

In that same vein, never lose your temper at airline employees, cabbies, airport employees, etc. It won't get you anywhere you want to be. Always be reasonable, don't blame the employee for the screw up (they aren't personally responsible for it, their employer is), ask them nicely to help or to explain what options you have to get where you need to go. If you run into a jerk, excuse yourself and go find another employee and start over.

Craig
________________

Last edited by beac83; 10-25-2012 at 09:55 AM.
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post #28 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 10:03 AM
bwa
Boom
 
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Kalispell, MT
Posts: 13,320
Location: Kalispell, MT
Sportbike: None :(
Years Riding: not long enough
How you found us: Crazeinc
           
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLARNEY View Post
Things you charge on your card, you are personally responsible for.


Things you charge on your corporate card as an agent of your business, your business is responsible for.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case...
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post #29 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 10:12 AM
Resident Slow Guy
 
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: On a plane
Posts: 7,390
Location: On a plane
Sportbike: Ain't got none!
Years Riding: Since May 21, 2011
How you found us: The intarwebz
           
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwa View Post
Unfortunately, that is not always the case...
Exactly. The CC companies don't know or care whether or not the charge on the company card was personal or business. You are solely responsible for any and all charges on that card. When they handed me my corporate card, I had to sign an agreement that all charges on my card and the payment of said charges were my responsibility.

Oh and fuck United!

<- Erwin

CCS AM #611

"Nigga if you ride, nigga you gon fall!" - Katt Williams

Ashwin Gopal, David Ryan, Baby Ronin Tyler, John George, Chris Kotacka aka 'Arch', Eva Grzegorczyk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob, Esq. View Post
image v. substance. Some people want to be motorcyclists, others just want to be seen as motorcyclists.
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post #30 of 79 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 10:17 AM
King Nothing


 
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Ur Moms House
Posts: 17,944
Location: Ur Moms House
Sportbike: I ride Ur Mom
Years Riding: As long as Ive known Ur Mom
How you found us: u found me
           
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteSeatEnvy View Post
Choose a hotel group and stick with it. The Hilton Honors program allows you to use your points at some very nice hotels in some very nice places.
Yep!

Also get the TSA Pre ID card for domestic travel. Its worth it just to be able to leave your shoes and belt on..........

TSA Pre✓ allows select frequent flyers of participating airlines and members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs to receive expedited screening benefits during domestic travel. Eligible participants use dedicated screening lanes for screening benefits which include leaving on shoes, light outerwear and belts, as well as leaving laptops and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in carry-on bags.

http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-pre%E2%9C%93%E2%84%A2

"When in doubt, use full throttle. It may not improve your situation, but it will end the suspense."
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