10 May 2019

Which Business Travel Loyalty Programme Should I Join?

For many, booking business travel on behalf of a colleague or boss is becoming a weekly task. It should get easier but in reality, searching for a suitable flight can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if you’re restricted by a budget or deadline.

A window seat, excess luggage, and preferably an early morning flight: you’ve got your colleague’s preferences down to a tee, but do you select an airline for its comfort, price, or customer reviews? There’s so much to choose from.

On one hand, booking corporate flights has become that little bit easier. Many airlines offer business travel loyalty programmes that can make the booking process a lot less stressful whilst at the same time saving your company money.

But how do you know which business travel loyalty programme you should join? This article will guide you in choosing the correct flight rewards scheme to suit your business needs.

What are business travel loyalty programmes?

Business travel loyalty programmes can range from airlines and hotels to car rental, but all work in a similar fashion. The more you travel with the same airline (or airline group), the more points or credit you accrue to put towards a reward or perk.

These rewards can range from free flights, cabin upgrades, and hotel stays, to car rentals, airport lounge access, and even coffee machines, furniture, or other gadgets for your office.

The best thing about business travel loyalty programmes? They’re free to join, meaning you don’t lose out on anything!

How do business travel loyalty programmes work?

Quite simply, the longer your flight distance, the more mileage points you typically accumulate. In other words, that annual September conference in Washington is going to gain you a lot more points than that short trip to Paris next month.

Some airline corporate loyalty schemes take a different approach. When you fly with these airlines, you earn points based on how much your flights cost, not how far you’re travelling. If you frequently find yourself booking expensive flights to relatively nearby destinations, you might find you earn more points faster through these types of cost-based loyalty schemes.

This is certainly one thing to consider when you look for your ideal business travel loyalty programme, especially if you’re sticking to a budget.

Find out more about the benefits of frequent flyer loyalty programmes for businesses.

Which business travel loyalty programme should I join?

Firstly, the best thing to know is that the majority of business travel loyalty programmes are free to join, so if you don’t find them useful, simply don’t use them and your business is none the worse. However, signing up to multiple programmes can be time-consuming, so we recommend weighing up what your colleagues or bosses usually prefer when it comes to business travel and narrowing down the options.

Airlines and their partner carriers

You might not have noticed, but you’ve probably booked previous business trips using the same airline or ‘group’ of airlines. This will certainly be a factor in deciding what loyalty programme to choose. In fact, 6 out of 10 airlines allow rewards programme members to earn and redeem miles with partner carriers. Lufthansa’s PartnerPlusBenefit offers an incredible 11 airlines reaching over 500 destinations - the first of its kind. So whether you fly with Lufthansa, United Airlines, Air China or SWISS, for example, you’ll still earn points for each flight into the same account.

Location

If your colleagues frequently fly to certain locations, this can also impact your choice of business travel loyalty programme. Regular flights to Europe will mean you’re in the market for a different scheme than one that targets the US or Middle East.

Our tip is to work backwards: see if there’s a trend in airlines you’ve already booked with, or more specifically if there are future trips or a big conference coming up in the calendar, and find out who you’re most likely to fly with given where your company is based and the desired destination.

Perks for colleagues and the office

This is where you decide on the best perks - for your colleagues flying and the rest of the office back on the ground. Are you hoping to save your business money by earning a free flight? Perhaps you want to please your boss and offer them as relaxing a trip as possible (hello, lounge). Or maybe they’d like to travel like an A-list celebrity in a first-class upgrade? Whatever your perk preference, different frequent flyer programs prioritise different rewards.

For example, Lufthansa rewards range from cashback to WorldShop merchandise for your office, whilst another airline may offer a small discount on their specific business flights. So, be sure to compare to see which rewards are most suited for your business.

How to choose a business travel loyalty programme

With a handful of business travel loyalty programmes to choose from, each specialising in different perks and rewards, it’s important you choose your scheme to match the usual trends of your business bookings and destinations.

By taking a small amount of time to research each loyalty programme, you can save money in the future, gain time back through ease of booking, and also receive rewards for your colleagues, bosses, and even the whole office to enjoy.

Thinking of joining our PartnerPlusBenefit program but not sure it's for you? Download our guide to learn how you can make the most of the PartnerPlusBenefit points for both yourself and your whole team. 

PartnerPlusBenefit Point Redemption Guide