Travel for business? Tips on how to save money
Running a small business, my wife and I are required to travel to the mainland several times a year to attend tradeshows and media events.
Travel is expensive in Canada, so I want to outline a few ways we’ve found that small business owners can reduce travel expenses.
Discounts on Air Travel
Have you heard of the Air Canada Rewards for Small Business Program?
Some of the benefits of this free membership include:
- One-time 15% flight booking discount
- Up to 10% discount on Maple Leaf Club memberships
- One-time complimentary Maple Leaf Lounge access
- Five (5) prepaid OnBoard Café vouchers
If you prefer to fly with Westjet, they now have a rewards program, WestJet Rewards. You earn WestJet dollars to use towards the purchase of WestJet flights or WestJet Vacations packages.
Business Associations Discounts
Most business associations offer discounts for their members, including significant savings on travel, business costs and more. Membership rates vary, as do the benefits, so take a look at what your industry association offers and see if the benefits outweigh the costs.
Keep in mind that membership fees can also give you access to other benefits, such networking, mentorship and marketing opportunities. For a list of all the business associations in BC, visit Small Business BC’s Business Associations Directory.
Car Rental Discounts
Renting a car is a hassle at the airport, often due to the long lineups, so I recommend registering your small business in one of the reward programs available with car rental companies like Avis or Budget. These programs are free to enroll and you get to enjoy premium services and extra savings.
Avis gives you corporate rates (30% off the lowest published rates) and access to members-only discounts. The best benefit is the savings of time at the counter with the Complimentary Avis Preferred® Service that lets you skip their counter and lineups and go right to the car.
Budget has a similar program with exclusive corporate rates and discounts.
Hotel Discounts & Rates for Business Travelers
There are also some great hotel discounts available for Canadian small business owners.
Almost all major hotel chains across Canada (Best Western, Choice Hotels, Holiday Inn, Marriott, Super 8, etc.) have loyalty cards that allow guests to earn either points (redeemable for discounts, future stays or other prizes) or airline miles (Hilton's HHonors program allows guests to earn both points and miles on the same stay, the only program to date that does so).
Many experts suggest finding a hotel chain that you enjoy and sticking with that chain to build points.
Using Credit Card Rewards
Our credit card gives us incredible travel rewards. Even though we pay an annual fee for our Mastercard, we have collected over 179,000 miles in just four years. This gives us enough points for several trips to Europe or many short-haul flights from Victoria to the United States. Using your miles on long-haul flights are usually the best option for redemption.
Look into the benefits that your credit card provides (Discounted Companion Fares, Concierge Service, Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver Protection, and Travel and Emergency Assistance) before deciding on a credit card to apply for your business.
How do you save on travel?
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