Maximizing Your Travel Dollars

The cost of travel may be up, but business fliers can find ways to save

to join a travel club. Lorraine Miller, research manager for Burrell, joined one for her personal travel. Hers, through Encore Travel, gets discount off participating hotels. Plus, she can get points through their frequent-stay programs. The club can book hotels and car rentals at a discount as well. The only drawback: if traveling at peak season or during a convention and hotel space is scarce, the discount may not be available. And with air travel, there are blackout days. Most travel clubs also issue coupons to be used within a certain time limit, which could be good for additional discounts.

Before joining a travel club, check its reputation. “Find out where it is headquartered and look into that city’s Better Business Bureau or attorney general’s office. If possible, use one that has been recommended to you by a friend or colleague,” advises Dunnan.

When traveling for business, Miller benefits from earning frequent-flier miles, which her company, as do most, allows her to keep. She can use these to earn free trips for personal travel. But since Miller has no say so in what carrier she flies with for business, she is a member in a variety of programs. “Hotel points are also the property of the traveler,” notes Brown. If Miller wants to extend a business trip for personal use, she can use earned points for extra hotel nights.

Every aspect of travel can help you save on your next trip. The key, says Dunnan, is making use of all the tie-ins.

Traveling Through the Web
You can find last-minute flight and hotel bargains by tapping into these sites:

American Airlines:
Register at the Web for American’s NetSAAver’s e-mail list. Every week, American e-mails subscriber a list of about 24 discount fares.
Continental Airlines:
Sign up at the Web site for C.O.O.L. (Continental On-Line), an e-mail list of discount fares.
Northwest Airlines:
Northwest list CyberSaver fares on its Web site every Wednesday.
United Airlines:
Links to hotel and rental car discounts can be found on Mileage Plus Partners.
Join the carrier’s e-mail subscriber list through the site.


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