Every savvy business traveller seeks to secure the best bang for their buck, even if they’re travelling on the company’s dime, but priorities appear to be shifting. A recent survey revealed that business travellers tend to place more value on specific benefits than simple air miles and loyalty points, such as airport lounges, concierge services and upgrades.
Keyless in Seattle
Starwood’s award-winning Starwood Preferred Guests programme continually breaks the mould when it comes to hotel perks, including free nights in standard rooms with no black out period and customised VIP experiences, such as teeing off with your golf idol or meeting your favourite band for a backstage pow-wow. Recently they’ve introduced SPG Keyless too, allowing members to not only check in and get their room number with the app, but even open their hotel room door at 150 participating hotels.
Hyatt High Life
Stay for three nights with Hyatt’s Gold Passport and you can bag a suite upgrade for just an additional 50% of the room rate, which knocks most other hotel perks out of the park. Hyatt’s premier level Diamond gets you four annual upgrades, plus a full breakfast for up to four guests. The daily rate for suite upgrades gets unlocked at just 6,000 points, which you can notch up swiftly enough, as they award 5 points for every dollar spent.
Hilton does the Honours
Hilton has one of the more accessible programmes out there, Hilton H Honours, and the sheer preponderance of hotels in the chain is a boon for business travellers. Their no-nonsense Gold level gets you free breakfast and internet, plus you can handily transfer points accumulated from Amex and Virgin Miles schemes.
Kimpton Karma’s Gonna Get You
A sure sign that hotel points programmes are evolving can be seen with Kimpton’s new Karma Rewards scheme, which allows guest to clock up points by namechecking the brand on social media or even attending one of their Wine Hour events. Members can redeem points on a sliding scale of benefits, such as in-room massages, welcome gifts and bar vouchers.
Join the Club
Virgin Atlantic’s top tier Flying Club Gold is still one of the best airline programmes, thanks to exclusive access to VA Clubhouses, the ability to choose your seat in economy class 72 hours before you fly, 2,000 free miles on your birthday and a longer than average point shelf life of 3 years.
Lufthansa’s Miles and More is Europe’s most popular programme. Being part of the Star Alliance Network, Gold (or ‘Senator’) members benefit from an additional 20kg of luggage allowance, completely ‘open door’ lounge access (meaning you can use Star Alliance lounges even if you’re not flying with an SA carrier) plus you get one annual free flight for a traveling companion.
Blue is the Colour
Air France KLM’s Flying Blue scheme extends to passengers of all the SkyTeam airlines and has four levels, ranging from Ivory to Platinum. Among other perks, Platinum grants you a host of discounts on car hire and other business services, free transfer shuttles from both Paris CDG and Orly airports, priority services in all conceivable airport queues and free ‘comfort seat’ upgrades.
Double UP at London City Airport
British Airways are currently offering double AVIOS points on 3 of their flights from London City to Isle of Man, Edinburgh and Dublin. The promotion runs until the end of May, so why not make the most of the new financial year and book in a business trip today?
By Jools Stone