Flying for company business - whose points?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Emkay, Aug 20, 2006.

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  1. Emkay

    Emkay Intern

    Aug 2, 2006
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    The August edition of Frequent Flyer Gazette reported on a German court ruling in favour of a company that claimed ownership of points accrued by it's employees when flying on company tickets. The hope was expressed that Oz companies do not follow suit - horrors.

    Well, I work for an Oz State Govt Department that decided in 1997 to do just that:mad:. Each month we were required to go through our activity statements and sort between govt-funded flights and private flights. We had to keep a running tally of each category, and we were required to use 'official' pts to get award flts for official travel where possible. We could only use 'private' pts for private award flts. This highly unsatisfactory, demotivating and inefficient system lasted for a few years, until it appears someone finally woke up to the fact that award flights just don't suit most business travel needs - too inflexible.

    But, it now gets worse! If the Dept couldn't get any value from our 'official' points, it sure wasn't about to allow us employees to start getting any value from them again. It had previously negotiated bulk purchase deals with both QF and DL, so that it gets various rates of discount off the current price for flights, depending on class. Say 30% off full economy, 5% off Super Saver, 0% off Red e-deal. Now, it has negotiated an additional 0.5% discount off these rates in lieu of frequent flyer points! So the State gets an additional half of one percent off their airfare bill, and we get no points at all:evil:. Public sector perks? - get real!

    So if the German company action had you somewhat edgy, here is something a little closer to home to chew on.

    I get no points for my official travel, but I still get SCs. I have to compensate for the missed points by transfers from (private) credit cards. I have ANZ FF Visa gold and Amex gold. I put everything possible on them, and just squeeze award economy flts for my wife to Europe every second year or so, as long as I buy my own seat.

    My first post - hope you find it illuminating and can work out some way to prevent your employer doing the same.
     

  2. FlyFirst

    FlyFirst Junior Member

    Jun 24, 2006
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    Australia
    Hi Emkay and welcome to the boards!

    Unfortunately in this case I support the government position on this. I am a public servant in a state government and agree that any points earned for official travel should go back to the employer (ie the people). It is not our money ion the first place and we shouldn't benefit from it, nor was it ever sold to us as a 'perk' of the job.

    The new system of not accruing points at all removes any possible contention that we are profiting from our position (and saves any FOI issues).

    The only place where I think we should be able to take advantage of an FF scheme is with the accrual of status. Earning SC points entitles us to quicker check-in, priority baggage, lounges, and, if travelling overseas (at my grade we are only allowed to travel economy), we may get access to better seats. All things which potentially save us time, or allow us to complete work.

    Accrual of points if working for private enterprise is different and I agree that frequent travel and the benefits of those points may well be part of your contract.

    With regards

    FlyFirst
     
  3. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    There are often swings and roundabouts involved too. I work for a large multinational company and I am permitted to use the FF points earned from company travel for my own personal benefit. I had to pay the joining fee, and if I want to earn points on corporate credit card spending then I have to pay the annual rewards program membership fee.

    However, in order to have these "perks", I am expected to travel on my own time with no paid overtime or time off in lieu. This generally means losing at least 3 weekends on my most common type of trip (ATW). In fact, looking at my last work trip, I spent 90 hours (3.75 full days or 11.25 work days) travelling on my own time and less than 30 hours travelling on company time. In that same trip I completed about 102 hours of work. Oh yes, and I completely missed out on a public holiday for which there is no compensation - just gone. I would expect that most government employees would get some form of compensation for a missed public holiday, such as another day off in lieu or paid overtime.

    Our per-diem travel/living allowance has not been adjusted for at least 3 years and is somewhat lower than most government entitlements paid as travel allowances.

    So in my work place, the FF points are seen as an unofficial partial compensation for the personal time spent travelling and reduced per-diem allowances.

    However, if I was in a position where I was required to travel in my own time for work purposes and was not able to receive FF benefits, I would be looking a different job.
     
  4. duffshot

    duffshot Member

    Apr 27, 2005
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    My situation is much the same as NMs. The annoying thing for me is that I don't get the points for the airfare purchase which for some reason gets booked to someone elses Corporate AMEX. I reckon I have missed about 300 000 points because of this and it would have gone some way to paying back the family for doing without me for so long.
     
  5. NM

    NM
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    Isn't the reason pretty obvious?
     
  6. duffshot

    duffshot Member

    Apr 27, 2005
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    Very obvious which makes it even more annoying. I was being diplomatic
     
  7. Emkay

    Emkay Intern

    Aug 2, 2006
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    Thanks FlyFirst and NM for your responses and points of view. I agree in principle that the employer paying for the tickets would expect to get as much value as possible from their outlay. FlyFirst makes this point tellingly for Gov't employees, as the employer is ultimately us, the taxpayers, and we recognise that we don't want 'our' hard-earned tax revenue squandered on fat cat's perks. But when I (far below fat cat status) am sitting in some airport lounge at 8PM waiting for a flight that will get me home at 10:30PM, having left home at 5AM, I find it difficult to recognise my benefit as a taxpayer as adequate compensation for the donation of private time being made by me, the worker. As NM says
    As a non-SES government employee in this fair State, I pay my own QFF and QC memberships (although I am allowed to buy the latter at the corporate rate). Salaried professionals don't qualify for overtime payments. Purchase of tickets is done corporately, so I get no CC points from that. My only hope of any compensation is by making a bit of profit on my per diem, but the overnight allowance for Sydney is currently $155, so to make any margin on that requires staying in some hovel that only adds to the drag and frustration of nights spent away from home and family.

    NM would be looking for another job if FF benefits were withdrawn - what if companies started en-masse to follow this Gov't lead of giving away these 'employee perks' - would there be another points buying employer to go to?

    And I guess what really rankles, is they have given away this little compensation for a mere 0.5% cost saving!
     
  8. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
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    I too have this situation and I am kind of in an odd situation on top. I work in Oz but am paid for from the US and in the US they use DIners card and flights get charged to the the employee card. Here they use Amex and the fligths are charged to senior management card. That's fine for most of the people in the busines - they miss out on a couple of thousand points a year - already in the three months I have been there my flight costs have been close to 20k....

    At least its better than my previous employer where a bunch of guys got flown to the UK for a three month secondment and despite a policy of "over 7 hours travel business" they were made to fly economy....

    @NM - interesting though re the travel on your own time. I guess at my level now I dont think about my own time - I am permanently connected via email/phone/blackberry (ugh at that new device) so there is no such thing as my own time now. Mind you my boss is very good about that sort of thing and I forsee a few long lunches coming up and the concept of a set per diem is already being waived (dinner in New York for two people @ A$300+ was waved through easily). Not travelling as much as you I dont lose so much time but it is definitely something I would ask when joining a new place - if there is travel is it business and so I get the perks. Mind you one major concern in the future will be if I move to somewhere that flies star alliance :shock:
     
  9. duffshot

    duffshot Member

    Apr 27, 2005
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    I sympathise with you Emkay. There is a real expectation in the workplace now that employees will travel in their own time and work additional hours. There seems to be a perception still that you should be thankful that you get to do all this travel without the recognition of the impact on the individual and individuals family. Per diems are a luxury I don't have either with the company paying actuals with no allowances for domestic travel. Having said that I think I am lucky to work for people who do recognise this and compensate me in other ways but I acknowlesge many companies do not.

    Being a fellow QLDer, you could always get elected and get paid generous allowances 6 months in advance and keep them regardless of if you still work for your employer like some of our fellow QLD leaders are getting....
     
  10. aden_1

    aden_1 Junior Member

    Oct 11, 2004
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    Its a good point - I work long hours, hours that i dont get paid overtime for working for a non goverment company. Yet if i fly to queensland, they wont want to give me the points?

    It should be a case, if you do the flying, you get the points in the private sector - because you obviously dont get any perks compared to goverment jobs. Well especially in Sydney where i work anyway...
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  11. NM

    NM
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    I see the time that I would otherwise have been spending at home with my family (i.e. evenings sharing dinner and conversation around the family table, or weekends watching the kids play sport etc) as my personal time.

    I too am contactable 24x7, but its a little different taking a 10 min phone call during dinner rather than not being able sit at the family dinner table for 3 weeks.

    I take my time with my family very seriously. My first roll in life is to be a husband and a father, my employer can have the rest of me :p. But I try to be flexible and deliver on both responsibilities as best I am able. My FF benefits are then used to compensate my family for putting up with my travel demands.

    Thankfully my time away from the family has been greatly reduced in the last year, much to my and their relief.
     
  12. NM

    NM
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    And of course I would see two optoins
    • Find a job where I have no (or little) requirement to travel
    • Find an employer who has a travel policy that is compatible with my travel patterns
     
  13. Groundfeeder

    Groundfeeder Active Member

    Nov 3, 2005
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    NM, I too subscribe to this theory and have followed my employers whims for over 35 years. In my Gov't job, I now get FFP's and SC's for Gov't travel (following a 180 from previous policy) and will happily use points for travel if QF don't put up further barriers to diminish the efficiencies I am seeking in doing so - as discussed on another thread. I still find myself travelling on weekends/holidays to suit my job requirements and it ain't no fun any more.

    I don't know about other AFF's but when holidays come around, I don't look at air travel as the first choice, as I'm being transported by these means on a very regular basis, rubbing much gloss off on the way as we all understand.
     
  14. NM

    NM
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    Has anyone tried to see if AA miles are credited for these negotiated 0.5% additional discount government non-QFFFP-earning fares?
     
  15. Emkay

    Emkay Intern

    Aug 2, 2006
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    Thanks for the tip NM, I guess it's worth joining AA miles to find out? Can I join without a large upfront (joining + first year sub) payment?
     
  16. NM

    NM
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    AAdvantage membership is free. Just visit aa.com and sign up.
     
  17. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    Most companies that I have been associated with have been very flexible with travel. It is never compulsory and the employee has input in which airline to travel with as long as the airfare is not ridiculously high due to customer having to pay for the bill. In fact there has been times when I booked my own travel, both domestic and international, and charged back expenses to employer.

    If frequent flyer benefits were withdrawn, whether choice of airline or accumulating points, then I would no longer be available to travel. If that means losing the job then so be it. I am not that desperate for a job to obey a silly policy where it is compulsory to fly with Jetstar or any other LCC!
     
  18. Reggie

    Reggie Established Member

    Mar 20, 2006
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    I agree with you John K. I had that exactly that happen last year. The boss (owner) called me in a few days after annual salaray package review had occured and said that he had been reviewing the companies travel expenses and now wanted me and the other guys to fly Virgin instead of QF in J on PER - BNE,MEL,SYD and ADL. I basically said no way and that he should have bought this up during the review. In the end I hung around long enough to find another job whilst continuing to fly QF. Just after I left the owner told the TA to book lowest fare irrelevant of Airline.
     
  19. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

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    WHile I have never been anywhere that requires travel, there would be some jobs that do. However, I have never really had much say on which airlines i can use, it has all been dictated by corporate policy. To date, Qantas has been generally the preferred airline, but I would not guarantee that this will always be the case.
     
  20. vt01

    vt01 Member

    Jan 6, 2006
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    When Ansett was still around our corporate policy was Ansett for domestic and QF for international. Once Ansett was gone it was all QF. Then we went through best fare of the day but as we were getting about a 20% discount on QF, we generally travelled Qantas. There was a window a couple of years ago where United to the US became cheaper than QF. I'm not sure if the QF discount was removed or what. But a few colleauges had to travel to the US on United. But now it's all QF. But as oz_mark said, this could always change in the future.
     
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