Author Topic: Optimizing travel (airfare/hotel/car rental) expenses?  (Read 1869 times)

ketchup

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Optimizing travel (airfare/hotel/car rental) expenses?
« on: October 19, 2016, 09:44:41 AM »
Hey guys,

My girlfriend is starting to utilize air travel more for her business and I'm looking at ways to cut down on some of the costs.

The hotel she's staying at for a trip in December has a $17/night discount for AAA members, and she's staying 5 nights, so that's $85 of savings towards a membership right there.  We're switching our car insurance soon to one that doesn't include roadside assistance, so we were planning on getting it anyway.

Also, on two sooner trips, she's flying American and United respectively (and seems to usually end up flying one or the other), and will be checking a bag.  It looks like there are airline credit cards for each that would get you a free checked bag as a perk.  Any reason not to do that/is there a better way?  Without doing that, it'll tack on ~$50 to the cost of future United/American flights (she usually has to check a bag).

Sometimes she'll also end up renting a car.  She's 24 for another year, so she gets nailed by "young driver" (21-24) fees, but apparently the combination of AAA and Hertz can waive that.  However, when I checked that out specifically for her last trip, it didn't pencil out (Enterprise was still cheaper even with the fees).

I know lots of people on this forum travel a lot and have figured out all the "games."  Are there solutions here staring me in the face that I'm not seeing (or questions I'm not even asking)?  Thanks.

Capsu78

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Re: Optimizing travel (airfare/hotel/car rental) expenses?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2016, 10:24:21 AM »
You are on the right track...When I traveled for clients, I was always respectful of my expenses and now when I travel for me I try to keep costs in check.  Any chance she gets reimbursed for any of this?

ketchup

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Re: Optimizing travel (airfare/hotel/car rental) expenses?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2016, 11:57:27 AM »
You are on the right track...When I traveled for clients, I was always respectful of my expenses and now when I travel for me I try to keep costs in check.  Any chance she gets reimbursed for any of this?
She sometimes has clients directly buy plane tickets for her, but usually her trips of this nature are for multiple clients to the point where them reimbursing her directly doesn't make any sense.  It's her same approach for when she drives.  If she's going there for someone in particular, they get a "travel fee", but if it's for a bunch, she won't charge them individually.

rockstache

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Re: Optimizing travel (airfare/hotel/car rental) expenses?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2016, 03:24:31 PM »
Use autoslash.com for all car rentals. Cheapest prices I've ever seen. You book (but don't pay), and as it gets closer they rebook you with lower and lower prices, automatically.

ketchup

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Re: Optimizing travel (airfare/hotel/car rental) expenses?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2016, 04:02:36 PM »
Use autoslash.com for all car rentals. Cheapest prices I've ever seen. You book (but don't pay), and as it gets closer they rebook you with lower and lower prices, automatically.
Damn, that looks great!  I don't see anywhere it can deal with the "young driver" fees though (one more year for her...).

reeshau

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Re: Optimizing travel (airfare/hotel/car rental) expenses?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2019, 03:09:31 AM »
Also, on two sooner trips, she's flying American and United respectively (and seems to usually end up flying one or the other), and will be checking a bag.  It looks like there are airline credit cards for each that would get you a free checked bag as a perk.  Any reason not to do that/is there a better way?  Without doing that, it'll tack on ~$50 to the cost of future United/American flights (she usually has to check a bag).

Is she travelling often enough to qualify for a silver elite frequent flier?  That would also give you your bags for free.  You could get a card with a deal to waive the first year's fees, and drop it once qualified.  (be careful about the impact on your credit score though--just looking directly at the cost problem)

If the differences aren't much, it may be worth consolidating her travel to one airline to pass the hurdle.  There are plenty of other airline fees / hassles to be avoided once you start to climb the FF ladder.  And, to my amazement, the programs are *not* the same--pay attention to the details, and find the one with the features you like best.

Also, to the extent you are booking your own travel:  avoid Mondays and Fridays, and Sundays and Thursdays for longer flights.  That's when *all* the business travellers are booking.  Of course, if you just open up a "flexible dates" view on your favorite booking place, you can see the extent of that effect.  For me, travelling to/from Ireland on Saturdays cuts the cost in half.  But, I am travelling for whole weeks.

If you are staying for a long time, you can also check out the various extended stay options of your favorite chain.  In exchange for lack of daily housekeeping service (which to me has dubious value) you get a much larger room, with some kind of kitchen to also reduce eating costs, at a good price.

ketchup

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Re: Optimizing travel (airfare/hotel/car rental) expenses?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2019, 09:25:58 AM »
Also, on two sooner trips, she's flying American and United respectively (and seems to usually end up flying one or the other), and will be checking a bag.  It looks like there are airline credit cards for each that would get you a free checked bag as a perk.  Any reason not to do that/is there a better way?  Without doing that, it'll tack on ~$50 to the cost of future United/American flights (she usually has to check a bag).

Is she travelling often enough to qualify for a silver elite frequent flier?  That would also give you your bags for free.  You could get a card with a deal to waive the first year's fees, and drop it once qualified.  (be careful about the impact on your credit score though--just looking directly at the cost problem)

If the differences aren't much, it may be worth consolidating her travel to one airline to pass the hurdle.  There are plenty of other airline fees / hassles to be avoided once you start to climb the FF ladder.  And, to my amazement, the programs are *not* the same--pay attention to the details, and find the one with the features you like best.

Also, to the extent you are booking your own travel:  avoid Mondays and Fridays, and Sundays and Thursdays for longer flights.  That's when *all* the business travellers are booking.  Of course, if you just open up a "flexible dates" view on your favorite booking place, you can see the extent of that effect.  For me, travelling to/from Ireland on Saturdays cuts the cost in half.  But, I am travelling for whole weeks.

If you are staying for a long time, you can also check out the various extended stay options of your favorite chain.  In exchange for lack of daily housekeeping service (which to me has dubious value) you get a much larger room, with some kind of kitchen to also reduce eating costs, at a good price.
This thread is from 2.5 years ago, and was only bumped by a 1-post spammer, but I appreciate the input regardless. :)

I'm aware of when flights are cheapest, but unfortunately she often is constrained by her schedule, so "flexible dates" aren't really an option like they would be for personal travel.  It sucks paying $700 roundtrip when $250 roundtrip flights exist, but if it means making an extra $1500 of income (it often does, vs ditching out early), she still comes out ahead.

Also, she doesn't quite fly enough to get status, but we do have some credit cards that have perks that help.

reeshau

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Re: Optimizing travel (airfare/hotel/car rental) expenses?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2019, 09:52:07 AM »
Drat!  Caught in the trap!