If you're a small business owner who travels often, consider using a credit card that allows you to manage your business expenses effectively. In a recent poll, two-thirds of Canadians who travel for business and belong to a travel rewards program said they use the travel points they accumulate on business travel for personal use. The poll was conducted by TD Canada Trust.
"Small business owners can save money, track expenses and protect against the unexpected," says David McIvor, senior manager for business credit cards for TD Canada Trust, which commissioned the poll.
Mr. McIvor offers the following tips for business travellers:
Consolidate your business spending on one card: Doing so will make it easy to track all of your expenses. Choose a card with a spending limit high enough to allow you to charge all of your business needs to the same card. Maintain a separate credit card to charge and track your personal expenses.
Review your statement: Your credit card statement should provide tools to help you review your spending. Some cards group spending into categories such as travel, lodging, food and auto expenses. If business takes you on the road a lot, a report that breaks down your spending into categories can allow you to see where you may be able to cut back.
Look for ways to double up: Some travel cards offer ways to accumulate double or triple the rewards. For instance, booking rewards travel through the credit card's travel-rewards centre may also grant you additional bonuses.
Research your redemption options: You have earned your vacation time and your travel points, so you shouldn't be limited on how you use them. Research your travel card to make sure it gives you the flexibility to redeem your travel points for any travel, not just hotel accommodations and flights, but even room service, car rentals, airport parking and taxes.
Stay organized: Bring an envelope or folder with you so you can keep all of your receipts together and in one place, rather than trying to track them all down after the fact.
Seasoned business travellers may think they are prepared for everything, but even the most experienced travellers can run into hiccups that are out of their control. Along with helping their business save money, a business credit card should help guard against the unexpected. Mr. McIvor offers small business owners the following tips on what protection to look for from their credit card:
Lost baggage: You've probably learned to prepare for lost baggage by packing the essentials in your carry-on. But if your checked baggage is lost it can still be a hassle to replace the items. Your business travel credit card should insure baggage.
Delays: If you've had a rough day of delayed flights, you don't want to worry about a hotel giving away your room because you were late checking-in. Choose a credit card that allows you to request a guaranteed reservation assuring that a room will be held even if you arrive late, until checkout time the following day.
Lost or stolen wallet: Losing your wallet or important documents is a hassle, but when you're travelling it can be extremely unnerving. Your business travel credit card should have a 24-hour service available that can help you with a cash advance, provide you with a replacement credit card immediately, and help you locate your nearest embassy.