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Feb 24, 2020

34% of Business Travelers Say Paying for Travel on Their Personal Cards is a Common Problem

Sarah Ramos

Traveler ExperienceReturn to blog

What are the most common issues facing business travelers?

To find out, we partnered with Skift on a report analyzing the attitudes and opinions of corporate travel managers and their travelers. The report, available for you to download, investigates emerging industry trends and key pain points in business travel.

31 percent of business travelers surveyed reported that paying for business travel expenses on their personal credit cards was a recurring challenge they face while traveling, just behind flight delays (66 percent) and flight cancellations (32 percent).

TripActions Skift

This source of frustration was mirrored with corporate travel managers, with 34 percent reporting that travel payments on personal cards was their travelers’ biggest problem while on the road. Business travelers often have to use their own cards when checking in at a hotel, even if the company paid for the hotel in advance.

“That's one of our biggest complaints is someone checks in with their own personal card, and the hotel says, ‘Oh, don't worry, we have the card on file, we just need this for incidentals,’” said letgo’s VP of Finance David Wieseneck. “And then they check out, or they do a checkout where you just leave the hotel, and they just charge the card on file.”

For employees with new credit history or low credit scores, paying for business trips with a personal card can be stressful and embarrassing. The employee could have their card declined at dinners, hotels, and the airport — or have to ask their manager to book on their behalf or ask coworkers to cover out-of-pocket purchases while traveling.

Slow reimbursement can also be a stressor for employees. Employees may worry about having to cover the full amount of their work travel while awaiting reimbursement from their company, or covering the interest payments when they can only afford the minimum payment due. Both situations can be detrimental to building credit history and maintaining a strong credit score. Some people use credit cards as a safety cushion for unforeseen emergencies. Depending on how long their company takes to process reimbursements, business travel charges can occupy that safety net and leave employees in a tight spot should something come up.

This is also true for managers or delegates who lend out a card to help employees who don’t want to take on the debt. If the manager has several direct reports booking travel on a shared card, the credit limit could be reached quickly and it’s nearly impossible to tell which charge belongs to which employee for which trip.

Business travel should be an opportunity to delight employees, not embarrass or frustrate them. If any of your business travelers have expressed concern with charging business trips to their personal credit cards, check out The State of Business Travel 2020 — and know you’re not alone!

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