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Accepting a new position and I am responsible for booking normal travel (hotel, dinner, etc)....company will be handling airfare and larger purchases. I currently have a Chase Platinum that I use for personal use that has a lifetime guaranteed rate of 6.99%. Seems like it would make more sense to have a separate card to allow my business to remain apart from my personal use.

What is the best route to go (meaning what has worked well for everyone)? I'd like to begin saving for some Marriott points or airfare so probably just picking one of those two rewards cards would make the most sense, right?

maura's picture

So, the company isn't going to give you a Corporate Card for the travel expenses? If not, then by all means get another card of your own, and keep the business stuff separate from the personal. And by all means, make it another Chase card - of course, I might be [i]a bit[/i] biased since I work there. :lol:

Oh, and big congratulations on the new position!

jhack's picture

Separate card, absolutely.

Congrats!

John

yahtzee's picture

Thanks to you both!!!!

AManagerTool's picture

I got to ask. Why won't they give you a corporate card?

I once worked for an engineering consulting company that wouldn't give anyone cards. They did this because they LOVED to mess with you over your expenses. I ended up paying for two last minute tickets to Puerto Rico to make them a pile of money. They claimed that if I had booked them earlier I could have gotten them for less money. Mind you, they sent me to bail out someone else's problem project after that engineer quit at the customer site, but am I bitter??? NO! LOL

After I resigned because of the constant shenanigans, I asked the CFO why they had this policy. He told me that the company had credit problems. A year and a half later, they laid off everyone and closed up shop. I will never allow business expenses to be carried by my CC ever again. It's sort of a thing now with me.

Maybe this is not an issue, maybe it is. My advice is to make note of it. It's valuable data.

yahtzee's picture

[quote="AManagerTool"]I got to ask. Why won't they give you a corporate card?

I once worked for an engineering consulting company that wouldn't give anyone cards. They did this because they LOVED to mess with you over your expenses. I ended up paying for two last minute tickets to Puerto Rico to make them a pile of money. They claimed that if I had booked them earlier I could have gotten them for less money. Mind you, they sent me to bail out someone else's problem project after that engineer quit at the customer site, but am I bitter??? NO! LOL

After I resigned because of the constant shenanigans, I asked the CFO why they had this policy. He told me that the company had credit problems. A year and a half later, they laid off everyone and closed up shop. I will never allow business expenses to be carried by my CC ever again. It's sort of a thing now with me.

Maybe this is not an issue, maybe it is. My advice is to make note of it. It's valuable data.[/quote]

Thanks for the insight. I certainly wont be starting my first day on the job asking why I don't have a corporate card (although if I happen to be out with the CFO Monday night I may ask him). They volunteered their D&B information and have zero debt and pay their bills very quickly. I would have loved to have gotten even more detailed info on them but didn't dig around for any free resources for such research.

HMac's picture

Yahtzee - as someone who works in the loyalty marketing business, my perspective is that you should select a card with variable reward options (not just points), so you don't get tied to one hotel or air brand, and you can shift your rewards as your desires change (maybe you save toward a trip for a while, maybe you want cashback one year, etc). All the major financial firms are going that way with their cards.

And even though you mention Marriott, consider the Hilton program. I've been in it for years because of their "double dip" option which awards you BOTH hotel points AND airmiles for the same stay. And like Marriott, Hilton has a broad range of brands, so you can use them for business and personal (meaning cheap) stays.

And yes - ABSOLUTELY a separate card for business expenses.

If there's ever any question or dispute, you have a "clean record" in your statements, because everything on them is for business. Plus, if you new company is slow about processing your expense reports and you start accruing interest penalties, you've got a clearer case for having those charges paid back to you by the company.

matto's picture

Yahtzee

Look for a card offering you both flexibility and convenience. As John pointed out, a separate card is a necessity in your situation.

Your ideal business card should have an interest-free period, 24/7 online management (e.g. viewing balances/transaction history), a low annual card fee, and offer a rewards points system (but make sure they don't expire).

Some business credit cards even come with travel insurance... which is always something to consider. A business card will also help with tax reporting for deductible business expenses (listing the time/date/place of purchase/amount), not to mention greatly assisting in gaining reimbursement from your employer.

Good luck with the hunt.

Matt

tcomeau's picture

Allow me to present the contrarian view.

First, my organization doesn't give corporate cards, because we're not allowed to. This is partly a result of the government's audit rules, which say contractually we get reimbursed, and the auditors have a narrow view of what "reimbursed" means.

It would also be a nightmare to administer, since people routinely spend money on things that can't be reimbursed, so we would constantly be having to reconcile "personal" versus business spending. For example, the government won't reimburse alcohol, and I have yet to find a decent restaurant that will let me put dinner on one card, and the wine pairing on a separate card. It's just too much hassle.

I also don't use a separate card. I have just two cards I take with me when I travel. Most of my charges go on a card that earns rebates. The other card usually stays in my hotel room - it's for emergencies. Both cards, however, are my cards, and I use them for other things. I don't want another card in my own name, partly because I don't want the hassle, and partly because it's just another opportunity for ID theft, misplaced bills, credit report screwups, or plain old lost-or-stolen-card hassles.

I'm careful to document and track the expenses that are reimbursable, file my expense reports promptly, and answer any questions about expenses quickly and honestly. I usually lose a few dollars on every trip because I tip better than the guidelines allow. I don't care. I grew up poor, and know how important tips can be, and I think I get better service.

I don't see what getting a separate card for business travel buys you. If you want a "loyalty" card, get one. For example, if you want rebates on gas purchases, get a card that gives you those rebates, and get rebates on both business and personal gas purchases.

If the company delays reimbursements, you're still on the hook with the credit card company anyway, and the company shouldn't be using you to get a decent interest rate. If they are, you should be thinking about whether they are a good company to work for, or a good company to loan money to.

I also think having more cards is an invitation to get deeper in debt, which is something I try very hard to avoid. Only one of my cards doesn't get paid off every month, and that's the card we use for major purchases where we plan to stretch out the cost, and don't want to pull money out of the f.... uh, emergency fund. Carrying a little debt is good for your credit scores, which means you get cheaper money. (Perverse, but true.) Carrying a lot of debt is bad for your scores, so money costs more, and you can get into a credit death spiral.

I don't think having a separate card is worth the hassle. YMMV.

tc>

pmoriarty's picture

Tom,

Most "corporate cards" are really your card. The issuing bank's decision is made on your creditworthiness and you are ultimately responsible for the charges incurred (with some narrow exceptions). There may still be a few companies out there that guarantee the card and pay the issuing bank directly, but they are few and far between in these days of "risk management".

tcomeau's picture

[quote="pmoriarty"]
Most "corporate cards" are really your card. The issuing bank's decision is made on your creditworthiness and you are ultimately responsible for the charges incurred (with some narrow exceptions). [/quote]

Yes, I've seen that both ways. I know people who have a company card issued on the individual's credit, and the problem there is that the company also gets all records of how the card is used. I can't see that having the company get all the details of my spending is a good thing.

I have a sister with a company card, and it's the company's credit, and she uses it for company expenses. (Not just travel, but also for purchases of tools and supplies.) That's the case that makes the most sense to me.

At one point one of my in-laws had a government card, which was backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. It was, of course, for Official Use Only. (And yet, he knew of the most bizarre abuses.)

If the company [u]issues[/u] a card, for business use, then it makes sense to travel on the company card and charge your business expenses on the card. The original post was about the case where the company doesn't issue a card, and whether it was then best to go get your own, separate, card for business use. I saw a couple of "ABSOLUTELY" responses, and I was not persuaded, for the reasons I suggest above.

tc>

pmoriarty's picture

Giving the company details on your spend allows them to negotiate on things like hotel rooms. If a company approaches say, Hilton, and tells them that they wish to negotiate a corporate rate, the first thing Hilton wants to know is not how much you are planning to spend in the coming year, but how much you actually spent last year and they want the supporting documentation.

Some of the more advanced online expense reporting apps support taking a feed from the issuing bank and pre-populating your expense report with charges that you made using the corporate card. How cool is that?

jhack's picture

All things considered, I much prefer having a card dedicated to company expenses.

John