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Planes with Benefits

May 11, 2017 2:00 pm Published by
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How Soft Dollar Airline Programs Can Work For You.

Travel management can be tough when it comes to saving money and pleasing your travelers at the same time. If you’re a mid-market client with smaller air spend you may want to investigate soft dollar airline programs.

What’s A Soft Dollar Program?

Soft dollar programs provide benefits in trade for clients that display loyalty to a particular airline. Benefits include things like airline tickets, seat upgrades, status upgrades, and club passes, depending on the airline.

Who Does It Benefit?

A soft dollar program is ideal for clients who have some air lift but not enough volume to negotiate a point-of-sale agreement with a particular airline. Depending on your preferred airlines you may be able to claim other benefits through your customer loyalty.

AND: added bonus? The program works in concert with the airline rewards programs that your travelers are already a part of. The more they fly with a particular airline, the more they benefit and the more soft dollar opportunities your company gets.

How Does It Work?

Simple. You can enroll your company in a soft-dollar program on any of the major air carriers’ websites. You’ll need specific company information like a company administrator and tax ID numbers. Once you’re enrolled, provide your account number to your World Travel, Inc. Account Manager. That way, every booking your travelers make with that airline will be tracked in the program. The more you spend, the more opportunities you get for upgrades and airline tickets.

Then, you’ll work with your World Travel, Inc. Account Manager to establish the parameters of how you want to redeem those benefits. We can set up routines that will assist in managing your program.

For example:
If a traveler tries to book a ticket over X amount of dollars on your preferred airline, your travel counselor is alerted to check and see if you have any soft dollar tickets you could redeem, instead. The traveler is then booked on a soft-dollar ticket, and you don’t end up paying that large price tag for expensive ticket.

What’s the Catch?

Use it or lose it! Most programs require a minimum spend per year to benefit from their soft dollar program, so you can’t just set up programs with all the airlines. The threshold varies, but if you don’t hit your numbers, your program will be deactivated. Ask your Account Manager to help you analyze your spend patterns and your most prevalent routes to help identify your best bets for an airline partner.

Show Me the Money

The benefits are clear. Your travelers will be happy because, in addition to racking up points for their personal rewards programs, they’re more likely to score a seat upgrade or a free club pass on a long layover.  Additionally, being enrolled in a soft dollar program allows further program tracking of where your travelers are going, how much they’re spending, and if your policies are working. World Travel, Inc. tracks the redemption of your waivers and favors, as well, so that you can see just how much money you’ve saved by redeeming soft dollar tickets on those more expensive flights.

This program is ideal for clients who have billable and non-billable travel, such as law firms and other consultancies. We can set the routines to trigger only on your non-billable travel. While your clients have to cover billable travel, you can focus your soft-dollar redemption for only non-billable travel, further offsetting your costs. Your loyalty earns soft dollar tickets that you don’t have to pay for out of pocket.

How Much Does It Cost Me?

With World Travel, Inc.? Nothing. Our easy pricing structures mean that you’re not paying for things like Account Management and Consulting Services. So your Account Manager is happy to look at your travel trends and help identify if an airline soft dollar program is right for you. Then we’ll help you set it up and track the benefits. And if your company outgrows the soft dollar program? Our Consulting Services department will step in to negotiate a Point-of-Sale Agreement with your preferred airline, free of charge.

So keep your travelers happy, cut some spend, and benefit from your loyalty with a major airline. Ask about soft dollar programs today!

Image by Andrea Vincenzo Abbondanza via Unsplash
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This post was written by Chesley Turner

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