Maximizing soft dollar rewards

For most businesses, travel constitutes a top operational expense. But many small to medium size companies do not qualify for airline contracts or point of sale discounts. For those organizations, it is imperative to maximize the use of soft dollar reward programs available from airlines and other travel suppliers.

CTM clients, on average, realize an average return of 10 to 15 cents per dollar spent by maximizing soft dollar management. You could be only five steps from maximizing your soft dollar programs and driving the greatest savings back to your bottom line!

1. Identify top carriers

Establish a policy with preferred carriers in your major market(s) to align with your most common suppliers. If you have a Travel Management Company (TMC) partner, they can help you establish a strategy to align your company with the right carriers and show you how to maximize your accrued points. Encourage your travelers to adopt these suppliers.

2. Sign up for rewards

Sign up, or ask your TMC to sign you up, for business reward programs from your top airline partners. Delta, United, American and British Airways, for example, all offer all offer soft dollar programs to US-based companies. The airlines’ soft dollar programs are no cost to the company and do not affect your travelers’ individual frequent flyer programs.

3. Monitor accruals

Once established, monitor points accrual on a monthly or quarterly basis to ensure all rewards are utilized. The management, application, and reporting of reward tickets can sound like a daunting task, but your TMC partner can usually assist in supporting this process. Some travel partners, like CTM, can also automate this process for you for a small fee.

4. Distribute rewards

Soft dollar programs allow companies to accrue points based on overall spend that can be redeemed for domestic or international airline tickets, frequent flyer status upgrades, seat upgrades, airline lounge memberships, and more. Redeem these rewards according to an established policy to reduce your most costly trips, incent road warriors, and improve the traveler experience for executives and guest travelers.

5. Track and Communicate

Communicate the value these reward programs bring back to the company! Remind your travelers, and your executive leadership, of the rewards earned and redeemed and the bottom line savings to the company. Bonus points for reducing traveler friction and stress through upgrade and lounge membership rewards!

Soft dollar programs contribute to overall program value by increasing compliance and driving down costs. CTM’s soft dollar management service provides an end-to-end solution for program optimization and ease of use.

Contact us today to maximize your soft dollar reward return!