Remember the reader who couldn’t afford his company’s required travel? The company required him to bill the bills up front on a credit card in his own name and be reimbursed later, but he’d declared bankruptcy a few years ago and couldn’t get a credit card. Here’s his update.
I would love to say that my company stood up and put me as an authored user on their own account, but that did not happen. I would love to say I won the lottery and money is not an issue, but alas money is still an issue. I got two credit cards, one from my credit union and a cap one. Between those and money I have in my savings, I get by for trips. I had to set up a separate checking account, as it confused my wife which funds we could spend and which were travel monies. I had the company put $50 per pay period in that account so that I could slowly build up a decent cushion. I have gotten a reputation for being the cheapskate on trips, always looking for the best deal on food, and a lot of that is because by the end of 10 days (they reduced the max days we are allowed out at one time), I am usually scraping the bottom of the barrel. This last trip I set my lowest amount spent on food and everyone was amazed that I could get it so low (about $100 for food for 5 days).
I pay each card in full when I get my expense check (usually it takes two weeks, as paperwork only goes or comes from main office on Fridays) and should have an automatic increase from Cap One in a month or two. In the meantime, I have found ways to stretch my monies legitimately, such as the current Holiday Inn deal where if we stayed two nights then we will be receiving visa gift cards. That is free money for travel account once I use it to charge food and am reimbursed by the company.
As for prices, I have found that I still have not needed to rent a car (we must use the company vehicle to be able to the the work), but I have had to purchase plane tickets with one-day notice, and without a credit card that would have been scary. Even with the card, it made things tight. And I have found that Holiday Inns require an additional hold on a debit card. I have gotten enough days from Holiday Inn that the last vacation was booked completely in Priority Club points with no room costs out of pocket.
I am getting used to the idea of having a credit card (still do not like it and cannot stand to see a balance on the thing) and actually find the apps for paying make it very easy to keep up with and end up paying payments typically within 24 hours of submission. It is a great feeling seeing that balance with a $0 behind it. One thing that I did learn is to not overpay the card because they do not give you any more than your limit, so even if you paid $30 too much, they will only let you charge your limit till the actual bill posts which is about 3 days. That was a painful lesson, and I ate a lot of pizza that week.
The company said a few months ago that they were changing away from AMEX and I was all excited because I may have a shot with Visa or Mastercard, but that was the last they have said on that and when we ask our supervisor, he says that HR has not said anything else to him.
Thanks again for the help!