06 Dec Utilize Corporate Hotel Codes for Personal Travel!

Hotels are expensive. On my recent trip to Boston the average night at a 3 to 4-star hotel was over $300! Holy smokes! I’m not made of money over here!?

Price is a major factor limiting you from achieving your travel dreams! Lucky for you (and me) there are a variety of cost cutting measures and “travel hacks” available to you in order to achieve your travel goals without bottoming out your savings accounts.

A beautiful fall weekend in Boston shouldn't cost you a fortune!

A beautiful fall weekend in Boston shouldn’t cost you a fortune!

My preferred rate reduction travel hack is of course, hotel reward points. Hilton HHonors, Marriott Rewards, SPG Starpoints, Hyatt Gold Passport points (for now) – like Pokemon man, I gotta catch ‘em all! These are my go-to and depending on the hotel chain, location and dates, I know that I can redeem a (relatively) reasonable amount of reward points with little to no cash out of pocket!

But… I recognize that not every high rate conundrum can be solved with a hotel reward points redemption plan since award availability can be scarce at times.

Even the best of plans need a back-up plan… Enter Hotel Corporate Rates!

What are Corporate Rates?

Major international companies have large employee bases. By virtue of their international footprint, they in turn have a large number of employees who travel regularly in performing their job functions.

Hotels recognize these frequent travel patterns of corporate employees and capitalize on that traffic by offering specific “Corporate Codes.” These codes incentivize corporate business travelers via reduced rates and create brand loyalty between a company and hotel brand. And the best part is that typically, employees still earn valuable points and elite credits even with the reduced rates.

Companies benefit from this relationship with reduced travel costs, and hotels benefit in the form of increased occupancy. A classic win/win situation!

Do you work for a large company/corporation? Good for you! Contact your respective HR or Travel department to see if you may have a corporate hotel rate available to you.

Leveraging for Personal Use

Corporate codes are great not just for your company’s cost reduction efforts, but for your own wallet as well! When the rates are negotiated, there is often a rate ceiling set meaning even in periods of high travel volume when rates skyrocket, your corporate code will allow you to book at a reasonable rate!

For instance, check out this weekend in Boston I was researching and the results of a corporate code with Starwood Preferred Guest:

Without:

starwood-hotels-resorts

$755 per is ridiculous and make this hotel out of reach for most… don’t pay this…

And with:

spg-corp-code-boston-ayp

Down to a reasonable $199 per night! Now this hotel is actually a potential option for your stay!

Now keep in mind that not each code will cut every hotel rate every time. For instance, in the comparison below I have input two different corporate codes below, yet only one is providing me some stellar price cuts!

Not all corporate codes are created equal!

Not all corporate codes are created equal!

Note: Travel policies vary based on the individual company, and there is a chance that your company policy disallows utilizing corporate codes for personal use. Be sure to give your policy a read before you get yourself reprimanded/fired over a few hundred dollars in savings!

Not an Employee – Can I Use Corporate Codes?

I knew that you may ask this and will begin with a disclaimer. I neither encourage nor condone the use of these codes in a way that violates the terms of the hotel or your company. This post is to advise employees to explore their corporate travel policies and take advantage of corporate hotel rates that they have access to. I did not write this post to promote unauthorized use of corporate hotel rates.

My company badge!? I've been working here for 20 years!?

My company badge!? I’ve been working here for 20 years!?

Now that I have covered that, let’s get down to business…

To start You will first have to gain access to these codes. While I will not provide a list of codes in this post (email me if you REALLY want some), there are plenty of blog posts floating around that include them and a simple google search may get you what your looking for. Another avenue to take might be to ask your family and friends with corporate jobs, as they will likely have access to these codes and may be willing to share!

Another barrier to your quest for cheap travel using corporate codes – The small but important fact that you are not technically permitted to use them. The corporate rate terms typically require a qualifying ID be presented upon to verify affiliation. While often times this is not enforced, it will ultimately depend on the hotel policies, as well as geographical location.

For instance, in the US and Canada, it is very rare that you will be asked to provide a business card or company ID. However, if you’re travelling in Asia you will almost certainly be asked to provide such proof. If you are asked to provide proof and cannot, you will most likely be subject to the standard nightly rates, which may be significantly higher than the rate booked under the corporate code.

osaka-email-request-ayp

Email from the St. Regis Osaka in Japan requesting my Corporate Identification!

It is a high risk and high reward situation. If you are willing to fully accept and assume the risk, you can find yourself some serious cost savings.

Final Thought

Are you an employee of a large company with frequent travel tendencies? Then you might have a huge hotel cost saving opportunity sitting right before your eyes! Inquire about your company’s corporate hotel rates and take advantage of relationships your company has built with popular hotel chains.

Not a corporate employee? Utilize hotel corporate codes at your own risk! I’ll be at derek@accountingyourpoints.com if you have questions!

Have you ever taken advantage of your corporate code to book personal travel? If so, were you an employee affiliated with that company code?

Happy Corporate Code Travel!

DW

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