I’ve always loved being able to put lots of work charges on my personal credit card and get reimbursed. There’s a risk involved, of course, what if you spend money and your accounting department kicks back the charges? What if your business.. goes out of business before you’re reimbursed?
There are certainly stories like that, although the most common is companies that are slow to reimburse which is why the old Diners Club benefit of two billing cycles to pay was so great. You always had at least 60 days from statement close before your bill was due, so you knew your reimbursements would happen. You’d even have time to bring the reimbursement check to the bank (this was before mobile deposit via app).
Life on the road, when you don’t have to use a company credit card, lets you rack up plenty of miles. But it’s nothing like what one waiter did at a steakhouse.
Copyright: payphoto / 123RF Stock Photo
Go Big Or Go Home
When I worked in a upscale steak house when a table payed in cash I would run my card and bank the miles. Clearly correct change was given and gratuity amount for tipping out support staff at the end of the night. Next day deposit the cash and when it cleared I would send a payment in that amount to CC so no interest charge!
When I left I had just shy of a million miles…800k prob…funded my travels well into my late 20s
Imagine, though, if this restaurant participated in iDine/Rewards Network dining for miles…
Credit: Frequent Flyer Originals
Definitely Risking His Job…
This is a little different than using your credit card for business expenses. Swapping out your own credit card for customer bills when they’re paying cash presents a different challenge — you’re actually imposing credit card processing costs on your employer. This gentleman was lucky, I imagine if the restaurant found out (at least someone high up enough to care) that he might have been fired.
It sounds like this wasn’t recent, so probably didn’t involve double or triple points for dining (spending category bonuses — except for the old Delta ‘double miles on everyday spend’ — are a relatively recent phenomenon). So we’re talking about $800,000 in bills over time. At, say, 2% credit card fees he may have cost his employer to incur $16,000 in additional expenses.
Lots of mixed reaction in the Facebook group, I’d say that on balance discussion tilts against this person though there’s appreciation for the creativity of the scheme. It certainly highlights the moral issues that some people face in their pursuit of miles and points.
Are You Any More Moral in Your Quest for Miles?
How clean are your hands? Maybe you’ve never caused their employer to pick up $16,000 in credit card merchant fees so you could earn miles. But did you ever buy an airline ticket that was more than the cheapest available to stay on your preferred airline?
There are plenty of companies who require employees to book the cheapest fare. If yours does, did you ever discover your preferred airline was more expensive and so you waited to buy your ticket until the last minute figuring that the price of all airlines would go up, and you’d be able to stick with your carrier of choice?
These are the grey areas we confront every single day because loyalty programs were specifically designed to create conflicts of interest. Southwest Airlines early on had the ‘secretaries program’ where they rewarded the assistants booking travel for putting their bosses on Southwest. And the airline one year became the biggest liquor distributor in the State of Texas offering an option for a cheap fare, or a more expensive one with take-home liquor. Guess which one business travelers chose?