One of the few benefits of life on the road is the frequent-flyer miles and hotel points you rack up. For savvy business travelers, free vacations have become as routine as flight delays and lost luggage. But even "free" vacations take work. How do you maximize points and miles without complicating your trips? How do you track accounts with multiple airlines and hotel chains without feeling like a travel agent yourself?
There's a simple answer: visit Biztravel.com, a Web service (http://www.biztravel.com) that's becoming an indispensable tool for road warriors. Biztravel.com lets members book flights, read travel news, and scroll through restaurant reviews for 70 cities. But its killer app is bizReservations, a new service that creates itineraries (flights, hotels, rental cars) to maximize frequent-flyer miles and promotional awards. A related service (bizMiles) lets members track all their airline and hotel account balances in one place.
Biztravel.com does require a startup investment — of time. Becoming a member means completing an in-depth personal profile that records your airline and hotel account numbers and captures your specific travel goals. Are you trying to earn a free trip to a particular destination? Is it more important to qualify for elite traveler status on a particular airline? Once you've identified your goals, the service recommends flights and hotels to meet them. It understands the nuances of frequent-flyer programs and incorporates up-to-the-minute information on deals and cross-promotions.
Ready for the next step? Purchase your ticket online, or pick up the phone and call Biztravel.com's agents — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. BizTravel will deliver your ticket overnight and send an email with your confirmation numbers and itinerary. "They overnight tickets direct to my house," says Amy Gibson, an associate with Coopers & Lybrand, who travels every week. "I can tell them to put it on top of the chimney, and it will be there!"
Bonnie Schwartz, senior vice president of marketing and business development for BizTravel is happy to oblige: "Business travelers deserve all the privileges that are out there. With Biztravel.com's service, you automatically become an insider because we've scoured the deals for you."
A version of this article appeared in the October/November 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.