Maximizing new job perks

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jacksodw said:    I'm all for staying in nice hotels but if I have the choice of a $50 gift card or nicer sheets I'm picking the $50 gift card.Why not have the best of both worlds? Find some really nice high thread count sheets on FW and take them with you! Then it's never an issue, plus you don't have to sleep on sheets that strangers did god-knows-what on. Also it gives your gf or wife the opportunity to show her devoted love for you by washing your travel sheets when you are back home from being a road warrior.

Win-win!

Sonofspam said:   jacksodw said:    I'm all for staying in nice hotels but if I have the choice of a $50 gift card or nicer sheets I'm picking the $50 gift card.Why not have the best of both worlds? Find some really nice high thread count sheets on FW and take them with you? Then it's never an issue, plus you don't have to sleep on sheets that strangers did god-knows-what on. Plus it gives your gf or wife the opportunity to show her devoted love for you by washing your travel sheets when you are back home from being a road warrior.

Win-win!


Except I hate making my bed!

Go buy other people food for their food stamps.

edit: I think it is pretty ridiculous that they are forcing you to eat out without the option of buying your own healthy food. Some people just don't like to eat out 7 days a week.

Since this is a new job, tread lightly especially if you want to move up in the organization as you stated. You need to have a good relationship with your boss. Talk to your boss about what is and isn't acceptable to the company and/or to your boss. If a boss gets the impression you're trying to game the system (through the use of gift cards, groceries, etc.) you may thwart your efforts to move ahead. Your boss' opinion is as important as the company policies. If your boss has any reason to question his/her trust of you, you may not get the next position at the company.

Hotel rewards are OK - restaurant rewards are OK - but I would avoid groceries and gift cards unless you are 100% sure they are OK with the company AND the boss.

You're only eating two meals a day so don't count out fast food. An Egg McMuffin or oatmeal at McDonalds is a reasonable breakfast choice. Most sit down restaurants have huge portions. Be prepared to take home leftovers and you can save some money on groceries at home. You may need a cooler in the car to keep the food safe before getting it home. Taking home leftovers would not raise an eyebrow.

I have a reputation at work for not spending much money for meals when travelling for company business. My travel requests are approved quickly. Hotels I choose usually include a free breakfast and sometimes even evening snacks that are sufficient for dinner. You may get brownie points with your boss if you consistently do NOT spend the full $25. (From what you've said, $25 appears to be a meal allowance and not a per diem. A per diem would be given to you whether or not you spend the money and you would not have to submit receipts.)

Good luck with the new job. Focus on doing the best you can. Find out what makes your boss look good and help your boss look good. Those should be your areas of focus if you want to move ahead in the organization. Don't get a reputation as someone who milks the benefits.

VerbalK said:   Hope the guy you fired didn't have any dietary restrictions (either health or religious), else you are inviting a discrimination suit. Sounds like a dumb policy to me.

You are using logic on HR policies. Those two do not go together.

Sorry to take so long to respond, but here goes.

1) He had no dietary restrictions

2) Many of the reasons that other people listed were why (IRS, etc.)

3) This is inevitably how it goes:

Day One:

Loaf of Bread
Can of Peanut Butter
2 Frozen Meals
Variety of Deli Meats
12 Pack of Soda

Total 24.83

Day two:
Gallon of Milk
2 Boxes of Cereal
1lb. Ground Beef
Spaghetti
Sauce
Frozen Pizza

Total 24.41

ANd so on.

First I am not there to feed your family. We are there to provide you that meal for the day. Second, what happened to all the food you bought on day one. A loaf of bread and a can of Peanut Butter can last more than one day. Third, if there were a situation where you went to the grocery store once and bought what looked to be like lunch for that day that is fine. it is when a pattern develops. We pay these people $200,000+ per year. If they want to nickel and dime us they can find another job and if they abuse an expense policy we are going to notice.

Finally contrary to most people here our employees rarely abuse the expense policies. Many do not use their stipend for the day (ours is above $25), many stay with friends on the road and save us $ in lodging fees. Sometimes they may even take the person they are staying with to dinner (which we are Ok with since they are saving money on lodging).

robodukie said:   

SPG has a pretty decent hotel rewards program, and they are often reasonably priced in the Midwest and other low cost areas. I would check that program out before committing entirely to Choice, because their hotels tend to be much nicer.


I have never seen a SPG property available for under $80. Then again, I don't go to the midwest that often.

Another option is that you can sign up your company card for a dining rewards program like United, Delta or Best Buy. These are all run by one parent company, so you have to pick one. Then, you can look up restaurants in the area you'll be in and find which participate. You get points for every dollar you spend (on your company card!) which eventually lead to rewards. It's a bit of work to remember to look up and find a participating restaurant while traveling, but if you're committed you can do it. These are often local restaurants that you wouldn't think of going to. This can be good and bad. Also, sometimes you can double dip and use a restaurant.com certificate and then get the points on the back end. Voila, you've just earned free beers after a hard day's work and also some airline miles.

OP, if there's a Whole Foods near your destinations, I would recommend them for healthy and organic meals.

The long and short of this is, based on the vague rules you've outlined, that you're going to need to become a loyal customer of one hotel chain and one restaurant chain - both of which offer rewards which can be converted to cash later.

At the end of this gig, you're going to have a pile of bought-5, eat free coupons and a lot of HHonors (or similar) points. Just be brand loyal to a hotel chain in your part of the world that has a national program.

bigdinkel said:   OP, if there's a Whole Foods near your destinations, I would recommend them for healthy and organic meals.So much for eating on $25/day.

I see your point, Mike. But an employee that goes to a grocery store upon arrival in a city for a week-long stay to pick up healthy and less expensive foods for breakfasts, etc, should be fine. A grocery run at the beginning of the week can save $50+ on restaurant breakfasts. We have employees that do this routinely and overall it saves us money.

dcwilbur said:   bigdinkel said:   OP, if there's a Whole Foods near your destinations, I would recommend them for healthy and organic meals.So much for eating on $25/day.

You can get lunch for under $8 a meal.

bigdinkel said:   You can get lunch for under $8 a meal.At Whole Foods?! Every time I go to the Whole Foods food bar (which I only do when on business travel), I try to get a reasonable amount of food. But the checkout insists that the food is $12+.

djtitati said:   Another option is that you can sign up your company card for a dining rewards program like United, Delta or Best Buy. These are all run by one parent company, so you have to pick one. Then, you can look up restaurants in the area you'll be in and find which participate. You get points for every dollar you spend (on your company card!) which eventually lead to rewards. It's a bit of work to remember to look up and find a participating restaurant while traveling, but if you're committed you can do it. These are often local restaurants that you wouldn't think of going to. This can be good and bad. Also, sometimes you can double dip and use a restaurant.com certificate and then get the points on the back end. Voila, you've just earned free beers after a hard day's work and also some airline miles.

BB has restaurant partner program attached to their rewards zone program. I'd look into that if I had to eat at sit down places. The points can rack up and you would get BB certs.

BB also has several other partners you may be interested in such as
La Quinta hotels
"Get 750 Reward Zone« points for each stay at any La Quinta« Inns & Suites."

250 points get you $5 BB cert.

So with dining rewards programs like idine or the best buy one I'd have to link the company credit card with the transaction correct? Not 100% the company would be ok with linking the card to something like that but I think I'll look into it. I assume there wouldn't be any changes to the billing statement or anything?

PrincipalMember said:   watchtower7 said:   
Panera gives quite a bit back on their program. I highly recommend it.


Can you elaborate on this one? I am signed up for their card but I hardly get anything. When companies have this program where they kind of say, "use our rewards card - we will throw you a bone when we feel like it", you know that you are probably not getting much unless you eat there everyday.

I spent the summer in Del Mar, ate oatmeal everyday for breakfast, got all kinds of free coffee/deserts/seems like soup as well. I am guessing in the 5% Cash Back area.

bigdinkel said: You can get lunch for under $8 a meal.At Whole Foods?! Every time I go to the Whole Foods food bar (which I only do when on business travel), I try to get a reasonable amount of food. But the checkout insists that the food is $12+.

My whole foods in louisville has chicken and 2 sides for $8 or salmon and 2 sides for $10. When I used to eat a gigantic breakfast there (granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, coffee and a smoothie) it was $15, I feel your pain.

jacksodw said:   So with dining rewards programs like idine or the best buy one I'd have to link the company credit card with the transaction correct? Not 100% the company would be ok with linking the card to something like that but I think I'll look into it. I assume there wouldn't be any changes to the billing statement or anything?

The company would have no idea. Completely third party. All communications will goto your whatever contact info you provide.



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