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What About The Workers?

Working hard

There you are, slaving away over a hot screen whilst others in the firm jet off to all sorts of places. You organise everything for them, down to the last details, making sure they get seat 4A and then watch as they take the family away for a free week, courtesy of all those air miles. And what do you get? Nothing.

That does not need to be. If you work for a small to medium sized firm, then there is something in the pot for you. Well, there is, if your people fly on British Airways or on Air France/ KLM. And, in the immortal words, attributed Sir Michael Caine, "There's not many people that know that".

The British Airways scheme is called "On Business" that of Air France/ KLM is called "BlueBiz" and both operate in a similar manner. Each time you make a booking on British Airways (BA), Iberia or American Airlines (by "you" I mean the "booker" as opposed to the person flying) or Air France (AF), KLM, Delta Airlines or Hop! then your agent (who should preferably be me!) will add in to that booking, your BA or your AF membership number. You or your firm/ organisation will then build up points. These may be redeemed as flights or as upgrades.

Who within your organisation may use the points is, of course, up to you and/ or your organisation, but the general idea is that the points may be used as a bonus for the flight booker - the actual person travelling still gets their points on their frequent flyer card (if they have one - they do not need to have a Frequent Flyer number for the organisation, that is, you, to benefit) and what the person flying gets, in terms of their points, is not affected in any way. These schemes are designed for small to medium firms or organisations.

Can you build up points to make a realistically useful number for actual flights? The short answer is yes. A half decent priced return economy flight from London to Nice (about £250's worth) will get you 210 points and in business class, 519 points. To put that into context, an economy return flight to Paris will set you back 2,200 points. Points do expire every couple of years or so. You would be surprised how many times I have to call people to remind them that they have these points available and need to use them!

It is easy to sign up for either programme, you appoint the scheme administrator and you appoint your travel agent (and make sure you let your travel agent know!). In my case, as a travel agent, I use the Sabre airline reservation system and just make a simple entry into your organisations' booking profile so that all membership numbers are entered for every booking, so there is no danger of missing out. Of course, if you wish to book online on anything other than the airline's own website, you will miss out (which is another reason why we agents are still a good idea).

In a world where opportunities for getting a realistic benefit for loyalty are becoming increasingly rare, these SME schemes are worthwhile and above all, a useful benefit.

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