Does it seem strange to you that there aren’t any websites or apps designed for helping independent business travelers select their travel options? In all of the conversations I’ve had with fellow travelers over the last decade, it’s clear there is a relatively large group of people who are responsible for booking their own travel, whether they are self-employed or work for a company to small for a corporate travel site.
Enter Upside, a travel booking website designed for business travelers. Upside was started by Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline. He realized there wasn’t an online booking tool for business travelers that don’t have an internal site or stringent corporate travel policy. His goal was to create a place where business travelers can book travel that saves their company money and get rewarded for it, plus offer excellent support for any potential issues.
Here’s how it works. Put your search terms in–flight times, hotel, car rental or Uber–and choose your specifics. So far, sounds like basically every travel site, right? Here’s the difference. Bundling a flight with another component like hotel or car gets you a better price *and* credit you can redeem in their gift card hub. And it gets better. If you have some flexibility and can take slightly different flights or stay in a hotel one or two blocks from your initial request your savings *and* your gift card credit go up.
Of course I wanted to try it, so I priced out my next trip. The price for an American Airlines flight and Hilton Garden Inn came out the same whether I put it in on the AA and Hilton websites, my corporate website, or Upside. After I selected my ideal flight and hotel package Upside took $10 off the price and offered me a $15 gift card. If I chose a different hotel my gift card could be $40 or $50. If I changed flights it went up even more.
The concept is pretty simple–the business saves money, the traveler gets rewarded, and there is 24/7 customer support to help handle any issues that come up. In addition to that, you will receive airline miles like normal (although you may not receive credit toward elite qualifying spend) and you’ll receive hotel points for many brands (including Wyndham, Omni, La Quinta, and NH Hotels) with more added all the time. To add a little more gravitas to the brand: they announced this week that they’re partnering with the Wall Street Journal to offer Wall Street Journal Business Travel Service to their membership base.
Right now there are two ways to try out Upside for the first time and get a little bonus. Option one: Purchase a trip worth $600 or more and get a free Bose Soundlink Wireless II Headset (a $229 value) with code BOSERW2017, good through Nov. 30. Option two (if you already have headphones you love): use code RW2017 on trips worth $600 or more to get an extra $100 added to your gift card account.
At this time travel is offered to hundreds of locations globally with more added every day. For the right traveler, Upside can offer a great price and extra rewards.
Readers, do you use a corporate travel site or book your travel independently?
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