How To: Cash in as a Traveling Consultant

Mar 3, 2015 9:00:00 AM · by Ashley Wetmore

HealthcareIS-Blog_Mar3In a past post by Allison Harrison, Things That Every Consultant Should Have, she recommends that every consultant hold a designated credit card for expenses incurred on the job.

“This is a good idea for a couple of reasons.  One, you will have everything on one card for any auditing purposes at the end of the year.  Also, if there is ever a discrepancy along the way with a reimbursement, and you no longer have the receipt, you are easily able to locate the charge and remedy the problem.”

Today we want to expand on this must have and give you 3 quick tips you can use to get the most out of these expenses. We have collaborated with the popular blogger Travis Sherry from Extra Pack of Peanuts.

Our consultants have weekly expenditures:

  • Flight: $500 - $700
  • Hotel: $300 - $400
  • Rental Car: $200
  • Meals: $160 - $280 for four days
  • Parking: $80 - $100
  • Tolls: varies
  • Taxis: varies

Total (per week): $1,240 - $1,680
Total (Per month): $4960 - $6,720 

Total (Per Year at 42 weeks a year [How to Price Yourself In Health IT Contracting]): $208,320 – $282,240

That’s a minimum of $208,320 that cold be equaling some serious rewards!! Here’s are three tips to have you making the most of your routine expenses.

1)  Pick the credit card that earns rewards that are right for YOU- 

Different cards earn you different types of points.  A Hyatt card will earn you Hyatt points, an American Airlines card will earn you AA points, and so on.  If you’re loyal to one of those companies, or only ever fly on a certain airline or stay in a certain hotel, then those cards could make a good choice.

However, a great choice for many people is a card that earns you points that are then transferable to multiple partners.  For example, my favorite card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, earns you Chase points, which can later be transferred to airlines, such as Southwest or United, or hotels, such as Hyatt or Marriott.  This offers an incredible amount of flexibility, which is perfect for travelers who aren’t always sure what they’ll need.

2)  Get a credit card with a great sign up bonus

You’ll not only earn points for spending money on the card, but you’ll also be given a lucrative bonus for signing up.  This bonus can range from 20,000 points up to 100,000.  100k is more than enough for an international roundtrip flight, possibly even in business class! 

You’ll only be able to earn the signup bonus for each card one time in your life, so make sure you’re getting the best one available, as offers do tend to go up and down.

Getting a great signup bonus is an incredible way to jump start your earning and give you an excellent travel reward, whether it be free hotel stays or free flights, right off the bat.

3)  Take advantage of category bonuses

Some cards, like the aforementioned Chase Sapphire Preferred, offer bonus points for spending in certain categories.  For the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get 2x points for every $1 spent on travel and dining (usually major expenses for consultants) and the standard 1x per $1 spent on everything else.

Another great card is the Chase Ink Bold, which offers a whopping 5x per $1 spent at office supply stores and on cable, internet and cellphone bills.  It also offers 2x per $1 spent on gas, and then the standard 1x per $1 spent on everything else.

By using a card that offers bonuses for categories that you typically spend money on, you can double (or even quintuple) your points in a hurry!

Please include any of your own travel savvy rewards you’ve found in our comments section below!

General, Consulting, Tips for Traveling Consultants


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