Worth a Look for Arts Organizations: Small Business Travel Rewards Programs


By: Eric Joseph Rubio

In: Arts Admin

If you ever have employees or artists traveling to or from your organization’s home city, your organization should be earning small business travel rewards whenever possible. Many hotel chains and airlines have rewards programs specifically for business entities that are separate from the loyalty and rewards programs for the individual traveler. The good news is that both the traveler and the business or organization that pays for the travel can earn rewards in the separate programs on the same flight or hotel stay.

These programs are built for organizations that have regular travelers on individual or small party reservations. Think two or three employees going to the annual Chorus America or League of American Orchestras conference, or an opera company that brings a handful of soloists to town for specific productions a few times a year. They do not provide incremental value for large reservations such as for an orchestra tour, and often are not eligible for earning on these larger corporate or group bookings anyway.

Here are two airline small business programs and one hotel small business program worth a look for an arts organization. All are free to join and again, participation does not preclude the individual traveler on the reservation from earning their own miles/points, or enjoying the perks of individually-earned status in the individual consumer loyalty program.

American Airlines Business Extra

The American Airlines Business Extra program earns one point for every $5 spent on American Airlines airfare (before taxes and fees). Redemptions start at 300 points for an Admirals Club lounge day pass and go up to tens of thousands of points for a first class ticket to Asia. Probably the most useful redemption will be 2000 points for a one-way economy class ticket within the United States. Equal to $10,000 in airfare spend, this could offset the cost of sending an employee to the annual industry conference.

Note that Business Extra requires a minimum of $5,000 in airfare spend and at least three unique travelers every rolling twelve months for accounts to be eligible to redeem points. This shouldn’t be difficult to meet for arts organizations that routinely bring soloists or other artists from out of town for productions and send employees to industry conferences every year.

Delta Air Lines SkyBonus

The Delta Air Lines SkyBonus program is a little more complex than Business Extra because points are earned based on the fare class of the ticket (e.g., full-fare economy, first class) as well as whether the itinerary starts or ends at one of Delta’s hub airports. Thus, participants will earn anywhere from one point to 30 points per dollar spent on airfare.

Redemption options include Delta eGift cards, starting at $25 for 7,500 points (and in proportional increments from there) as well as flight vouchers (90,000 points and up) and SkyClub lounge day passes and memberships. The eGift cards are easily the most straightforward redemptions since there aren’t any complicated rules to use them.

SkyBonus, too, has a minimum $5,000 spend, and requires five unique travelers for the account to remain active.

Hyatt Leverage

On the hotel side is the Hyatt Leverage program. This isn’t so much a rewards program as it is a discount program, but that makes it quite simple. Upon enrolling, the business/organization will be issued a corporate code. Use this code in the Special Rates filed when making a reservation to return discounted rates as available. The terms state that discounts can be up to 15%. The program also comes with a simple dashboard where the account manager can track spending and stays. To stay in the program, the account must accrue 50 room nights per year. The terms also explicitly allow for employees to use the corporate discounts on their personal travel (it doesn’t matter who pays for the stays).

Eric Joseph Rubio
Eric Joseph Rubio
Eric Joseph Rubio is a nonprofit and arts management professional originally from Chicago, and now based in Washington, DC. He has served in staff and leadership roles with churches, schools, and arts organizations in the Chicago, South Florida, and Washington, DC areas. Eric is a proud alumnus of the Wheaton College (IL) Conservatory of Music, and is an occasional freelance writer across a variety of platforms. Follow Eric on Threads and Instagram at @TheRubioRoom, and visit his website ericjrubio.com.
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