January 14 2009 by Chris McGinnis
Cut back. Trade down. Freeze. Scrutinize. Reduce.
As the economy continues to slide, those words are increasingly used as part of the corporate clarion call to trim travel spending. No company or industry is exempt.
You'd think it was the end of business travel as we know it. But it doesn't have to be.
If you want to maintain the level of travel to which you have grown accustomed, it's time to burn off some of those miles and points to offset the cost of business travel.
With nearly every major hotel loyalty program offering gigantic bonuses this winter, you don't have to worry much about depleting your accounts.
For example, members of Best Western Rewards earn double points when they stay two nights, triple points when they stay three nights and quadruple points when they stay four nights now through February 14. (Details)
Once you've earned all those points, use them to extend your stay, upgrade your room or dine out.
With Best Western Rewards, you can even convert your points into car rental and gas rewards, which can help stretch your budget even further.
Finally, with most hotel programs, you can also convert your hotel points into airline miles, which should help you score upgrades to better seats.
NEW DRIVING RATE. With the recent dramatic decline in the cost of gasoline, the IRS has reduced the per mile deduction for use of your personal vehicle for business from 58.5 cents to 55 cents starting this month. Many companies use the IRS figure as the amount for which they will reimburse employees for the use of their personal vehicles.