Four Big Reasons Why Employees Should Use Their GSA Travel Card
There are so many reasons why government employees should use their GSA Travel Card for government-related travel expenses, it's hard to believe they'd ever want to use their personal cards instead.
Kim Alston, National Travel Card Program Coordinator for the U.S. Postal Service, listed four big reasons why employees should keep their personal cards in their wallets, and instead pull out their Travel Cards every chance they get to charge all of their allowable official government travel-related expenses. And Kim should know: Her program includes upwards of 45,000 cardholders, who charged more than $48 million on their Travel Cards in 2012 alone.
Reason #1: Awards Points
Perhaps the most popular misconception about the Travel Card program is that people believe it doesn't offer awards points. "As a result, some employees bypass their Travel Card because their personal credit cards may offer awards points on airlines, hotels, car rentals and so on," says Kim.
The fact is, by using their Travel Cards, employees do indeed receive awards points for specific hotels, car rental companies, etc. - the same awards points they receive on their personal credit cards. Which means there's little to no reason for employees to use their personal cards for government-related travel expenses.
The fact is, employees receive awards points for using their Travel Cards – the same awards points they receive on their personal credit cards.
Reason #2: Better Rates
Because of the obviously massive purchasing power of the U.S. Government, the GSA has negotiated special rates from many travel-related companies, such as airlines and hotel chains. Long-term hotel stays, especially, are a ripe opportunity to enjoy discounted room rates. Employees can only take advantage of these lower rates, though, if they use the Travel Card.
Reason #3: Esprit de Corps
Using the Travel Card isn't only good for employees. It's also good (or even better) for employees' agencies. The higher the overall dollar amount on Travel Cards, the higher are an agency's rebates. "Those rebates aren't small, either," says Kim. "They're quite substantial."
The savings go directly into the agency's service-wide account. "That account could be used for just about anything in the organization," Kim says. "If you're a loyal employee, I would think you'd want to help your agency save money. In fact, it's larger than just your agency. It's the entire GSA program."
Plus, Travel Card usage gives agencies much better and more accurate visibility into employees' travel spending than if those employees were using other payment methods. "If you're using your personal card, or a check or cash, your organization is not going to have that visibility into how employees are spending funds. And as a result, it won't be able to make enhancements to the program that results from that data."
Reason #4: Fighting Fraud and Misuse
"Use of the Travel Card gives an agency a powerful tool to combat fraud and card misuse: Citi's Program Audit Tool," Kim adds. This web-based card activity monitoring application flags out-of-program transactions, and also helps APCs streamline monthly reporting for their managers, by focusing only on potentially problematic transactions.
The information provided is for general use only. Contact the GSA Contracting Officer with any questions related to proper use of the master contract.