Traveling for business with low credit card limit?
July 10, 2012 9:41 AM   Subscribe

What options does our small UK business have for booking short notice travel when the credit limit on our business cards is fairly low?

I'm an admin assistant at a small start up in the UK and we've reached a stage where some of our staff are having to make increasingly frequent short-notice (i.e. expensive) trips to Europe. In the past we've used one of a few company credit cards to book flights, but as these cards don't have the highest limit it doesn't take much to max a card. We have the cash to pay for these flights, so I'd like to find a way of purchasing them that doesn't involve credit cards. I've found that a number of airlines will accept bank transfers if flights are booked 14 days in advance, but unfortunately we often don't have that much notice. What options does our company have aside from asking the bank to raise the limit on our cards?
posted by nangua to Work & Money (9 answers total)
We have the cash to pay for these flights, so I'd like to find a way of purchasing them that doesn't involve credit cards.

Simple. Walk down to a travel agency. You can pay them for any tickets in cash.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:42 AM on July 10, 2012

If you have the cash, make a 5-10K postive balance on the credit cards, and pay weekly (or more often if needed) to balance up for any flights used. Just because you have to pay monthly doesn't mean you can't pay more often.
posted by nobeagle at 9:46 AM on July 10, 2012

Maybe it works differently in the UK, but you have the cash. Have the bank issue you a debit card, and make sure that the daily draw limit is high enough that you won't hit it.

On preview, nobeagle makes a good point. My credit card company allows four pays per pay cycle. Pay the balance down weekly and you should be OK (unless your limit is very, very low).

Also, why not just ask the bank to raise your limit?
posted by phunniemee at 9:48 AM on July 10, 2012

nobeagle's idea is a good one, and this is actually what I do with my personal cards for various reasons (I usually pay them off on Fridays). You could also ask the bank to increase your limit, or ask them for a "no limit" charge card that you pay off every month.

I would avoid paying cash because even aside from the inconvenience, paying cash for a ticket shortly before a flight can get you flagged for increased security screening (well, it can in the US, I don't know about in the UK).
posted by mskyle at 10:28 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I used to only have a low limit on my (personal, not business) credit card, I would do what nobeagle suggested -- if I needed to buy something that I could afford but which wouldn't fit under the credit limit, I'd make a payment on the card in advance so that I had a credit balance, and use that to pay for the thing. It was sort of like maintaining a secured card. If you need to do this often, you may need to habitually maintain a credit balance on your card. Or, talk to your card issuer -- they may be able to change your limit, either now or when you've done that a few times.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:23 AM on July 10, 2012

If you have the cash, make a 5-10K postive balance on the credit cards

I'm gonna say if you're a business that can tie up 5-10k in a positive balance on a credit card, you really ought to have those funds earning interest for you, instead of giving a free loan to the credit card company. Is your card issuer unwilling to increase your credit limit?
posted by xedrik at 11:42 AM on July 10, 2012

Set up an account at a business travel agent that will extend you credit. They'll pay for the booking then invoice you. You may not get great terms as a startup, but even if you're only getting 7 day terms your immediate issue is solved.
posted by IanMorr at 1:30 PM on July 10, 2012

Thanks all. I hadn't thought of having a positive credit balance on the cards, so that's helpful. I'm not sure if it would be a problem to increase our limit; I just wanted to know what other options were available.
posted by nangua at 1:49 AM on July 11, 2012

I have a bunch of personal UK credit cards that could easily sustain a bunch of European travel as long as I get paid my expenses weekly. So get your employees to pay with their own cards and pay them their expenses weekly - they get to collect whatever card rewards they can get.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:41 AM on July 11, 2012

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