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I'm looking to stay at a fairly expensive 4 or 5 star hotel and I'm sure my company's corporate rate can be used because I work for a very big publicly traded company.

However, I'm not sure if that's allowed and I don't want to ask my coworkers because they might think I'm being cheap, or maybe even unethical to claim a "corporate" rate for a personal stay.

Is there some way I can find out with out asking my manager or HR? I'm not sure if this kind of thing is typical, or if such a question will only make me look bad.

EDIT:

Turns out I can indeed book hotels for personal use with the corporate rate. However, I still think it's important for others out there facing a similar situation that it is better to ask, but better to ask HR since they typically are more familiar with these kinds of questions.

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I guess it might depend on if they only want you to use that rate when you are staying at the hotel on business - you are there as a representitave of the company OR is that special rate given to employees for all usage, as a perk of the job. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Nov 7 '12 at 18:55
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You could just ask someone in whichever department processes your expenses. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Nov 7 '12 at 19:43
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If you're working for a large company, you surely have an HR or accounting dept that you can ask. In general though, if you ever find yourself thinking stuff like "...would they report this to my company", then you are probably not doing the right thing. –  pap Nov 8 '12 at 17:45
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Just ask. "Hey, does 'corporate rate' mean rate for business travel or rate for employees?" It's not the sort of question that makes you look bad. –  Carson63000 Nov 9 '12 at 3:44
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@paulsmith The question's original form probably got voted off-topic because it sounded like you were more interested in getting answers about hotel reporting policies, which isn't really a workplace question :) –  Rachel Nov 12 '12 at 17:30

4 Answers 4

up vote 16 down vote accepted

This varies, so the only way to find out is to talk to the person in your company who books corporate travel. That person will be able to tell you if corporate rates are available for personal use. I have done this for hotels and rental cars, and sometimes the answer was yes and sometimes no.

Don't think of it as "cheap"; think of it as "being economical". Why pay more than you have to? But don't push; if the answer is no, it's no.

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The federal government allows the usage of their room rate. (Reference) I suspect it would work the same for other large organizations since they don't pay to obtain the reduced rate it is more an incentive for their business.

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Ask your company if they will allow the use of their booking system for personal travel.

However you can also call the hotel directly ask ask them if they will give you the room for the corporate rate. If they do, it's entirely up to you and the hotel, and they certainly won't report it to the company. Be clear that you are on a personal trip not a work trip.

One hotel pretty much forced their corporate rate on me. I asked if there was a cheaper option and they said "Do you work for someone? If so, we can give you the corporate rate.".

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Sometimes discounts like this are considered a "benefit" -- in other words, as part of your compensation you're entitled to discounts. At the staffing agency I contract through, they have deals with a lot of training and academic sources (with the thought that well-trained contractors bring in more money so it's a win-win), and at the company with whom I am currently placed, employees get discounts on sports tickets and office supplies (including for personal use). If the corporate discount on hotel stays is listed as one of your benefits, then you can most certainly use it for personal vacations.

However, if it's a business deal where the company gets a discount for putting their associates up in a given hotel during company-sponsored functions or conferences or the like, it may not be okay to use that rate for personal stays.

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