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Hypothetical question, not an situation I have at hand, but pure curiosity driving me.

Assume that for simplicities sake, I pay for things like travel expenses ahead of time by myself, and get reimbursed at the end of the month for these expenses. If I own a credit card with an high yearly membership fee (multiple hundred bucks) with cashback or any other amenity discounts that apply for actions I do through it, should I charge the company the full rate before the discount anyways? Should I charge them to the upper level of the membership fee in total, before letting them benefit from my discounts?

To be more specific, a few scenarios:

  1. The discount has an upper limit, and by using it for the company expense I would not be able to profit off it personally.

  2. The discount is limitless, and the throughput of money doesn't matter, so I wouldn't lose anything if my company benefits from it, too.

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    You do whatever the expense policies of your company tell you to do. In most cases that's simple enough: you get reimbursed exactly for what you paid. In most cases you get to keep cash back, airlines miles, etc. but that's typically spelled out in the policy
    – Hilmar
    Aug 5, 2022 at 13:15
  • This seems an unrealistic scenario. Is there only one credit card in your world? If it's financially advantageous to you, take out another credit card and use it for work payments. If you don't have a credit card but need to make work purchases, and if a credit card will cost you an annual fee, then you might be able to ask the company to pay your annual fee, or they may be able to come to some other arrangement (e.g. they pay directly or give you a corporate credit card).
    – Stuart F
    Aug 5, 2022 at 13:39
  • @StuartF where I'm from, it's less common to have an credit card at all, let alone two!
    – Joe
    Aug 5, 2022 at 13:43
  • If the amounts are significant and happen often, then the better choice is to get the company to do the actual purchases instead of you using your own card. The chances of errors happening in the reimbursement process are too great. There have been too many cases where the employee wound up paying for the expense themselves instead of getting money back from the company.
    – David R
    Aug 5, 2022 at 14:01

3 Answers 3

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If I own a credit card with an high yearly membership fee (multiple hundred bucks) with cashback or any other amenity discounts that apply for actions I do through it, should I charge the company the full rate before the discount anyways?

No - expenses are reimbursed for what you've outlaid, if you paid less for something because you got a discount, or the item was on sale or whatever this doesn't change. You claim back what you paid out on the transaction - things like Cashback are a little different, in that they aren't really part of the transaction that you've been reimbursed for.

Should I charge them to the upper level of the membership fee in total, before letting them benefit from my discounts?

Likewise getting them to pay for the membership fee for the card is extremely unlikely, unless you agree something in advance and the card is primarily for the purpose of expenses. If you aren't paying for that card for purpose of the business they're pretty much going to tell you to whistle for the fee.

The discount has an upper limit, and by using it for the company expense I would not be able to profit off it personally.

If using the discount for company purposes would impede your own ability to enjoy the discount the answer is a simple one - don't use the card for company expenses.

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    I'd add you may want to be careful with reward cards in general. A company I worked for started to require that all purchases be made with company-issued cards because people were using personal cards with cash back or other reward programs that were netting them hundreds of dollars per trip in rewards, either in cash back or flight miles or hotel trips. Other companies may have policies regarding reporting earned rewards as part of the reimbursement process. Aug 5, 2022 at 10:54
  • Especially a situation like cashback is of interest though - since, as you said, it's usually a separate transaction that happens after the main transaction, would I be obliged to pass that on to the company?
    – Joe
    Aug 5, 2022 at 11:10
  • @Joe Generally no - unless there's a specific company policy regarding using reward cards such as Tomas described then all the company should care about is that the price on the receipt for the expense matches the claim
    – motosubatsu
    Aug 5, 2022 at 11:37
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    If you get a discount for an advance booking on a plane or train ticket, you can't bill the company the walk-up price and claim the difference. If you find a cheaper hotel or flight, you can't bill your employers for the higher fee and keep the difference. It's really no different. You get back what you've paid or what you agree with your employer.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 5, 2022 at 13:42
  • @ThomasOwens I love the thought process on this one: "Our employees are getting money from something, and it doesn't cost us anything or bother or inconvenience us in any way. We'll have to put a stop to this!" Aug 5, 2022 at 14:53
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If I get discounts on business expenses paid through my personal accounts that incur an membership fee, should I still charge my company full price?

No.

You charge the company exactly what you paid - nothing more, nothing less.

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You, as a person, paid expenses for something the company should have paid, and get a refund.

The company can deduct what it refunded you from taxes.

You personally pay income tax on any profits you make.

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  • And if you're out of pocket as a result of the transaction (whether you're getting charged interest or foreign exchange fees or some other fees), discuss it with your employers and try and find an alternative payment method or get reimbursed. But don't fix the figures to cover what you consider your costs, without getting it agreed.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 5, 2022 at 13:44

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