Another Coyle question: Travel fee

What's the most travel reimbursement you've received for domestic travel?

I see the bid your travel often with their hotel shops.

The shops I've applied for in the past usually stated the max a client will pay for transportation. However, what about the ones that doesn't? Say you're flying from Boston to San Francisco, that's about $1k, would it be reasonable to bid $1K? How much should one ask for given that figure?

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My thought that if you are going to a popular location life San Francisco which is also a large metropolitan area with millions of people within driving distance, there will be a lot of competition. I doubt (but could be wrong) that $1000 will be the low bid.

I see ones in the Caribbean where the maximum travel is $600. That won't cover the airfare from anywhere on the mainland, and probably not from Puerto Rico.

I am looking forward to reading lots of knowledgeable responses.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
I have no clue. I put $400 since that would cover our gas to the location with nothing else. I have completed around 30 fine dining shops for them and am hoping to get a hotel assignment. Good question!
@JASFLALMT wrote:

I once put in a travel bid of $150 with Coyle and was told it was too high.

Think it depends on the client. I've received $200 before.
Domestic travel is not very high...especially in large metropolitan areas where they can get shoppers for gas $$ only. $50-75 is what they will be hoping to pay.

Once you get to a location that can only be accessed by air, you can get more, but it's rarely enough to cover travel for one, much less two...and that's where the 'lifestyle' part comes in.

Don't expect to make any money on the assignments, especially at first. You will have to add the shop fees into the travel expenses, book 2 to 3 hotels together and use all sorts of other tricks to make the allowed travel money fit. One of my rewards credit cards allows a discount coupon for the airline each year. Another provides a companion certificate, and then there are the airport shops. If you are going somewhere cool and remote, there's a good chance you can negotiate bonuses for airport assignments at the location and add those to your travel fees.

For a recent trip to Cancun, allowed travel fees were so low that I used an award ticket for both flights and had to take airport shops on departure and return just to pay taxes on the flights, but the resort covered airport pickup and drop-off, so I was able to profit $3-4 on the assignment. I had an amazing vacation that would have cost around $5k though.

The other thing to know is that desirability is directly proportional to allowed travel. Assignments that people want will offer less travel, so combine a crappy assignment with high travel expenses along with an awesome assignment with little travel, and enjoy half the vacation!
Will they counter a travel expense request, or will they just ignore the application? Thanks.
@Niner wrote:

Will they counter a travel expense request, or will they just ignore the application? Thanks.

They will probably ignore it unless they really are having trouble filling it, which is unlikely domestically.

I got $300 for an extremely undesirable location in the US last year. Extremely undesirable and rural.

I wouldn’t bid more than $100 for most US/Canada hotels. If it’s a really desirable place often the only way to make yourself competitive is to do it with very low or no travel.
Their “travel” fees barely cover getting from the park and fly and into an Uber to the airport. I usually don’t even ask for one if it’s somewhere amazing. Every now and then they actually offer me travel without me having to ask.

Want to go to Napa? I would take into account the scenario @myst4au notes above and bid accordingly. Highly unlikely they’ll be flying you out, much less your guest.
Where are you people searching for flights? $1k from BOS to SFO? I see flights NEXT WEEK for under $500 and move out to July and they get under $400.

$600 to the Caribbean? BOS-Aruba less than that NEXT WEEK and further out under $500. ATL-Grand Cayman much less than that ($400)

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@bgriffin wrote:

Where are you people searching for flights? $1k from BOS to SFO? I see flights NEXT WEEK for under $500 and move out to July and they get under $400.

I was assuming the OP was talking about $1k for 2 people round trip.

You may be used to flying solo....but a lot of these assignments are designed for two.
Ok. $400x2=$800

I imagine with a little searching you could get that down to $300 per.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
If you fly Southwest and go in August, on some dates round-trip tickets are less than $350 from BOS to SFO (and bags fly free).
@SteveSoCal wrote:

You may be used to flying solo....

Actually I have employee spouse flight benefits so I'm used to not paying lol

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@JASFLALMT wrote:

If you fly Southwest and go in August, on some dates round-trip tickets are less than $350 from BOS to SFO (and bags fly free).

Right...but as someone who's constantly booking trips like this, here's the reality; You would be incredibly lucky to work that out, and will not get $350 for domestic travel. Your application is going to sit for 6 weeks until the cheap flights are gone. You will also have to arrive at the hotel between certain hours and depart at certain hours, so you have to search for flights that will allow that...not just any flight. A 6 AM departure doesn't work when you are required to evaluate the breakfast that morning...and red-eye returns suck when you have 24 hours of report writing ahead of you.

Best realistic Southwest option I can see for Aug is $564 and has a stop each way. You can fly non-stop with Alaska/United for $485 and the flights and times are much better. If you have a credit card associated with those airlines or fly with any regularity, bags are also free. If you have decent status, you will also be able to book exit rows and preferred seating that will allow you to work on the flight.

Counting on connecting flights can be be stressful on assignment since it heavily increases the chance of something going wrong...and priority status with SWA doesn't really make the flight experience that much better. You still have to line up and fight for seats.
The difference here is that I plan the assignment around my travel, not my travel around the assignment. I can always work flights out in my favor because I know someone who lives nearby where I am traveling. I would rarely do a hotel shop that wasn't near a family member or friend's home. For example: one of my sisters lives in Palo Alto, so I could fly into San Francisco (or Oakland) and stay with her for a few days/week on each end of the trip and pretty much fly anytime I want. My youngest brother lives in Houston, same thing. I have 5 siblings and many friends who are scattered all over the country. Now I would never expect to get $350 for travel, and I also wouldn't count on being assigned the shop, either. Even if I didn't get the shop I would get the ticket and visit with my friend or family member regardless, buying the ticket well in advance and getting the best rate. I did do a hotel shop in Houston where they gave me travel money and I was pretty happy with that, then I got to hang with my brother and his wife for several days before and after the trip. Oh, and I need to have 2 checked bags because of makeup, clothes, shoes, etc. I don't have credit cards with other airlines, so no free bags with anyone else for me. I always check in at the 24 hour mark before the flight so rarely have any trouble getting assigned A or B with Southwest. Never had to fight for a seat.
I was merely pointing out that the OMG IT WOULD COST ME $346000 TO FLY THERE was overblown. Not that travel costs would fully cover a flight.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@bgriffin wrote:

I was merely pointing out that the OMG IT WOULD COST ME $346000 TO FLY THERE was overblown. Not that travel costs would fully cover a flight.

Your point was understood, BG. The supposition by the OP of having flights completely covered by 1 assignment for a BOS-SFO routing (one of the most expensive domestic routes) was mainly just unrealistic...since I think $1k for airfare on getting 2 people there is reasonable.

For the most part, local evaluators are going to be taking the SF assignments if travel bidding is a factor. I can fly there for $59 most days of the week. You simply have to be creative in making it work if that's what you want. Take extra shops, use airport shops, find the dates and routes that are cheaper, etc.

I generally focus on places like Cabo and Hawaii for beach assignments, since I live in LA and can generally underbid anyone else in terms of price for getting to those locations (Don't even get me started on why I live by the beach and have to travel to safely swim in the ocean), but occasionally I can make a trip to the Caribbean work. It's not easy, though. No one assignment is going to pay for that. I have a trip there for next month that has me taking 3 assignments and piggybacking off another evaluator to be a guest on their assignment in order to get the travel paid for and receive $54 in profit.
Making a reservation (if possible) a long time ahead like a couple months or more, allows the very lowest price.
I go to Chicago, Vegas and San Francisco, and from LAX got a trip (Southwest) to SF for under 100.00, and have a ticket for Aug 28th. direct flight on all, to Chicago for 197.00...waiting until the last minute brings prices high and higher. Scheduling is the problem. unless they will schedule way ahead of time, there is no good pricing. Have never been able get airfare or decent travel expenses, which is why I don't see it worth my time. Shopping in the city of San Francisco is a nightmare, streets crowded, no and I mean no parking, but the airport has good jobs, so, I do jobs at the airport and enjoy my hometown, eating out with cousins, going to the wine country and no reports is the way to enjoy the city. I think money made is in the rural areas, having shopped only cities,for 14 years, I say this with a bit of knowledge, so until companies want to pay for my service, I use them as they use shoppers.
Excluding Steve of course....he knows how to work it.

Live consciously....


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2019 07:01PM by Irene_L.A..
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

Shopping in the city of San Francisco is a nightmare, streets crowded, no and I mean no parking.

Normally I would never consider driving in SF, but there are actually high-paying parking shops right now that allow 6 hours of parking.
Steve..that would work for you, lots of time to wander or drink, not my thing. I remember when we visited and stayed at the home I grew up in (Avenue's), we had to walk to our favorite Chinese restaurant on Geary St. because we could never find parking, and everything is metered. Good news was, my Brother-in-law owned DeSoto cab and we got a free pass for visiting. When working there as a young girl, I had to take the bus to work on Market St....the city now is even more crowded with old homes (mine) having been bought and torn down with Condo's going up, small city, overcrowded, but the beauty of the city remains, for me, vaca yes, work no. Most expensive city thanks to Silicon Valley, lots of $$ up there and lots of fun things to do, just went to my 62nnnnd
high school reunion at Krug's Winery in Napa Valley. Went to school with Norm Krug, (son of), who now owns the winery, he had our reunion there, so amazing, great day, have 2 cousins left out of tons of relatives, what happens when you live long enough, no one is left.....No one knows the inn's and out's of the city like me, if you do the job, I'll give you some places to see like China Beach where everyone used to go after our Friday night school dances, and Johnny Mathis singing..."Chances Are"....or Mel's drive in depending on weather.....good old days, don't get me started.

Live consciously....
@bgriffin wrote:

@SteveSoCal wrote:

You may be used to flying solo....
Actually I have employee spouse flight benefits so I'm used to not paying lol
You're married? I thought you lived with your mother???

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.

(Yes, I stole Hoju's tagline.)
Although I am not married those two things are not mutually exclusive, lol.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
>>> I have employee spouse flight benefits so I'm used to not paying <<<
Wondering how you have spouse benefits when not married? (serious question; no snark intended)

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.

(Yes, I stole Hoju's tagline.)
@eyelove2shop wrote:

What's the most travel reimbursement you've received for domestic travel?

I see the bid your travel often with their hotel shops.

The shops I've applied for in the past usually stated the max a client will pay for transportation. However, what about the ones that doesn't? Say you're flying from Boston to San Francisco, that's about $1k, would it be reasonable to bid $1K? How much should one ask for given that figure?

Domestic travel tends to be very low and it depends on the client. The most I've ever gotten for a domestic assignment is $200. And no, they won't cover your guest - at least I've never seen it. I've only seen $500+ for international assignments and those are hard to get.
@hotsauce1 wrote:

The most I've ever gotten for a domestic assignment is $200. And no, they won't cover your guest - at least I've never seen it.

The guest coverage situation really varies by client, so you need to check with support if that's something you need. For some hotels with a more business forward appeal, they feel like average guests are alone and won't cover guest travel. For ones that are more romantic/vacation spots, they have always been okay to reimburse guest travel. F&B for the guest is almost always covered for hotel, though. Travel is the only issue.

Ways around guest limitations:
-Use companion passes.
-Drive there and get the mileage reimbursement for both of you!
-Take 2 assignments and apply one flight to each of them (You may have to put one property in your guest's name to have that work).
If you sign up to work for SQM (a MSC), you can travel at half price or even free for conducting an evaluation during the flight/train trip/bus trip. That could help cover some of your travel expenses related to Coyle's or any other company's shops. They allow only one trip for the shopper, however; the spouse or partner (for a two-person hotel/resort evaluation) would have to travel at the full fare. I believe they also only allow one shop per month per city--so it might be hard to get popular tourist destination cities like SFO.

They've been very reliable and I've used them many times. They either pay via Paypal or by refund to your credit card (depending on the type of shop).
IPSOS also has some in-flight shops and airport shops.

As far as doing the SQM discounted flight shops, you have to pay out of pocket up front and the flight is booked under an employee of the MSCs name using their rewards number. Since you have to provide a receipt to Coyle, I don't think you could use the SQM discounted flight program in this circumstance. I think that would possibly be compromising your ICA.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/15/2019 06:03PM by JASFLALMT.
With SQM, the ticket is in your (the shopper's) name. If you want to travel to another companies' hotel locations, there is no need to provide the company with a receipt unless you are seeking reimbursement from them. If a company like Coyle, for example, would only reimburse $50 in travel cash on $800 in flights for two people, it might be helpful to save $200 (half price of a $400 flight) instead. Save their $50 travel cash for the taxi to the airport, if they allow this.

@JASFLALMT wrote:

IPSOS also has some in-flight shops and airport shops.

As far as doing the SQM discounted flight shops, you have to pay out of pocket up front and the flight is booked under an employee of the MSCs name using their rewards number. Since you have to provide a receipt to Coyle, I don't think you could use the SQM discounted flight program in this circumstance. I think that would possibly be compromising your ICA.
Well of course you don't need a receipt unless you are seeking reimbursement for your flight. I thought that's what this thread was about. When they gave me $150 for my flight to Houston (which did cost more), they needed a receipt. When I flew to Florida (not for a shop) and participated in SQM's travel shop, I had to pay the MSC in advance. I would not have been able to provide a receipt to any MSC if it were for a shop. Having the ticket in my name did not show the amount paid for the flight.
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