American Express announced the nationwide launch of Ticket TRAX, a new service for corporate customers which finds and refunds unused electronic tickets that travelers have forgotten to turn in for refunds. In the first four months of in-market trials, American Express’ new Ticket TRAX service identified and refunded more than $2.5 million in lost electronic tickets for 47 corporate clients.
“Ticket TRAX offers corporate travel managers peace of mind about tracking unused electronic tickets,” said Brigitte Baumann, senior vice president of Corporate Services Interactive. “There’s no extra work for the traveler, the travel manager or the travel office. Ticket TRAX takes care of the full refund process.”
Electronic tickets offer travelers several advantages over paper tickets; for example, no worries about misplaced tickets and no extra overnight delivery fees for last-minute reservations. However, without a paper ticket in hand after a trip, travelers often forget to turn in a ticket or trip segment that was never used.
During the pilot test, American Express found that nearly two percent of all electronic tickets contain at least one refundable segment that was never used. For a company that spends $20 million annually on air travel, if half of its employees use electronic tickets, Ticket TRAX could save $200,000 a year.
Ticket TRAX offers companies the only full-service solution to recapturing this lost money. “Ticket TRAX offers American Express Business Travel customers a unique advantage,” added Baumann. “Other electronic ticket refund services may identify unused tickets and send reminders to travelers or travel agents to initiate refunds, but only Ticket TRAX takes care of the entire process — without adding hidden costs in employee time or agency overhead.”
The Ticket TRAX system logs a record of all electronic tickets booked by a corporation’s employees through American Express Travel. Then, it checks the computer reservations systems (CRSs) after a specified period of time to determine if all segments of the ticket were used. Unlike most other electronic ticket refund services, Ticket TRAX can research tickets as far back as 13 to 22 months, depending on the data stored by the airline.
Monsanto, a life sciences company based in St. Louis, has been using Ticket TRAX since the first of November. Rose Holmes, Corporate Travel Manager, is delighted with the results.
“Ticket TRAX has already refunded over 70 unused electronic tickets that had been forgotten by Monsanto travelers,” Holmes said. “Many of these tickets were partially used, and travelers were unaware that there was any value to refund. Ticket TRAX has given us an easy and accurate way to find and process unused refundable electronic tickets. We estimate this service saved Monsanto $75,000 last year, and will save $120,000 in 1999.”
For each unused, refundable ticket, Ticket TRAX automatically initiates a refund request to the airline and, if the company chooses, it can also notify the travelers by fax or email to expect the refund, so they can correct their expense accounts. Ticket TRAX also provides the travel manager with a monthly report documenting the amount of money Ticket TRAX has saved. Internal audit groups can use the report to ensure employees process their expense reports in accordance with company policy.
Similar to international value-added tax refund services, Ticket TRAX costs only a nominal amount based on the amount recovered. There are no implementation or maintenance fees. This ensures that companies using Ticket TRAX never pay more for the service than they recover in unused tickets.
American Express operates the largest travel agency in the world, recording $19.9 billion in worldwide travel sales in 1998. Through its Corporate Services group, the company counts nearly 75 percent of the Fortune 500 as customers of its business travel, Corporate Card and Corporate Purchasing Card programs. More information on expense management tools from Corporate Services can be found at .
The American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.Details