GBTA Payment Toolkit Home

Part A: A Starter’s Guide,
Payments in Business Travel

Part B: Types of Payments

Part C: Segments of Travel:
Accommodations, Air, & Ground Transportation

Part D: Tail Spend, Payment RFP, & Reconciliation
(Coming 2024)
  • Module X: Tail Spend, What's That?
  • Module XI: Ground Transportation
  • Module XII: Reconciliation

Module I: Introduction to Payments

Learning Objectives

•   This module gives brief understanding to the many payment options in the travel industry.
•   Learn general purpose and use case for each payment.


Business travelers often have specific preferences and requirements when it comes to payment methods. While the exact usage may vary depending on factors such as company policies and traveler preferences, the following payment methods are commonly utilized by corporate business travelers:

Corporate Travel Card/Travel & Entertainment (T&E) Card: These are specialized payment cards issued to employees for business travel expenses. They often have features tailored for corporate travel, such as expense tracking, travel insurance coverage, and integration with expense management systems.
Virtual Payment Cards: Virtual credit cards or single-use card numbers, are increasingly popular among corporate travelers. Can be issued to an employee or non-employee. These solutions generate unique payment card information for each transaction, enhancing security and simplifying expense reconciliation. Often merchant categories are controlled. Can be used in conjunction with mobile wallets. 
Central Travel Account/Ghost Card/Lodge Card: A card that is “lodged” or housed at a travel agency to pay for travel costs for multiple individuals. Centralized billing and payment solutions offered to companies to streamline their air and related travel requirements. Could also be referenced as any non-plastic card. 
Fleet Cards: Directed for fuel or vehicle maintenance. Used at point of sale. Merchant controlled only fuel and maintenance. 
Prepaid Travel Cards: Prefunded travel cards allow for easy loading of funds and can be used globally, providing flexibility and control over travel budget.
Direct Billing: In certain situations, corporate business travelers may opt for direct billing arrangements with hotels or other service providers. This allows charges to be billed directly to the traveler's company, simplifying the payment process and eliminating the need for individual reimbursement. 
Meetings and Events (M&E) Virtual or Plastic Cards: Dedicated to meetings or events spend. Great payment option in cases when a meeting planner arranges travels on behalf of participants or event speakers. Benefits: streamlined expense process, easy reconciliation, imposed spend and MCC controls to help keep events on budget. 
Cryptocurrency: a form of digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for secure transactions and control the creation of new units. It's like digital money that exists only in the digital world and doesn't have a physical form, such as coins or notes. Cryptocurrency integration in the travel industry is still in its early stages.


Many payment solutions can be pushed into mobile/digital wallet or payment apps, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay, to make payments conveniently through their smartphones. These apps can be linked to corporate credit cards, personal accounts, and virtual cards, providing a secure and contactless payment option. Corporate business travelers often prioritize payment methods that offer convenience, security, and streamlined expense management. The specific payment methods used can vary based on corporate policies, individual traveler preferences, and the availability of payment options in different regions or countries