A weekly look at the latest products and services designed to help you run a better business.
In an increasingly competitive airline credit-card market, AirTran Airways is now offering frequent business travelers a chance to earn quick rewards with the launch of the A+ Business Card. The new Visa card has a low threshold for earning travel awards and was designed to give small-business owners tools to track and manage their travel spending.
When business owners sign up for the new Visa card, they will receive 8 A+ Rewards "credits" after their first purchase -- enough to earn a one-way coach ticket. Cardholders also can earn up to 10 A+ credits for transferring their balances from another card, which together would result in a round-trip ticket.
After that, each dollar spent is equivalent to one "point" -- with 1,000 points translating into one credit. In addition, customers earn double points for every dollar spent when they make an AirTran Airways purchase.
There is no limit to the number of points customers can earn. Cardholders also receive points for any employee purchases on the card and can request additional cards for employees at no cost. Business owners also have the option to track travel spending for their whole company with a simplified expense-management tool and can control the amount that employees can spend. The A+ Business Card has a credit line of up to $50,000.
In an attempt to cater more to the small business customer, Best Buy announced this week plans to roll out its "Professional Series," a label that will denote its line of products designed with features for business use.
The company's "Professional Series" will be unveiled on retail shelves, on BestBuy.com, and in advertising inserts at all 863 of its stores throughout the month, according to officials at the Richfield, Minn.-based electronics retail chain. It will initially include notebook computers and networking equipment, with plans to extend the brand to printing products, GPS and navigational equipment, mobile and landline phones and other business-grade products over the next six months.
The move is also an expansion of the company's Best Buy for Business program, which offered rewards to business customers in select stores across the country, and is designed to provide more customer assistance on how to navigate emerging technologies. "Business customers have been walking in and out of our stores for years without receiving specialized attention or fully understanding how the various products in our store can work together to improve their business," David Hemler, president of Best Buy for Business, said in a statement. "That's going to change."
According to Hemler, Best Buy also plans to train select store employees as "Business Ambassadors," who will work with owners to find the right products and technology solutions for their business. In addition, all domestic Best Buy business customers will be able to take advantage of the company's Reward Zone program, which allows customers to earn double points on certain purchases and apply those points to future discounts and reward certificates.
New York business owners looking to obtain affordable health care for their employees can weigh their options at QuickQuotesNY.com, a new website that provides visitors with free health insurance quotes.
Visitors simply submit a short form with their relevant information and insurance needs and a team of employees at QuickQuotesNY.com looks to match their data with the right insurance broker. Site owner Paul Aemisegeo said he used his expertise in quoting and writing insurance for small businesses to create a system that is beneficial for business owners and generates new leads for insurance brokers. Aemisegeo also works with business owners who already have a broker but want to make sure they are getting an unbiased quote.
Aemisegeo said he hopes to help small business owners realize that they have options when it comes to providing insurance. "If a small-business owner is on the fence about whether or not they should offer health insurance, I talk to them about low-cost options that will allow them to provide for the employee through different funding arrangements," he said.
QuickQuotesNY.com currently only operates for the New York area, but Aemisegeo said he has plans to launch a Pennsylvania site soon and eventually wants to expand to a nationwide service.