Plan to allow feds to keep frequent flier miles may take off

Officials at the General Accounting Office are studying whether to allow federal employees to keep their frequent flier miles as a perk of working for the government. Letting employees keep frequent flier miles is just one of many things that could be done to help retain workers at a time when the government is facing a wave of retirements, GAO officials said. "We just want to see if we can identify the various issues to see if it might be a good idea," said John Anderson, managing director for physical infrastructure issues at GAO. "This is very, very informal. We're not sure where we're going to go on this yet," he said. Anderson is working with a group charged with identifying the cost of allowing employees to keep frequent flier miles. The group plans to submit a report to Comptroller General David Walker next month. Although most federal employees are not allowed to use frequent flier miles earned during business travel for personal travel, some agencies have special "gainsharing" programs that allow employees to share in frequent flier savings. Under such programs, accrued miles must be used for further government travel, but employees are eligible to keep some of their agencies' travel savings. The General Services Administration and the Food and Drug Administration use gainsharing programs. Walker floated the idea of letting employees keep frequent flier miles in testimony this month before the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia. Walker said allowing employees to keep their frequent flier miles is just one of many legislative actions that could be used to offset the effects of expected retirements in the coming years. More than one third of the federal workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next four years and agencies don't have proper plans in place for replacing lost employees, Walker said. "[It's a] small benefit, but one that private sector employers commonly provide their people as part of a mosaic of competitive employee benefits," Walker told senators. Walker has been publicizing problems with workforce planning at agencies on Capitol Hill for the past few years. This year GAO added "strategic human capital management" as a governmentwide challenge on its biennial list of government agencies and programs at high risk of fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.