It was a long time coming, but standardized, global credit card reporting on ancillary airline spending is finally in place — at least for United Airlines' corporate accounts using Visa cards. The airline in April began sending data through Visa using defined category formats that identify things like bag fees, upgrades and inflight WiFi.

Using spending data on optional airline services during contract negotiations is largely an unfulfilled wish for travel buyers. Tracking such data has never been easy.

To get an idea, travel managers sometimes try to scrub data themselves. They may get help from their TMC, expense management firm . . .

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