The most utilized vendor for business travel in Q3 was Uber, followed by Starbucks and Amazon.
Certify's Q3 2018 SpendSmart report said "This was the first quarter in which Amazon appeared among the top three most expensed business brands. It finished in fifth place in Q3 2016 and fourth in Q3 2017. The rise reflects the company’s depth and breadth of services, including business supplies, cloud computing, and even food delivery. Lyft also made the top 10 for the first time, landing in sixth place overall with approximately three percent of total receipts and expenses. Rounding out the top 10 were: Delta (fourth), American Airlines (fifth), United Airlines (seventh), Walmart (eighth), Shell (ninth), and McDonald’s (10th)."

Ground Transportation Trends

A sense of stability is emerging in the ride-hailing market. Uber continued to dominate the category in Q3, with 73 percent of all rides. Lyft very slightly increased its share of business travel, with 20 percent of receipts for the category—up from 19 percent last quarter. Taxis appeared to be stabilizing for the first time since Uber overtook them so dramatically in the second quarter of 2015. In the first quarter of 2018, taxis accounted for seven and a half percent of all receipts and expenses—dipping slightly to just under seven percent in Q2—but have grown again to seven percent in Q3.

In the car rental category, National Car Rental continued to earn the greatest share of expenses with 26 percent of all receipts and expenses, and an average cost of $191.82. Enterprise Rent-A-Car followed with 16 percent and an average cost of $222.19, while Hertz took 14 percent of receipts and expenses, and an average cost of $215.24. These rankings have remained consistent within the car rental category for nine straight quarters.

Most Popular Airlines, Lodging, and Meals

Delta continued to be the most expensed airline this quarter with 20 percent of all category expenses and an average cost of $447.97. American Airlines followed with 19 percent of receipts and an average cost of $344.22. JetBlue takes the award for highest rated carrier with an average of 4.6 stars, followed by Alaska Airlines (4.5 stars) and Southwest Airlines (4.5 stars).

Hampton Inn was the most expensed hotel in Q3 2018, taking nine percent of all receipts and an average cost of $258.80. Marriott followed close behind with eight percent of expenses and an average cost of $291.69. Courtyard by Marriott took seven percent, and charged an average of $199.49. The top rated hotels were Embassy Suites averaging 4.5 stars, and Hyatt, Marriott and Westin Hotels, which all earned 4.4 stars.

Starbucks remained the leading vendor for meals with five percent of all receipts and an average meal cost of $12.67. McDonald’s follows with three percent and an average cost of $9.51, and Panera Bread with two percent and a cost of $49.33. Chick-Fil-A sustained its place as the highest rated vendor, with 4.6 stars.

Digital disruption is also being felt in the fast-growing food delivery market. Uber Eats saw a 300 percent growth rate in the number of receipts submitted since Q3 2017, and in Q3 2018, Uber Eats took 26 percent of all receipts in the category. It still lags behind Grubhub, which led the category with 36 percent of all receipts.