Travel and Expense Reimbursement Guidelines

Travel and Expense Reimbursement Guidelines

 

All meeting travels MUST BE deemed essential and mission-critical in order for the approval to be granted. Also, approvals must be through the University’s Office of Enterprise Risk Management (via completing an online registration form), who will then obtain approvals from the Chair and Dean.  Below is the link for more information and for access to the travel registration form.   If you are a presenter and can only present in person then an exception might be granted. https://inside.uth.edu/inside/faq/covid-19-guidance

 

Below are the guidelines for Travel and Expense Reimbursements.  Employee responsibilities for travel and expense reimbursement will be strictly enforced.  All late submissions will be denied.  Exceptions to the rule will be extremely rare and granted only when extremely justified.

  1. Request for Travel Authorization (RTA) must be submitted prior to the trip, even if you do not plan on requesting reimbursement. Travel requests must be processed well in advance of proposed travel dates.  Note:  Your assistant must attach an approved meeting request to the RTA when submitting for approval.  Please see me whenever you are planning to attend a meeting, course, etc. outside the immediate UT campus (e.g. Galveston, Bellaire, Baylor, etc.).
  2. Employees must submit complete, original and itemized receipts for reimbursement. Employee must ensure that establishment can provide itemized receipts before committing.
  3. All transactions must have adequate support which substantiates (1) what was purchased and (2) proof of payment. Acceptable as paid receipts are cash register receipts, copies of checks, formal cash receipts issued by the vendor, original imprinted charge card slips, or original invoices which indicate the method of payment. Note that to fulfill both requirements all expenses must be turned in within 60 days of transaction date on the receipt (i.e., what was purchased and proof of payment), more than one supporting document may be required.  FYI – examples of the required “Proof of Payment” are credit card statement, bank statement, copy of cancelled check, etc.
  4. Employees must request reimbursement for travel expenses within 60 days of returning from the trip.
  5. In some instances contract rates are higher than what is allowed for the funds being used; particularly hotels. You must verify what is allowed prior to making travel arrangements.

 

Airfare 

Corporate Travel Planners provides COVID-19 resources to airline travelers

  • The spread of COVID-19 has affected airlines and air travel.
  • Most airlines are waiving change fees for those cancelling flights during specific periods.
  • Corporate Travel Planners, UTHealth’s contracted travel management platform, has links to most airlines on its website to confirm the latest information regarding waiving change fees, stipulations as to when the new travel has to be booked and travel to commence, and more.

 

All UTHealth students, residents, faculty and staff are required to use Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) to book airfare and, if renting a vehicle, the contracted car rental agencies.  For more information on CTP and Concur log-in information please visit https://inside.uth.edu/travel/travel-agency/index.htm.

All travelers who are UTHealth full-time (1.0 FTE) faculty and staff must complete a profile in Concur online even if using a full-service CTP agent to ensure all TSA requirement and personal preferences are met (no exceptions).  For more information please visit https://inside.uth.edu/travel/travel-agency/index.htm.  A traveler can designate an assistant to access and complete their profile and make travel arrangements.  Students, residents or staff who are part time will not have a profile in Concur.

Airfares

State of Texas Contracted Airfare

The state of Texas airline fares are designed for last minute and/or fully-refundable travel requirements. These city-pairs provide maximum flexibility in traveling as fares are not subject to restrictions or penalties on last minute, refundable tickets. However, this flexibility means the rates are not always at the lowest cost to the state. When possible, state agencies and institutions of higher education should utilize 14-day advance or other lower cost airline fares for planned travel requirements to obtain the lowest possible cost to the state.  City-pair listings for Domestic and International destinations can be found for the contracted vendors, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways at https://comptroller.texas.gov/purchasing/programs/travel-management/.  They are listed one-way in alphabetical order and applicable in both directions but do not include airport fees, security fees and other charges added to the base ticket price.

State contracted airfares can be secured through the contracted travel agency, Corporate Travel Planners. These fares can only be purchase on the central billed Business Travel Account (BTA) or on an individually billed Corporate Travel Card.

Contracted Travel Agency

Corporate Travel Planners will assist travelers with obtaining the lowest airfare available while adhering to travel policies and procedures. 

Federal Travel:  Fly America for International Travel

Any travel funded by Federal grants or restricted State funds must comply with the requirement that U.S. Flagship carriers be used to maximum extent possible when commercial air transportation is the means of travel between the U.S. and a foreign country, or between foreign countries. This requirement shall not be influenced by factors of cost, convenience, or personal travel preferences. For purpose of the use of United States flab carriers, “Unites States” means the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories and possessions of the United States.

Fly America Act

Open Skies Agreement

International Travel Mandate

Prior to arranging international travel, the traveler must review the Office of Global Health Initiatives webpage at https://inside.uth.edu/travel-exemption/ and the U.S. Department of State’s list of Travel Warnings.  If the traveler’s destination is under a Travel Warning, the traveler is required to submit an online Application for Exemption from Travel Restrictions.  The UTHealth President’s Advisory Panel on International Travel will review the application and contact the traveler. For additional information, contact the Office of Global Health Initiatives at 713-500-3533 or  global.health@uth.tmc.edu.

  1. Airfare Reimbursement: To receive reimbursement for airfare, you must book your airfare through Corporate Travel Planners, Inc. (CTPI). uttravel@ctptravelservices.com or call 1-866-366-1142 (7:30 am to 6:00 pm).  Your administrative assistant can assist with requesting quotes from CTP, purchasing airfare and/or registration via BTA (directly paid from your UT funds), etc.
  2. Rental Cars:

Required Use

It is required for all car rental reservations to be made using one of our five (5) UT Health Science Center at Houston contract car vendors, citing the chosen vendor’s rate identifier code.   Full contract details can be found here. You must confirm whether the rental location is included in the list of non-participating locations for insurance coverage.

(Please print the Motor Vehicle Rental Exemption Certificate to present at the counter in advance of rental to waive certain fees as described below.)

Find rental information and provisions online for:

Rental Co. ID# Phone # Rates
Enterprise* UTS451 800-261-7331 Enterprise Rate
National UTS451 800-227-7368 National Rate
Avis S828013 800-331-2212 Avis Rate
Budget R524113 800-527-0700 Budget Rate
Hertz 1989426 800-654-3131 Hertz Rate

*Enterprise now requires a PIN for access.
For business use: “UT ” (UT followed by a space)
For personal use: “UNI”

To rent a car for university-related business travel,

  1. Select the vendor;
  2. Make the reservation using the correct UTHealth rate identifier contract code;
  3. Review any locations that may exclude insurance coverage (LDW – Loss Damage Waiver and Liability Insurance);

 

Making a Reservation:

  • Direct through the car rental company via telephone or online as listed above or a direct location
  • Reserve through a Corporate Travel Planners full-service agent (no fee incurred) 866-366-1142
  • Reserve through Concur online tool

Personal Rentals:

Personal rentals will not include the insurance coverages. The same account numbers are used for both business and pleasure for Avis, Budget and Hertz. Use UTS999 with Enterprise. Be sure to identify if you are reserving a rental for personal use.

Eligible Traveler

UTHealth faculty, staff, students (meeting minimum age requirements), guests and consultants traveling on official University business when travel is paid or reimbursed by UTHealth.

  • Enterprise/National: The minimum age to rent a vehicle with Enterprise/National is 18 year of age; however a renter must be 21 years of age to rent a passenger van.
  • Avis/Budget: The minimum age to rent a vehicle with Avis is 18 years of age; the minimum age to rent a vehicle with Budget is 21 years of age.
  • Hertz: The minimum age to rent a vehicle with Hertz is 18 years of age.

Consider the following information when deciding which vendor to use:

  • Most rates include insurance for (LDW) Loss Damage Waiver and Liability coverage an unlimited free mileage within the State when the vehicle is returned to the same location, however there are some exceptions. Not all Avis, Budget or Hertz locations include insurance. Please refer to the list of non-participating locations noted below as well as the list of contract validations that invalidate insurance coverage.

Promotional Rates – If you rent a vehicle for a contract rental vendor using a rate other than UTHealth contact rate, insurance is not included. Renter must provide the UTHealth rate identifier contract code to request the UTHealth contract rate in order to receive the insurance coverage and services provided under the UTHealth contract.

One-way Rental

  • Within Texas:Enterprise, National and Hertz do not charge mileage or drop off fees for one-way rentals within Texas.
  • Out-of-State:
    • Enterprise one-way rentals will incur a $0.20 cent per mile charge.
    • National charges a $699 per day flat rate for out-of-state one-way rentals on compact to full size vehicles. Out –of-state one-way rentals on premium class and above vehicles will be charged the daily rate plus $0.20 cents per mile.
    • Hertz will add $0.38 per mile on all out-of-state one-way rentals.
    • Avis and Budget do not charge mileage or drop off fees for one-way rentals between Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The Dallas metro includes Coppell, Irvin and Arlington.
    • Avis and Budget will charge a $0.29 per mile mileage fee on all one-way rentals in-state and out-of –state except as noted above for travel between Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Taxes and Fees

Print and provide the following Motor Vehicle Rental Exemption Certificate to the car rental representative at the time of picking up rental (not when returning). There are several taxes that you must pay that will be reimbursed. “Prop., Title, Regis.” Taxes may be charged. (The name may vary.) This tax was implemented under House Bill 2151, 74th Texas Legislature, and allows all rental car companies operating in Texas to charge a nominal fee to recoup the cost of registering and licensing their fleets. It is to be paid by individuals and state agencies. (Many other states have also implemented this type of charge, with different names.) Special events/stadium taxes fall under the same rulings as above.

Explanation of Taxes and Fees:

  • Airport Access Fees:A fee that is charged to any customer that picks up a car at the airport location within their first 24 hours. Which is submitted directly to the airport authority and is payable by customer. This is paid for on all rentals.
  • CFC-Customer Facilitation Charge:A fee imposed by the Airport for parking vehicles on-site at the airport. Which is submitted directly to the airport authority and is payable by customer. This is paid for on all rentals.
  • Motor Vehicle Tax:A tax that is similar to a sales tax, but because rental car vendors provide a service and do not sell goods.
  • Sport Authority/Stadium Tax:A tax that is set forth by some type of district, i.e., city county or school provide funding for a certain event or project. This is not paid on Direct Bill rentals.
  • Texas Property Tax & License Reimbursement Fee:A surcharge that is passed on to the customer as reimbursement for license and title fees. This is paid for all rentals and will vary by city.

Non-participating Locations

Non-participating Avis and Budget Locations

Travelers can continue to refer to and use State Comptroller contracted hotels, or use a hotel of their choice as long as the lodging rates complies with State Comptroller per-diem guidelines. Management encourages the use of discounted rates that are available through the state. These rates can be found on the State Comptroller’s website.

CTP also has access to additional discounted hotel rates through their affiliated partnership with Travel Leaders, which in some cases may be lower than other available rates. If a lower rate is available, the agent will communicate at the time of booking. These rates would also be available if arranging travel in Concur.

For more on the travel and expense reimbursement rules, please see

Travel Guide:  https://inside.uth.edu/travel

Expense Reimbursement Guide:  https://inside.uth.edu/finance/procurement/procurement-expenses/expense_reimbursement_guide-table-of-contents.htm

Any questions regarding travel and expense reimbursement exceptions should be directed to your assistant or my office.  In an effort to ensure compliance, I have asked our assistants to follow up with you on a regular basis immediately following your travel, to obtain all required supporting documents for reimbursement process.  So, please be advised that you will be bombarded with reminders from your assistants and be understanding that they are only trying to help, not to bug you for fun.

Thanks for your cooperation and we are looking forward to serve you more efficiently in FY22!