7.2 Travel Expenses

Administrative Responsibility: Associate Director of Disbursements, reporting to the AVP for Business Services


This policy identifies numerous types of travel expenses eligible for reimbursement under the Travel Policy 7.1.


This policy applies to any WSU employee or non-employee (hereafter referred to as "Individual ") who incurs travel and/or business hosting expenses and seeks reimbursement for those expenses from the university, regardless of funding source. The university will reimburse for reasonable transportation, meals, lodging and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the transaction of university business.


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7.2.1 Airfare

General Information

Travelers are encouraged to use TravelWayne when booking airline tickets. Airline tickets should be charged to the University approved travel card. All reimbursement requests should be submitted electronically via a properly approved Expense Report. All airline receipts must be submitted in order to receive reimbursement.

WSU will not reimburse travelers for tickets purchased with frequent flyer miles. Accumulated awards remain the property of the traveler; however, if a traveler arranges a more expensive flight solely based on an airline award program, the traveler is responsible for the difference in cost.

Travel Classes

Travelers must book the most economical coach class airfare available. In making reservations, the traveler should balance the cost vs. the efficiency of the travel. For example, a cheaper fare that requires a long layover may not be the most effective choice. In those cases when an individual is requesting reimbursement for costs in excess of the most economical rate, they must provide the justification for the waiver of the policy. Such documentation must be uploaded to TravelWayne when completing the Expense Report. If the traveler wishes to upgrade to business or first-class, the traveler will be required to pay the difference between the lowest price non-stop economy coach class airfare and the final airfare. Appropriate documentation of such arrangements should be submitted to the University with the business or first-class ticket documentation.

Sponsored Travel

Except as noted below, travelers on federally-funded trips outside the continental United States must travel on U.S. carriers at coach rates, under the Fly America Act (FAA). This restriction may be waived when such accommodations would:

  • require circuitous routing
  • require travel during unreasonable hours
  • excessively , increase the duration of the flight; or
  • be inadequate for the medical needs of the traveler.

Any exception to the Fly America Act should be discussed with the Sponsored Program Administration office prior to the purchase of the airline ticket.

Conference Designated Airline

When attending a conference that has a designated airline, the traveler should utilize the designated carrier so that the special conference airfare may be obtained, provided those rates are lower than other available fares.

Airline Clubs

Individual dues paid for membership in an airline club are not reimbursable.

Accounting for Unused Airline Tickets

Unused airline tickets purchased by the University should be documented and returned to the travel agency immediately, requesting a refund or a credit against future travel.

7.2.2 Lodging

The university will pay actual room costs, as substantiated by the detailed accommodation receipt, for each day that lodging away from home is necessary for business reasons. Additional lodging costs, such as internet charges, meals, etc. charged to the hotel room, should be reflected separately on the Expense Report.

Travelers should choose convenient, safe, and reasonably-priced accommodations whenever practical. When attending a conference, travelers may stay at the conference hotel even if it is not the most economical option available. Rooms can be guaranteed to the traveler's WSU Travel Card or other personal credit card. Travelers will not be reimbursed for "no show" charges unless extenuating circumstances occur and are adequately documented.

Many hotels have frequent guest programs that reward travelers with free accommodations in exchange for a specified number of paid room nights at the hotel. WSU will not reimburse travelers for the value of free accommodations used for business travel.

The university has negotiated special rates with several hotel companies. Please visit the WSU Travel Website to obtain the latest information (https://travel.wayne.edu/).

7.2.3 Car Rental

The use of a rental car should be justified as a business necessity. When traveling in groups, sharing of cars is encouraged to reduce costs. When renting a car, fuel costs will be reimbursed based upon actual fuel purchased, not mileage.

The university has negotiated a special rate with National/Enterprise. Please visit the WSU Travel Website to obtain the latest information (https://travel.wayne.edu/).

A. Car Rental Insurance

For persons who own a vehicle with collision coverage on their insurance policy, collision damage insurance (sometimes referred to as CDW or LDW), personal accident insurance (PAI), and liability insurance supplement (LIS) should be declined when traveling within the United States. Generally, your personal auto insurance policy should extend coverage to rented vehicles. When traveling outside the United States, this coverage should be selected and is reimbursable. Some states and/or car rental agencies require travelers less than 25 years of age to obtain insurance. If the insurance is required, it is reimbursable.

7.2.4 Meals

In order to meet the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations for an "Accountable Plan", meal expenses are reimbursed only when the travel requires overnight lodging. WSU utilizes a daily per diem rate to provide a traveler with reimbursement for costs associated with their travel. Rates are established by the General Services Administration and are used to determine reimbursement.

These rates can be found at:

Domestic - (CONUS) http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287

Foreign - (OCONUS) http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm

Per Diem allowances for the first and last dates of travel are limited to 75% of the daily total regardless of the time of day. When a trip involves stays in more than one city, the per diem rate for the destination city of that day should be used. If a conference or meeting provides a meal, the traveler should adjust their per diem downward accordingly. If the traveler choses to eat elsewhere, justification should be provided in order to receive the per diem amount.

Expenses for business entertainment and meals while in travel status can be submitted on the ER and require the appropriate supporting documentation. Documentation must include the names of all persons in attendance and for which reimbursement is requested, a detailed receipt, and the business purpose for the meeting. For business entertainment and meals outside of travel status, please refer to APPM section 1.3.1.A.

7.2.5 Conferences and Professional Meetings

The conference registration and agenda, a meeting schedule, or a URL link to such documents, must be submitted with the Expense Report to support the business purpose of the expenses.

Many conferences offer optional recreational events for attendees at an additional cost. Decisions regarding the reimbursement for such events should be made by the traveler's supervisor prior to travel.

7.2.6 Travel Insurance

Faculty and staff traveling on university business, either domestically or abroad are covered by the WSU Travel Accident Insurance Policy at no cost to the traveler. This coverage applies only to trips on university business, not for a traveler's personal business. In most cases, the cost of additional travel insurance is not reimbursable.

7.2.7 Taxi and Other Local Transportation

The cost of ground transportation to and from hotels, airports or railroad stations in connection with approved university business activities is reimbursable. Alternative arrangements for travel to airports should be considered when airport parking charges will exceed the cost of a round-trip taxi or car service. As indicated in 7.1 of this policy, itemized receipts are required for amounts greater than $15

7.2.8 Personal Automobile

Use of thetraveler's personal automobile for official University business that is properly authorized, reasonable and appropriately documented will be reimbursed at the effective WSU published rates (designed to cover gas, oil, and fixed costs such as insurance and depreciation) at the timeof travel. Rates can be found on the TravelWayne website. The standard mileage rate for reimbursement for private automobile usage will be the same as the rate allowable by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Tolls and parking fees are reimbursable.

A. Business Justification - Driving vs. Flying

Business justification is required for driving a personal automobile on business trips of 1,000 miles or more roundtrip. This justification should include the cost of an airline ticket compared to the cost for driving; reflecting that the drive cost is less than or equal to the airline ticket cost. Reimbursement for the use of a personal automobile will not exceed the cost of available round-trip economy or discounted airfare. Any additional expenses incurred as a result of driving (i.e., lodging, meals, parking, etc.) are to be included in the cost comparison. If the cost comparison does not justify the drive, then any extenuating circumstances should be fully explained. Such a request must be approved by the traveler's supervisor. Otherwise, the traveler will be reimbursed only up to the amount of the flight quote along with related costs such as expected travel to and from the airport.

B. Electronic Toll Passes (I-Zoom, I-Pass, EZ-pass, etc.)

The University will reimburse for actual tolls incurred for business purposes, whether paid via cash or electronically. Electronic toll expenses can be supported by reduction in prepaid balance amounts documented by statements available on line from i-Zoom, I-Pass, and etc. vendors. The University will not reimburse individuals for any deposits required on i-Zoom, I-Pass, etc., or for the funding of an individual's account in anticipation of incurring future tolls for business.

C. Determining Mileage

University approved travel includes any travel on official University business from primary work location to another, secondary destination, and return to primary work location from a secondary location. University will not reimburse for mileage between WSU locations within the City of Detroit (i.e. – You work on the Main Campus and have meetings at the Medical School. Since both sites are located within the City of Detroit, it is not a reimbursable travel expense.)

A "primary work location" is a designated campus or metropolitan center (e.g., main campus, Oakland Center, etc.) where a person accomplishes the assignment for which he/she is employed. If a person with a split assignment is required to be at more than one principal place of work during a single day, reimbursement is permitted for the mileage between the work locations.

Persons working more than the normal work week at their primary work location are not entitled to a mileage reimbursement for the commuting necessitated by this extra work or overtime (i.e. If your normal work week is Monday-Friday and you are required to come in on a Saturday, you will NOT be reimbursed for mileage from your home to your primary work location on Saturday.)

The traveler must document business miles or calculate mileage using Google Maps, Mapquest (or something similar) to determine the total mileage for the trip less the normal commute to and from work. Business mileage does not include the normal commute to and from work. When your business Travel originates from home; subtract your normal commute from the total miles associated with the trip.

Mileage to and from the airport when traveling on business will be reimbursed only for the mileage that exceeds the round-trip distance from the traveler's home to their primary work location on Campus.


  • My daily commute to the Main Campus (my primary work location) is 10 miles (one way)
  • My home to the Oakland Center is 80 miles (round trip)
  • Main Campus to Oakland Center is 42 miles (round trip)
  • Main Campus to Metro Airport is 40 miles (round trip)
  • My home to Metro Airport is 80 miles (round trip)
  1. Travel from Home to Oakland Center to Home
    1. My mileage claim is 80 – 20 (10 miles commuting each way) = 60 miles
  2. Travel from Home to Oakland Center to Main Campus
    • My mileage claim is 40 + 21 – 10 (commuting miles one way) = 51 miles
      * If you leave from Main Campus or return to Main Campus, you reduce by a one way commute.
  3. Travel from Main Campus to Oakland Center to Main Campus
    • My mileage claim is 42 miles
  4. Travel from Home to Airport to Home
    • My mileage claim is 80 – 20 (commuting miles each way) = 60 miles

7.2.9 University Vehicle

When using a university vehicle for business travel, fuel, oil, and repair expenses will be reimbursed at the actual costs, supported by appropriate receipts, paid by the traveler. The traveler will not be reimbursed mileage when using a university vehicle. The use of a university vehicle should be noted on the Expense Report. Tolls and parking fees are also reimbursable.

7.2.10 Telephone and Internet Charges

  1. Phone - The university will reimburse for calls made while in travel status provided the calls are appropriately documented. Employees that receive a wireless device allowance are not eligible for phone call reimbursement.
  2. Internet - Internet charges while in travel status will be reimbursed if appropriate business purpose is documented.

7.2.11 Miscellaneous Expenses

Laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing services away from home are reimbursable only when the traveler is away in excess of 5 days and when the expenditures are reasonable in nature.

Tips must be reasonable for the service provided.

The Expense Report can be used for other expenses incurred while in travel status (i.e. business related copies, office supplies, etc.).

Reimbursable expenses include but are not limited to the following:

  • Business office expenses (copy services, postage) and business related phone calls, faxes and internet fees
  • Calls home that are reasonable in duration and amount (department discretion)
  • Conference fees
  • Costs related to travel visas when necessary to accomplish the official business purpose of the trip
  • Currency conversion fees
  • Reasonable laundry, dry cleaning, or pressing expenses on trips lasting in excess of five (5) days
  • International travel health insurance

Non-reimbursable expenses include but are not limited to the following:

  • Clothing or toiletry items
  • Commuting between home and campus
  • Club dues
  • Expenses related to vacation or personal days taken before, during or after a business trip
  • Loss Damage Insurance when University agency is available and another auto agency is utilized
  • Loss or theft of cash advance money or airline tickets
  • Loss or theft of personal funds or property
  • Lost baggage
  • Luggage or briefcases
  • Personal reading materials (magazines, newspapers, etc.)
  • Medical expenses while traveling
  • Movies
  • Personal entertainment
  • Pet care
  • Recreational expenses
  • Saunas, massages
  • Shoe Shines
  • Souvenirs or personal gifts
  • Travel accident insurance premiums
  • Traffic citations (moving violations), parking tickets, court fees and other fines
  • Mini-bar charges
  • Airline, car, and card membership dues and club fees
  • No-show/Cancellation fees or fees related to hotel late check-out


The following information outlines the responsibilities of various parties involved in the Travel Expense Reports process: See APPM 7.1 - Travel and Business Hosting Expense Policies and Procedures


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Effective Date: Prior to 2000

Revised Date: 6/14/2018

Reviewed Date: 6/14/2018

To be reviewed, at minimum, every three years and/or revised as needed by: Associate Director of Disbursements, reporting to the AVP for Business Services

Next Review By Date: 6/1/2021


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