What is Reimbursable and What is not

Modified 8/11/2010

 Air travel is authorized for coach class.  However, if a flight exceeds five hours in duration, business class or first class (if business class is not available), may be authorized if prior written approval is obtained from the relevant Senior Vice President, Vice President or CFO of the College of Medicine.

First class travel will not be reimbursed unless the written approval is attached to the traveler’s travel report.  For arrangements made using the University Purchasing Card (“P-Card”), the written approval must be attached to the monthly P-Card Statement and maintained by the cardholder along with the appropriate supporting documentation for each P-Card transaction.  The Procurement Office is authorized to review P-Card activity to insure compliance with University policies and procedures.  An upgrade to first/business class using frequent flyer miles does not require prior approval.
Travelers are expected to book the lowest logical airfare and to use the additional savings opportunities provided by our authorized travel agencies via the Procurement Office Travel Portal at http://www.campustravel.com/university/drexel/.  The University will not reimburse travelers for tickets purchased with frequent flyer miles.

Foreign travel charged to a federal grant requires the use of a U.S. flag air carrier.  Consult the Fly America Act for guidelines for international travel paid for by the government.  If there is a need for an exception to this requirement, as may be the case with certain foreign destinations, travelers must complete a Justification Statement to certify the reason for the exception.  The Office of Research Compliance and Administration travel policy is available at http://www.research.drexel.edu/administration/Travel/Travel.aspx.

Personal automobiles used for business trips qualify for the University approved rate per mile reimbursement, plus tolls and parking.  Consult http://www.drexel.edu/depts/compt/ap/MileageRate.html for the business mileage rate. Reimbursement will normally not include meals and lodging en-route or expenses in lieu of the approved mileage rate. 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. Under IRS Reg. § 1.262-1(b) (5), costs of commuting to the place of business or employment are personal expenses.  You cannot be reimbursed for commuting expenses even if you work during your commuting trip.

Insurance on personal automobiles used for business travel must be at least $100,000/$300,000 for liability coverage. The individual's coverage is primary to any other available coverage. The University will not reimburse individuals for the cost of such insurance or for the cost of other expenses including but not limited to driving or parking violations, fines, gasoline, automobile repairs, vehicle damage or insurance deductibles as a result of an accident, break down, tow or resultant meals and lodging.

Rented vehicle expenses for University business travel are reimbursed based on the original, rental agency invoice.  Gas purchases, not included on the rental invoice, will be reimbursed upon submission of original receipts.  Generally, only mid-size or compact automobiles should be rented for business travel.  Purchasing, leasing, or renting a 15- passenger vans is not permitted.   
No one is permitted to drive a rented vehicle for University business unless they are eligible under the guidelines of the Motor Vehicle Operator Policy at http://www.drexel.edu/hr/policies/DU-RM2.htm and have met the acceptable motor vehicle driving requirements. To qualify, complete a Motor Vehicle Release form and submit it to the Department of Risk Management, along with a copy of your driver's license, at least 10 business days prior to the rental of the vehicle.

The University does not carry insurance for physical damage (collision damage insurance) or theft (comprehensive insurance) of a rented vehicle. The collision damage and comprehensive coverage must be purchased when renting the vehicle and is a reimbursable travel expense. If the rental is charged to the P-Card, insurance for collision and theft is automatically included subject to the terms and conditions of the card. Certain vehicles are excluded.  Please obtain a copy of the coverage under the P-Card from the Procurement Office prior to renting a vehicle. The P-Card must be in the driver's name for coverage to be valid. If you do not have a P-Card, you must purchase the coverage offered by the rental agency for collision and theft. The University will reimburse such expense to the traveler.

The University does carry automobile liability insurance (coverage for injury or damage to other vehicles/persons). This coverage should not be purchased through the rental agency. If an employee is involved in an accident while on University business that results in an auto liability claim, a deductible will be charged to the traveler's department. If the accident was due to another party and the University is able to recover its expenses, the department will be reimbursed for the deductible.
If you have an accident while driving a rented vehicle on a business trip, report it immediately to the University's Department of Risk Management and to the rental company. Follow the instructions for accident reporting and analysis in Section V of the Motor Vehicle Operator Policy.

For vehicle rentals in any location other than the continental United States, all insurance provided by the rental agency, including automobile liability insurance, must be purchased. This is an allowable business expense reimbursement.  In some foreign countries, it is illegal not to purchase the local insurance offered.

Lodging costs for business travel will be reimbursed at the single room rate. Any incremental charges for deluxe, double, suite or concierge-level rooms are not reimbursable. The traveler is expected to secure lodging generally at no more than the mid-range rate for hotels in the travel area.  Some hotels may not accept a University check at departure.  In those cases, the traveler must use either a P-Card or personal credit card for the lodging costs.

All lodging expenses must be substantiated by itemized receipts with information sufficient to substantiate the amount, date, time, place and business purpose of each expense.  For example, if the credit card company provides an electronic receipt for an amount billed from a hotel that does not itemize each expense on the bill, the employee must provide paper documentation detailing each expense.  Detailed receipts are usually maintained by the vendor for 60 to 90 days after the expense is incurred and can be provided upon request.

Meal expenses while traveling on University business are reimbursed based on original, itemized receipts; the traveler’s original credit card receipt or a cash register receipt.  Meal costs include reasonable gratuities, generally not exceeding 15%, and beverages.   If the cost of meals and beverages is in excess of $60 per day, a written explanation must accompany the Travel Expense Reimbursement Report.

Alcoholic beverages purchased in the course of business travel must be approved by the traveler’s supervisor and separately itemized on the meal receipt.  Alcoholic charges are unallowable for (cannot be charged to) sponsored projects.  Alcoholic beverages for entertainment functions held in Pennsylvania must be purchased in Pennsylvania.

Other expenses for airport limousines, vans, buses or taxis will be reimbursed only when original receipts are submitted. All other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for business travel will be reimbursed, including reasonable gratuities for baggage handling, other nominal services and reasonable business telephone calls. Receipts for other expenses less than $25 are not required; however, these expenses must be separately identified on the Travel Expense Reimbursement Report.

Personal expenses are not reimbursable.  These include child care, kennel fees, valet and laundry services, health clubs, salons, recreation costs and in-room movies. Expenses for a spouse or family member will not be reimbursed.