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Travel Policies

Saint Louis University's travel program and its related policies exist for the greater benefit of all SLU travelers and the University in partnership.

The program provides various and numerous benefits to our travelers while at the same time ensuring we remain good stewards of the University's assets. Participation by all University users ensures the success of the program for all.

Responsibilities and Enforcement

The University will reimburse travelers for all reasonable, necessary, and appropriately documented expenses within the guidelines of the policy while traveling on authorized business.

The traveler is responsible for complying with the travel policy. Travelers submitting expenses that do not comply with this policy risk delayed, partial or forfeited reimbursement.

The approver is responsible for ensuring that travelers within their division are informed of and adhere to the travel policy and for accurately reviewing expense reports for compliance.

Only actual expenses incurred within the guidelines of the policy will be reimbursed. Travelers should neither gain nor lose personal funds as a result.

The University assumes no obligation to reimburse faculty, staff, students, residents or guests of the University for expenses that do not comply with this policy.

Employees should not pay for another employees' expenses. When sharing a hotel room or meal, please obtain separate bills from the vendor.

Travel Authorization

Faculty and staff must obtain prior approval of all travel on behalf of the University before making any travel arrangements. Travel on behalf of the University includes any business travel while on University time even if the University does not reimburse the travel.

Required pre-approvals:

  • Domestic travel (United States only): Travel approver.
  • International Travel (anywhere outside the United States): Travel approver plus the traveler's dean/associate vice president or their designee.
  • Travel charged to a sponsored program fund: All of the above plus sponsored [rograms check list to be completed by the authorized approver.
Travel Arrangements

Air, lodging and car rental reservations should be booked through the Concur booking tool or our travel advisor, TravelPlex. Travel must be planned at least several weeks in advance to qualify for discounted fares.

Reimbursable travel days are from one day prior to the actual dates of University business-related activity through the final day of the University business-related activity. If the business related-activity begins in the afternoon or evening, the traveler should attempt to travel the morning of same day.

Concur Travel

For routine travel, make arrangements through the online Concur Travel booking module to minimize service fees. The fee for each transaction is $7. 

Call Joan Tarrant with TravelPlex at 314-569-1900 for changes or cancellations to interactive reservations. 

Traditional Travel

For other arrangements, including international travel options, certificate travel, exchanges and more, contact Joan Tarrant at 314-569-1900 or at joan@travelplex.com. Arrangements can be made between 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Transaction fees are $22 for domestic travel and $30 for international. 

Traveler Profiles

All faculty and staff expected to travel on behalf of the University and those responsible for arranging travel on behalf of travelers should have access through MySLU.

Air Travel

Airfare should be booked through the Concur booking tool or our travel advisor, TravelPlex.

Economy Class

Only economy class fares will be considered for payment. Airline tickets should be booked within $100 of the lowest available airfare at the time of booking. Seat selection and baggage fees are reimbursable. Travelers may not specify a preferred carrier.

First Class and Business Class

Incremental costs for first-class and business-class fares are not reimbursable.

A traveler may use their personal frequent flyer miles to upgrade fares. The traveler must book the economy class fare with TravelPlex and contact the airline directly for the upgrade. A traveler may choose to fly business or first class and personally pay the difference in the fare. The traveler must, at the time of booking the fare, determine the lowest available fare as defined above and must receive prior approval and agreement on the reimbursable amount from their supervisor and fund administrator.

International Travel

For any international travel that will be charged to a federally-sponsored agreement, the airfare must be from a U.S. Flag Air Carrier.

Frequent Flier Programs

Travelers may retain frequent flier program benefits. However, participation in these programs must not influence flight selection, which would result in any incremental cost to the University beyond the "lowest available airfare" as defined above.

Required Method of Payment

The University American Express Business Travel (BTA) account will be used for airfare and agency fees.

Insurance

American Express Business Travel Accident Insurance automatically provides accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage for Saint Louis University employees when the common carrier trips are charged to the American Express Business Travel Account. Employees will receive up to $350,000 door-to-door coverage for business trips from their departure, through their trip (up to 30 days) and until they return.

American Express Baggage Insurance Plan provides coverage against lost, stolen or damage to checked and carry-on baggage. Employees will automatically receive the following coverage amounts when the American Express Business Travel Account is used to purchase common carrier tickets for a trip (online booking tool or with an agent).

  • Carry-on baggage: Up to $1,250, in excess of coverage by the common carrier. Reimbursement for carry-on baggage is based on its replacement cost. (American Express may, as its option elect to repair or replace the covered property.  If so,  it will be of like kind and quality).
  • Checked baggage: Up to $500, in excess of coverage provided by the common carrier. Reimbursement for checked baggage is based on its replacement cost. (American Express may, as its option elect to repair or replace the covered property.  If so,  it will be of like kind and quality).

Unused Tickets/Cancellations

All airline reservations made through the University's designated TravelPlex travel office or via the online booking tool must be changed by calling TravelPlex.

Electronic tickets carry a dollar value. As a result all cancelled trips need to be reported immediately to TravelPlex to determine if the ticket holds value. To ensure that no unnecessary costs are incurred, cancellations must be made directly with TravelPlex by calling the telephone number listed on your itinerary prior to departure. Related re-issuance fees due to changes in existing reservations are reimbursable.

Cancellation or change penalties cannot be charged to federally-sponsored agreements unless the federal government caused the change (e.g., the government cancelled the symposium or meeting.) Changes for the convenience of the traveler are not allowable.

Lodging

Hotel reservations should be booked through the Concur booking tool or our travel advisor, TravelPlex. An exception would be for those travelers attending conferences offering discounted block rates.

A single room in a hotel is the University standard. Room upgrades, suites, concierge level or luxury accommodations are not permitted.

Maximum Reimbursement

Not Attending a Conference: The maximum reimbursement for lodging is the actual expense incurred up to the SLU hotel per diem. The SLU hotel per diem is defined as the United States government lodging per diem for the applicable locality plus an additional 20 percent.

Attending a Conference: The reimbursement for lodging is the actual expense incurred, up to the lowest published conference room rate.  Conference travelers may book non-conference hotels up to the lowest published conference hotel rate.  Travelers should book at the single occupancy rate.

Travelers should book conference hotels as early as possible to ensure a room at the discounted conference rate.

Cancellation

All rooms will be guaranteed for late arrival. Travelers must cancel the room reservation by the required notice timeframe specified by the hotel to avoid a "no-show" charge. Cancellations must be made directly with TravelPlex by calling the telephone number listed on your itinerary, and travelers are advised to request and retain a cancellation number, date, time and name of the individual as documentation of the transaction. "No-show" charges are not reimbursable.

Alternative Lodging

In special situations, travelers may use appropriate alternative lodging less expensive than a hotel such as dormitories or hostels.

Car Rental

Car rental reservations should be booked through the Concur booking tool or our travel advisor, TravelPlex. The use of a rental car should be justified as a business need and not as a matter of personal convenience.  Travelers may rent a car to their destination or at their destination when approved by their departments.

At the time of rental, the vehicle should be inspected and any damage found should be noted on the contract before the vehicle is accepted.

GPS global mapping and satellite tadio features are non reimbursable. Toll packages and refueling costs are reimbursable.

Rental car class size up to and including intermediate car class size is allowable. The University prohibits the use or rental of vans with a wheel base greater than 138 inches. Standard vehicles are only acceptable when:

  • Four or more employees travel together and share the rental
  • Cars in authorized category are not available
  • The upgrade is at no additional cost, transporting large or bulky material
  • Pre-approved for medical reasons, i.e. drivers with disabilities

All car rentals must be with the University's preferred vendors or with a vendor offering a special daily rate at a cost considerably lower than the University's corporate rate(s):

  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car discount ID No. XZ01333
  • National discount ID No. XZ01333
  • Alamo discount ID No.  701478

When using the booking tool, the University will reimburse up to an intermediate size car. Supplemental charges may apply in large cities.

Rental Insurance

If you are renting or driving a vehicle on University sponsored business and require evidence of insurance coverage you must first complete a Motor Vehicle License Registration Check (MVLRC).

Once the MVLRC is completed you may contact Risk Management at 314-977-3952 to obtain a copy of the insurance card.

Departments are responsible for the first $1,500 of damage on all automobile claims in which the University makes a payment. If a department is involved in an automobile accident with a third partyand it is an at-fault accident of the department, the department is responsible for the first $1,500 of damage to the department's vehicle as well as the first $1,500 of damage to the third party's vehicle.

Travel within the United States

The University has a self-insurance program that covers vehicles rented for University-related travel. An insurance card indicating the policy coverage, insurance company and policy number is available in Risk Management. Travelers should decline all insurance coverage when renting a vehicle. Insurance coverage expense is non reimbursable.

Travel outside the United States

Rental cars should not be used outside of the United States and Canada. To obtain an exception to the rule, contact Risk Management at 314-977-3952 or at riskmgmt@slu.edu

Other Transportation

Personal Car

Travelers may utilize their personal car to drive to their destination when approved by their departments. Travelers may be reimbursed for mileage for traveling locally within the metropolitan area within a 50-mile radius. Reimbursable mileage is equal to the number of business miles in excess of the round-trip commuting miles between the employee's home and regular work place. Mileage will not be reimbursed for travel within the University campus.

The use of personal cars for business will be reimbursed at the standard rate prescribed by the IRS.  This mileage allowance covers all auto costs (e.g. gasoline, oil, repairs, insurance, etc.) other than parking and tolls. Liability insurance coverage of $100,000/$300,000 is required but will not be reimbursed.

Traffic violations, parking tickets, towing, repairs, personal insurance or deductibles are not reimbursable. 

Rail

Rail reservations can be booked by contacting TravelPlex or the traveler may arrange using an outside source.

Taxi and Other Local Transportation

The cost of taxis to and from places of business, hotels, airports or railroad stations in connection with business activities is reimbursable.

Long-term Parking

Long-term parking at St. Louis Lambert Airport will be reimbursed with no limit on daily parking reimbursement. SKYPARK is the University's preferred airport parking vendor.

SKYPARK Airport Parking
4500 Crestshire Lane
St. Ann, MO 63074
314-423-3800

The SLU daily parking rate $7. To obtain the preferred rates, present University ID or business card at exit. Travelers may choose to park at a lot other than one of the University's preferred vendors.

Meals and Entertainment

Travel Meals

Travel meal expenses are the cost of meals when on an out-of-town or overnight business trip. Actual and reasonable meal expenses (including gratuities) will be reimbursed up to the daily meal per diem rate allowable using the United States government guidelines for each locality. The following criteria will be utilized when reimbursing personal travel meals:

  • Any costs over and above the daily per diem rate will not be reimbursed.
  • Meals in route are allowable during business travel days (from one day prior to the actual dates of University business-related activity through the final day of the University related activity).
  • Although the allowable daily per diem rate will not be prorated for partial days (the day of departure and return), meal receipts at the home city will not be accepted or reimbursed, with the exception of meal receipts at the home city airport. Acceptable receipts are:
      • an itemized bill
      • a personal credit card receipt
      • cash register receipt
      • American Express statement
  • Although meal receipts are the preferred method, travelers have the option of claiming 75 percent or less of meal per diem in lieu of submitting meal receipts. Note that only one method can be used for each trip. A combination of 75 percent per diem allowance and receipts for different days on the same trip is not allowable.

Meals with Others

Every effort should be made to obtain a receipt from restaurant establishments. However, it is understood that when joining in a group meal with colleagues, it may not be possible to get a separate check. In this case, we recommend the following:

  • Ask the waiter to charge your portion of the meal expense to your credit card.  Your personal credit card receipt is sufficient documentation for the reimbursement.
  • If you are paying for the entire meal and getting reimbursed by your colleagues for their portion, simply write the number of individuals attending the meal on the receipt and divide the total by that number to identify your portion of the meal. Enter your portion on the expense report.
  • A restaurant tear tab may be submitted as supporting documentation of the expense when you are unable to get receipts as described above. The tear tab must contain the name of the restaurant, date, total amount and the signature of the claimant (faculty/staff member). Tear tabs should be used on an exception basis only.

Business Meals

Business meals are those meals taken with clients, prospects or non-University associates during which a specific business discussion takes place. Actual and reasonable meal expenses (including gratuities up to 20 percent) will be reimbursed. Check with Sponsored Programs before incurring any business meals on a sponsored agreement.

Entertainment Expenses

Entertainment expenses are those expenses incurred while entertaining guests of the University and include events such as social and recreational activities, when a business discussion takes place immediately before, during or after the event. Entertainment expenses must be approved in advance by the employee's immediate supervisor. Entertainment expenses are unallowable on federally-sponsored agreements.

Required Documentation

No receipt is required for expenses $50 and under.

Original receipts such as an itemized bill, credit card receipt, cash register receipt or American Express statement are acceptable receipts. Every effort should be made to obtain an itemized receipt from restaurant establishments.

To be in compliance with IRS regulations, the following information must be included on employee expense reports as support for all business meal and entertainment expenses:

  • Name, company and business relationship of all attendees
  • Name and location of the establishment
  • Where the event took place
  • Amount and date of the expense
  • Description indicating the business purpose of the expenditure

Expense Parameters/Limitations

It is expected that all Saint Louis University faculty and staff will exercise appropriate care in incurring such expenses. Due to the University's tax status as a non-profit charitable and educational institution, business and entertainment expenses should be moderate both in frequency and in amount. Internal Revenue Service Regulations consider all payments made to or on behalf of employees to be taxable income, subject to withholding, unless there is a specific IRS exemption for the type of payment being made. Only non-taxable payments, as identified herein, can be processed through the employee expense report.

Expenditure Limits Gifts and Memorials

$50 limit for gifts and memorials (e.g. flowers on the occasion of birth, death or illness) to employees or their families. University departments should be encouraged to continue maintaining employee funded "flower funds" to pay for these gifts. University funds can supplement these gifts. These expenditures are unallowable on sponsored agreements.

Employee Appreciation Events

$20 limit per employee for the following events: Christmas parties, retirement parties and recognition for tasks beyond normal job duties (e.g. participation on a special task force). These expenditures are unallowable on sponsored agreements.

Non-Reimbursable Meals and Entertainment Expenses

  • Meals and/or entertainment solely between or among employees except in unusual circumstances and with the specific approval of either the respective dean or associate vice president.
  • Payments for employees to attend University sponsored social events
  • Cost of personal celebrations such as birthdays, promotions, showers, administrative professional's week including decorations, flowers or gifts
Personal/Vacation Travel

Travel expenses for a personal portion of a trip when it is combined with business travel or for a spouse, companion or family member are not reimbursable. The corporate card may not be used to pay for any personal/vacation travel expenses.

Other Reimbursable Expenses
  • Professional seminars or conferences
  • Laundry and valet for trips in excess of one week
  • Tolls and parking
  • Business communications such as telephone, telegram, fax and similar charges
  • Business purchases such as promotional booths, conference/instructional media (contact Sponsored Programs before incurring these costs on a sponsored agreement.)
  • Flowers from department for funerals and hospitalized employees
  • Passport fees, visa application fees currency conversion fees and fees for required shots when required for international business travel
  • Tips and incidentals: Up to 20 percent at restaurants; average of $5 incidentals per travel day. Original receipts are required for all expenses more than $50.
Non-Reimbursable Expenses
  • Child care
  • Airline club dues
  • Barber/hairstylist
  • Health clubs
  • Hotel room movies
  • Kennel fees
  • Recreation and personal entertainment
  • Luggage and briefcases
  • Personal sundries such as tobacco, toiletries, clothing, newspapers and magazines
  • Fees for frequent flyer programs or hotel point programs
Grants and Sponsored Programs

This policy and its related procedures are applicable to all University faculty and staff regardless of the source of funds supporting the travel and business expenses.

If such expenses are to be charged to a sponsored program, the terms of the grant or contract will take precedence if they are more restrictive than University policy.

Third-Party Reimbursement

It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that all refunds and third party reimbursements are received by the University.

If a receipt is lost, it is the traveler's responsibility to obtain a duplicate from the provider.

Travel Advance/Prepaid Expense Request

Prepayment of travel expenses are allowed only under certain circumstances:

  • The American Express Travel and Entertainment card is not accepted by the vendor.
  • The American Express Travel and Entertainment card or use of a personal credit card is not an option for the traveler.

Students are eligible for prepayment of travel expenses.

Prepaid travel expense requests should be submitted through eSeeDPV.  Enter the trip number in the invoice number field.