Travel FAQ

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Coronavirus Travel Guidelines

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Are guests/recruits/speakers/students/groups obligated to follow the Travel Guidelines?

Yes, all travelers, including guests/recruits/speakers/students/groups must adhere to the Travel Guidelines.

If my travel is approved according to the Travel Guidelines, do I need to use the university’s contracted travel agencies to purchase airfare?

All airfare purchases associated with travel that has been approved according to the Travel Guidelines must be purchased through the university’s contracted agency (no exceptions) to ensure duty of care visibility.  

What health and safety travel requirements should I consider with my business travel as it relates to COVID-19?

If you have been granted approval for business travel according to the Travel Guidelines, you must consider the health and safety requirements set by the Center for Disease Control and Preventation and those established by your destination. Consult authorized entities for destinations that may have more stringent health and safety rules.

 

 

What extra steps should I consider when booking travel arrangements as it relates to COVID-19?

You should consider the possibility of changes or cancellation with short notice due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19. 

  • When securing airfare, consider refundable ticket purchases that ensures a full refund in the event of cancellation. 
  • When securing hotels, carefully review the cancellation terms to ensure ability to cancel without penalty.  Use of online booking sites (e.g. Expedia) for hotels may be not offer refunds and are not recommended.  Airbnb is not recommended due to cancellation terms that typically do not permit refunds. 

Caution should be taken with any travel expenses that require payment in advance of travel.  Consult the Travel Office for guidance.

Workday

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What is a Spend Authorization?

Formerly known as the T# (or Travel Request), the Spend Authorization (SA) is a Workday generated form that documents the approval to travel and budget/business purpose validation.  A Spend Authorization # (e.g., SA-0000001234) is assigned at creation and must be in an approved status before any travel prepayments (e.g., airfare or registration) are made.

Refer to the Administrative Resource Center (ARC) for job aids to assist with this process. 

  • Creating for others:  Workday For Core Users: Finance > Job Aids > Travel Authorization & Expenses
  • Creating for self:  Workday For Employees  > Job Aids > Travel Authorization & Expenses.

When is a Spend Authorization Required?

A Spend Authorization (SA) must be approved in Workday prior to the trip in order to process any payment using university procurement methods (e.g. PCard or PO).

A Spend Authorization is required when the destination is 45 miles or more from the traveler’s headquarters or work location (as defined by the traveler’s flexible work agreement or HR documentation) and/or if travel expenses extend beyond mileage or parking.  This applies even when there are not anticipated travel expense or when a third party is paying for the travel expenses for duty of care purposes. 

A blanket Spend Authorization is recommended with multiple in-state transportation costs within a fiscal year.

How do I set-up a Spend Authorization for a guest/non-employee or group?

A Spend Authorization must be generated for guest/non-employee travel or group travel.  In order to create the Spend Authorization, an External Committee Member (ECM) must be established first to identify the traveler or group name. 

Refer to the Administrative Resource Center (ARC) for job aids to assist with this process. 

  • Workday For Core Users: Finance > Job Aids > Travel Authorization & Expenses.

What are Worktags?

Worktags (also known as FDM) are the necessary funding sources for payments associated with business travel.  

How can Worktags be split between two funding sources?

There is no functionality in Workday to split Worktags on the Spend Authorization.  However, Worktags can be split on the Expense Report by entering a unique Worktag on each line or expense lines can be split by using the itemization feature located in the expense line details.

Can I split travel expenses between two Company Worktags?

No, Spend Authorizations and Expense Reports only permit one Cmpany Worktag. If funding needs to be split between two different Company Worktags, the cost share must be accomplished through a journal or another accounting process. 

What is an Expense Report?

Formerly known as the Payment Request, the Expense Report (ER) is a Workday generated form that documents the reconciliation of expenses incurred for business travel to a funding source (Worktag or FDM).  The Expense Report will relieve the encumbrance held with the Spend Authorization and is used to reconcile both PCard payments and those incurred by the traveler for reimbursement.

Refer to the Administrative Resource Center (ARC) for job aids to assist with this process. 

  • Creating for others:  Workday For Core Users: Finance > Job Aids > Travel Authorization & Expenses
  • Creating for self:  Workday For Employees  > Job Aids > Travel Authorization & Expenses.

When is an Expense Report required?

An Expense Report is required to document any expense (and receipt documentation) associated with business travel that is not funded by a 3rd party.  Appropriate expenses incurred by the traveler that are eligible for reimbursement must be processed on an Expense Report within 60 days of incurring the expense.  Any expenses incurred on a PCard (e.g. airfare or registration) must be processed on an Expense Report within 7 business days of the transaction load to Workday.

How do I get access in Workday to process a Spend Authorization or Expense Report?

All employees have access to perform travel processes for themselves (e.g. creating a Spend Authorization or Expense Report).  

Access to perform travel processes (e.g. creating a Spend Authorization or Expense Report) on behalf of others in Workday requires the Expense Data Entry Specialist role.  Refer to the Request Workday Access Job Aid at the Administrative Resource Center (ARC) or contact your unit for eligibility guidance.

Policy

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If I am using a university procurement method to pay for any travel expenses, do I need a Spend Authorization (SA#)?

Yes, any travel related expense made with a university procurement method (e.g. PCard or PO) must be preceded by the initiation and approval of a spend authorization.

Do I need an original, itemized receipt to reimburse for a traveler’s meals if less than the Per Diem allowance?

No receipt is required as long as the amount reimbursed is within the Per Diem allowance of the applicable city location.  However, a general description of what was purchased must be documented for auditing purposes (i.e. Breakfast on 6/22, and Dinner on 6/23).

Can I combine personal travel with a business trip?

Travelers may combine personal travel with a business trip, but should consult with their supervisor before initiating arrangements. When arranging travel in these instances, travelers must ensure that arrangements are made in such a way that stewardship of university resources and administrative time is the priority. Travelers incurring additional costs by taking personal travel in conjunction with business travel must pay for the costs of travel and other expenses with personal funds and request reimbursement for the business travel costs after completion of the trip. Travel expenses to and from alternate vacation destinations occurring before, during, or after university business travel are not eligible for payment with university procurement methods. In cases when personal travel is added to university business travel, any cost variance in expenses such as airfare, vehicle rental, and/or lodging must be clearly identified and documented in Workday, to validate that the vacation time does not add additional cost to the university.

If I use my personal vehicle for business travel, should I contact my insurance company before the trip?

Yes. Use of a personal vehicle for business purposes may be excluded on the average private insurance policy. Additional coverage may need to be purchased to cover specific circumstances and requirements. Employee and guest travelers are advised to check with their insurance company for provisions and rates to cover such activity.

For more information visit Risk Management.

Best Practice Tip: Consider using one of the university's contracted rental car agencies in lieu of personal vehicle for business travel. Costs are considerably less expensive and the required insurance is included in the rate.

Is there a limit on the nightly lodging rate eligible for travel?

Yes, lodging is limited to one of two rate options, whether being reimbursed or paid by university resources (e.g. PCard or PO).

  • When attending a conference, the conference rate should be considered as the primary option, given that the conference hotel provides the meeting environment, room discounts, meals and eliminates transportation costs from other locations.
  • When a conference rate is not available, lodging selection must be compared to the federal lodging rate published by the General Services Administration. The rate is capped by the threshold of up to twice the federal lodging rate for the business travel location.  Note:  If the lodging expense falls within the range of 1.5 to 2 times the federal lodging rate, additional justification is required to demonstrate the reasoning for the higher lodging rate selection over comparative locations.  The least expensive option must always be considered as long as it meets the business needs of the travel.  This threshold is inclusive of the nightly rate only and does not include tax or other hotel specific fees (e.g. resort fees).

Best Practice Tip:  If your lodging reservation is 1.5-2 times higher than the federal lodging rate, research your justification comparisons before you travel to ensure you are within policy. Take screenshot images of the comparison locations, provide safety concerns details or additional cost considerations to properly justify the selection.

Can I accrue frequent flyer miles from my business travel?

Yes. In accordance with the State of Ohio Ethics Commission rulings, university travelers can only redeem frequent flyer miles for university related business travel (no personal benefit is permitted).  It is the traveler’s responsibility to track accrual/usage of these benefits for auditing purposes.

How do I define the traveler’s daily commute for eligible mileage reimbursements?

Business travel mileage should follow the travel policy.  The travel policy limits reimbursable miles to the number driven in excess of the number of miles involved in the individual’s daily commute (round trip) for work.  Generally:

  • If the traveler’s headquarters (or primary work location as defined by the traveler’s flexible work agreement or HR documentation) is different than their residence, then the mileage reimbursement is calculated by deducting the daily commute.
  • If the traveler’s headquarters (or primary work location as defined by the traveler’s flexible work agreement or HR documentation) and their residence are the same location, then a daily commute deduction is not required.

 

Is the refueling option through the rental car agency an allowable business expense when returning a rental vehicle?

Generally, the traveler should refuel the rental vehicle at a gas station to incur the lowest reasonable costs. However, the refueling option through the rental car agency may be considered when reasonable circumstances occur (e.g. timing issue). The business reason for the use of this option should be clearly documented.

What restrictions might apply to traveling overseas with equipment or data?

Traveling with computers, web enabled cell phones, advanced GPS units, scientific equipment, proprietary information or unpublished data may require an Export Control License. The Office of Research Compliance will monitor when International travel is initiated in order to coordinate specific restrictions and guidance with the traveler.

For additional information contact the Office of Research Compliance at exportcontrol@osu.edu or visit the Office of Research Compliance website.

What is the university best practice for navigating the various airfare classes?

Travelers should book the lowest cost Economy or Coach Class airfare that fits the business needs of the trip. Consult with the university contracted travel agency for airfare bookings. The contracted travel agency is aware of OSU’s policy regarding airfare purchases, and provides the industry expertise to help travelers navigate the booking process.

What is required to document preapproval for business travel?

Approval for university business travel and estimated costs must be documented prior to the trip with an approved spend authorization issued in Workday.  Preapproval for business travel is required regardless of whether university procurement methods are being used for advanced payments.

 

Should I purchase other optional insurances when renting a car for business travel?

University travel policy requires that any rental car used for university business have Liability Insurance, as well as Damage Waiver or Collision Damage Waiver or Loss Damage Waiver (DW/CDW/LDW). When utilizing OSU’s contract through Enterprise, National or Hertz, these insurances are automatically included in the contract rate. Additional supplemental insurances, such as Personal Liability Insurance (PAI), or Personal Effects Protection (PEP) are not required by the university, nor eligible for reimbursement.

A traveler has multiple small dollar receipts for miscellaneous expenses related to business travel – is a receipt required?

Miscellaneous expenses considered necessary for business travel (e.g. taxi fares, baggage fees, parking, tolls, internet connectivity, Visas, immunizations, etc.) may be reimbursed without a receipt for each individual expense that is $50 or less.  However, a detailed description (e.g. “taxi fare to and from JFK airport”) and associated business purpose for the expense must be documented for auditing purposes.  Individual expenses in excess of $50 require an original, itemized receipt. 

Note:  Travel related expenses that are specifically noted in the Procedure Section of the Travel Policy (e.g. airfare, hotel, rental car, et al) have specific documentation requirements and should not be included as a miscellaneous expense.

Can I purchase an upgraded seat instead of the business class airfare permitted with an international flight that meets the five consecutive flight hours criteria?

Business class airfare purchases are only permissible with international flight times in excess of five consecutive hours (excluding layovers), however a lower priced economy seat with a seating upgrade may be purchased in lieu of the business class flight as long as the cost does not exceed the  business class option quoted at the original purchase.

!Note:  An upgraded economy seat instead of a business class seat may be considered an adequate option for an International flight that is more than five consecutive hours.  In many cases, the cost of the upgraded economy fare is less expensive than the business class fare that is eligible with an international flight of more than five hours.  Comparison quotes should be collected at time of original booking to ensure the upgraded economy fare is less than the most reasonable business class option that meets the business needs of the traveler.  A screenshot image of the comparison fares and relevant details should be taken to properly justify the selection.

If I am unable to rent with National, Enterprise or Hertz, and gain the benefits of our contract, what insurances should I purchase?

OSU travel policy requires that any rental car used for university business have Liability Insurance, as well as Damage Waiver or Collision Damage Waiver or Loss Damage Waiver (DW/CDW/LDW). The traveler must provide documentation demonstrating the required insurances were included in the rental on the receipt documentation.

What documentation is needed to document meals or other travel expenses that are included in the conference registration fee?

Conference documentation, such the agenda, program or itinerary are critical resources in determining eligible payment for meals or other travel expenses incurred while on travel status.  Travelers should provide all available resources to assist with the accurate processing of travel payments and reimbursements.

Can I upgrade my coach airfare to priority boarding or an upgraded seat?

No. Economy plus, seating upgrades, and/or pre-boarding options are not permitted to be purchased with university resources and will not be reimbursed for coach fares.

Note: When applicable, requests for reasonable accommodations for a disability will be considered by units in consultation with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator.  To determine eligibility, travelers must submit a Reasonable Accommodations Request that identifies the personal need and provide related documentation to support the request (e.g. letter from physician) for expenditures outside of policy.  Requests should be submitted prior to the scheduled trip and allow sufficient time to gather required documentation.

For more information, contact the ADA Coordinator’s Office at 614-292-6207.  Submit request to:  ada-osu@osu.edu

What documentation is required in order to be reimbursed mileage for business travel using a personal vehicle?

For one-time trips between two primary destinations, an online map source (e.g. MapQuest or Google Maps) is the best source of address-to-address documentation. When traveling to multiple destinations, or travel covering a wide range of dates (for the same business purpose), a log including odometer readings and address-to-address locations are required to document for audit review.

Can a traveler be reimbursed for expenses that will later be paid by a third party?

The university will not make advance payments or reimburse travel expenses that have been or will be reimbursed to a traveler by a third party.  A third party may include a supplier, host institution or other source assuming responsibility for specific expenditures associated with the travel. Amounts to be paid by the third party entity must be referenced in the spend authorization for auditing purposes.

Would a traveler be entitled to the full Per Diem allowance if a meal were included in the conference fee, served on the plane or provided by other documented circumstances?

Full meal allowances while on travel status will not be paid if provided through other travel-related purchases (e.g. continental breakfast built into the hotel room rate).  The allowance must be adjusted by deducting the appropriate meal percentage (25% – breakfast; 25% – lunch; 50% – dinner) from the full Per Diem allowance for the applicable city location.

What documentation do I need if I will be combining business travel with personal travel?

When combining personal travel with business travel, only those expenses directly related to the business travel can be paid/reimbursed by the university. Travelers must ensure that all business related and vacation expense variances are clearly documented and available for audit review. It is best practice to keep all business related expenses separated when possible; this ensures that documentation is as clear as possible. When this cannot be done (e.g. Airfare), cost comparisons should be done to show the pricing differences as if only business time was included. Cost comparisons should be conducted at the same time the expenditure of funds occurs and must be clearly documented and available for audit review. Expenses such as parking and Per Diem will be prorated and limited to only the business travel date/time.

If I use my personal vehicle for business travel, whose insurance assumes primary liability?

In the event an injury or accident occurs during business travel status, while in a private vehicle (OSU non-owned), the vehicle driver’s insurance company assumes primary liability for personal injury or property damage incurred by the accident. Primary insurance coverage follows the vehicle’s owner. If this occurs during business travel, injuries to employees may be covered by Worker’s Compensation. Injuries to other parties would fall under the driver’s insurance policy or other insurance such as health insurance of the individual injured. Any private insurance used will have its own deductibles. The University policy may be excess to the owners policy.

Discount Programs

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Why do I have to use the university’s preferred travel agencies to be eligible for OSU’s airline discounts?

Applying the discount to the fare reservation is limited to the GDS (Global Distribution System) associated with the travel agency, which permits the airline to connect the purchase to OSU. As the OSU business spend increases, the university can leverage more substantial discounts in the future.

Does Ohio State receive any discounts for travel related expenses?

Yes, note the following discounts programs:

  • Airline Discounts: Ohio State has negotiated discounts with American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Delta Airlines. Flights for OSU business travel are eligible to these discounts when they are booked using the university’s contracted travel agencies. Discounts are based upon market pair and/or service class designations. Book with the university’s contracted travel agency via a full service agent or online.
  • Rental Car Discounts: Ohio State has negotiated pricing (inclusive of the required insurances) with Enterprise, National and Hertz. Reservations made for university business must be reserved through the rental car agency website for most reservations or through Concur when reserving rentals associated with airfare. 

Can I utilize any of the university’s discount programs for personal/leisure travel?

Yes, discount rates are available for personal/leisure vehicle rentals through the university’s agreement. Insurance is NOT included in the rate. The young renter fees for drivers that are between 18-25 is NOT waived. For more detailed information, go to Ohio State Human Resources - Buckeye Nation Reward.

Are OSU employees eligible for educational or government discount rates for lodging?

When making a hotel reservation, it is worthwhile to inquire about educational, institutional or government rates.  As an instrumentality of the State of Ohio, employees of The Ohio State University may be eligible for government rates with business reservations.  However, be sure to check with the hotel directly before arrival to determine the discount rate criteria for check-in.  In some cases, the OSU BuckID will be accepted in order to receive the government rate, while other hotels may require more specific/official government ID.

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What is Sponsored Travel?

Sponsored Travel is a project involving research travel that will be paid, in part or whole, by grant funds that are administered through the Office of Sponsored Programs.  If you are unsure if your trip is Sponsored or Non-Sponsored, contact your college service center or fiscal office. See Office of Sponsored Programs for general guidelines.

What is a PI?

The Principal Investigator (PI) is the person(s) that monitor the fiscal responsibilities of the grand funds and research associated with the project.

How will a PI know if a spend authorization has been approved on their project in Workday?

The Principal Investigator (PI) may independently access Workday to monitor the approval status of a spend authorization issued in their name.

Are there special considerations when flying internationally for sponsored travel?

Yes. The Fly America Act, enacted in 1974, mandates the use of U.S. flag air carriers for federally funded international travel. If you are scheduling international travel that is funded by a federal grant, you must ensure that all flights (where possible), are scheduled on U.S. flag air carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag air carrier.  See Office of Sponsored Programs website for more information.

Where can I find more information about Sponsored Travel?

The travel section of the Office of Sponsored Programs website may be found at the Office of Sponsored Programs website. For more detailed information, contact the Office of Sponsored Programs Travel Office at 614-292-2126 or to OR-travel@osu.edu.

Travel Agencies

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Who are the University’s Contracted Travel Agencies?

Contracted Travel Agencies are offered to the university community to serve specific travel demographics.

What are the advantages of using the Contracted Travel Agency for my business travel?

  • Prepayment option – No out-of-pocket expense to traveler
  • Access to extensive airline selection
  • Eligible for OSU airline discounts
  • Customer service 24/7
  • Online Booking available with Individual Business Travel (CTP)
  • No service fees

What are the booking options available with the Contracted Travel Agency?

  • Individual Business Travel:  Corporate Travel Planners offers both agent assist booking by phone/email, as well as the Concur Online Booking Tool.
  • Group Business Travel:  ScholarTrip offers agent assist booking by phone/email
  • Athletic Team/Individual Business Travel:  Anthony Travel offers agent assist booking by phone/email

Note: All bookings must be secured with an authorized SA# for advanced payment eligibility.

Where do I submit feedback regarding my experience with the Contracted Travel Agency?

The travel office meets regularly with the contracted travel agencies to ensure they are providing the university with the best level of service. We encourage any traveler or administrator to provide feedback regarding their experiences.

Submit feedback to travel@osu.edu.

Vehicle Rental

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What are some of the benefits of the contracted supplier agreement with Enterprise, National and Hertz?

Highlights of the agreement include:

  • Discounted rates
  • Unlimited daily/weekly mileage. Some exceptions may apply, including monthly and one-way rentals.
  • Loss/Collision Damage Waiver (also known as DW, CDW or LDW) coverage included at no additional charge.
  • Liability coverage included at no additional charge
     

NOTE:  Exceptions may apply with International rentals.

Who is eligible to rent under the Vehicle Rental Agreement?

Any university personnel (and guests), 18 years or older, who is renting for official university business. Exceptions may apply by location. Vehicle restrictions may apply for young renters.  It is recommended that the renter call the location to ensure eligibility criteria.

Is there a minimum age requirement?

At most locations, Enterprise, National and Hertz will not assess an additional charge when renter is between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty-four (24), provided that the rate selected at the time of business rental is a rate or discount specified in the Agreement. Vehicle restrictions may apply for young renters.  It is recommended that the renter call the location to ensure eligibility criteria.  Renter must be twenty-one (21) or older in order to drive 12 Passenger vans, or box truck rentals.

Will I need to show OSU identification at the time of rental?

  • Enterprise/National:  Buck-ID or OSU affiliated validation is required to authorize use of OSU business rates.
  • Hertz:  Buck-ID or OSU affiliated validation may occur.

 

Can I use this agreement for international rentals?

Yes, however rates and insurance requirements will vary by International destination and may not match domestic rates and other provisions provided by the Agreement Summary for Business Rentals. Additional fees and insurance requirements may be applicable to the country/region laws.

Note: When reserving internationally (including Canada and Mexico), contact the applicable rental agency or travel@osu.edu to determine whether insurance coverage is included in the rate. In most countries the required insurances are not included and must be purchased in addition to the rental rate to meet Travel Policy requirements.

 

Should I accept the optional Loss/Collision Damage Waiver?

No, the optional Loss /Collision Damage Waiver (also known as DW, CDW and LDW) is already included in the rate agreement for business rentals and should be declined. Accepting the Loss/Collision Damage Waiver Option would simply duplicate the negotiated agreement benefits. The Loss/Collision Damage Waiver is included on business rentals only.

Note: When reserving internationally (including Canada and Mexico), contact the applicable rental agency or travel@osu.edu to determine whether insurance coverage is included in the rate. In most countries the required insurances are not included and must be purchased in addition to the rental rate to meet Travel Policy requirements.

How will I pay for the vehicle rental?

Personal Credit Card (with renter's name embossed on card) or OSU PCard (with renter's name embossed on card) are permitted.  Department or Service Center PCards will not be accepted.

Contact travel@osu.edu for further information on billing options.

Concur

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What is Concur?

Concur is one of the premier higher education booking tools available and is provided with the university’s contracted agency for individual business travel. The tool is designed for users to research fares, adjust selection parameters and finalize their own booking with an approved spend authorization (SA#).

How do I access Concur?

The Concur online booking tool can be accessed through the Ohio State Travel Office website. Login to Concur will require your university username (name.#) and password.

Which browser is recommended for use with Concur?

The online booking tool should work with all up-to-date browsers. The Travel Office recommends using the latest version of Chrome of Mozilla Firefox.

Can non-employees access Concur?

No. Security limitations established by the university will only permit active employee access to Concur, using the name.#/password login. Non-employees (e.g. guests or students) will need to be booked by the unit’s travel arranger in Concur.

Note: Alternatively, non-employees may be authorized by the unit to set-up travel arrangements through a full service agent from the university's contracted agency for individual business travel. To authorize a guest to use agent assisted booking you will need to send an email from an @osu.edu email account to theohiostate@ctp-travel.com advising an agent that you are authorizing a guest to make their airfare selections within an established cost threshold.  It is the unit’s responsibility to ensure that the non-employee traveler is aware applicable university policies (e.g. no first class).

Can I use Concur to book airfare for another OSU employee?

Yes, however in order to book airfare for another employee, they must assign you as a travel assistant within their Concur profile.

For more information see the guide Completing your Concur Profile located at the Ohio State Travel Office website.

Is there a Concur mobile app?

Although Concur does offer a mobile app, it is not recommended for use by OSU employees for booking business travel.  The Concur mobile app does not offer the security features for personal devices that would be standard for OSU.  All airfare (hotel, car...) bookings should be made through the Concur online access at:   OSU Travel – Book Travel Online.