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Business Travel Guidelines

These guidelines govern all Business Travel Expense payments regardless of the source of funds supporting the travel. The intent of these guidelines is to facilitate efficient planning of business travel, support traveler comfort and safety, and ensure responsible use of Drexel funds.

Special Circumstances

In certain cases, grants and/or contracts may state additional restrictions and/or allowances beyond those described below. University departments may also institute more restrictive guidelines. In cases where there is a discrepancy between these guidelines and the guidelines provided by a University department, or guidelines required by an external granting agency (e.g. the federal government) or donor, the more restrictive guidelines will apply, unless specifically allowed and/or required by the external granting agency or donor. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if there are questions about the interpretation of these guidelines, please contact Procurement Services at travel@drexel.edu and/or the Office of the General Counsel.

Table of Contents

  1. Allowable Business Travel Expenses
  2. Allowable Business Travel Expenses with Restrictions
  3. Prohibited Business Travel Expenses
  4. Reconciliation
  5. Audit Process
  6. Tax Management

Definitions

Definitions as they pertain to these guidelines are located in the Definitions section of the Business Travel Policy.

I. Types of Allowable Business Travel Expenses

  • Air Travel
  • Foreign Travel
  • Personal Vehicle Use (Business Mileage)
  • Rental Vehicles
  • Lodging
  • Meals and Alcohol
  • Conference and Seminar Registrations
  • Rail and Bus Tickets

Air Travel

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 via an email or memo is obtained from the relevant Senior Vice President, Vice President, CFO, chair or dean of the applicable unit. Written approval must be obtained for each travel occurrence in which business class or first class is booked. Upgraded or first-class travel will not be considered an allowable expense unless the written approval is attached to the Traveler's Travel Expense Reimbursement Report (TERR). For arrangements made using a University Purchasing Card (P-Card), the written approval must be attached to the monthly Transaction Allocation Report (TAR) and maintained by the cardholder along with the appropriate supporting documentation for each transaction. An upgrade to first/business class using frequent flyer miles does not require prior approval. The University will not reimburse Travelers for tickets purchased with frequent flyer miles, personal credit card rewards or airline credits.

Travelers are expected to book the lowest logical airfare and to use the additional savings opportunities provided by Drexel's authorized Travel Management Company (TMC) when appropriate.

Foreign Travel

Faculty and Professional Staff members traveling abroad on Drexel-related business must register their travel, as set forth on the Global Engagement website. International Travelers must also consult the Insurance & Risk Management website for additional insurance considerations regarding international travel to certain locations.

Foreign travel charged to a federal grant must comply with certain regulations, as detailed by Research Accounting Services on their website.

University-Owned Vehicle Use for University Business

Travelers are not permitted to drive a University-owned vehicle for University business unless they are eligible under the guidelines of the Motor Vehicle Operator Policy and have met the acceptable motor vehicle driving requirements. To qualify, a Traveler must complete a Motor Vehicle Release form and submit it to Drexel Human Resources, along with a copy of the Traveler's driver's license, at least 10 business days prior to the rental of the vehicle.

If an employee-Traveler is involved in an accident while on University business that results in an auto claim, a deductible may be charged to the Traveler's department. If the accident is ultimately found to be caused by another party's actions and the University is able to recover its expenses, the department will be reimbursed for the deductible.

*If a Traveler has an accident while driving a rented or personal vehicle on a business trip, report it immediately to the appropriate authorities, the University's Office of Risk Management, if applicable VISA (P-card), the rental company and/or personal insurance carrier. Follow the instructions of the Motor Vehicle Operator Policy in the event of an accident.

Personal Vehicle Use (Business Mileage)

Personal automobiles used for local and non-local business travel qualify for the University rate per mile reimbursement and must be approved in advance by your Expense Approver. For non-local business travel (outside of the Philadelphia metropolitan area), the Traveler and Expense Approver must determine the cost-effectiveness of travel using a personal vehicle when compared to other modes of transportation (e.g. rail, air, rental vehicle). The business mileage rate covers all costs of operating the vehicle including gasoline, oil, insurance, and repairs. Tolls and parking are allowable expenses based on detailed receipts provided.

  • Business mileage does not include the normal commute to and from work. Under IRS Reg. § 1.262-1(b)(5), costs of commuting to the place of business or employment are personal expenses. Travelers cannot be reimbursed for commuting expenses, no matter the travel method, even if work is done during the commuting trip.
  • When business travel originates from home on a weekday, subtract the Traveler's normal roundtrip commute from the total miles associated with the business trip.
  • If origination from home is on a weekend, normal commuting mileage does not need to be deducted.
  • Reimbursement of international mileage when using a personal vehicle either owned by the Traveler or owned by another person will not be reimbursed. In such cases, a rental car, taxi or other form of travel (e.g., rail, bus, airline, etc.) should be used.

Personal Vehicle

Prohibited expenses when operating a personal vehicle include the cost of such insurance as well as 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.

Rental Vehicles

Costs related to rental cars are deemed valid business expenses when renting a car is less expensive than other transportation options and are allowable based on the original rental agency invoice. Allowable costs include daily rental fee, mileage fee, tolls, and authorized insurance charges. Prohibited expenses include but are not limited to vehicle repairs, parking tickets, and fines for traffic violations. Gas purchases not included on the rental invoice and parking expenses are allowable with original receipts.

Travelers are encouraged to take advantage of University discounts by booking business travel with Enterprise or National, Drexel's preferred rental car services, due to insurance coverage being included in the rental fee. Generally, only mid-size or compact automobiles should be rented for business travel. For group business travel, renting vans over a 12-passenger capacity is not permitted due to potential safety concerns as outlined in the Motor Vehicle Operator Policy. Should a department need assistance with transportation options for multiple Travelers, please utilize a Drexel preferred Car Service.

For vehicle rentals in any location outside of the United States, please ensure compliance with all local laws and regulations when traveling abroad.

Business Travel Vehicle Insurance Requirements

  Minimum Liability Coverage Collision Comprehensive
Personal Vehicle $100,000/$300,000 (Personal Insurance is Primary to Any Other) Not Required by Drexel
(Vehicle Owner Bears Risk)
Not Required by Drexel
(Vehicle Owner Bears Risk)
Drexel Preferred Rental Car Booking Included Included Included
Non-Preferred Rental Car Booking Optional
(Drexel provides coverage; however, if a claim is made against Drexel's policy, the deductible may be charged to the employee’s department)
Purchase Coverage
(unless paid with P-Card—note that the P-Card must be in the driver's name and coverage is subject to exceptions for certain classes of vehicles)
Purchase Coverage
(unless paid with P-Card—note that the P-Card must be in the driver's name and coverage is subject to exceptions for certain classes of vehicles)
International Vehicle Rental Purchase All Available Insurance Purchase All Available Insurance Purchase All Available Insurance

Lodging

Lodging costs for business travel are allowable at the single-room rate, at reasonably priced mid-market hotel or motel accommodations. Any incremental charges for deluxe, double, suite or concierge-level rooms are not allowable. Requests should be made for Drexel discounts, educational discounts or other special rates to obtain the best price. The University will not approve or reimburse accommodations at upscale or luxury hotels (rated Four-Star or higher, and comparable internationally). When traveling for a conference, it is appropriate to stay at the hotel hosting the conference, even if the rating exceeds the guidelines; however, the room booked must be at the conference rate.

All lodging expenses must be substantiated by itemized receipts with information sufficient to verify 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.

Hotel "no-show" charges, in which a reservation was made and not canceled or changed with the hotel, absent extraordinary circumstances beyond the Traveler's control, and hotel incidentals of a personal nature are not allowable expenses.

Meals and Alcohol

Meal expenses while traveling on University business are allowable based on original, itemized receipts. If the cost of meals and beverages is in excess of $60 per day, a written explanation must accompany the TERR or TAR. This daily allowance includes all meals, beverages, snacks, room service, and reasonable tips, not exceeding 20 percent, for an entire day while traveling for Drexel business purposes.

Additional reimbursement is not appropriate if a meal has been pre-paid as part of a conference or is included in a hotel stay, unless otherwise approved by the department prior to the trip occurring.

Alcoholic beverages purchased in the course of business travel must be reasonable, separately itemized on the meal receipt, and approved by the Expense Approver. University departments may institute more restrictive guidelines with respect to purchase of and reimbursement for alcoholic beverages. Charges or reimbursements for alcoholic beverages may be prohibited for sponsored projects.

Note: Meal expenses while traveling, that include guests attending the meal to discuss University business, fall under the Business Meeting Meals and Catering Expense Guidelines and are allowable provided they are approved by the department and in compliance with the Business Meeting Meals and Catering Expense Guidelines. This allowable expense does not apply to spouses/companions; see the Spousal/Companion Travel & Entertainment Expense Policy.

Conference and Seminar Registrations

When Faculty and Professional Staff Members wish to attend and present at meetings of organizations/associations relating to their positions, the primary responsibility for the appropriate selection of conferences to attend falls to the Traveler and their respective leadership, in coordination with the Expense Approver.

Receipts for registration fees must detail the conference name, dates and payment, and be accompanied by the conference/seminar program.

Rail and Bus Tickets

Rail or bus tickets should be purchased at the lowest available commercial/economy rates. Travelers should use Amtrak's unreserved or reserved coach class of service. If traveling by Amtrak's "Acela Express" train, written approval via an email or memo must be obtained from the relevant Senior Vice President, Vice President, CFO, chair or dean of the applicable department.

The original ticket, ticket stub or receipt for fares must include the travel dates, departure and arrival locations, seat class, and proof of payment.

II. Allowable Business Travel Expenses with Restrictions

  • Gasoline for Drexel University Vehicles and Drexel Rental Vehicles only.
  • Purchases made with third-party payment providers (e.g., PayPal, Square, etc.) for conference registration and eateries; receipt must include full legal name of supplier/seller in transaction notes.
  • The following SEPTA services for local business purposes only:
    • One Day Convenience Pass; Quick Trip (One-Way Ticket); Travel Wallet (only enough to cover necessary business travel); Regional Rail Tickets (Single & Roundtrip)
  • The following PATCO and NJ Transit services for local business purposes only
    • One-Way Ticket
    • Roundtrip Ticket
  • Amtrak One-Way and Roundtrip Tickets
    • Acela tickets are allowable if prior written approval via an email or memo is obtained from the relevant Senior Vice President, Vice President, CFO, chair or dean of the applicable department. This written approval must be attached to the Traveler's TERR or TAR.
  • The below ride share services for trips of no more than 50 miles from the Traveler's location.
    • Uber X (Recommended)
    • Lyft (Recommended)
    • Black Car
    • Taxi
    • SUV
    • Lyft Plus
    • Lyft Premier
      Drexel University neither prohibits nor recommends the use of Uber, Lyft, or other ride share services. In determining appropriate use of such services, the Traveler should consider all relevant factors, such as cost, location, accessibility, safety, security and reliability.
  • Use of limousine or car service is allowable if prior written approval via an email or memo is obtained from the relevant Senior Vice President, Vice President, CFO, chair or dean of the applicable department. This written approval must be attached to the Traveler's TERR or TAR.
  • Airline, Rail and Bus Convenience Fees
    • In-flight Wi-Fi for business purposes only.
    • Seat upgrades to Business or First Class for flights longer than 5 hours with prior written approval from the Senior Vice President, Vice President, CFO, chair or dean of the applicable department.
    • Early bird check-in, priority boarding, and "seat selection" fees, provided an accommodation is required based on demonstrated need (e.g., additional legroom due to height or medical need) and approved by an Expense Approver.
    • Baggage fees for business purposes only.
  • Airbnb
    • The cost of lodging through Airbnb should not exceed the cost of comparable reasonably priced mid-market hotel accommodations in the same location. Because lodging on Airbnb is provided by individual property owners, the Traveler is solely responsible for booking the accommodations and for any issues associated with the Airbnb rental.
      Drexel University neither prohibits nor recommends the use of Airbnb. In determining appropriate travel accommodations, the Traveler should consider all relevant factors, such as cost, location, accessibility, safety, security and reliability. Use of Airbnb is purely a personal choice, provided that the cost is comparable to or less than a moderately priced hotel in the same location.
  • Public Bike Share (i.e. Indego, Citi Bike, DC Bike, etc.)
    • Approval for the costs of bike share programs used for local business travel, including local business travel by employees working or based outside of the United States, is at the discretion of each individual department. Travelers opting to use this form of transportation do so at their own risk.
  • Cell Phone Expenses (for international travel only) will be paid or reimbursed, as applicable, when a bill with posted charges is provided and as approved for use internationally by the Expense Approver. For use of personal cell phones for business conducted internationally, contact your carrier before traveling. For Drexel-issued cell phones, contact sourcing@drexel.edu to ensure that your international travel is covered under the appropriate plan.
  • Business meeting meals occurring during travel that are in compliance with the Business Meeting Meals and Catering Expense Guidelines.
  • International travel services including but not limited to tour guides, translators, and private drivers are allowable when approved by the Supervisor and Expense Approver and payment is completed in advance, when possible.
  • Vaccinations and prescriptions necessary for international travel only. Travelers are strongly encouraged to obtain vaccinations through Drexel Medicine.
  • Laundry and dry-cleaning services during extended travel (7 days or longer).

III. Prohibited Business Travel Expenses

The following list serves as a guide for Prohibited Business Travel Expenses and is nonexclusive. As financial stewards of Drexel University funds, Travelers are responsible to review and confirm that all Business Travel Expenses comply with all University Policies and Guidelines. Any exceptions to the Prohibited Business Travel Expenses list must be approved in writing by Procurement Services through the Purchase Exception Form, which must be submitted to pcard@drexel.edu and travel@drexel.edu for review prior to confirmation of service.

  • Airline enhancement fees, including but not limited to:
    1. Airline club fees or airline memberships
    2. Subscription airline internet fees
  • ATM withdrawals and fees
  • Commuting expenses to a normal work location, including mileage and tolls. This includes traveling via a mode of transportation outside of your daily norm (car, train, bus, bike, etc.)
  • Fees related to personal banking transfers (e.g., Venmo)
  • First class airline/rail/bus tickets without prior written approval from the Senior Vice President, Vice President, CFO, chair or dean of the applicable department
  • Gasoline for personal vehicles
  • Gifts, including gift cards, unless appropriate under the circumstances and approved by the Supervisor and Expense Approver
  • Hotel enhancement fees, including but not limited to:
    1. Room upgrades
    2. Cot/rollaway Bed
    3. Minibar purchases in excess of Allowable Meals
  • Parking fees associated with the Traveler's normal work location. When traveling to other campus locations, best efforts should be made to utilize Drexel's complimentary shuttle service when possible
  • Passport, Visa and TSA Precheck/Global Entry application or processing fees
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medicine
  • Subscription transportation passes including, but not limited to: SEPTA Weekly Transit/Trail Passes, SEPTA Monthly Transit/Rail Pass, NJ Transit Weekly, Monthly, Ten-Trip Tickets, Patron Pass, Student Monthly Pass, Student Weekly Pass, Amtrak Six-Ride, Amtrak Ten-Ride and Amtrak Monthly Passes
  • Travel or trip insurance (Travelers are encouraged to utilize Drexel's Travel Management Company)
  • Vehicle service cancellation charges (i.e. Uber, Lyft, etc.) unless justification for such charges is provided (e.g., cancellation due to personal safety concerns)
  • Vehicle violations including parking/moving

Personal Expenses

Personal expenses are prohibited on a P-Card and will not be reimbursed on a TERR. These Personal expenses include, but are not limited to, childcare, kennel fees, valet services, health clubs, salons, recreation costs, and in-room movies.

IV. Reconciliation

Purchasing Card (P-Card) and Transaction Allocation Report (TAR)

Online reconciliation is due the last business day of every month for the prior cycle. Note that the P-Card cycle ends on the 20th of every month. Transaction Allocation Reports are due to the P-Card office by the 2nd Friday of every month for the prior cycle. Reconciliation due dates are posted annually on the Procurement Services website.

For expenses paid with the P-Card, Travelers must complete the P-Card reconciliation process and Transaction Allocation Report. See the P-Card Policy and Guidelines for further details.

Travel Expense Reimbursement Report (TERR)

For business expenses not paid with the P-Card, the Traveler must submit one TERR per travel occurrence. The TERR can be found under Forms and Trainings on the Procurement Services website. The occurrence must not cross fiscal years and if the business travel exceeds six days, an additional form will need to be completed.

  1. A TERR must be submitted within 60 days from the date of return travel to Procurement Services via travel@drexel.edu.
  2. Data must be typed into the TERR form to ensure accurate processing. When submitting multiple report PDFs, each form must have the form's corresponding receipts directly following it (Form, documentation, Form, documentation, etc.).
  3. The business purpose for the travel, including the name and location of the business meeting/conference, names of the participants and their relationship to University activities or projects, is required.
  4. When foreign travel is approved, consult the OANDA website for currency exchange rates and convert all expenses to U.S. dollars. Please write on the receipt in U.S. dollars and attach the conversions used for each transaction date.
  5. Travel account code definitions for each travel expense can be found under Forms and Trainings on the Procurement Services website.

By signing the TERR, both the Traveler and the Expense Approver certify that the TERR is complete and accurate. A complete TERR includes all required receipts, documentation, and written approvals. Reimbursement of Business Travel Expenses will be delayed or denied as a result of an incomplete, inaccurate or unsigned TERR.

Reimbursements will only be processed for completed travel occurrences. Drexel University will not reimburse any business travel expenses for trips that have not yet taken place.

TERR Documentation

When Travelers use their personal funds and seek reimbursement at the conclusion of business travel, original receipts must be submitted for every expense reimbursement request. All documentation must comply with the University's Record Management Policy. Receipts that are legible and itemized documenting proof of payment are required for all Business Travel Expenses.

  1. Online payment confirmations and receipts must be submitted for reservations and registrations made online. The receipt is received via email when the reservation is completed. Itineraries that do not show proof of payment and a zero balance will not be accepted.
  2. In those instances when receipts for transactions over $25 are not available, Faculty or Professional Staff Members must complete a Missing Expense Receipt Form located on the Procurement Services website, describing the purchase and including the date, amount, destination and signature of the Traveler and Dean or Vice President. For purchases where a receipt is obtained but later lost, Travelers should first request a duplicate copy from the supplier. If a copy is no longer available, Travelers must complete and maintain the Missing Receipt Form for any transaction over $25. Note that the Traveler is responsible for compliance with grant or other requirements for receipt submission which are more stringent than the thresholds set forth in the Business Travel Policy and Guidelines.
  3. Use of the Missing Expense Receipt Form and submissions of reimbursement requests without a receipt for amounts under $25 should be limited to infrequent occasions. Procurement Services reserves the right to refuse reimbursement in cases where use of the Missing Expense Receipt Form or submissions of reimbursement requests without a receipt for amounts under $25 appears excessive or inappropriate.
  4. A personal credit card transaction summary or statement is not acceptable documentation, and reimbursement will be denied.
  5. For Business Mileage reimbursements, Travelers must provide a copy of the route taken (e.g., Mapquest or Google Maps) to substantiate the mileage requested.

Reimbursement Timeline

Reimbursement will be issued within 30 days after receipt of the completed TERR with all appropriate signatures and required documentation. Travelers who are enrolled in payroll direct deposit will receive reimbursement through direct deposit. For Faculty and Professional Staff Members who are not enrolled in payroll direct deposit, a paper check will be mailed to the Traveler's home address. The home address on the submitted TERR must match the home address in Banner to process the reimbursement.

Cash Advances

A Cash Advance can be requested prior to business travel via a Travel Advance and Prepaid Expense Report. This form must be accompanied by a detailed itinerary of the trip, airfare receipt, and hotel/lodging confirmation and submitted to travel@drexel.edu. Cash Advances are available for non-local (outside of the metropolitan Philadelphia area) travel only.

When a Cash Advance is approved and disbursed, it must be reconciled via a TERR (see above). Should the Traveler owe money back to the university for unused Cash Advance funds, they are required to reimburse the University for this overage at the Cashier's Office. Travel advances are charged to account 3315 for both domestic and foreign travel.

If a Cash Advance is issued, a TERR must be submitted even if the trip is canceled. This is the only way a Cash Advance can be returned or cleared from the Traveler's record.

V. Audit Process

To ensure compliance with the Business Travel Policy, Procurement Services audits TERRs. Email communication will be sent to a Traveler and Expense Approver when an audit results in required action. Procurement Services will not alter or make changes to TERRs.

In addition, Drexel Internal Audit routinely reviews TERRs for compliance with University policies.

VI. Tax Management

Travelers are required to have sales tax removed on all applicable expenses in those states that Drexel maintains tax exemption. Please see a complete list of the states that Drexel holds exemption via the employee tab in DrexelOne. Further information regarding sales tax exemption can be found on the Office of Tax Compliance's website.