Ohio University

Travel FAQs

These FAQs were developed as a result of campus involvement and relate to the upcoming changes to the University's travel policy and Travel Management Company. 

Why don’t the airline fares in Concur match the fares I see online?

All travel sites show the same airline fares, regardless of travel site or travel provider. Currently, in Concur, Basic Economy Fares are not displayed and have been unallowable to-date under University policy.  However, the allowability of Basic Economy Fares is being discussed a part of the new policy. Another reason you may not have seen the same fares in Concur is because the default filters were set to display airlines based on the number of stops. In FY2018, the Concur default filter was changed to display the lowest fare first, unless you've changed your filtered view in Concur.

Will low cost, no-frills airlines be allowable under the new travel policy? (e.g. Frontier, Allegiant, Spirit).

Yes, these airlines will be allowable and available to purchase through Concur.

Which airlines will be available on Concur?

All airlines will be available in Concur, except some small regional/international airlines.

Can I upgrade airfare for business travel?

Yes, but only for international flights that are longer than five (5) hours and upgrade can be for only less-than-first class (e.g. business class). Current policy allows this and the new policy will allow upgrades for any flight that is five (5) hours or longer, regardless if it is domestic or international. Otherwise, flights cannot be upgraded unless there is a documented accommodation approved by the The office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance. If you do not meet these criteria, any upgrades must be paid for with a personal card and are not reimbursable.

Am I required to purchase the lowest fare?

If you are traveling on University business, you should purchase the lowest practical and reasonable expense, while completing the travel process in an efficient and timely manner.  Currently, if the selected fare is not within $1 of the lowest fare, Concur prompts you to provide a business reason for choosing the higher fare. On April 1, 2019, you will be prompted to provide a business reason for selecting a higher fare if the fare is more than $100 higher than the lowest fare. 

Will early bird check-in fees be allowable for Southwest Airlines?

Yes, and early bird check-in fees will also be allowable.

Will I be able to book conference hotels directly through conference registration sites?

Yes, this has always been allowable under the travel policy and will continue to be allowable under the new policy.

How should I pay for a conference hotel that I book outside of CBT/Concur?

If you do not have a university card, your hotel should be paid for personally and process a Concur TR report for reimbursement when you return. You must retain a receipt for reimbursement. Travel reimbursements are processed within 24 business hours of receipt, with payment processing 2-3 days later if direct deposit is set up in My Personal Information. Check payments may take longer.

Can I book through local vendors (e.g. OU Inn, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, etc.) through CBT or can I book with them directly?

Local hotels, including the OU Inn, can and should be booked through CBT. CBT has loaded our negotiated rate for OU Inn in Concur.

Will I be able to book lodging that is not available through the travel management company (such as AirBNB, Hostels, Dorms, Field stations, etc.) and if so, how will I do it?

University dorms (domestic and international) and any vendors on the pre-approved list may be booked directly with the establishment. This list will be published with the new policy. An A&E exception is not required. Other non-traditional lodging, such as hostels, field stations, camp grounds, and owner rentals must be approved by your Planning Unit (CFAO or designee) utilizing a Lodging Safety Questionnaire, prior to booking. This type of lodging will also need to be booked directly with the establishment once approval is received as they will not be available through Travel Management Company.  

Can I use Uber or Lyft as a transportation option?

Yes, Uber and Lyft can be used as a transportation option both domestically and internationally. 

Uber and Lyft should be paid for personally and reimbursement will be processed through Concur after travel. You may not use a University travel card or Pcard to pay for these services because they store card information, which violates OHIO policy.
 

Will I have to give a personal card for incidentals (hotel & rental car)?

Yes, you will have to provide a card for hotel incidentals. Incidentals have never been allowable on a University Pcard or travel card.  

If you do not have a university PCard or travel card, you will need to book rental cars with a personal card unless you book Enterprise or National. Those companies will utilize the Central Travel Account for payment.

Will other fees associated with rental cars can be applied to the central payment method (Gas, tolls, etc.)?

For Enterprise and National, these changes should be charged to the Central Travel Account card. Other rental companies should charge the card used for the rental.

How should I pay for parking if I don't have a Pcard?

If you do not have a university card, parking should be paid for personally and process a Concur TR report for reimbusement when you return. If the transaction is $75 or greater, you must retain a receipt for reimbursement. Travel reimbursements are processed within 24 business hours of receipt, with payment processing 2-3 days later if direct deposit is set up in My Personal Information. Check payments may take longer.

Government grant guidelines allowed for a child’s travel to be covered by the grant, but our current travel policy does not allow it. Will this be allowed under the new policy?

Federal regulations (Uniform Guidance) does not allow for travel costs for dependents unless the travel duration is six (6) months or more with prior approval from the Federal awarding agency. All Federal agencies either follow Uniform Guidance regulations as stated above or have written revisions into their own regulations related to travel costs for dependents. Any Federal agency that has revised guidelines must have their new guidelines approved by the Federal Office of Management and Budget. The allowability of dependent travel costs is based upon the specific Federal agency requirements and faculty/staff must check this before assuming any costs can be charged to a sponsored award. For further information regarding this section of Uniform Guidance please see 200.474(c)(2) Travel Cost. University policy does not allow these costs against University or Foundation funds.

Will I have the option to use a personal card to book travel?

You will be able to load a personal credit card into your profile in Concur to book travel. Airline tickets must be purchased on the Central Travel Account card unless you have an approved exception or for personal travel.

Will I be able to use the Travel Management Company to book personal or leisure travel?

Employees can book leisure travel directly in Concur or by calling Christopherson (CBT). Fees are charged based on the type of leisure travel booked.  

Will I be required to book travel through Concur/CBT?

Yes, under the new travel policy, all University travel will need to be booked through Christopherson Business Travel (CBT). You may either book through Concur or call CBT directly. Booking fees will apply. As with other A&E purchases, there is a planning unit defined exception process in place if an exception is warranted.

If a non-preferred supplier is booked through CBT, does that fall within the A&E mandate?

Yes, as long as you book through CBT, a preferred supplier of Ohio University, it is in compliance with the A&E mandate.

Will I be able to book directly with vendors that the University already has a contract with (e.g. Enterprise)?

Yes, however, you may be able to find a better price booking through Concur and CBT since the University can leverage the pricing of CBT, which could be cheaper than the negotiated University preferred supplier.

Why is the CBT pricing better than the University's preferred suppliers?

CBT negotiates pricing at corporate level. One of the advantages of having a preferred supplier for travel is the University gets to take advantage of the volume discounts that a corporate travel provider can acquire. 

How is CBT going to save the University money (university, planning unit, department levels)?

CBT has a slightly reduced fee structure and the fees are associated with each trip, not each booking. Based on the data available in Concur and the new fee structure available with CBT, the University can expect to recognize some cost savings related to fees. In addition to fees, in some scenarios the rates for hotels, airfare and rental cars will be less expensive. As the University continues to consolidate travel spending through CBT, the cost savings will grow. For more details review the Travel Services Fee Structure and the Travel Cost Scenarios document

When should I stop booking travel through Altour?

Continue to book through Altour until the go-live with Christopherson on April 1, 2019. The online booking tool will be unavailable 3/29/19-3/31/19. If you must book during this period, call Altour.

Will I be charged a fee if I have a question about travel booked through Altour prior to the transition?

No, however, changes to itineraries will be treated as new bookings. 

Will CBT be able to assist with travel booked outside of Altour, prior to the CBT transition?

No, CBT will only be able to assist with travel that was booked through Altour. 

What is the exception process related to travel and how long will it take?

If it is an Affordability & Efficiency (A&E) exception, that process has been defined by each planning unit and is handled within the planning unit.  For additional information, talk to your planning unit CFAO.  


If an exception to policy is required, this must be submitted to Finance Customer Care and the policy owner will determine if an exception is warranted. Approval generally happens within 3 business days or less.  "
 

If I'm given a certain amount for travel, but the trip is going to cost more, how can I pay for it (EX: I get $500 for conference hotel, but it costs $650)

As with the current process, when you file your travel expense report you will  need to allocate the additional cost as a personal expense in Concur.  If you do not have a sufficient reimbursement due you from your travel to cover the personal costs, you must submit a check payable to Ohio University immediately upon your return.  

How would the following scenario be handled: going to multiple locations that have to be paid from different federal grants?

As with the current process, you will allocate your costs to the appropriate grant account when you reconcile the expense transaction in Concur. Distributing the expense between multiple accounts has nothing to do with booking the travel through CBT.

Can an individual faculty or staff member receive a travel advance?

Generally, employee per diems are provided after travel and may not be obtained in advance of travel. If an individual is traveling in excess of 15 consecutive days, they may request a travel advance.

If a faculty member is traveling with a large group of students, can they still get a travel advance?

Yes, travel advances may be obtained when traveling with students if it requires the ability to provide students with per diem money and other expenses while traveling.

How far in advance of my travel do I need to request a travel advance?

You should request the travel advance as soon as you become aware of the need but at least ten (10) business days in advance of your departure date.

How soon do I have to reconcile my travel advance?

Advances must be substantiated within 15 business days of return from travel. Any unused monies must be returned to the cashier’s office at 010 Chubb Hall, immediately upon return.

For graduate students, is it possible to break up a two week trip into two expense reports so the student can get reimbursement half-way through the trip (for the portion of the trip that has already passed).

Yes, this is allowable. 

Can I enter my frequent flyer and hotel rewards membership numbers in Concur to accrue points for my travel?

Ohio Revised Code section 102.03 (see http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/102.03) prohibits public employees (this includes OHIO University employees) from accruing a personal benefit from business conducted on behalf of the University. In addition, the Ohio Ethics Commission issued Advisory Opinion No. 91-010 (see https://ethics.ohio.gov/advice/opinions/91-010.pdf) that determined frequent flier miles and rewards earned when traveling on business to be a personal benefit that is prohibited under Ohio Revised Code.

While it is permissible to earn or accrue travel incentive points when traveling on behalf of the university, the redemption of these points (e.g. frequent flyer miles or hotel rewards program) can only be used to offset costs of official university business. Redeeming these points for personal travel would be considered a violation of both the state of Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Ethics Commission rules.

If university travelers choose to accrue frequent flyer or rewards points from university travel they must track the accrual and usage for auditing purposes. Any accumulation of travel incentives must be consistent with all university policy requirements.

If the university traveler has further questions please refer them back to Finance Customer Care at Ohio University at financecustomercare@ohio.edu or 740-597-6446.