Effective October 15, 2017 there are new caps on the reimbursement of meal, incidental and lodging rates. Review new policies and see FAQs about the changes.
Meals and Incidental Expenses – NEW LIMIT of $62
Current Policy: For travel assignments of less than 30 days within the continental United States, the reimbursement of the daily Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) shall be based on the actual amounts incurred. The M&IE cap of $74 per day shall not be treated as a per diem, and is limited to actual reasonable costs. Travelers should be required to submit meal receipts if it appears that they are treating the cap as a per diem by routinely claiming the full M&IE amount.
Change to Policy: Effective October 15, 2017, the new M&IE cap will be $62 per day.
- When is the new M&IE cap effective?
The new M&IE cap is effective as of October 15, 2017.
- Why was the M&IE cap changed?
Based on the State Auditor recommendations, the Office of the President was asked to re-evaluate reimbursement limits in several areas including M&IE. After a thorough comparative analysis between Federal, State, the California State University system as well as some national universities, $62 was agreed upon. This also aligns us with the CSU system.
- What is the exception process?
Consistent with current policy, there is no exception process. Anything submitted over $62 per day will be considered personal/non-reimbursable.
- Will I need to turn in receipts?
Consistent with current policy, travelers will be reimbursed for actual cost up to $62 per day for M&IE. Receipts will not be required unless it appears that the traveler is treating the cap as a per diem by routinely claiming the full M&IE amount. Department policy, however, may require all receipts to be turned in for tracking approving authorized grant reimbursable amounts or other reasons.
CONUS Lodging Expenses – NEW CAP of $275 nightly rate
Current Policy: The reimbursement of lodging expenses states that it must be reasonable for the location of travel (if business travel is under thirty days; otherwise it is the federal lodging per diem for the location if over thirty days). It is recommended that when lodging expenses exceed 200% of the federal per diem for the locality of travel, the traveler submit additional documentation supporting the higher lodging rate incurred.
Change to Policy: Effective October 15, 2017, Hotel rate will be capped at $275 per night for trips within the lower 48 states, before taxes and other hotel fees. If the traveler is in a higher cost city and is unable to secure a room at or below $275, the traveler must submit written justification as to why a rate under the cap could not be obtained and provide screen shots of price comparisons within the proximity of the meeting location. The price comparison should be performed at the time of booking.
- When is the hotel cap effective?
- The hotel cap is effective as of October 15, 2017.
- Why was the hotel cap changed?
- This change is also a result of the State Auditor’s recommendations. Although more restrictive than current policy, the new cap is not as rigorous as Federal and State standards but does align with the CSU system.
- What is the exception process?
- Travelers must complete the Lodging Limit Justification form. The form must be approved by the traveler’s Department Head or Chair. Any required documentation must be included with the form and attached to the AggieTravel expense report.
- What if the conference I’m attending has accommodations at the hotel and the price over the $275 cap?
- Travelers must complete the Lodging Limit Justification form. The required documentation will include a screenshot of the recommendation from the conference website, as indicated on the Lodging Limit Justification form.
- What is the traveler does not include screen shots or alternative supporting backup at the time of booking when the $275 cap cannot be met?
- Without the Lodging Limit Justification form and the required documentation, the traveler’s reimbursement will be capped at $275 per night, providing all necessary documentation is included in the AggieTravel expense report.
- Do I still need to submit an itemized lodging receipt if I submit a completed Lodging Limit Justification form?
- Yes! G-28 receipt requirements still apply, in addition to the additional documentation.
- Are there different limits for traveling to San Francisco or New York or other high cost cities?
- No, there is one cap for all destinations within the lower 48 states. There are some cities that will require exceptions and it is the traveler/delegate’s responsibility to obtain the proper documentation at the time of booking and provide justification in the expense report.
- What if I am traveling to Hawaii, Alaska, or a foreign location?
- There is no change in policy to travel to Hawaii, Alaska, or foreign locations. The $275 cap only applies to the CONUS, or lower 48 states. Travel to Hawaii, Alaska, or other foreign locations continue to utilize per diem limits set by the Department of State.