When traveling for a work-related purpose, you must follow the University’s travel expense guidelines. Read these guidelines before traveling, booking flights, or making hotel reservations. Non-reimbursable expenses are the responsibility of the traveler. Always check with Cindy Armour (Financial Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to spending any personal funds on travel. As travel rules change readily, this way you are sure to be reimbursed.
If you have not made a reservation through the UW TravelWise/Concur booking tool before and/or if you need someone to make your travel arrangements, please contact Cindy Armour (email@example.com, 608-262-1379).
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
- Set up a UWTravelWise/Concur account online. Contact Cindy Armour (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need assistance.
- Know what funding you are using for your trip (e.g., 144-PRJ6789). Note: 101-funds cannot be used for travel.
Register for the conference/event
Please work with Cindy Armour (email@example.com, 608-262-1379) or pay with personal funds to register for a conference or event. Print out a copy of the registration invoice/confirmation and keep it for your reimbursement documentation.
Make lodging/hotel arrangements
- The University pays or reimburses for actual lodging costs. Travelers are expected to research rates and reserve lodging using Concur/Fox World Travel, 1-866-230-8787.
- Travelers may also reserve lodging directly with the property or with a conference service/site. The use of third party vendors such as Expedia, Hotels.com, and Orbitz are prohibited and will result in a loss of personal funds. Concur has modified the site to help users select hotels that comply with the rate maximums allowed by location. The allowed rates are now programmed into Concur and will clearly indicate if the property is compliant vs. non-compliant. Preferred room rates have been negotiated for Wisconsin, Washington DC, Boston, San Francisco, Orlando, Los Angeles, and many other locations around the country. The preferred rates include amenities when possible such as Wi-Fi, airport/local transportation, parking, full breakfast and, within Wisconsin, tax exemption. Campus will only pre-pay for a one night guaranteed reservation prior to travel. Use of the UW Corporate Card or a form of personal payment is acceptable. Please be sure to ask for an itemized receipt upon check out for reimbursement.
Make transportation arrangements
- Flying: Once you know your dates/times for travel and your funding number, book your flight through UWTravelWise/Concur. Do not use any other source or you will not be reimbursed. When using the department credit card to book your flight, you must immediately provide a copy of the flight reservation confirmation to Cindy Armour (firstname.lastname@example.org) along with the funding information. If you will be arriving early, stay late, or combine business and personal travel, refer to the bottom of this page for more information about required documentation and cost comparisons.
- Driving: You must become a UW-Madison authorized driver at least two weeks before you travel. Learn about Driver Authorization at the UW-Madison Risk Management website and fill out the appropriate authorization request form. You must be a UW-Madison authorized driver in order to claim reimbursement for driving a personal or rental vehicle or parking a personal, rental, or fleet vehicle. All gasoline purchases, regardless of the amount, and all purchases greater than $25 made with personal funds, must be supported by a receipt.
Meal and expense reimbursement planning
- Look up UW-Madison reimbursement rates for lodging and meals for your destination city using the UWTravelWIse/Concur rate calculator.
- If food is provided through the event (e.g., meals are covered through your conference registration fee), you may not claim reimbursement for these meals.
- Travelers will only be reimbursed up to 75% of the per diem rate for the first and last days of travel.
- Some faculty members allow group members to claim the UW-Madison per diem rate for meal and incidental reimbursement. Other faculty members allow group members to claim reimbursement only for the amount of money actually spent on meals and incidentals while traveling, rather than the full per diem amount. Either way, please save your receipts while traveling. If you are unsure of your group’s policy, please ask your PI.
WHILE YOU TRAVEL
- Get a detailed invoice from the hotel when you check out. If sharing a room, make sure that each individual’s name appears on the hotel invoice in order for multiple travelers to use the same invoice for expense reimbursement requests.
- Save any receipts over $25. To be on the safe side, save all of your receipts from the trip until your reimbursement is processed.
AFTER YOU TRAVEL
Per campus rules, you must submit your reimbursement request within 90 days of the conclusion of your UW business travel dates. This does not include any personal dates that may have been added to your UW business travel.
- Submit an online reimbursement request through:
- The following information should be uploaded to the expense report. If added to the report, NO PAPER COPIES ARE NEEDED.
- All receipts
- Conference registration printout
- Maximum reimbursement rate for your travel destination
If these items are not added, then paper copies are required.
If you need help with entering your reimbursement request, please email Cindy Armour (email@example.com).
Arriving early, staying later, or combining business and personal travel
- When you are able to save money by adding a day or two to your trip, reasonable expenses for lodging and meals for the minimum necessary additional days may be paid if the total cost of the trip expenses (e.g., additional days of lodging, meals, parking, etc.) are less than the lowest airfare would have been without the additional days of travel. In these cases, you must provide a cost comparison printout to show that the additional days do not add to the overall cost of the trip.
- If you wish to combine personal and business travel, you must document a cost comparison to ensure that the University only reimburses for the business portion of the trip. To document your cost comparison for airfare, do a ticket search for the dates of the business travel and print out the results, then do a new search for the dates of your combined business/personal travel and print out those results as well. The lower of the two airfare costs will be paid for or reimbursed by the University.
- UWTravelWise/Concur or Fox World travel agents must be used for cost comparisons. Because of pricing and availability fluctuations, accurate cost comparisons must be done at the time of booking in immediate succession to be valid.
- Learn more about this policy.
Checking hotel maximums and per diem rates for your destination
Use the UW-Madison lodging and per diem expense rate calculator to determine the allowable hotel and per diem rates for your destination. Please note that the University at large is now using a per diem model rather than reimbursing exact expenses for meals and incidentals. Travelers are reimbursed at 100 percent for full days traveled and 75 percent for the first and last day of travel.
In order to be covered by the University’s liability protection policy while driving on University business, all UW-Madison faculty, staff, student, temporary employees, and volunteer drivers must be approved through Risk Management prior to departing on University business. Regardless of whether you are driving your own personal vehicle, a fleet vehicle, or a rental vehicle, all potential drivers must complete the appropriate driver authorization request form. Two weeks prior to your trip, visit Risk Management Driver Authorization for more information and to apply.
Mileage reimbursement rates when driving your own vehicle
Rates for mileage reimbursement when driving your own vehicle are available online.
Non-reimbursable expenses (frequent examples)
- Airline ticket upgrades for coach tickets with extra leg room, or for business or first class
- Room service
- In-room movies
Purchasing airfares, hotel rooms, and car rentals
- Use UW TravelWise/Concur or call a Fox World Travel agent at 866-230-8787 to book your flight, car rental, and/or hotel room. Any travel expenses (airfares, hotel rooms, car rentals) purchased on UW-Madison credit cards or reimbursed by UW-Madison must be purchased using UW TravelWise/Concur or by calling a Fox World Travel agent.
- The only exception is for hotel rooms booked through a conference hotel room block. Conference rates are not available in UW TravelWise/Concur; instead, reserve your room through the conference website or by calling the hotel and booking a room in the conference block.
- Only airfare and registration are payable in advance or with the department credit card. Contact Cindy Armour (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the credit card information and questions.
- When traveling on federal grant funds, you must request special approval prior to booking your ticket if you need to use a foreign airline.
- When booking flights with UW TravelWise/Concur, a confirmation email is sent first, followed by a final booking notification with the e-ticket number. Please print out the second email with the e-ticket for your reimbursement, rather than the first with the confirmation.
- A receipt is generally required for all travel expenses. There are very few exceptions to this policy. Please turn in all receipts (digital or paper).
- Receipts for purchases made with the department credit card must be submitted to Cindy Armour in the Department Office.
- Receipts for reimbursable expenses must be submitted via the expense reimbursement process as part of your reimbursement documentation.