Reimbursable Travel Expenses

The purpose of this policy guideline is to outline appropriate travel-related expenses.  Only College related business travel expenses are reimbursable to employees. 

 Travel paid by a third party – When an employee is traveling and a third party (not Macalester) is paying for the travel, Macalester funds should not be used at all.  The employee should pay the travel expenses with personal funds (no cash advance from Macalester) and seek reimbursement from the third party.

Transportation - Employees should seek and engage the least expensive transportation methods that reasonably accommodate their travels.  Additional consideration should also be given to direct flights and train travel as these are best choices toward Macalester’s goal of carbon neutrality. 

1.    Personal vehicle – Reimbursement is calculated by miles driven times the current IRS Standard Mileage Rate, refer to Macalester College Business Services website for current rate.  Reimbursements for gasoline purchases for personal vehicle are not an allowable travel expense

2.    AirfareCarbon offsets for airline travel and conferences are considered allowable reimbursements. 

a.   Saturday Stay-Over – Lowering airfare costs by including a Saturday layover should be compared against the cost of additional lodging charges.  Whichever scenario nets the lowest total cost is the best choice.

b.   Using Personal Frequent Flyer Points - If an employee uses personal frequent flyer miles for College travel, the employee is not entitled to a reimbursement or cash payment equivalent to the fair market value of the miles redeemed. 

c.   Travel Insurance – Travel insurance is recommended only when traveling outside of the United States under the following conditions: 

  • Traveling to under-developed countries
  • Traveling for an extended period of time (one month of more)
  • Occurrence of multiple flights outside of the United States during extended travel          

3. Transport to and from an airport   Public transportation and shuttles use the least greenhouse gas emissions.
a.  Driving a personal vehicle and being reimbursed for mileage and airport parking should be weighed against taxi or public transportation to determine the least total cost.

4. Parking and Tolls  - Receipts are necessary for reimbursement.

5. Rental cars – Macalester College has contracts with several car rental companies, refer to Macalester College’s Business Service’s website for details.

a. Renting cars within the United States:  All additional or optional insurance should be waived as Macalester’s insurance policy provides this coverage already.

b. Renting cars outside of the United States:  Based on employee’s understanding and discretion, insurance options should be purchased.   

c. Do not purchase prepaid tank fill coverage on the rental.

d.  Whenever feasible, fill the tank yourself before returning a rental car.  It is considerably more expensive to return the car with a less than full tank.

Lodging - Employees should seek and engage the least expensive lodging that reasonably accommodates their travels.

1. Free accommodations – There is no reimbursement or cash payment to the traveler if they choose to stay in free accommodations such as staying with friends or relatives.

Meals – Employees should seek and engage the least expensive meals that reasonably accommodate their travels. 

Macalester College reimburses for actual expenses incurred.  Per diems are not allowed.  

1. Meals per day - Up to three meals per day are allowable.

2. Prepaid meals - When a meal is prepaid as part of the cost of lodging or conference registration and the employee chooses to dine elsewhere, the meal cost is not reimbursable.

3. Alcoholic beverages with meals – There are a very few select situations when alcoholic beverages are reimbursable.  The majority of purchases of alcoholic beverages are NOT reimbursable.  Pre-approval from supervisor is required for alcohol reimbursement. 

Telephone/Internet – Long distance calls should be kept to a reasonable length of time to conduct normal College business. 

1. Personal long distance calls - Employees are allowed one personal long distance call of a reasonable length per day for reimbursement while traveling on College business.

2. Personal cell phones – Calls for College related business are reimbursable if they fall outside minutes included in a personal calling plan.

3. Internet connections – Employee is allowed to utilize internet connections in hotel rooms or business centers provided the time is used to conduct College business. 

Travel ExpenseS not Reimbursable
Alcoholic beverages (Except with supervisor's approval) Laundry
Movies  ATM Fees
Newspapers Dry Cleaning
Magazines Parking Tickets
Books Moving Violations Tickets
Health club Per diems for food or lodging
Fitness centers Gasoline for personal vehicle
Massages Fair market value on personal frequent flyer miles
Entertainment Rental car insurance option in U.S.
Personal phone calls Gifts or meals with friends or relatives in exchange for free accommodations
Personal hygiene products Meals in addition to prepaid meals
Personal Internet connections More than three meals per day
Personal medical supplies  Pet care and boarding
Lawn care Snow removal

 

Grant Funds expense restrictions in addition to all of the above:  

1. Federal or state grant funds may never be used to purchase alcohol.

2. Federal grant funds may not be used to purchase local food/meals.

U:2/2014