As we start a new year of conferences and other travel, we have put together the following helpful travel information. Please remember that the Concur booking tool must be used to book all airfare. The Concur booking tool is recommended for lodging and rental cars when possible. When lodging and rental car reservations must be booked outside of Concur, the UA P-Card is the required method of payment. In-State GSA Reimbursement – In accordance with the Code of Alabama 36-7-21, prior approval must be obtained from the President or his designee for in-state travel seeking GSA per diem reimbursement. A record of this approval must be retained within the department. Employees traveling within the state of Alabama may be reimbursed for their actual expenses for lodging (in accordance with Section 11.0 Lodging) and a per diem for meals (in accordance with Section 12.0 Meals) in addition to the actual expenses for transportation. If this method is selected, the University Purchasing Card (P-Card) is the required method of payment for lodging and rental cars. In-State Per Diem Reimbursement – The employee can be reimbursed on a per diem basis for expenses other than transportation. Current per diem rates are maintained on the Accounts Payable website. In-State travel expenses covered by per diem, such as lodging, meals, and gratuities, cannot be charged to the P-Card. The P-Card is the preferred method of payment for conference registration fees, allowable ground transportation, and parking fees. Personal meals and incidentals cannot be charged to the P-Card. As we now have many individuals who have now received P-Cards to be used for travel, we have put together a reference page for Using the P-Card while Traveling to summarize allowable purchases based on the type of travel as well as other helpful information.
Mileage Rates for 2023
Effective January 1, 2023, the mileage rate paid to persons traveling in privately owned vehicles on official business for the state will be 65.5 cents per mile. The updated mileage rate is available in Concur and on the Accounts Payable Mileage Rates webpage. When entering mileage in your Concur Expense Report, please ensure you are including the correct Transaction Date in the Mileage Form.
Booking Hotels through Concur
A UA P-Card is required to book a hotel in Concur. When the traveler arrives at the hotel, a physical card will need to be provided. The traveler should be prepared to present the P-Card used for the reservation or another UA P-Card. The hotel can be contacted to set up the credit card authorization to pre-arrange payment for the traveler, but this should be completed well in advance of the trip. This form is provided by the hotel and should be requested directly from the hotel.
Please note that Concur is the preferred booking method for lodging; however, we do understand that there are circumstances in which travelers may need to book outside of Concur. In these situations, a UA P-Card should still be used in same manner as Concur bookings, and travelers should be prepared to present either the P-Card used for booking, another UA P-Card, or a credit card authorization form when arriving at the hotel. Please note that in-state lodging should continue to be paid for personally and reimbursed via the in-state per diem method.
Comparing Concur Flight Rates to External Booking Sites
When reviewing flights on both Concur and external booking sites, some travelers contact us stating that cheaper flights can be found outside of the system. When researching these instances, we typically determine that the traveler is not comparing the same fare/class of ticket. Concur does not offer the lowest basic fares as these are not “Best Practice” fares for business travel. They often come with few benefits and many restrictions. When we review “apples to apples” fares between Concur and the external booking sites, the Concur rate is typically the same or cheaper than the external site. Accounts Payable is happy to review any variances you see between Concur and external sites.
Travel Agent Advisor Fees
When calling Christopherson Business Travel (CBT) and utilizing a travel agent for assistance with booking flights or changing existing reservations, you can ask the travel agent to notify you before you complete an action that will trigger a $24 agent/advisor fee. There should be no fee charged to simply inquire about flights. However, when the agent is requested to book a new reservation or modify an existing reservation, the fee will be assessed and should be charged to the same budget as the ticket. CBT contact information is included below.
Concur and CBT Travel Bookings
Please be aware that when you book travel through Concur or CBT, you should receive an email with your itinerary and cost details following the booking. You should always check the accuracy of the itinerary and flight details. It is also very important that you also review the cost detail at the bottom of the itinerary. This information will detail the cost of the flight and any booking/change fees applied. Bookings through the Concur online booking tool will show a $4.00 fee, but this will not be incurred by the department. Bookings completed by a CBT Travel Advisor will show a $24.00 fee for domestic bookings and $33.00 for international bookings. Change fees will also appear in the cost section. Change fees can vary depending on the airline and the rules associated with the changed ticket, and the travel advisor may be unaware of some change fees as he or she is booking your ticket. We ask that you review the fees apply IMMEDIATELY upon receiving your itinerary. If you disagree with any fees applied, please contact CBT IMMEDIATELY. You have 24 hours to completely void the ticket and all associated fees.
If you have any questions about cancelling a flight or utilizing an unused flight credit for flights booked through Concur or CBT, please contact CBT directly. The travel agents have access to information regarding the fare rules and restrictions and can advise you how to best move forward. Please note that if they rebook your flight, you may be charged the above referenced agent/advisor fee. CBT contact information as included below.
Rental Car Bookings
Concur is the preferred booking method for rental cars, and the UA P-Card is the required method of payment. However, we understand that there may be issues with presenting the physical P-Card when picking up the vehicle (for example, when UA guests arrive at the Birmingham airport for a campus visit). The best alternative is to contact National/Enterprise and set up a billing account for your department. The instructions for doing this are listed in National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car Reservation Guidelines on the Purchasing website. When billed, the department can then use the UA P-Card to pay for the car rental.
Christopherson Business Travel Contact Information:
For questions regarding travel reservations or changes to airfare that have already been ticketed, please contact Christopherson Travel. This service is available 24/7/365.
Travel Advisor Group: 800-285-3603
For Concur Travel technical questions, please contact Christopherson’s Online Support. This service is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm CST.
Online Support: 888-535-0179