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FAQ for University Business Travel Policy

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions are listed below. Please see the Berkeley Travel website for additional travel related questions and answers.

I’m going to be on travel status less than 24 hours. Which expenses are eligible for reimbursement?

Generally, transportation costs to and from the event will be paid. This includes airfare, rental car, personal car mileage, tolls, and parking. Meals are not reimbursed unless there is a need for an overnight stay. Example: You take the 9:00am flight from Oakland to Orange County for an early afternoon meeting. You plan to return that same day, but all flights are canceled. You catch the first flight out of Orange County the next morning, returning home at 7:00am. Your trip was less than 24 hours, but because of the overnight stay, meals may be reimbursed.

I am going on a trip for business purposes, but would like to include some personal time while I’m there. What are the guidelines for combining business and personal travel?

  1. It is expected that university travelers can judge when they are on business and when they are on personal time and that they will claim expenses in an honest and ethical manner.
  2. When booking flights, document the cost of airfare as if you were just going for business and the cost for the extended time. You should claim reimbursement for the lesser of the two.
  3. If any personal time is included, you may not charge the airfare to the university using a Direct Bill ID. You must purchase the tickets using personal funds and request reimbursement, if applicable.
  4. If traveling within the U.S. and the purpose of the trip is business, but you take a side trip for pleasure, you may not be reimbursed for any expenses related to the side trip or the extended stay. If the trip is primarily personal (for example, you’re on vacation) but you attend to business while at the location, you can claim any expenses related to the business, but you cannot be reimbursed for transportation to the location.
  5. When traveling internationally, a trip must meet one of the following tests in order to be defined as entirely business:
    1. The traveler did not have control over arranging the trip
    2. Vacation was not a major consideration
    3. Travel was outside the U.S. seven consecutive days or less
    4. If more than seven days, less than 25% time was spent on personal activities.
    5. If the trip is ‘primarily personal,’ airfare/transportation will not be reimbursed. Only expenses for days when business was conducted will be paid.
  6. If family members are traveling with you, document and claim the cost for car rental, lodging, and meals as if you were traveling alone. The university will not pay for any incremental costs associated with personal traveling companions. (Note: Different rules apply for moving/relocation)
  7. Airport parking will be paid only for business-related days.
  8. If taking a side trip for personal activities, document and claim the costs for the direct route related to the business purpose of the trip.

I prefer to drive rather than fly. Will I be reimbursed for the mileage?

If most people would drive the distance, then you may claim mileage with no further explanation. However, if most people would fly and you are choosing to drive for personal reasons (i.e., sightseeing, stopping off to visit friends, taking family along, etc.), you should expect to be reimbursed the lesser of mileage based on the most direct route or an amount equal to the cost of flying coach/economy with advance booking. If you are driving for business reasons (i.e., transporting large boxes of research equipment), then provide a written statement explaining the circumstances. The basic expectation is that you will get to your business destination using the most economical and reasonable method.

Can I use emerging market services like Uber, Lyft, AirBnB?

There is no policy prohibiting the use of alternative providers. The traveler is expected to give full consideration to the costs of these services as compared to more traditional providers. If the costs are out of line with ordinary and customary comparables, the traveler may be expected to provide a business justification or be reimbursed based on the lower cost alternative.

I am attending a two-day conference in San Francisco. Can I be reimbursed for a hotel room to save commuting from my home in Berkeley? I will spend the evening hours networking with colleagues.

While it may save time, UC policy is to reimburse only when the location is more than 40 miles from the traveler’s home or place of work, unless the overnight stay is required by the employer (i.e., an event coordinator must be onsite for late night and early morning set-up).

Can I be reimbursed for extra fees charged by airlines?

It’s hard to keep up with all of the ancillary fees charged by airlines these days. In general, if the service obtained with the extra fee is considered ordinary and necessary to meet a business need, then paying the fee is permitted. A business justification should be noted on the expense report. Examples: Extra baggage for research supplies; seat assignment to ensure boarding; on-board internet for connectivity to work emails; change fees for a later flight because a meeting ran late.

Why can’t I log in to Connexxus? Need to edit?

The following are requirements for accessing Connexxus:

If you meet these requirements but are still experiencing access problems, please email libtravel@lists.berkeley.edu.

Where is a DBID accepted?

The University’s two contracted travel agencies, BCD Travel and UC Travel Center, can accept a Direct Bill ID to charge airfare to UC Berkeley. Both are full service agencies with dedicated agents who can handle nearly all travel needs. You will be prompted to provide the DBID during the online booking process or when speaking with the travel agent. Contact and service fee information for the travel agencies is available through UC’s booking portal, Connexxus.

May I book Southwest Wanna Get Away fares through a Connexxus travel agency?

The travel agencies can assist you with a Southwest reservation and accept a Direct Bill ID as payment. However, the Wanna Get Away fares are not available through agency reservations. To book a Wanna Get Away fare, use Southwest’s SWABIZ in Connexxus and pay with your personal credit card.

How do I contact a Connexxus travel agency?

Complete contact information is available by logging in to Connexxus. Be aware that reservations made via telephone are subject to higher transaction fees.

BCD Travel

Phone within US: 877-885-8632

Phone outside US: 818-238-4445

Email: Connexxus.TravelRequests@bcdtravel.com or UC.CustSvc@bcdtravel.com

UC Travel Center

Phone: 800-235-8252

Email: travel@finance.ucla.edu

Southwest SWABIZ

Phone: 800-435-9792