Effective Date: February 6, 2020


This PSC Procedural Statement (PPS) sets forth requirements for authorizing University travel, determining travel expenses that can be covered by the University, and accomplishing the reconciliation and reimbursement process. Except as otherwise noted, these requirements apply to all individuals engaged in such travel, whether employees, associates, affiliate fiscal staff, or other individuals (including students and immediate family members) traveling on official university business. Travel expenses paid by the University must be incurred for official university business.

Procedural Statement

The table below outlines the expense reconciliation and reimbursement processes for University travel. The PSC has the right to request additional documentation or approvals for an expenditure when, in the opinion of the PSC, a specific expenditure warrants additional support.


Unless approved by the Associate Vice President/Chief Procurement Officer, there are no exceptions to this procedural statement.


Contact the appropriate campus Risk Management Office.


Air Travel - Private/Leased Aircraft

Use of private aircraft requires prior written approval from University Risk Management. To determine if private aircraft use is allowable as a trip expense, or if it can be considered as a tax-deductible gift, contact the Director of Tax in the Office of University Controller.

Use of leased aircraft requires prior written approval from the Aircraft Section of Colorado State Patrol. At least 50% of the passengers must be members of the University’s official party. Contact the appropriate PSC Purchasing Agent for the commodity. 

Airline Tickets - Upgrades/Seat Assignment Fees

All travel shall be completed using the most economical means available which will satisfactorily accomplish university business. It is the expectation that travelers/arrangers will book coach or economy class, unless an allowable exception exists and has been documented with the department. Upgrades (including extended leg-room upgrades) and Business/First Class travel are considered an exception and are allowable, with justification, for the reasons listed below.

The following exception must be approved prior to ticket issuance. In addition, the department must email a copy of the approved accommodation to the PSC (Shannon.Miller@cu.edu).

  • Accommodation is required for a disability/special need. Medical disability must be certified annually in a written statement by a competent medical authority. If the disability is a lifelong condition, then a one-time certification statement is allowed. If an upgraded ticket is required based on a medical disability, contact your campus ADA office prior to booking your airfare. The ADA office will assess the request to determine if an accommodation is appropriate. Medical documentation may be requested if needed. Each campus ADA office will provide the employee and the employee’s supervisor with notice of approval (or denial) of an accommodation.
  • Campus ADA office web links: Boulder, Denver / Anschutz Medical CampusColorado Springs, System.

The following exceptions must be approved and documented within the department prior to ticket issuance.

  • Upgraded ticket is same price or less than the available coach class ticket.
  • Upgraded ticket produces overall cost savings by avoiding additional lodging/other expenses, or by avoiding loss in business productivity time while awaiting coach class accommodations or due to restrictions of coach class accommodations.
  • Upgraded ticket is for extended foreign travel.  A continuous scheduled flight is longer than 14 hours.
  • Upgraded ticket is for foreign travel with inadequate security/sanitation/health facilities.  Coach class accommodations on an authorized/approved foreign air carrier do not provide adequate sanitation or health standards.

Note: Seat assignment fees for coach or economy class seats, when required to ensure a seat on the plane, require only verbal department approval if up to $50 (one-way).  If such fees are over $50 (one-way), approval must be documented within the department.

Airline Tickets - Employees

For domestic travel by employees:

  • Domestic travel is any trip that is within the 48 contiguous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii.
  • The traveler/travel arranger should either book tickets online using the Concur Travel & Expense System or work directly with the University's travel management company, Christopherson Business Travel (CBT). SpeedType must be provided in order to proceed with any booking.

For international travel by employees:

  • International travel is any trip that is outside the 48 contiguous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii.
  • Employees must request pre-approval for international travel through the Concur Travel & Expense System (Concur). Concur routes the request for approval to the traveler's HR Supervisor or SpeedType Approver; the International Travel Approver/Officer for the traveler’s organizational unit; and (if the trip is to a high-risk destination) the appropriate Chancellor/President or their delegate. This process is required whether the trip is funded by CU or by an outside entity. 
  • Once the international travel request is fully approved, Concur sends an email notification to the traveler and to Christopherson Business Travel (CBT). At this point, the traveler (or their travel arranger) can proceed to book the trip through Concur (SpeedType and approved Request ID required) or through a CBT agent (SpeedType required).
  • For additional information on international travel -- including the Fly America Act (flying on federal funds), insurance coverage, export control, and other issues -- see www.cu.edu/psc/international-travel-employees

Airline Tickets - Non-Employees

For domestic or international travel by non-employees:

The sponsoring unit has three options for booking travel: Book travel on behalf of the non-employee using Concur, authorize the non-employee to book their travel through Christopherson Business Travel, or authorize the non-employee to make their own travel arrangements and request reimbursement after the trip. For detailed procedures on each of these options, see Concur How-to: Booking Non-Employee Trips.

When working with an Independent Contractor according to the Scope of Work (SOW) process, the non-employee's travel expenses must be identified on the SOW form and covered using the same procurement method as the service payment.

Airline Tickets - Cancelled Tickets

CBT service fees are nonrefundable, even when ticket is not used/credited to traveler. Value of cancelled ticket will generally be preserved as long as original flight is cancelled and as long as new ticket is booked (or, for some airlines, as long as new trip is completed) within one year of original ticket issue date.

Airline Tickets - Internet Airfare Purchases Outside Concur

Employees who wish to purchase airline tickets on an external internet site (instead of booking through Concur Travel & Expense or through CBT) must first compare the full cost (including fees) of the outside site’s fare with the fares shown in Concur, and print the list of Concur fares.

If total cost of the external internet site fare is less than the Concur/CBT fares, travelers can proceed with the purchase using a personal credit card. (Airline tickets are not allowed to be purchased on the Travel Card.) Attach itemized receipt/proof of payment and comparison quote printout to the expense report. The expense cannot be reimbursed until after the trip is completed.

For detailed information, see Internet Airfare.

Alcoholic Beverages

Not allowable in general; only covered when part of an official function in accordance with APS Alcoholic Beverages Purchased for University Events and PPS Alcoholic Beverages Purchased for University Events.

Authorization to Travel

Traveler must obtain appropriate approval(s) prior to a trip. See APS Travel Authorization. For sponsored project-funded travel, contact the campus sponsored projects office for additional restrictions, including the possible need for written authorization.

Baggage Fees

Allowable if bags are required for official university business; valid business purpose must be noted in expense report comments. Tips on curb-side baggage check-in are included in the Incidental Expenses Per Diem amount and cannot be claimed separately.

Camping Fees

See Lodging.

Car Rental

For detailed information, see Renting a Car.

Concur Travel & Expense System (Concur)

Online system, accessed through the portal, used for pre-approval of international travel; 24/7 travel booking (airline tickets, hotels, and rental cars); and, reconciliation of travel and other expenses.

Concur is used to reconcile Travel Card charges and to request reimbursement for University travel and non-travel-related expenses by employees, Regents, non-employees, and students. The Non-Employee Reimbursement-International (NRI) paper form is used to request reimbursement for non-employees/students who are non-U.S. persons or who live at non-U.S. addresses. Traveler’s costs cannot be reimbursed until after the trip is completed.

Receipts must be attached to the expense report/reimbursement form as noted under Receipt Requirements.

Reimbursement expense reports must be submitted within the designated time period to avoid tax consequences for employees (see Tax Implications).

Conference or Event Registrations

Can use Travel Card or Procurement Card. (If paying for another individual, use Procurement Card.) 

Currency Exchange

Cost of converting money is allowable when exchange rate/fees are documented (e.g., www.oanda.com/convert/classic) and included with reimbursement request. Currency calculation must be backdated to reflect actual date expense was incurred.

For personal reimbursements, the credit card statement showing a specific conversion rate may be used in lieu of the oanda.com rate.

Expense System

See Concur Travel & Expense System

Export Control Issues

When traveling to another country with equipment (laptops/mobile devices) or information subject to export controls, keep in mind the law may require that you have an export license. Contact your campus export compliance officer for advice:

Gasoline-Rental Vehicles

Use Travel Card. Gasoline expenses not allowable for personal vehicles. See Mileage-Personal Vehicle.

Ghost Card

Travel Card account number used by Christopherson Business Travel and Concur Travel & Expense to cover cost of airline ticket/other common carrier ticket. Not used for vehicle rental, lodging, or other travel-related expenses. Charges on the ghost card are billed directly to campus organizational unit according to SpeedType provided at time of booking.

Ground Transportation

Transportation costs (shuttles, buses, taxis, etc.) are allowable at traveler's destination (e.g., between destination airport and hotel), or between home and airport, or between work location and airport. Use Travel Card.

Group Travel

The University defines group travel as three (3) or more employees/non-employees traveling to the same location for the same official university business. Christopherson Business Travel (CBT) defines group travel for booking airline tickets as ten (10) or more employees/non-employees traveling together.

For additional information, see Group Travel.

Incidental Expenses Per Diem

See Meals and Meal Reimbursement.

Internet Charges

Allowable during travel status if needed for official university business.


Allowable if business trip lasts more than 14 days. Then, actual costs are allowable up to $5/week for domestic travel, and up to $20/week for international travel. (No receipts required.)


a. Business/Commercial: Use Travel Card. Allowable to the extent of actual cost of reasonable accommodations. Department shall determine reasonable costs of the lodging based on the business needs of the traveler and the individual business trip.
Single-room occupancy rate must be indicated on lodging receipt. If e-receipts are available from the supplier, paper receipts need not be attached to the expense report.

b. Camping Fees: Allowable as lodging expenses if paid to commercial campground or State/National Park. Itemized receipts and proof of payment required if over $75. Use Travel Card.

c. Deposit: Use Travel Card to issue payment directly to vendor. When reconciling charge on the expense report, identify it as a deposit. Itemized receipt (hotel folio) required, showing both the lodging deposit and the balance of the hotel stay.

d. Staying with Friends: Travelers who arrange private lodging (staying with friends/family) can be reimbursed up to $25/day for associated costs. (No receipt required.)

Meals and Meal Reimbursement

a. Meals and Incidental Expenses Per Diem.

The Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) Per Diem is the maximum dollar amount allowed for eligible meals (including meal tips) that the traveler needs to purchase during the course of an official university business trip. M&IE also includes an incidental amount used to offset miscellaneous trip expenses and tips (such as bellhops, porters, maids, personal telephone calls, and the like).

Meal reimbursement is not allowable if adequate meals are included with lodging, as part of conference/registration fees, or otherwise provided to traveler at no cost. Amounts in excess of meal per diem are not allowable unless part of a required official function.

If Travel Card is used for per diem meals, the traveler must identify those transactions on the expense report as "Personal Travel Charge (not reimbursable)." If Travel Card meal costs exceed per diem limits, traveler may need to reimburse CU (depending on total amount of reimbursable expenses). In this case, attach validated Cash Receipt form to expense report so that the reimbursement to the University is documented with the report.

Per diem amounts are determined by the destination. On days of actual travel, the final destination for the day determines traveler's M&IE per diem rate all day. On the day traveler returns home, however, the city from which the traveler leaves determines the per diem rate. On begin and end travel days, reimbursement cannot exceed 75% of the daily M&IE per diem rate.

No receipt required.

For M&IE rates by destination, see www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates

b. Meals: Group Meals Expense type used by Athletics and other departments when a single individual is responsible for providing a team or group with cash so that team members may purchase meals. Also used when a single individual is responsible for purchasing food directly for the team or group. Note that per diem limits apply to group meals, i.e., the total cost of the group meal cannot exceed the total of the individual per diem amounts for that meal. Attach a list of group members to the expense report.

c. Meals: Single-Day Trip If travel is wholly within a single day, meals are an allowable expense as long as the trip lasts 12 hours or more. Reimbursement cannot exceed 75% of the daily M&IE per diem rate.


a. Mileage-Personal Vehicle Allowable when in travel status. CU follows the mileage reimbursement rates set by the State of Colorado:

  • For allowable miles driven beginning January 1, 2019, the standard reimbursement rate is $0.52/mile. If the nature of the trip and road conditions require the use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle, the 4WD rate is $0.55/mile.
  • For allowable miles driven January 1-December 31, 2018, the standard reimbursement rates is $0.49/mile; the 4WD rate is $0.52/mile.

Allowable miles are those driven in excess of the normal round-trip commute to primary work location – regardless of type of transportation used for normal commute; see mileage calculation guidelines.

b. Mileage vs. Airfare–Required Vehicle Usage Traveler will be reimbursed for actual mileage and other allowable travel expenses if vehicle travel is required due to nature of trip, items which must be transported during trip, or because multiple travelers make vehicle travel the lowest cost.

c. Mileage vs. Airfare–Traveler’s Option Requires department approval. Requires comparison quote printed from Concur Travel. Traveler will be reimbursed for actual mileage up to actual total flight cost (transportation to/from DIA, airfare, and destination ground transportation).

d. Mileage-Courtesy Car Allowable when in travel status, using specified rate. For allowable miles driven beginning July 1, 2008, the courtesy car mileage reimbursement rate is $0.18/mile.

No Cost to the University

Regardless of who is paying for the trip, traveler must obtain department approval to travel. Traveler must reimburse the University for any travel-related expenses incurred by the University and ultimately paid by another entity.
For international trips that are no cost to the University,employee travelers must log their trip itinerary in iSOS:
Note that travel paid by an outside entity is permissible under Amendment 41 if:

  • The travel is for a legitimate official purpose;
  • The travel arrangements are appropriate to that purpose;
  • The trip is no longer than reasonably necessary to accomplish the business which is its purpose; and,
  • The employee who will be traveling is not currently, was not in the recent past, and will not in the reasonably foreseeable future, be in a position to take direct official action with respect to the donor.

Non-Employee Reimbursement-International Form

Used to request travel and other reimbursements for non-employees (including students) who are not U.S. persons living at a U.S. address. Otherwise, non-employees use the Concur Travel & Expense System. For students who are also employees, the method of reimbursement is determined by the nature of the travel/other expense being reimbursed (whether the expense was incurred in the individual's role as an employee or in the individual's role as a student). The traveler’s costs cannot be reimbursed until after the trip is completed.

Receipts are required as noted in this table for the specific item.

Non-Employee University Travel

Travel by affiliate fiscal staff, associates, students, and other individuals is governed by these travel rules, except:

  • Non-employees cannot receive cash advances.
  • Sponsoring organizational unit is encouraged to book non-employee travel through Concur or Christopherson Business Travel (CBT) – or to enable the non-employee to arrange their own travel directly with CBT by submitting CBT's Non-Employee Travel Request form. However, non-employees can make their own travel arrangements (comparison quotes from Concur are not needed) and be reimbursed after the trip.

Note that Regents are considered employees for purposes of using the Concur Travel & Expense System.


Allowable when it is a necessary part of the trip, e.g., parking at traveler’s destination, parking at the airport. Use Travel Card.

Passport Costs

Allowable if needed to enter a foreign country. See PPS Sensitive Expenses.

Can use Travel Card or Procurement Card. (If paying for another individual, use Procurement Card.) 

Per Diem

See Meals and Meal Reimbursement.

Personal Travel

The University does not cover the cost of personal travel.

Personal Expenses

Expenses incurred for traveler’s personal benefit are not allowable. Examples of personal expenses include: dependent care, magazines, movie rentals, athletic club fees, entertainment. (This is not an all-inclusive list.)

Personal Travel Combined with Business Travel

Requires department approval. Only business-related cost of travel is allowable.

For detailed information, see Personal Travel Combined with Business Travel.

Exclude non-business days from the M&IE per diem expenses on the Itinerary.

If air travel is involved, attach a comparison quote from the Concur Travel & Expense System (Concur) to show if extended trip resulted in higher cost. If yes, the traveler is responsible for reimbursing the University for the difference in fare. (Attach validated Cash Receipt form to expense report.)

Receipt Requirements

Itemized receipt and proof of payment required for any single item charge over $75 and for Official Function charges in any dollar amount. (For Travel Card expenses, proof of payment is part of the uploaded transaction information. Itemized receipt still required according to receipt requirements.)

If e-receipts are available from the supplier, paper receipts need not be attached to the expense report.

Shared Costs

a. Costs covered by another Funding Source If not possible to separate charges and traveler needs to reimburse University for expenses covered by another entity, traveler writes a personal check payable to University of Colorado and the organizational unit deposits this in the appropriate SpeedType. Costs should be documented on the expense report; attach validated Cash Receipt form to the report.

The entity covering the trip costs can instead issue a check directly to the University of Colorado to reimburse expenses paid by the University. Attach validated Cash Receipt form to the report.

b. Costs shared by Employees Should not be combined. Each expense report should be a record of one traveler’s trip and one traveler with a Travel Card should not use that card to cover another employee’s trip expenses.

If two employees in travel status share lodging, each should pay her or his own portion of lodging and submit separate expense reports. If vendor cannot separate cost of shared lodging, one employee should pay total bill and identify the other employee in comments on the reconciling expense report, indicating whose lodging is included on that bill.

Reimbursements for meals (except during group travel) must be requested separately by each traveler.

Sponsored Projects

Travel using Fund 30/31 is typically subject to additional restrictions. 


Use Procurement Card.

Can use Travel Card for incidental purchases associated with a trip.

Reimbursement of goods is limited to $5,000 and is further limited to commodities not covered by university price agreements (see Commodity and Purchasing Agent Listing) unless prompted by critical business need, i.e., unexpected/essential purchase that could not be deferred to normal business hours and business processes–this situation must be documented on the reimbursement request.

A personal payment for services, cash awards, donations, or study subject payments will not be reimbursed.

Tax Implications

Expense report and all supporting documentation must be submitted to the traveler’s approver within designated time period to avoid having employee reimbursement reported as income. (See PPS Business Expense Reimbursement.)

For additional restrictions on expense report submission timeframes when cash advances are involved, see PPS Cash Advances.

Telephone/Fax Charges

Allowable if for official university business. When using hotel services, these charges must be itemized. For additional restrictions on use of wireless telecommunications, see PPS Personal Technology and Telecommunications.

Personal phone calls are included in the Incidental Expenses Per Diem amount and cannot be claimed separately.


For tips on ground service transportation (taxi, shuttle, Uber, Lyft, etc.), the maximum allowable amount is 20% of the service charge, if the final bill does not already include a tip. If the final bill includes a set amount (of any percentage) for gratuity, then no additional tip may be provided. Reasonable tips are allowable on courtesy ground transportation.

For tips on meal service related to Official Functions, the maximum allowable amount is 20% of the final bill (including tax and, if relevant, delivery charge), if the final bill does not already include a tip. If the final bill includes a set amount (of any percentage) for gratuity, then no additional tip may be provided.

Remember that the Meal & Incidental Expense Per Diem amount includes tips for per diem meals, maid, porter, bellhop, and curb-side baggage check-in: these cannot be claimed separately.

Toll Road Charges

Allowable (if not part of daily commute).

Traffic Fines/Tickets

Not allowable.

Travel Card

Corporate liability card used to facilitate payment of University travel-related expenses such as lodging, ground transportation, parking, and vehicle rentals.

To report a lost or stolen card, contact US Bank immediately at 1.800.344.5696 (outside U.S., call collect 1.701.461.2010).

Travel Classifications

a. In-State Travel Travel within the State of Colorado. Department approval required.

b. International Travel Any trip that is outside the 48 contiguous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Department approval required. For additional approval requirements, see Airline Tickets-Employees.

c. Out-of-State Travel Travel other than in Colorado and that is within the 48 contiguous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Department approval required.

Travel Management Company

Christopherson Business Travel (CBT) supports the University of Colorado managed travel program through its local travel agents and through the Concur Travel & Expense System (Concur).

Trip Insurance

Requires department approval.

For information on rental car insurance, see Renting a Car.


Allowable if needed in order to enter a foreign country. Requires evidence of requirements for vaccine/medicine. Charge for doctor’s office visit is not allowable.

Can use Travel Card or Procurement Card. (If paying for another individual, use Procurement Card.) 

Visa Costs

Allowable if needed to enter a foreign country. 

Can use Travel Card or Procurement Card. (If paying for another individual, use Procurement Card.) 

Related Administrative Policy Statements (APS), PSC Procedural Statements (PPS)

  • APS Travel Authorization
  • Additional APS and PPS, as appropriate for the specific items listed, are referenced in the table of Procedures for University Travel, above.

Related Forms and Systems

Related Forms and Systems]