Travel Expenses & Hosting

SMTD reimburses pre-approved travel expenses for research, conference attendance, performance participation, and department specific recruitment activities up to the limits authorized in your pre-approval and in compliance with the guidelines below. Travel expenses must be reconciled within 30 days of trip completion, and always in the fiscal year in which they are incurred. Travelers must always seek approval prior to traveling, and approvals can only be granted by the Dean or the CAO.

General Guidelines

Internal service providers are University of Michigan business units that provide goods and services to other University units and departments. Using Internal Service Providers can save time and money – and since the transaction is between two University units, procurement review and approval is not necessary.

  • Requests for travel support must be submitted via the online form at least two weeks prior to traveling.
  • Cash advances cannot be authorized for research, conference, performance, and department specific recruitment related travel.
  • Travel awards must be used in the same fiscal year in which they are granted.
  • Awards made for travel that crosses fiscal years will be made against the fiscal year fund in which the trip begins.
  • Awards will not be advance transferred to faculty research accounts, but will instead be held in a centrally managed account and paid out on a reimbursement basis after travel has concluded and once all required receipts/documents are submitted.
  • If itemized meal expenses have been pre-approved as part of your travel plan, then itemized receipts must always be submitted when seeking reimbursement. This applies to all types of travel and hosting.
  • Receipts should be submitted within 30 days of trip completion, unless an earlier deadline is communicated (e.g., fiscal year end deadlines). Failure to submit receipts in a timely manner may result in the denial of the travel award, particularly during fiscal year end deadlines.
  • In all cases, SMTD policies will be at least as strict as University policies, and in some cases SMTD policies may be more restrictive than University policies. This is done to meet the unique financial and operational needs of SMTD. However, SMTD policies will never be less restrictive than University policies.
  • (Travel requested of you by the School (i.e., the Dean has asked you to attend a national conference, or you are on an approved development trip) may follow different guidelines than those listed on this webpage, and those specific guidelines should be discussed with the requesting party and projected expenses approved by the CAO or Dean prior to traveling.)


Airfare Guidelines

  • University policy limits airfare to coach/economy class for most flights unless traveling internationally on a non-stop flight of eight or more hours, for which business class is allowable.
  • Air reservations should be booked at least 14 days in advance when possible.
  • Travelers should select the lowest-priced fare within the bounds of the most logical schedule. (See more information: Airfare and web pricing)
  • Federal regulations require that US carriers be used for both foreign and domestic travel unless one is not available. The Fly America Act Exception Form must be completed and submitted with the expense report if a US carrier is not used.
  • In the event travelers have to change a flight, an explanation is required if the change incurs additional costs. Travelers must state the business reason for the need to alter the flight reservation, and the total cost of the flight should be evaluated and approved as reasonable by the approver on the final expense report submission. Costs associated with flight changes due to personal reasons may not be reimbursed.
  • Boarding passes or e-tickets must be included with your receipts for reimbursement.
  • Collegiate Travel Planners (CTP) offers faculty and staff access to U-M negotiated rates. For additional information, please go to U-M travel & expenses @

Car Rental

  • Only economy/compact/standard class cars are allowable for reimbursement. If the authorized number of SMTD travelers exceeds the capacity of these class vehicles, then an upgrade to the lowest cost vehicle size required may be approved; a list of vehicle occupants must be provided for approval, and all occupants must be SMTD faculty, staff, or students.
  • Whenever possible, reservations should be made through Concur or through an agent-assisted call at (734) 477-6022 or (855) 200-8785. This ensures that proper waivers are met and discounted University rates are applied.
  • Risk Management advises that travelers decline all collision insurance (Loss Damage Waiver or Collision Damage Waiver) on rental vehicles because the University self-insures for commercial rental vehicle loss/damage. However, when traveling to destinations outside the continental US and Canada, Risk Management recommends that travelers accept collision insurance.
  • In the event of an accident while driving a rental vehicle, contact Risk Management for claim handling.
  • Reimbursement will be made for reasonable charges for gasoline. Maintenance and oil changes are the responsibility of the rental company and will not be reimbursed by the university.

Personal Car Mileage – Mileage Reimbursement

At times, a personal vehicle may be used in order to save time, transport equipment, or reduce costs when several people are traveling together on University business travel.

Guidelines for reimbursement:
Effective January 1, 2024 the mileage reimbursement is 67 cents or $0.67 per mile.

  • Mileage reimbursement may not exceed the maximum allowable rate for federally sponsored programs, and is limited to the amount of coach airfare.
  • When claiming mileage in lieu of airfare, a coach class comparison from Concur at least 14 days in advance of the trip is required with the expense report submission.
  • Tolls and reasonable parking charges will be reimbursed in addition to the mileage allowance.
  • The mileage rate for reimbursement accounts for fuel costs as well as wear and tear to a personal vehicle; therefore, costs for fuel or maintenance are not reimbursable
  • When claiming reimbursement for mileage, the following information must be included: date(s) of travel, origin, destination, business purpose, and miles traveled.
  • Origin for business travel is computed from the faculty or staff member’s U-M office location.

Note: When considering whether to drive a personal vehicle or rent a car through Enterprise it is often beneficial to choose the rental car over mileage reimbursement. Depending on distance and length of the trip, renting a car through Enterprise can be the least expensive option. For more information, contact our National Car Rental company. You can also use this tool to evaluate which is less expensive.

Train Travel

The University will reimburse the cost of train fare up to the cost of coach airfare.

Hotel Reservations

  • The University will reimburse lodging expenses at a reasonable standard room rate that would be incurred routinely by a regular business traveler.
  • The traveler should select the least expensive option available, taking into consideration proximity to the business destination and safety.
  • The traveler should inquire about the government rate, the Big Ten consortium rate, or the conference lodging rate and select the lowest available rate.
  • When the hotel or motel is the conference or convention site, reimbursement will be limited to the conference rate, if available.
  • Deluxe rooms, upgraded rooms, suites, and incidentals such as in-room movie rentals will not be reimbursed.

Meals & Hosting Expenses

When hosting an approved business meal (excluding faculty & staff search recruitment meals):

  • Business meals are those taken with guests, colleagues, or donors during which focused business discussions take place. Business meals with vague, unfocused purposes (such as “to foster collaboration between departments”) are not permitted.
  • Itemized receipts are required for all meal purchases
  • You must not exceed the following guidelines:
    • $30 per person for breakfast
    • $30 per person for lunch
    • $70 per person for dinner
    • Expenses in excess of these amounts are not allowable under University guidelines.
  • The above dollar limits include all tax and gratuity.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable from the general fund.

When hosting a faculty or staff search candidate:

  • Meals expenses for job candidates, including faculty and staff, must be preapproved by the Dean or CAO, and can include up to three search committee members.
  • Itemized receipts are required for all meal purchases.
  • You must not exceed the following guidelines:
    • $30 per person for breakfast
    • $30 per person for lunch
    • $70 per person for dinner
  • Expenses in excess of these amounts, unless preapproved by the Dean or Director of Finance & Operations, will be the financial responsibility of the person who incurred the expense.
  • The above dollar limits include all tax and gratuity.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable from the general fund.

Updated on: 1/4/2024