Business Travel

Travelers are encouraged to use the UC Travel Center to make travel arrangements for your Business Trip.  The UC Travel Center offers discounts and negotiated contract rates with several air carriers to those flying on University business. Travelers are also eligible for state rates, which apply to government travelers.

UCLA Travel Center
(310) 206-2639 or (800) 235-UCLA (8252)
UCLA Travel Guidelines

Departmental Response Times:

Your dedicated staff will respond within 48 hours from the time they receive your request.

UCLA Travel Accounting Response Times (Travel Reimbursements):

It generally takes UCLA Travel Accounting 4-6 weeks to process payments on all orders and reimbursements.  Please plan events and notify your vendors well in advance to avoid penalties or disallowances. 

Direct Billed Airfare:

Travelers can book airfare through the UC Travel Center and have the charges direct billed to a university fund source. Advantages to using this system include avoiding out-of-pocket expenses and discounted fares.

Travelers interested in arranging direct billed airfare need to complete the following steps:

  • Book your airfare through the UCLA Travel Center and specify that you want the expense direct billed to your grant/contract at time of booking.
  • Have the Travel representative email the itinerary to your assigned fund manager.
  • Contact your assigned fund manager and provide the following information:
    1. Fund source for payment
    2. Business Justification for travel
    3. Full legal name as it appears on passport
    4. Employee ID number
    5. UCLA email address
    6. Phone number
    7. Whether you are a US citizen or Perm Resident?
    8. Date of Birth
    9. Frequent flyer number (if applicable)
  • Your assigned fund manager will create a PTA and send it to the Travel Center.
  • The Travel Center will issue your ticket.
  • There will be a $32 processing fee assessed by Travel Accounting.

Purchasing Airfare with Personal funds:

University travelers can purchase airfare on their own using personal funds. Travelers are required to purchase coach/economy airfare. Please contact your assigned fund manager prior to booking. Airfare cannot be reimbursed in advance of a trip. Once the trip is completed, the traveler must submit a travel reimbursement form to Financial Services within 21 days of the completed trip.

*Use of business or first-class or other higher-cost services (i.e. priority boarding or early check-in) may be authorized under special circumstances. Please contact your assigned fund manager for further information.

For more information on air travel, please visit


Original, itemized receipts for all lodging expenses, as well as any entertainment expenditures included in the lodging claim are required for reimbursement.

Business travel lodging is reimbursable when the site is over a 40-mile radius from the traveler’s residence or office. Hotel costs must be reasonable.

The University has negotiated special rates at two nationwide hotel chains: Marriott and Starwood. All University travelers are welcome to use these rates when traveling.

Please visit this link for more information:

Continental US Lodging Expenses – CAP of $275 per night.

  1. This rate does NOT include room tax or other hotel fees.
  2. If a higher room rate is secured, additional documentation is needed to justify the rate.  Justification includes price comparisons for 3-4 hotels in the same area as the meeting. Price comparisons need to be found at time of booking and included with the travel reimbursement request.
  3. Travelers attending conference where the prearranged conference lodging rate exceeds the $275 per night cap do NOT need to request exceptional approval.

Internet Package Deals:

Many Internet booking agencies, such as Expedia and Orbitz, offer discounts on package deals that include a combination of travel expenses purchases together (such as airfare and lodging).

UCLA cannot reimburse for travel package deals if the breakdown of all expenses and applicable taxes (such as airfare, airfare tax, room rate per night, and room tax per night) cannot be provided by the vendor. The IRS requires that receipts provide a certain amount of detail, and if that detail is not provided by the vendor, IRS requirements have not been met.

Domestic Meals & Incidental Expenses:

Domestic meals and incidental expenses are reimbursable for travelers who have been on travel status for at least 24 hours and include an overnight stay verified by a lodging receipt. Original receipts are required for meals and incidental expenses claimed under the travel policy.

The daily maximum Meals & Incidental Expenses limit is $62 per day.

The domestic meals and incidental expenses cap is not to be treated as a per diem. No exceptions shall be made to the Meals & IE cap.

Please see link for further information:


Transportation expenses should be incurred based on the most economic mode of transportation and the most commonly traveled route consistent with the business purpose of the trip. Common transportation expenses are car rental, personal car mileage, bridge and road tolls, taxi, and public transportation.

Car Rental

The University has preferred agreements with three rental car agencies for travelers on University business. Cars may be booked through the UC Travel Center, online, or directly with rental agency. Car rentals are restricted to economy class vehicles. Any additional insurance purchased is not reimbursable and will be at the cost of the traveler.

Personal Car

Privately-owned vehicles are allowed to be used for official university business. Travelers may claim mileage for travel actually incurred either en route to and from the travel destination. Travelers may also claim mileage to and from a common carrier terminal (this does not include mileage between home and the University.)

Other Transportation Costs

Examples of other transportation costs include: parking, tolls, bus, taxi, subway, shuttle, rail, Uber. Please keep original receipts for reimbursement after the trip is completed.

Other Travel Expenses:

Miscellaneous expenses are reimbursable when they are ordinary and necessary to accomplish the official business purpose of a trip. Examples of miscellaneous expenses include: business office expenses, registration fees, and airlines baggage charges. These expenses will be reimbursed after completion of the trip.

*It may be possible to prepay registration fees if the request is submitted to Financial Services at least 3 weeks prior to the event. Please contact your assigned fund manager for additional information.

Foreign Per Diem:

Per Diem refers to payment in lieu of reimbursement of actual subsistence expenses for travelers on University business. It is provided only for travel outside of the continental United States or for travel lasting 30 days or more. (Hawaii, Alaska and U.S. possessions are subject to foreign per diem rates, because they are outside of the continental U.S.)

Please refer to the U.S. Department of State Foreign Per Diem Rates for more information.

Travel for 30 consecutive days or longer:

Please contact your assigned fund manager to discuss your travel plans prior to planning your trip.

Travel Reimbursements

University travelers can request reimbursements for travel expenses after the business trip is completed. All travel reimbursement requests must be submitted to Financial Services within 21 days of the completed trip.

For travel reimbursements submitted after 60 days of the travel or event, the total amount of travel expenses may be imputed as income to the employee on the employee’s W2 unless there is a reasonable justification for the late submission. In all cases, if the submission is made more than 6 months after the end of the trip or event, income will be imputed on the employee’s W-2.

How to Claim Reimbursement:

Please submit all required documents including the completed Travel Reimbursement Form and the itemized receipts to your assigned fund manager as soon as travel status is completed. Please be sure to provide the business justification for the trip and fund source for payment.

Required Documentation for Travel Reimbursements:


  • Original e-ticket receipt or printed ticket with itinerary information
  • Proof of payment


  • Original, itemized receipt showing a zero balance due
  • Proof of payment
  • Please refer to section about internet package deals
  • Please visit this link for more information:

Meals & Incidental Expenses:

  • The daily maximum Meals & IE limit is $62 per day. (rates as of October 15, 2017)
  • Original receipt(s)
  • Meals and incidental expenses are reimbursable for travelers on travel status for at least 24 hours or the travel included an overnight stay.
  • The Meals & IE limit is based on actual costs; the cap should not be treated as a per diem.
  • Alcoholic beverages may not be charged to State or Federal Funds.


Car Rental

  • Original, itemized receipt
  • Proof of payment
  • Gas receipts are reimbursable when a rental car is used
  • Additional insurance is not reimbursable

Personal Car

  • Only mileage can be reimbursed
  • Origination and destination addresses must be provided
  • Google Map route information for each leg of trip
  • Current Mileage rate is 58 cents per mile. (*rates as of January 1, 2019)

Other Transportation

  • Examples of other transportation costs include: parking, tolls, bus, taxi, subway, shuttle, rail, Uber.
  • Original, itemized receipts are required
  • Proof of payment

Other Travel Expenses:

Business Office Expenses

  • Includes expenses such as phone, fax, internet connectivity
  • Original, itemized receipts
  • Proof of payment

Registration Fees

  • Complete registration form
  • Original, itemized receipt
  • Proof of payment

Airline Baggage Charges:

  • Original, itemized receipt
  • Proof of payment

Foreign Per Diem:

  • Receipts are not required for meals and lodging
  • Indicate location and foreign per diem rate per day of trip. You can find rates at this link.
  • Airfare itinerary or PTA number
  • Travelers seeking reimbursement of actual costs in lieu of foreign per diem must provide original itemized receipts and proof of payments.
  • Combination of foreign and actual costs is not allowed within the same expense type.

Entertainment while on Travel Status:

  • Original, itemized receipt
  • Proof of payment
  • Type of expense (breakfast, lunch, dinner, refreshment)
  • Attendee list to include name, title/occupation, and affiliation of participants
  • Date and location of event
  • Name of the official host
  • Purpose of the entertainment expense while on travel status

* When original receipts are required but cannot be obtained or have been lost and all measures to obtain a duplicate have been exhausted, a statement should be provided explaining why such receipts are not being submitted with the expense report. The statement must include a certification that the amount shown is the amount actually paid and that the traveler has not and will not seek reimbursement from any other source.

Non-Reimbursable Travel Expenses

As outlined by UC Policy G-28, the following list includes a brief summary of non-reimbursable expenses:

  • Airfare issued by non-U.S. carrier
  • First class airfare
  • Personal telephone calls
  • Third party expenses (e.g., buying ticket and paying hotel/airfare and other expense on behalf of others)
  • Out-of-route costs (e.g., a connecting flight/deviation from direct route for a personal business) – reimbursable expenses shall not exceed the cost of hotels, meals, and other expenses that would have been incurred on a direct route to the UCLA business destination.
  • Internet package deals- see section in Business Travel section above
  • T&E Card Late Fees are not reimbursable
  • Others – any other costs determined to be unreasonable or which are disallowed by University guidelines.
  • Meals when travel is less than 24 hours and does not involve hotel stay.

Travel Insurance

All University travelers, including employees, faculty and students, are covered worldwide, 24 hours a day, for a variety of accidents and incidents while on business travel status. The coverage includes accidental death and dismemberment. The coverage also includes travel assistance services when the traveler is 100+ miles from his or her home or headquarters, such as emergency medical evacuation, out-of-country medical expenses, loss of personal effects, security extraction and repatriation of remains.

The carrier, ACE USA, is highly rated and provides insurance products and services throughout the U.S. and around the world. In addition, ACE works with iJet Intelligent Risk Systems to provide travelers with practical destination intelligence and real-time travel alerts.

Booking travel through Connexxus automatically enrolls the traveler in the insurance program for travel outside of California; otherwise the traveler must register their trip on the UC Trips website and complete the Traveler Insurance form before an out-of-state trip occurs. Registration is not required for travel within California as coverage is automatic.


Business meals and entertainment expenditures in all instances must clearly identify the benefit to the University even when unrestricted funds are being used. University policy requires that documentation for entertainment should include a business purpose, cost, attendee list, and itemized receipts for reimbursement. In addition, the expenditure of funds for entertainment should be cost effective and in accordance with the best use of public funds.

How to Place Entertainment Food orders:

  1. Talk to your fund manager regarding funding issues. If you plan to have alcohol, you will need to confirm that the funding source does not prohibit it.
  1. Check with your fund manager to see if the vendor you want to use is set up in the system. If not, you will need to obtain and submit a W9 form from the vendor to your fund manager at least 2 weeks prior to the event.  NO EXCEPTION.  Otherwise, we will not be able to pay them.  (We prefer UCLA Catering, but they usually need at least 1 week advance notice.)
  1. Once you have confirmed that the vendor is set up in the system, you may place the order. Below are the maximum allowed meal rates per person, inclusive of all food and drinks.

Breakfast: $27
Lunch: $47
Dinner: $81
Light Refreshments: $19

If the vendor requires a signed agreement, please do not sign anything.  Only the central Purchasing office is authorized to sign purchasing agreements on behalf of the University. Your fund manager will have to submit the request to the Purchasing office.

  1. Ask for a quote, and email it to your fund manager for a Purchase Order (PO). Include in the email at least:
    1. Name of the event
    2. Event date, time, location
    3. On-site contact name and phone/cell number
  1. You email the PO to the vendor directly and coordinate the order and delivery.
  1. If you’re using a different vendor for drinks, same procedure as above.
  1. At the event: Provide a sign-in sheet at the event if you do not have online registration.  We need to provide names, affiliations, and role/title.  (Ex: Joe Bruin, UCLA Urban Planning, Grad Student.)  Please number the list.
  1. After the event, within 5 days:
    • Scan and email your fund manager with the following:
      1. Invoice
      2. Guest List (please number and alphabetize them)
      3. Event Flyer or Announcement
      4. Entertainment Worksheet
      5. Submit the original Invoice to the fund manager
  1. If you used more than 1 vendor for the same event (i.e. food, drinks, etc), you will need to submit ALL invoices related to the event at the same time as we will need to reference them each. The total cost of the event will need to include all expenses.

How to Claim an Entertainment Reimbursement:
Please submit all required documents including the completed Entertainment Reimbursement Form and the itemized receipts to your assigned fund manager as soon as the event or travel status is completed. Please be sure to provide the business purpose for the event or meeting, and fund source for payment.

Required Documentation:

  • Original, itemized receipt (credit card receipt is not sufficient for reimbursement)
  • Proof of payment
  • Type of Expense (breakfast, lunch, dinner, refreshment)
  • Type of Event (workshop, conference, staff recognition, etc.)
  • Purpose of the event or main agenda topic
  • Attendee list to include name, title/occupation, and affiliation of participants
  • Date and location of event
  • Name of the official host

Maximum per Person Rates:

Breakfast: $27
Lunch: $47
Dinner: $81
Light Refreshments: $19

*rates as of January 1, 2016
Faculty Center and Other Meeting Locations on Campus:
Business or professional events (room rental, catering, etc.) may be arranged using a pre-approved departmental account number. Please contact your assigned fund manager for further information.

Meal Overages:

If the cost per person exceeds the above allowance, exceptional approval is required.

Please provide a justification, which includes a statement as to why the higher costs were unavoidable and necessary to achieve a university business purpose. The fact that actual costs exceeded the authorized rates is not in itself adequate justification for a higher reimbursement rate. Overages that are 200% or greater over the limit require additional approval by the Chancellor. Financial Services will submit requests requiring the Chancellor’s approval only in rare circumstances.

Attendance by spouse or partner:

If a spouse or significant other attends, exceptional approval is required. Provide the University business reason for their attendance. Entertainment expenses for a spouse or for a guest are not considered eligible for payment unless the spouse or partner has a significant role in the event or makes an important contribution to the event. Official functions to which spouses or partners are invited as a matter of protocol – such as fundraising events or alumni gatherings – are examples of events at which the presence of a spouse or partner may contribute to the University’s mission.

A letter of exception is required to facilitate any requests for exceptional approval. Please submit the letter to Financial Services, which will then forward it on to obtain the necessary campus approval.


Travel Policy & Resources