Travel Policy

The following policy governs the use of University funds as they relate to travel. For quick access to common travel resources, see Travel and Expense.

1.00 Purpose of Policy

It is the policy of the University to reimburse faculty, staff, students, visitors and any third-party vendors for travel expenses incurred during approved University business in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Travelers who are planning for University business travel should look for and incur the lowest reasonable travel expense.  They should exercise care to avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety, including the public perception that a business trip has been taken for personal reasons. 

2.00 Scope of Policy

This policy applies to all University travel regardless of the source of funding.  Travelers should prepay most of their travel expenses by using a University P-Card.  If a traveler does not have an individual P-Card, they can use a Departmental P-Card.  (Departmental P-Cards cannot be taken with a traveler on any trip.)  The use of personal funds to pay for travel expenses is strongly discouraged. The University does not classify the commute between the employee's home and his/her primary work location as reimbursable travel.

Department heads or those responsible for the accounts being charged are expected to help ensure that expenses are kept to necessary and reasonable amounts.

Employees are responsible for following this policy and, if applicable, the policy of their particular program, school, department, center or division.

Authorized approvers have primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with this policy. Before approving the expense report, the authorized approver must verify, to the best of his/her knowledge, that expenses and expense reports meet the following criteria:

  • The travel expense was incurred while conducting University business.
  • The information contained on the expense report and in the attached documentation is accurate and in compliance with this policy.
  • The expenditure is charged to the proper account(s).

3.00 Spousal Travel Policy

A spouse (or equivalent) may travel at the University's expense if the spouse's presence has a specific University business purpose.

Under IRS regulations, the travel expenses of a spouse are not taxable, provided it can be established that his or her presence serves a bona fide business purpose. A spouse who attends a function is considered to have a business purpose if he or she has a significant role in the proceedings or makes an important contribution to the success of an event. If a spouse has no significant role in the proceedings, attendance does not constitute a bona fide business purpose. Such expenses are taxable to the employee and therefore may not be reimbursed under this policy.

The Request for Spousal Travel Form must be approved prior to incurring any travel expenses.

4.00 Athletic Travel—Spouse and Other Family Members

Travel by a spouse or equivalent who accompanies the athletic director (or assistant director or head coach) to sporting events such as bowl games and tournaments is presumed to have a bona fide University business purpose (see section 3.00) in situations where the NCAA, MAC or potential donors expect that certain high-ranking members of the athletic department, and their spouses, will participate in events associated with these athletic activities. The travel expenses of a spouse incurred in the pursuit of such activities may be reimbursed provided documentation, such as an NCAA event agenda, is provided to substantiate the business purpose of the travel. Travel expenses incurred by other family members generally do not satisfy the bona fide University business purpose test and therefore are not reimbursable. If a spouse has no significant role in the proceedings, attendance does not constitute a bona fide business purpose. Such expenses are taxable to the employee and therefore may not be reimbursed under this policy.

The Request for Spousal Travel Form must be approved prior to incurring any travel expenses.

5.00 Authorization of Travel

Travel may be authorized and approved in advance by the appropriate person in the department, through a preauthorization request in Chrome River. Such approval indicates that the employee is authorized to travel on official university business and that related travel expenses will be covered per this policy. The preauthorization request should include the estimated expenses, account numbers, and electronic signature of the traveler and approver. Preauthorization does not include cash advances (see section 9.00).

The faculty or staff supervisor is responsible for reviewing the Expense Report for compliance with policy and for providing proper payment documentation. Supervisors are required to review expenditures. In cases where there is reason to believe the expenditures may be inappropriate or extravagant, reimbursement may be withheld. Deans and central administrative offices also review reimbursements and may question expenditures at any time.

Each department is responsible for ensuring that individual travelers and their supervisors properly implement and administer this policy.

6.00 Transportation

6.01 Common Carrier

Reimbursement for travel by air, rail, bus or other common carrier shall not exceed the cost of coach airfare or the economy rate in the chosen method of travel. Travelers should book airline tickets 14 days or more prior to the flight whenever possible as a cost savings to Miami University. A letter of explanation should be attached if the reservation of the airfare was booked less than 14 days prior to the trip. If the tickets are paid for personally, reimbursement will be made after the travel takes place and only for the airfare amount. Finance charges are not reimbursable.

6.01a Frequent Flyer and Travel Rewards

Frequent Flyer Credits and/or Travel Reward Program Points earned by University employees for travel on University business cannot be used for personal travel (see Ohio Ethics Commission advisory opinion no. 91-010). These credits must be applied toward future University travel.

Dues for memberships in travel-related clubs (hotel, air, car, etc.) are not reimbursable.

6.01b Tickets: Seat Selections, Upgrades, and Add-Ons

Purchasing a seat selection is permitted when it is necessary to guarantee your seat on a flight.

Upgrades from Economy tickets (or seat selections into a higher class of ticket) are not reimbursable (nor permitted on the P-Card). Classes of tickets that would be considered an upgrade would include Business Class, Comfort (or Comfort +), and First Class.

Ticket upgrades for travelers with a medical accommodation are permitted and documentation or approval should be included with reconciliations or requests for reimbursement.

6.01c Travel Insurance

Additional travel insurance (medical or trip) for domestic travel is not reimbursable. Travel insurance for domestic travel that is charged to a P-Card will be required to be reimbursed to the University by the traveler or purchaser.

6.02 Travel on Charter Aircraft/Private Aircraft

Employees may travel on chartered or private aircraft with prior approval by the appropriate Vice President. Reimbursement shall not exceed the equivalent of the lowest available common air carrier rate available at the time the travel was authorized plus necessary commercial ground transportation to the travel destination.

6.03 Foreign Travel

Miami University provides foreign liability insurance to protect against general liability exposures, including automobile exposures, occurring in many countries outside the United States. Miami University also makes available health insurance options for faculty, staff, and students when traveling abroad.

6.04 Lost Baggage

The airlines are responsible for compensating the owners for lost baggage. The University will not reimburse travelers for personal items lost while traveling on business.

6.05 Unused, Voided, or Canceled Airline Tickets

Unused airline tickets or flight coupons may have a cash value and therefore must not be discarded or destroyed.

When a trip is canceled after the ticket has been issued, the traveler should ask about using the ticket for future travel. For a small change fee, many tickets can be used for future travel. Please consult with your travel agency.

Unused tickets should not be included with University Travel Expense Reports (see Travel and Expense).

6.06 Personal Automobile

An individual who uses a privately owned vehicle on university business must meet the State of Ohio's insurance requirements for the motor vehicles.

A traveler may be reimbursed for the use of a privately owned automobile at the federal government rate currently in effect. See the IRS Standard Mileage Rates for current rates. The mileage rate will cover all expenses incurred while using your privately owned car. You may choose either reimbursement for mileage or fuel cost (not to exceed the calculated mileage reimbursement) but not both.

When the traveler elects to drive his/her own vehicle, or rent a vehicle, in lieu of using a commercial carrier, reimbursement will be at the approved allowable mileage rate or the applicable coach airfare rate, whichever is lower. 700 miles is the maximum number of miles that will be reimbursed even if the actual mileage exceeds 700 miles. You must obtain flight pricing for the lowest fare available on the travel dates and attach that information as documentation. Claims for meals or lodging for additional travel time cannot be reimbursed. In addition, extra travel time necessitated by the traveler's optional use of private transportation is not considered time worked and must be taken as vacation.

Travelers may be reimbursed for the use of a limousine/car service if the fare does not exceed the maximum allowable mileage reimbursement for two round trips to the appropriate airport/terminal.

When traveling between Miami University or home (point of departure) and another business location (point of destination), the miles reimbursed are calculated as the actual miles driven.

Intra-University Mileage

Reimbursement cannot be made for commuting from home, regardless of the day of the week or the number of trips in a day. You cannot be reimbursed for commuting to your normal workplace under any conditions.

If you normally work at two or more campuses, you can claim the mileage reimbursement from one campus location to the other. This applies on days when you travel to multiple locations. If you do not go to your primary campus location and go directly to your secondary campus location instead, you cannot claim mileage between your home and your secondary campus location.

Reimbursement for the following round trip mileage between campuses will not exceed:

  • Oxford to Hamilton campus: 32 miles
  • Oxford to Middletown campus: 50 miles
  • Hamilton to Middletown campus: 40 miles
  • Oxford to VOA Learning Center: 50 miles
  • Hamilton to VOA Learning Center: 28 miles
  • Middletown to VOA Learning Center: 30 miles

Mileage will be reimbursed during the academic year for faculty, unclassified staff, and graduate students traveling to teach in-load and overload courses on a campus that is not their primary worksite.

Other Local Travel Mileage

Personal automobile travel may be reimbursed between the employee's normal workplace or home and another business location, under the following guidelines:

  • Mileage from a traveler's normal workplace to another business location and returning to the normal workplace is reimbursable for the entire roundtrip (see example 1 below).
  • Mileage to intermediary business locations during the traveler's commute is reimbursable. The reimbursable mileage will not include the normal commute to and from work (see example 2 below).
  • Mileage from home to another business location is reimbursable but cannot exceed the amount reimbursed if the traveler had departed from the workplace (see examples 3 and 4 below).
  • Mileage is not reimbursed for part-time faculty, or off-campus (non-university) personnel teaching on enrollment contingent contracts.
  • Mileage is not reimbursed for travel among campuses for instruction during the summer sessions.
  • Mileage reimbursement for carpooling is only eligible for the driver.

A record must be kept of the dates driven to the campus.  Employees must file a Travel Expense Report in Chrome River in order to receive reimbursement.  The IRS requires that reimbursements for mileage must be submitted no later than 60 days after the date of travel. Mileage may be submitted on a monthly or bi-monthly basis to ensure IRS deadlines are met.

Mileage Examples

  1. An employee whose primary worksite is the Oxford campus travels from Oxford campus to a meeting at the Hamilton campus and returns to the Oxford campus. The eligible reimbursement will be the entire roundtrip to and from the Hamilton campus, 32 miles.
  2. An employee travels from their home in Cincinnati to the Oxford campus. Along the way, the employee stops at a print shop in Hamilton to pick up a print order for their department. The reimbursement would be calculated by taking the total mileage for this trip and subtracting the employee's normal daily commute mileage.
    • 60 miles round trip = total mileage for picking up printing
    • -45 miles round trip = total mileage from Cincinnati (home) to Oxford (work)
    • 15 miles will be reimbursed.
  3. An employee whose primary worksite is the Oxford campus travels 20 miles roundtrip from their home in Cincinnati to a business location in Cincinnati and returns home. Since the mileage is less from the travelers home than the mileage from the Oxford campus the eligible reimbursement will be the entire roundtrip, 20 miles.
  4. An employee whose primary worksite is the Middletown campus travels 98 miles roundtrip from their home in Cincinnati to a business location in Dayton and returns home. Since the mileage is greater from the travelers home than the mileage from the Middletown campus the eligible reimbursement will be the roundtrip from the Middletown campus, 52 miles.

6.07 Rental Vehicles

Rental car reservations must be made to an approved vehicle rental agency. If you book a rental vehicle through an unapproved agency, you must prove due diligence. Documentation could be a screengrab from an approved agency that shows no availability at the pickup/drop-off location or similar documentation.

7.00 Lodging, Meals and Incidentals

7.01 Allowable Lodging Expense

Hotel expenses will be paid only when the destination is further than 60 miles from the traveler's primary University worksite. Allowable cost for the room is the single room rate plus tax unless the other party is also on authorized University travel. If the lodging receipt states multiple occupancy, the traveler must indicate either the single room rate on the receipt or provide the name(s) of the University traveler(s) sharing the lodging. If all occupants are on approved university travel and under the same funding source, only one charge should be submitted on a travel expense report. The traveler's P-Card is the preferred method of payment for hotel expenses.

Travelers should obtain a current State of Ohio sales tax-exempt form for all in-state travel. Miami University is also Tax Exempt in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Texas. See tax exemption forms for the status for each state.

Cost of lodging of members of the traveler's family is not reimbursable.

Most personal expenses incurred while traveling will not be reimbursed. These charges must be paid out-of-pocket at checkout and are not permitted on a P-Card. Hotel-related expenses not reimbursed include:

  • In-room movies/video rentals
  • Newspapers
  • In-room alcoholic beverages or snack bar items
  • Babysitting
  • Recreational activities
  • Other personal items (i.e. spa charges, meals at hotel)

Travelers will be reimbursed for business-related telephone, fax, copying, computer connections and other necessary business costs.

Travelers can be reimbursed for laundry, dry cleaning and pressing if the employee is on continuous travel status in excess of one week without returning home.

7.02 Lodging in a Private Residence

Travelers who stay in a private residence with relatives or friends while on business will be reimbursed $25 per night for reasonable, actual expenses incurred to extend appreciation to friends or relatives for their hospitality. This private residence cannot be owned by the traveler, traveler's spouse or domestic partner. Name and addresses of those individuals providing hospitality are required on the travel expense report for proper reimbursement to the traveler.

7.03 Non-Traditional Lodging

Before making arrangements for accommodations for your trip, please make sure to review University policy for Non-Traditional Lodging.

7.04 Meals, Tips and Incidental Expenses

The University will reimburse meals at the IRS standard per diem rate, which varies by city. According to the IRS, if you travel to more than one location in one day, use the rate in effect for the area where you stop for sleep or rest. The per diem allowance includes reimbursement for incidental expenses such as fees and tips for porters, baggage carriers, house-cleaning and bellhops.

7.05 Meals in the Continental U.S.

The Continental United States (CONUS) standard per diem rate for meal and incidental expenses (M and IE) applies to all locations not specifically identified as having a higher per diem rate. Access current federal per diem rates.

Consistent with IRS regulations, employees may not be reimbursed for meal expenses unless traveling on overnight status. (See Internal Revenue Code Section #274 and Ohio Revised Code Section Section 126-1-02-7-D.) When the traveler is off-campus on one-day trips, meal expenses are the responsibility of the traveler, regardless of the number of hours traveling.

Meal allowances and incidental expenses may be reimbursed when the traveler is on authorized travel status. The traveler will receive 75% of meal per diem for first and last day of travel.

Actual and reasonable expenses for a qualified business meal may be claimed for the traveler with non-employees of the university. Appropriate documentation (itemized receipt with business purpose, persons in attendance, amount, date, etc.) is required. See the Hosting Policy and Procedures for reimbursement rates.

When meals are included in a conference registration or provided as part of a hotel stay, no reimbursement for those meals will be permitted as part of the per diem rate.

A traveler may opt for reimbursement of the actual cost of out-of-pocket personal meals versus using the per diem (not to exceed federal per diem guidelines). Tips are reimbursable up to 20% of meal cost. Alcohol cannot be reimbursed unless the traveler is hosting and has both departmental approval and a discretionary account to which the charge can be billed. Original, detailed receipts are required for proper reimbursement.

When requesting a Cash Advance for Per Diem, the rates estimated in Chrome River are based on Federal Per Diem Rates at the time the request is made and may change by the time the travel actually takes place.  The IRS sets all Per Diem rates and they are subject to change at any time.  If the actual Per Diem rate at the time of travel is different than when it is requested, only the actual amount set by the IRS for the actual travel dates will be honored.  If the amount is less than when the original request was made, the traveler may be required to reimburse Miami University for the difference. 

7.06 Meals Outside the Continental U.S.

The maximum per diem rates for travel in foreign localities, based on the worldwide lodgings-plus system, are those established by the Secretary of State.

When requesting a Cash Advance for Per Diem, the rates estimated in Chrome River are based on Federal Per Diem Rates at the time the request is made and may change by the time the travel actually takes place.  The IRS sets all Per Diem rates and they are subject to change at any time.  If the actual Per Diem rate at the time of travel is different than when it is requested, only the actual amount set by the IRS for the actual travel dates will be honored.  If the amount is less than when the original request was made, the traveler may be required to reimburse Miami University for the difference. 

7.07 Incidental Expenses

The University uses the IRS definition of the term "incidental expenses", meaning fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, hotel staff, and staff on ships. This applies to domestic and foreign travel.

7.08 Miscellaneous Business Expenses

Reimbursable miscellaneous expenses incurred while on University business include:

  • Business office expenses (fax, copy services, telegrams, etc.)
  • Business phone calls (list # and the purpose on the report)
  • Conference fees (include original paid receipt)
  • Gasoline (if mileage allowance is not claimed)
  • Ground transportation (taxi, bus, subway, etc.)
  • Parking and tolls
  • Overnight delivery/postage
  • Currency conversions

7.09 Miscellaneous Personal Expenses

Reimbursement is authorized for reasonable miscellaneous living expenses, including laundry, dry cleaning, personal telephone calls, postage, and other expenses if the traveler is in overnight lodging for more than one week including a weekend. One personal telephone call of short duration will be reimbursed for trips of one week or less. Two personal calls of short duration per week will be reimbursed if travel exceeds one week.

8.00 Reporting and Documentation of Expenses

It is the responsibility of the traveler and their department to submit, correct and complete Travel Expense Reports (for details, see Travel and Expense). Travel expenses must be reported in Chrome River on a travel expense report.

You can find step-by-step tutorials on how to create Travel and Expense Reports in Chrome River by viewing our Chrome River Tutorials section of the Accounts Payable Website. These short videos will take you through building an expense report for either Business or Travel expenses (including Travel PCard expenses and reimbursement).

The University requires the traveler to attach the documentation in Chrome River to substantiate expenses if not prepaid by the University's credit card for:

  • Air/Rail: Passenger Receipt or e-ticket itinerary, not an e-ticket confirmation.
  • Hotel: Original zero balance itemized hotel bill providing proof of payment in the traveler's name.
  • Car Rental: Original car rental receipt providing proof of payment.
  • Meals: Meal receipts while in travel status, if entertaining or claiming actual receipts.
  • Registration: Original receipt showing proof of payment.

8.01 Missing Receipts

You generally must have documentary evidence, such as receipts, canceled checks, or credit card statements to support your trip expenses that are over $75 each.

Exception: Documentary evidence is not needed if any of the following conditions apply:

  • You have meals while traveling away from home for which you account to your employer under an accountable plan, and you use a Per Diem allowance method that includes meals and/or lodging. Per Diem is compensated based on rates set by the federal government and are determined by date and location.
  • Individual expenses for the trip, other than lodging, are less than $75 each.
  • You have a transportation expense for which a receipt is not readily available and is less than $75.

Documentary evidence is required for all P-Card transactions regardless of the dollar value.  Travelers and P-Card holders can use Chrome River’s SNAP application to quickly upload receipts to their eWallet receipt gallery. (The SNAP app is available on iOS and Android devices.)

8.02 Timely Return of Receipts

Since the IRS has determined that 60 days is a Reasonable Period of Time to document travel expenses, this deadline will be strictly enforced. Failure to meet the required deadlines may result in the travel reimbursement becoming taxable income to the traveler. Any travel-related expenses paid for personally, reimbursement will be made after the travel takes place and only for the expense amount. Finance charges are not reimbursable.

8.03 International Travel

When international travel occurs and currency conversions are involved, original receipts must be turned in for reimbursement. It is suggested that a credit card statement accompany the receipts to show accurate costs. If the traveler decides to make their own conversions, the exchange receipts should be turned in with the expense receipts. Accounts Payable maintains a link to the exchange rates of foreign currency. If an international travel is turned in without any conversions, the Accounts Payable office will make the conversions.

9.00 Cash Advances

Cash advances are available for student field trips, team travel, workshops, and special circumstances when all other payment methods are exhausted. An authorization and a request for a cash advance will need to be entered by the traveler in Chrome River. Upon return, travelers are required to complete an expense report in Chrome River alleviating the cash advance with the documentation and the purpose of the expenses. If there are unused funds, employees must provide a personal check payable to Miami University for the difference between the cash advance amount and the receipts. Any expenses over the cash advance can be reimbursed with departmental approval.

Cash Advances must be requested at least 7 days prior to leaving on your trip. You cannot receive the funds more than 14 days before leaving on your trip. You can only have one cash advance at a time.

There are three methods for receiving a Cash Advance:

  1. Check or Direct Deposit
  2. Pre-paid Visa Debit Cards
  3. Bank transfer via Zelle (Intercollegiate Athletics Travel Only)

For further information regarding Zelle, please visit the website of the Office of Investments and Treasury Services (

The Accounts Payable office will give cash advances for the following types of circumstances and the amounts you can receive:

Minimum and Maximum Cash Advance Amounts
Purpose Minimum Maximum
Human Research Subjects $50 $2,000
Special Circumstances (with proper approval) $250 $5,000
Student Organizations $50 $1,000
Athletic Team Travel $250 $5,000
Workshop Foreign Travel $250 $9,999

All cash advances are subject to review and approval by the Controller's Office. The traveler is required to sign a cash advance agreement and attach the form when entering their request for cash advance in Chrome River. Cash Advance via Zelle requires a Zelle-specific Cash Advance Agreement. You can find the form here: 

Documentation of cash advance expenditures of workshop funds is subject to the same rules and regulations as all other University travel expenditures.

Workshop cash advances are subject to the provisions of Internal Revenue Code Section 62(C).

  • Cash advances must be documented and reported within thirty (30) days after the expenses are incurred (last day of workshop).
  • Original receipts are required for every dollar spent (excluding per diem).
  • Documentation must be included to verify the currency exchange rate for foreign travel (credit card receipt, bank memo, etc.).
  • Any advance amounts in excess of substantiated expenses must be returned to the University within thirty (30) days after the expenses are incurred (last day of the workshop).

In accordance with these IRS regulations, failure to comply with the above timetable will result in the cash advance amount being submitted to the University's Payroll Office for inclusion as additional income on the employee's wage and tax statement (W-2 form).

10.00 Workshop P-Cards and Expenses

The Workshop P-Card is a Visa credit card that gives access to a credit line set up with a
specific amount of funds to meet various workshop expenses. The P-Card is issued to pay for
authorized workshop related expenses except for those that have to be paid in cash.
Any expenses that will require cash transactions should be requested separately as a Cash
Advance. No checks are actually provided. The P-Card can be used to pay authorized
workshop expenses.

Visit our Workshop page for additional information on Workshop P-Cards & Expenses.