Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Where can I find a information about Concur?
A. Answers to general questions about Concur can be found at http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/acct/travel/tabconcur.html.
Q. Why are we being required to use US Bank charge cards and limiting the vendors we do our travel business with?
A. As a best business practice, we are in the process of moving to a managed travel program that most of our peer institutions have already adopted. Our current process of doing business with multiple travel service providers and paying them in a multitude of ways does not provide the UW any leverage for negotiating prices or consistent service. The intent of the State's program is to limit the number of vendors that we do business with in order to increase our ability to obtain travel spending data, which is necessary to negotiate pricing on airfare, service fees, lodging, and car rental rates in the future. The US Bank charge cards will provide spending data and the capabilities necessary for the automation of expense reporting, reimbursement, and reporting in the future. We aren't able to obtain data from personal credit card spending and it is unreasonable and no longer common practice in the industry to expect travel suppliers to carry accounts receivable and generate paper invoices.
Q. What is the e-Reimbursement system and how is it related to the US Bank Corporate Travel Card?
A. The UW e-Reimbursement system (formerly Automated Travel System) has replaced the paper Travel Expense Report process with an automated web application accessed with your NetID. The e-Reimbursement system has streamlined, simplified, standardized, and automated travel management, and has reduced the cost and time required to process reimbursements and required travel approvals.
Benefits of the e-Reimbursement system:
- Interfaces with the UW-Madison Corporate Travel Card to simplify data entry and to centralize payment of approved travel reimbursements directly to US Bank.
- Simplifies compliance with State travel regulations to minimize errors and corrections and reduce administrative processing time by applying travel policy through automated business rules.
- Streamlines the approval process with online approval, automated email notifications and local receipt retention.
- Provides travel planning for organizational efficiency, budgeting, central travel arranging and optional pre-trip approval, when desired, as well as for travel requiring pre-authorization under State travel policy.
Q. If I apply for a US Bank Corporate Travel Card and use it to pay my airfare do I have to wait until I return from my trip to be reimbursed?
A. No, providing you obtain the appropriate approval and receipt, you may file for reimbursement using e-Reimubursment immediately after booking your airfare.
Q. What if I continue to use my own personal credit card for making travel arrangements? Will the University not reimburse me?
A. We will continue to reimburse your travel costs but use of personal credit cards is something we hope to move away from in the future. By obtaining a My Corporate Card (US Bank Corporate Travel Card) now, you are better positioning yourself to take advantage of the e-Reimbursement ystem used by our campus. Once the web-based e-Reimbursement system is in place, your My Corporate Card charges will be imported into the system and you or your travel arranger will be able to pre-populate your expense report with those charges. Once you complete the paperless expense report, it will be electronically routed through the proper channels with a final stop at our accounting system. The system will pay your My Corporate Card charges that you import to the expense report directly to the bank, and you will not have to personally issue them a payment unless you have charges on the card that were not selected for reimbursement.
Q. Is there another payment mechanism that can be used other than using the My Corporate Card which requires travelers to pay their own way and seek reimbursement? By the time you book your ticket and submit it for reimbursement, months can pass. By that time Visa will have cancelled the card for delinquency.
A. The preferred method of payment will continue to be the My Corporate Card. You may continue to use your personal credit card until you receive your My Corporate Card. If your department has a University of Wisconsin Madison Purchasing Card that is authorized for travel arranging, it may be an option for payment of airfare, lodging, and car rental reservations only. Your Dean/Director's Business Office must approve you to use that form of payment. All other reimbursable expenses must still be paid on a personal liability card and reimbursement claimed through the e-Reimbursement system. The UW-Madison Purchasing Card is an institutional liability card and requires Dean's Office approval and additional training before it can be used for travel related expenses. The decision of whether or not to allow travel on the Purchasing Card is left up to the individual Dean's Offices, since it requires thorough training of administrative staff to oversee card usage and the documentation requirements you are interested in using the Purchasing Card for travel, please check with your Dean/Director's Business Office to see if it is a viable option for your area.
Q. What travel agency should I be using now?
A. Regular business travel can continue to be booked through your choice of travel agencies. The State of Wisconsin currently has two travel agencies under contract. Worldtek Travel has the contract for Athletics travel and Concur for the online booking of airfare.
Q. Are there changes to the policy for in-state lodging or meal maximums with the new contracts?
A. There have been no changes to policy or increases to the meal maximums. Although we are now contracting with in-state lodging facilities, the lodging maximums have not changed. The maximums remain $70.00/night for a single room rate for all counties except Milwaukee, Racine, and Waukesha, where the single room rate limit is $80.00/night. (Rates for lodging were updated July 1, 2008.)
Q. May I use the contracted in-state hotels?
A. Yes, the State of Wisconsin has contracted room rates with about 325 hotels in Wisconsin . UW employees traveling on official state business will stay in contracted hotels whenever possible and remain within the in-state maximum of $70.00/night for a single room rate in all counties with the exception of Milwaukee, Racine, and Waukesha counties, where the rate is $80.00/night for a single room. (Rates for lodging were updated July 1, 2008.) Additionally, when arranging for meetings and conferences the same properties should be used for meeting and conference space whenever possible. Note: You should always give primary consideration to using UW/State facilities.
Q. Must I use the contract hotels for meeting and conference space?
A. You should always give primary consideration to using UW/State facilities when arranging meetings and conferences. When you cannot us a UW/State facility, our contract lodging properties should be used for meeting and conference space whenever possible. The bidding process secured contracted rates for meeting space.
Q. May our contractors and other non-employees use our contracted hotels?
A. Yes. In these cases, the traveler must have a Travel Authorization and Tax Exemption Letter . This letter must be signed by the Department Chair or Business Representative who is acting as host. The traveler must present the letter to the hotel's front desk personnel.
Q. Several of the contract hotels are above the state's maximum. Does this mean employees are automatically approved to stay at these hotels?
A: No. They are on the list as in some cases employees, after exhaustive efforts, are not able to secure a room at or below the state's maximum anywhere near their destination. These hotels provide a very limited opportunity to solve that problem. These hotels, at least for now, provide a ceiling on the rates they can charge the state. These hotels will rarely be used and again, may not be used unless justification and documentation for exceeding maximums found in our travel policies are met.
Q. What do I do if a contract hotel does not offer the contract rate when I properly request it?
A. You should make sure to identify yourself as a University employee or authorized university traveler by using a Travel Authorization and Tax Exemption Letter at check in. Use of the state's US Bank charge card and presenting your university identification should also identify you to the hotel as a business traveler. If you do not receive the contracted rate, you must advise the hotel of the rate when you contact them. Just as these contracts are new to our employees, they are also new to the hotels. The hotel staff answering your telephone call or checking you in at the front desk should know they have a contract with the state and know the exact rate. If you still experience difficulty securing the contract rate, please contact UW Madison's travel e-mail. Travel experts in the Accounting Services office will contact UW System and DOA to work with the hotel to correct the situation. Please note: The state's contracts are for standard rooms. Hotels are not committed by contract to confirm a room for you above their standard room type and they are not required to offer rooms at the contracted rates during blackout periods. Typically blackout dates are during home football weekends, graduation, festivals, etc.