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Travel Reimbursement Procedures

Travel Reimbursement Guidelines related to COVID-19 Cancellations

Due to current travel restrictions, this information will assist you with the reimbursement process and aid SDSU in recovering already expended funds.  

Conference or other business related activity has been canceled:

  1. Cancel all travel arrangements immediately.
  2. Request refunds for all expenses that have been prepaid in order to minimize cost.
    1. Reasonable efforts should be made to request refunds particularly when the conference/event has already been canceled or likely will be canceled 
    2. Contact conference/event organizers for registration and deposit refunds
    3. Contact hotels for deposit refund 
    4. Contact the airline or local travel agent for airfare credit or refund (see additional airline information below)
      1. If airline reservations were made using our campus airline credit card, contact the travel agent who will contact the airlines and handle the refunds/credits for you.
        1. If refunded, the funds will be reimbursed to your fund 
        2. If a credit is obtained, our travel agents will monitor the credit to be used for a future business trip
      2. If airline reservations were made through a third party vendor using personal funds see 4. under ‘a refund was received..) and (see additional airline information below)
  3. Collect documentation to confirm the cancellation. Can be an email thread with conference organizer/airline/travel agent showing:
      1. Your request to cancel your registration/program/flight/etc. and
      2. Confirmation from the conference organizers/airline of your cancellation
      3. With specification of the refund amount or
      4. Confirmation there is no refund
  4. Notify Robin Hendricks via email if the trip has been canceled.  A notation will be made on the OSTR for tracking purposes. 

A refund was received for canceled travel:

  1. If the expense was paid directly by the university OR has already been reimbursed to you by the university then the funds must be deposited back to the university fund where the expense was charged. 
  2. If the refund was deposited into your personal account or is in the form of a check payable to you, write a check payable to “South Dakota State University” and give to your department finance staff for deposit into your University fund.
  3. For airline reservations made using our campus airline credit card, our travel agent will handle the refunds/credits for you.
    1. If refunded, the funds will be reimbursed to your fund 
    2. If a credit is obtained, our travel agents will monitor the credit to be used for a future university related business trip
  4. If you receive reimbursement from the university for a canceled flight AND also receive an airfare credit for future travel:
    1. It is the responsibility of both the traveler and the department to ensure the credit will be used for university-related business within the time period designated by the airline (see airline information below) 
    2. IF a university-related business trip will not occur within the designated time frame AND the employee uses the credit for a personal trip, the employee will reimburse SDSU for the value of that credit 

Reimbursement Procedures:

  1. After following the above guidelines, submit a travel reimbursement voucher, following current procedures along with these additional steps:
    1. Use Activity Code 3ZCOVD when submitting travel reimbursements related to canceled travel due to COVID-19
      1. Use your department FOAP
      2. If your Index already has an Activity Code assigned, do not enter the Index but rather the Fund, Org, Account, Program and 3ZCOVD
      3. Travel expenses associated with grant/sponsored projects funding may be charged to the grant, during these extenuating circumstances. If later deemed unallowable, they will be moved to unrestricted funds (See 2 below)
    2. Add the following statement to the travel voucher IF you purchased airfare using personal funds AND are receiving an airline credit
      1. “The airfare credit will be used for future business. If I do not have a business trip, within the allowed credit timeframe, I may reimburse SDSU and use the credit for personal travel. If the credit expires, therefore not used for either business or personal travel, no reimbursement is required”
      2. Following normal procedure, the employee and supervisor sign the perjury statement on the travel voucher
      3. Department and Accounts Payable will track these credits and the reuse on future business travel or the loss to the university 
    3. Only request reimbursement for those expenses that you will not personally receive a refund for
    4. Make clear notation of reason for cancellation/reimbursement (COVID-19)
    5. Include all documentation relating to your cancellation/refund requests
    6. Provide proof of payment
    7. Be cognizant of airline deadlines for using airline credit for future business
    8. If you were already reimbursed for prepayments related to your canceled travel, department finance staff should forward the same information as noted above and reference the Banner document(s) used for those payments. This will allow Accounts Payable to track all expenses related to COVID-19 and any refunds/airline credits received thus far
  2. If travel is related to a grant/sponsored project: 
    1. Follow these guidelines for canceled travel related to COVID-19
    2. If you receive credit for future travel rather than a refund, the current reimbursement must be paid from another source of funding
    3. If you later use the credit on travel for a sponsored project, the cost may be transferred back to the project
    4. Direct questions to Jill O’Neil, in Grants and Contracts Administration, at 605-688-6092

At this time, all future university airfare and other prepayments should be made directly using SDSU funds and not with personal funds. This allows SDSU to directly receive and track all potential refunds and/or credits.

Continue to follow all other state and university travel procedures.

Direct questions to Janet Peterson at 605-688-4728. 

Airfare Cancellation Information:

Below you will find current information for each airline, as provided by our local travel agency. Policies are constantly changing so either contact your travel agent or refer directly to the site (Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, etc.) you purchased your airfare from. The information below may apply to the tickets booked through a third-party vendor but it is recommended you also research their site directly.  At this time the only tickets eligible for a refund are those canceled directly by the airlines.

When should I cancel my flight?  

If you are set to travel before April 30, you can call at any time to cancel your flight as those trips are covered by the current airline waivers. If your trip is on May 1 or after, hold off cancelling at this time because cancelling now would be subject to a $200 change fee but could potentially be waived at a later time. Flights can be canceled up to 24 hours before departure.

Delta Airlines:

  • No Change Fees For All Tickets Purchased Between March 1-31, 2020
    • Affected Customers: All Tickets Purchased between March 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020
    • Impacted Travel Date(s): March 1, 2020 - February 25, 2021
    • Ticket Can Be Changed One-Time to an Alternate Itinerary. Must Be Re-issued On/Before: February 28, 2021
    • Rebooked Travel Must Begin No Later Than: February 28, 2021
  • No Change Fees for Customers Scheduled to Travel March 1 – April 30, 2020
    • Affected Customers: All Tickets Issued on or before March 9, 2020
    • Impacted Travel Date(s): March 1, 2020 – April 30, 2020
    • New Ticket Must Be Re-issued On/Before: Dec 31, 2020
    • Rebooked Travel Must Begin No Later Than: Dec 31, 2020

United Airlines:

  • All change fees waived for tickets issued on or before March 2, 2020
    • Original travel dates
    • March 9, 2020 - April 30, 2020
    • Flight changes:
    • New tickets must be reissued on/before December 31, 2020 or 12 months from original ticket date, whichever is earlier
    • Rebooked travel must commence within 12 months from the original ticket issue date
    • Original ticket must be issued on or before: March 2, 2020
  • Additional flexibility for customers – Tickets Purchased Between March 3–21, 2020
    • We know people are taking a second look at their travel plans right now, and we want you to have flexibility when planning your next trip — that's why when you book a flight with us between March 3 and March 31, 2020, you can change it for free over the next 12 months.

American Airlines:

  • No change fee if you bought your ticket before March 1
    • The change fee is waived if you:
      • Booked an American Airlines flight
      • Bought your ticket on or before March 1, 2020
      • Are scheduled to travel March 1 - April 30, 2020
      • Can travel March 1 - December 31, 2020 or within 1 year of date the ticket was issued, whichever is earlier
    • Keep in mind, you may owe any difference in ticket price when you rebook your trip.
    • You’re allowed to make changes to your trip once. You can change it now, or cancel and rebook later.
    • Keep in mind:
      • Travel must start by December 31, 2020 or within 1 year of date the ticket was issued, whichever is earlier.
      • The change fee will be waived but you may still owe any difference in ticket price when you rebook your trip.