CSTE is committed to ensuring accessibility for all sponsored travelers to support services and welcome an open dialogue to understand individual needs. All sponsored travelers are afforded equal opportunity to perform travel for CSTE related business even if the travel costs exceed policy for an accessibility accommodation. For additional information on accessibility accommodations and how to contact the CSTE National Office to ensure accommodations are met, please visit Accessibility.
BCD World Travel is the official travel agent for CSTE, and all airline reservations must be made through BCD World Travel either online or by phone. Reservations can be made for the sponsored traveler only. Reservations for family members and/or companions cannot be made through BCD World Travel. If you are needing to reserve air travel with a companion, please contact [email protected] for instructions on how to approve and document your air travel reservation.
Sponsored Travelers are expected to book the least expensive, coach class airfare on any airline available that is within two hours of (prior to or after) desired flight time; to use alternative airports serving the destination city; and/or the use of multiple stop flights that may include layovers. Travelers are not required to take low-cost or no-frills airline. Travelers choosing an airline for its amenities or frequent flyer programs will be responsible for the difference in cost. CSTE awards the benefits of frequent flyer points and hotel programs to its travelers; however, it reserves the right to change this policy. CSTE will not reimburse travelers for tickets purchased with frequent flyer miles nor for domestic travel insurance.
Upgrades for Domestic Air Travel
- Business and first-class domestic travel will not be reimbursed unless for the medical needs of the traveler.
- A seat upgrade, early seat selection, or preferred seating is not permitted at the expense of CSTE.
- A free upgrade or an upgrade at the expense of the traveler must be noted as such on the expense reimbursement form.
Booking Online with Official Travel Agent
Booking online is available at https://www.concursolutions.com/home.asp. While online information is available 24 hours 7 days a week, the CSTE Travel Office is only available for review of ticketing information Monday through Thursday, excluding holidays or other dates when the CSTE National Office is closed. An airline ticket approval may take 1-2 business days.
You will need to create a travel profile before reservations can be made. If booking online, travelers are encouraged to make their reservation between Monday and Thursday as reservations made online Friday-Saturday will not be processed and may require rebooking. Please see instructions below for registering and creating your traveler profile if you have not done so before.
Booking by Phone with Official Travel Agent
Booking by phone is available Monday through Thursday only by calling (800) 778-0907 between 8:00am to 6:00pm CT. Reservations made by phone Friday-Sunday will not be processed and may require rebooking. Please note that airline ticket approvals may take 1-3 business days.
Creating a Traveler Profile in Concur
- Click here to begin the registration process for your travel profile
- Upon completion, the CSTE Travel Office will approve your access and you will be notified via email upon approval (profile approval may take 1-3 business days)
- Once you have access to Concur, be sure to update your travel profile before attempting to book travel
If your agency or organization also utilizes Concur for booking travel, please ensure that you are logged into the correct profile prior to booking travel. Contact the CSTE Travel Office at 770-458-3811 or via email at [email protected] if you need assistance with the registration process.
Booking Timeframe Requirements
Reservations must be made no later than three weeks prior to departure to receive the best possible rates for your airline ticket. If notification of sponsorship is received/dated less than three weeks of travel, then arrangements should be made as soon as possible. Reservations not made within a reasonable time will be subject to additional review by a CSTE authorizer and a fare differential may be the responsibility of the sponsored traveler. Please note that reservations and requests for reservations independent of the official travel agent may only be made Monday through Thursday, excluding any holidays or other dates when the CSTE National Office is closed. Reservations not made during this period will not be processed and may need to be rebooked by the sponsored traveler.
Air Travel Restrictions for Extended Travel Dates
Travelers who are booking flights arriving prior to or departing after the approved travel days must also collect documentation on the cost of extending the travel dates. Travel will only be supported for the portion directly related to the travel dates of the sponsored meeting or event. If there is an additional cost to extend travel, such as higher airfares, the traveler must send this additional payment to CSTE within one week of booking the ticket. The traveler must also include documentation on the fare differential. If there is no additional cost, then there will not be a fare differential to pay. The traveler is required to provide confirmatory documentation with the expense reimbursement. It is the responsibility of the traveler to pay for all differential costs (within one week of booking the ticket) associated with extended travel and to provide documentation on these costs (if applicable).
Approval of Air Travel
Reservations booked via Concur or by phone with BCD World Travel are forwarded to the CSTE Travel Office for review and approval. Upon approval by the CSTE Travel Office, the sponsored travelers will receive an electronic confirmation with their airline ticket information.
Booking Independent of Official CSTE Travel Agent
Sponsored travelers booking flights independent of BCD World Travel must be approved by theCSTE Travel Office prior to incurring the expense by providing a comparative chart of the
airfares from a reputable online search engine. Sponsored travelers booking independent of
BCD World Travel, including those traveling with a companion, will not be reimbursed until
after travel is completed. Request for approval should be sent to [email protected] and may takeseveral business days to review. The traveler is responsible for including documentation ofapproval and a comparative chart with the expense reimbursement form. Reservations not
made through BCD World Travel must be paid for by the traveler, and reimbursement for
preapproved expenses will not occur until after the CSTE meeting or event.
Change or Cancellation of Air Travel
Change or cancellation of air travel due to unavoidable circumstances, including but not limited to airline, weather, significant events that impact travel, medical or family emergency will not penalize the sponsored traveler. However, documentation of the flight change must be submitted with the expense reimbursement form.
When a trip is cancelled after the ticket has been issued, the sponsored travelers should contract BCD World Travel to change their reservation if the air travel was originally booked by BCD World Travel. Sponsored travelers booking flights independent of BCD World Travel must contact the airline directly for support.
For sponsored travelers booking with BCD World Travel when change or cancelling air travel:
- Travelers should inquire about using the same ticket for future travel.
- Travelers can reuse airline tickets for future CSTE travel if airfare eligibility requirements are met. These requirements should be verified with the issuing ticketing agency.
- To expedite refunds, BCD World Travel should be advised of unused or partially used airline tickets.
CSTE will reimburse for one checked bag on travel requiring less than a one week stay (6 nights or less). For travel requiring more than a one week stay (7 nights or more), reimbursement fees for a second checked bag is allowed. No other luggage expenses will be reimbursed to travelers.
Parking Fees at Airport
CSTE will reimburse parking expenses for the dates of approved travel at an airport onsite or offsite economy parking lot from the originating city. A copy of the receipt and parking rates for your originating city airport must be included with the reimbursement form. Taxis, shuttle services, ride share services and local public transportation at the originating city will not be reimbursed if parking at the airport. Refer to Ground Transportation if utilizing ride share, taxi, shuttle, or public transportation to and from the airport.
Gound transportation includes the use of a personal vehicle, rental vehicle, shuttle services, ride share services, and local public transportation. CSTE does encourage sponsored travelers to share transportation with other known travelers when possible.
Mileage will be reimbursed at the prevailing IRS per-mile rate for business use of personal vehicle. Mileage based reimbursement covers all costs related to the operation of the vehicle, including service, maintenance, insurance, depreciation, and fuel. These expenses cannot be reimbursed separately. Only the vehicle owner or driver may submit mileage reimbursement. The sponsored traveler assumes all liability when using a personal vehicle.
- Sponsored travelers utilizing their personal vehicle to and from the originating city airport, whether driving themselves or relying on family or friend to drop-off and pick-up, are eligible for one round-trip personal vehicle mileage reimbursement.
- Prior approval to use personal automobiles for 600 miles (roundtrip) or less is not required. Automobile use exceeding 600 miles (roundtrip) must be pre-approved by the CSTE Travel Office and reimbursement cannot exceed the total cost of the most economical roundtrip airfare. Travelers must provide a comparative chart of the airfares, using an online travel search engine and submit for approval to [email protected]. Travelers are required to submit documentation of approval and comparative chart with their completed expense reimbursement form.
- Reimbursement for tolls and parking is allowed when using a personal vehicle. When a personal vehicle is shared by more than one sponsored traveler, only the vehicle owner or driver may submit allowable expenses.
- CSTE staff required to utilize their personal vehicle for local business-related travel should reference Staff Guidelines and Procedures for mileage and parking reimbursement.
Rental vehicle reimbursement is allowed if driving is preferable to airline transportation and a personal vehicle is not available. The number of days allowed will correspond with the number of days of sponsored travel. The sponsored traveler assumes all liability of any use of rental vehicle and must elect the Collision Damage Waiver.
Rental vehicles must be booked through Concur with Enterprise, National, or Avis with selection of budget vehicle category. Sponsored Travelers choosing any car type other than compact, standard, or intermediate will be responsible for the difference in cost. Paid upgrades to premium will not be reimbursed. Upon rental you must elect the Collision Damage Waiver. Should a sponsored traveler decide to extend the rental of the vehicle for days beyond their sponsored travel days, the traveler is responsible for the cost, including insurance, for those days. The traveler assumes all liability of any use of rental cars. Rental vehicle reimbursement will include the cost of the rental car, required Collision Damage Waiver insurance, gas, required tolls, and hotel self-parking (also see lodging). The total reimbursement amount for all of these expenses should not exceed the cost of round-trip airline travel without prior approval from the CSTE Travel Office which should be requested via email [email protected]. Any rental vehicle damage, parking tickets, or other fees (including fees associated with not returning a full tank of gas) will be the responsibility of the sponsored traveler.
Ride Share, Taxis, Shuttles, and Public Transportation
The use of ride share, taxis, shuttles, and public transportation may be used for transportation in the originating city to the airport and as allowable transportation options in the destination city for travel from the airport to either the meeting location or hotel. Ride share is limited to a standard economy option. Premium, priority pickup, and extra comfort ride share are not allowable. Tips and gratuities are considered reimbursed up to 15% of the standard economy rate option. Receipts are required for all transportation options, regardless of amount.
Sponsored travelers are expected to stay in a standard room where costs should not exceed the negotiated group rate provided by CSTE or the most expensive rate listed in the federal per diem rate for that city without prior approval from a CSTE authorizer. Please see U.S. General Services Administration for current per diem rates. Upgrades, suites, and concierge-level rooms are not reimbursed, unless CSTE has negotiated these rooms at no additional costs. Many hotels have frequent guest programs that reward travelers with free accommodations in exchange for a specified number of paid room nights at a hotel. CSTE will not reimburse travelers for the value of free accommodations used for business travel. For your safety and security, always investigate security measures for your hotel room (e.g., door locks, fire exits, and alarm systems) and ensure it is a fire safe facility.
Conference or Meeting Designated Lodging
When traveling to a conference or meeting, it is appropriate to stay at one of the hotels hosting the conference or meeting designated by the event even if the lodging rate exceeds the federal per diem guidelines. When available, travelers should request the hotel’s government rate. If there are several conference hotels, travelers should stay at a non-luxury property. Sponsored travelers attending the CSTE Annual Conference must utilize the exclusive housing services for hotel arrangements and follow instructions specific to that event.
- The traveler is responsible for paying for lodging at the time of travel. Travelers will be reimbursed up to the negotiated group room rate (+tax) for lodging at a designated CSTE conference or meeting hotel through the expense reimbursement process. CSTE will not reimburse room rates higher than the group rate for stays at the designated hotel.
- If the CSTE group rate at a designated hotel become unavailable, sponsored travelers will be reimbursed up to the per diem rate (plus tax) for stays at other nearby hotels (non-CSTE group hotels). The sponsored traveler is responsible for identifying other nearby hotels. CSTE will reimburse for standard single occupancy rooms up to the per diem rate for the destination city.
- Please refer to your travel letter for information on the number of nights that CSTE will reimburse.
- Many hotels have frequent guest programs that reward travelers with free accommodations in exchange for a specified number of paid room nights at a hotel. CSTE will not reimburse travelers for the value of free accommodations used for business travel.
- If a traveler extends their stay beyond the number of nights approved by CSTE, all costs for the additional nights are the responsibility of the traveler. Please note airline flights may be limited and travelers may be required to stay additional nights and these costs are the responsibility of the traveler, unless approved by a CSTE authorizer prior to booking travel.
- Suites and concierge-level rooms are not reimbursed. An upgrade at the expense of CSTE is not permitted. A free upgrade must be noted on the expense reimbursement form.
Home sharing (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) may be utilized but must be purchased with a personal credit card and will only be reimbursed at the federal per diem rate for that city after travel with a receipt. The use of home sharing properties is at the sponsored traveler’s own risk and CSTE does not assume responsibility for any additional fees, including ground transportation, or issues that may arise during your stay.
Deposits and Cancellations
Some hotels require a deposit equal to one or more night’s lodging to be paid at the time a reservation is made, which may be weeks or months in advance of the travel. Sponsored travelers will not be reimbursed a deposit until after travel is completed.
Sponsored travelers are responsible for tracking hotel cancellation deadlines based on the destination hotel’s policies. It is the sponsored traveler’s responsibility to notify either the hotel or the exclusive housing services when a hotel reservation is cancelled. CSTE is not responsible for billing disputes between a sponsored traveler and the hotel or home sharing service. CSTE will not reimburse for no-show or cancellation charges.
Parking at lodging
Parking is allowable when it is a necessary part of the trip when driving instead of flying for an overnight trip. Valet parking is not eligible for reimbursement unless self-parking is not available at lodging.
Internet at lodging
Internet charges are not allowable. If CSTE has contracted with a hotel to provide basic internet connection as part of the group room rate, then that option should be utilized. Upgraded internet fees will not be reimbursed.
Meal & Incidental Expenses (M&IE)
The federal per diem for Meals & Incidental (M&IE) is the maximum dollar amount allowed for the destination city of the trip for meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and incidentals. Please refer to the U.S. General Services Administration for a listing of federal per diem rates. The CSTE Travel Reimbursement Form provides percentage allocation for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sponsored travelers do not have to document each meal expense, unless they are a CSTE staff and utilize their company credit card for meals, but they must demonstrate that the trip occurred with a receipt that indicates dates and city of travel (airline ticket or lodging receipt).
If meals are provided as part of lodging, conference fees, host, or provided to the sponsored traveler at no cost, it is the sponsored travelers’ responsibility to note and not include in M&IE reimbursement for meals. On the first and last day of travel, sponsored travelers receive 75% of the daily M&IE per diem rate. Information on the breakdown and how to calculate M&IE is available at https://www.gsa.gov/node/86696/mie-breakdown. For sponsored travelers, within 50 miles of their residence, are allowed reimbursement for the actual cost of meals, excluding alcoholic beverages, with itemized receipt.
Per diem allowances may not be issued in lieu of service payments such as consulting fees, honoraria, or lodging upgrade.
Non-Reimbursable Travel Expenses
The following associated travel expenses are not considered business related and will not be reimbursed, including but not limited to:
- Airline club access or memberships
- Airline seat upgrades
- Airport expedited traveler screening (TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, Clear, etc.)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Childcare, babysitting, house sitting, or pet sitting/kennel
- Gratuities to baggage handlers or housekeeping
- Internet, telephone, or cell phone charges
- Lodging incidentals (room service fees, in-room entertainment or refreshments, internet, fitness center or spa, etc.)
- Lost, damaged, or stolen personal or business property not owned by CSTE
- Laundry and dry cleaning
- Medical or medication expenses
- Mobile phone calls, data, or tethering for a hotspot
- Normal commuting expenses
- Passports, vaccinations, and visas
- Personal grooming, entertainment, social, or incidental costs
- Personal travel expenses, including vacation and expenses for family or companions
- Travel insurance
- Other expenses not directly related to the business travel or deemed personal by CSTE
CSTE has the final authority of determination of allowable travel expenses and assumes no obligation to reimburse a sponsored traveler for expenses that do not comply with policy, guidelines, procedures, or intent.
If you need emergency medical or security services, contact 911 domestically or the proper first responder or law enforcement agency. In the event of any injury requiring medical care, the sponsored traveler or the sponsored traveler’s personal health insurance will be responsible for payments of all medical costs. Sponsored travelers, unless CSTE employees who are on group medical insurance or through Workers’ Compensation, are not covered by CSTE’s liability, medical and/or travel insurance and thus are responsible for obtaining their own. Sponsored traveler will accept all financial responsibility for the costs related to any emergency treatment and/or travel, including contracting COVID-19 while traveling.
All requests for travel reimbursement must be submitted as soon as possible, but no later than 60 days after the expense is incurred, using the Travel Reimbursement Request Form, and accompanied by required receipts or documentation. If the reimbursement request is not submitted and accepted as complete by the CSTE Finance Department within 60 days, then the reimbursement is considered taxable income unless unforeseen or extenuating circumstances are provided. Travel reimbursement requests submitted more than six (6) months from the incurrence will be denied. See IRS Publication 5137 for further details.
Required Documentation and Receipts
Receipts and documentation are required for all claimed expenses, regardless of amount, except federal per diem for Meals & Incidentals (M&IE). Receipts and documentation include, but are not limited to:
- Itemized lodging
- Ground transportation
- Map navigation of mileage
- Approval communication of CSTE authorizer for any exemptions or reasonable expense(s)
- Sponsored Traveler’s signature
Travel Reimbursement Request
Sponsored travelers should complete the Travel Reimbursement Request Form which must be accompanied by required receipts and documentation. To receive this form, please contact the CSTE Travel Office at [email protected] or TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT FORM. Using an incorrect form may delay reimbursement.
- CSTE requires that travelers file an expense report within 60 days of the expenses incurred.
- The expense report must include a date and the traveler’s signature.
- The expense report submission must include required documentation and receipts.
- Submit your expense reimbursements by email at [email protected]; fax at 770-458-8516; or by mail to:
CSTE National Office
2635 Century Parkway NE, Suite 700
Atlanta, GA 30345
Incorrect or Incomplete Expense Reports
Expense reports that are incorrect or incomplete will be returned to the traveler from the CSTE Finance Department for corrective action and will result in delay of reimbursement. Expense reports are not considered complete until corrected by the sponsored traveler and accepted by the CSTE Finance Department as complete. Most frequent reasons for returned expense reports include missing traveler’s signature and missing receipts/documentation.
Late Travel Reimbursement Request
Expense reports filed after 60 days and less than six (6) months from the date travel is incurred will require the sponsored traveler to provide a written explanation by email to [email protected] of the extraordinary circumstances that prevented submission within 60 days of the expenses incurred. A CSTE Senior Director must review and determine if reasonable cause has been provided and if funding is still available. If funding is not available due to year-end closing of projects, then the expense will not be paid under any circumstances. A completed expense reimbursement form filed after 60 days of the trip completion or expenses may results in a portion of all the reimbursement being treated as taxable income or not approved. Expense requests received after six (6) months will be denied.
Reimbursement will be postmarked by mail or processed through Automated Clearing House (ACH), which is how funds are electronically deposited in financial institutions, within 30 business days, excluding holidays or other dates when the CSTE National Office is closed, upon receipt of a complete expense report by the CSTE Finance Department. A correction and/or change to the expense report due to an accounting review of the report will be documented with a correction note. For errors in arithmetic and disallowed items, a note explaining the errors will be sent to the sponsored traveler and an appropriate adjustment made to the reimbursement amount.
Other Expenses and Questions
Travelers requesting reimbursement for expenses not described within this document must obtain approval before travel occurs, which can be submitted to [email protected]. The traveler is responsible for submitting documentation of approval with the expense reimbursement form.
Please contact the CSTE National Office at 770-458-3811 or [email protected] for any questions related to sponsored travel or expense reimbursement.
Additional information regarding international travel is provided in a separate policy and will be included in these procedures and guidelines at a future date.