Frequently Asked Questions
This is provided to give you a list of frequently asked questions and answers. If you have questions that are not addressed here, please submit your inquiries to the Travel Admin mailbox.
Q: I have a person who traveled and we didn't have a requisition. Now the traveler wants to be reimbursed. Is that possible?
A: It is possible, but you will need to contact Accounting's Travel Group (562-6230) to see what is required to authorize the reimbursement.
Q: How do I handle encumbrances? We need to disencumber the funds because it’s already been used.
A: There are a couple of general possibilities:
- Requisition status is "approved" – call Travel Services (562-6216) or email Travel Services to have the requisition canceled. Be sure that you have given accounting plenty of time to reconcile the voucher if you just recently turned the voucher in. It can reasonably take up to a month to have the requisition amount disencumbered.
- Requisition status is "complete" – call Accounting. Again, give accounting plenty of time to reconcile first. If it’s been over a month and your most recent report still shows an encumbrance, then call accounting.
Q: Do I have to do a travel requisition even if there is no cost to the University?
A: Yes, unless it is all within the headquarter city.
Q: I am changing the dates of travel. Do I really need to revise the requisition?
A: According to the HOP, yes. The following require revisions to the requisition:
- change in dates, or;
- change in destinations, or;
- change in purpose or benefit.
Q: I need to change some information on the travel requisition and it’s already been approved, but I’m not sure where to go?
A: There are two possibilities:
- Before travel has started – call Travel Services (562-6216) to have the requisition status changed back to pending approval. Once that has been done, you should be able to pull up the requisition on the WebReq system and update it.
- After travel has commenced – No changes are possible; you will need to document all changes and new charges, then add detailed explanations to the travel voucher before submitting it to accounting. Again, once any part of the travel has commenced, the travel requisition cannot be modified except to totally cancel.
Q: How do I process a travel requisition for the next fiscal year if PeopleSoft is not allowing us to use dates for the next fiscal year?
A: Until People Soft has been updated to allow the next fiscal year's travel to be booked, here are the steps to process the necessary travel requisition:
- A Travel Requisition is processed using this fiscal year's dates as travel dates with a comment to Corporate Travel identifying the actual travel dates. A follow-up call must be made to Corporate Travel to be sure there is no confusion about the actual travel dates.
- The travel arranger should review the itinerary to ensure the dates are correct. Also, when the ticket confirmation arrives, the travel arranger should immediately check the itinerary on the new email to ensure the correct dates were ticketed.
- The requisition will cancel at the end of the current fiscal year. Due to the ability to view approvals in PeopleSoft after cancellations and since this requisition was previously approved to book the trip, a new requisition is no longer needed in the new fiscal year.
Q: What is required for foreign travel?
A: According to the HOP 6.2.3 , "A PeopleSoft Travel Requisition for official foreign travel must be in the Executive Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer’s Office seven (7) calendar days prior to the departure date." Also, "The United States Department of State issues travel warnings against or restriction on travel by United Sates citizens to certain nations. Health Science Center travelers requesting approval of travel to such a nation must include with the PeopleSoft travel requisition and a separate written and signed statement indicating that the traveler is aware of the travel warning and the potential risk associated with travel to the nation under the warning.
Travel warning information is available at http://www.uthscsa.edu/business/travel/resources. A normal travel requisition is required with at least 7 days before the departure date using the correct foreign travel TR code, and, if the country is on the restricted list with the State Department, a memo placed in the requisition and a notice signed indicating the traveler is aware of the travel warnings and risks. Using the foreign travel TR code will automatically have the travel requisition sent to the Executive Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer’s Office.
Q: Who negotiates travel agency fees?
A: Corporate Travel Planners, Inc. and the Texas Building and Procurement Commission (TBPC).
Q: In the past, for non-refundable tickets, if the trip was cancelled there was no fee charged. Why now is there a fee?
A: Non-refundable tickets can only be exchanged for a new ticket and there has always been an exchange fee.
Q: Do airlines ever waive the $100.00 change fee?
Q: When the traveler can show a cheaper internet airfare, why can't the department get that same fare from CTPI? Does CTPI match rates?
A: If a less expensive airfare is quoted through the internet, print this out and fax to your agent at CTPI. Ask your agent to attempt to match/beat this price. Please keep in mind that some internet fares are cheaper due to the fact that: more stops are made, different equipment is used, the time factor is not suitable, the fees and taxes are not included in this quote. Also, many online agencies have deals negotiated directly with different airlines which may or may not be available to the entire travel provider market.
Q: How is the state rate for airfare negotiated for the next fiscal year?
A: Corporate Travel Planners, Inc. compiles a list of volume and reports this to the TBPC. These reports are used in the re-negotiation process or in a new-proposal process.
Q: Please explain "non-refundable" tickets VS "state contracted refundable" tickets.
A: "Non-refundable" tickets cannot be reimbursed if they are cancelled; however, they can be used towards another travel date for that same traveler. If changes are made in the itinerary, non-refundable tickets are charged a change fee ranging from $20-$200, plus any other fees that are incurred for the itinerary change. "State contracted refundable" tickets can be changed without a fee being charged. If the ticket is cancelled, a refund fee of $15.35 will be applied. The UT Health Science Center strongly recommends using State rates.
Example: The following fares were pulled on 10/6/06 for flights from San Antonio to Chicago on 12/9/06 returning 12/11/06 on American Airlines.
- Normal published unrestricted fare, $638.00 plus taxes
- State contract rate, $380 or $580, depending on seating availability
- Nonrefundable published fare, $158 plus taxes
Q: Are the airline commission cuts affiliated with the rates for the car rentals?
A: No, the car rental contracts are negotiated separately.
Q: Will service fee be charged if booking Car/Hotel only?
A: Yes, a fee of $10.00 will apply.
Q: Does CTPI receive a commission from car rentals?
A: No, not on State rate reservations.
Q: Is there a preference with the travel agents whether to book travel via email or via telephone?
A: The agents have no preference, as each option is given priority.
Q: If a flight is ticketed for a Tuesday-Thursday travel, and the traveler wishes to stay another day, or leave a day early, is there a fee charged?
A: Not if a state contracted rate was used. If a published rate was used, the fare may also not cover the new dates and an additional fare difference may apply. Check with the travel agency.
Q: How long does a refund take?
A: Although the travel agency has submitted an amount for a refund, the airlines have a standard 8-12 week period in processing credits. Each charge is sent through the Airline Reporting Corporation, which is responsible for handling charges between most USA agencies and airlines. Once the agency sends ARC the refund request, it sends the posting to the card-issuing bank. Depending on the bank's timeline, it could take until the next month for it to post.
Q: Can the traveler contact the travel agency when problems arise?
A: For normal business hours of 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM (Central Time), the phone numbers are: 210-366-1142 or 1-866-366-1142. For after hours, the number is: 1-800-441-6512. The code to use is SM592. There is a $15.00 charge per after hour phone call. These numbers are also explained on each itinerary.
Q: Why is there a $15.00 fee charged per after-hour phone call?
A. Corporate Travel Planners, Inc. subscribes to an after-hour agency and the travel agency is charged $15.00 per phone call. This subscription allows the Health Science Center to utilize this "after-hours" option.
Q: Can the state-issued travel card be used for all travel purposes?
A: The travel card is designed to use for airfare, hotel, car rental, and restaurant usage, when traveling on University business. Further, the traveler can use the travel card to purchase items needed for business use while traveling only, such as buying an easel that may have been forgotten at the headquarter city. The card cannot be used for retail spending in the user's headquarter city.
Q: Does the travel card NEED to be used for purchasing airfare?
A: When purchasing airfare, other than utilizing the UPT central bill system, the state-issued travel card must be used. In paying for other travel needs; hotel, car-rental, restaurant, personal credit cards may be used. Follow through with Contractor Usage Statement procedures.
Q: Most travelers have the perception that internet usage awards them more frequent flyer miles.
A: Frequent flyer miles are awarded by the airlines, even when booking from the Internet. Some airlines will offer additional mileage when booking on their website or using a check-in kiosk, but it is up to the traveler to check on those bonuses.
Q: If the traveler books on the Internet without comparing the state rates, will they be reimbursed for the full amount of the Internet fare?
A: The traveler will be reimbursed up to the amount of the state rate for that particular destination.
Q: Do agents go back and review airfare rates for lower rates, once a quote is given?
A: Rates are monitored, through a Quality Control system, for lower airfare until the time of travel.
Q: With state rates, are seats limited?
A: Seats are inventory controlled. When the TBPC renegotiates state rates, a certain amount of seats are available for that rate.
Q: When making reservations, are international warnings given?
A: Corporate Travel Planners, Inc. has an International department that is available for information to international countries. The Travel Services office also has a link to the State Department for warnings: http://www.travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html.
Q: What's the biggest reason to go through CTPI when booking travel arrangements?
A: CTPI provides quality customer service that customizes the needs of the Health Science Center. Airfare volume is tracked through a reporting process that is used in future negotiations. Further, this is a State mandated policy generated by the State Comptroller.