New Per Diem Allowances

12/01/2015

By Joanne Yestramski

Effective Dec. 1, 2015 the daily per diem meal allowance rate for University of Massachusetts employees traveling on university business will correspond with the current rates listed by the General Services Administration (GSA). GSA establishes the maximum CONUS (Continental United States) Per Diem rates for federal travel customers.

The university has elected to follow all of the current GSA rates for university travel. These rates are intended to cover the employee’s cost of meals and incidentals when engaged in official university travel/business. Therefore, tips and other incidentals will not be reimbursed separately to university employees. Furthermore, please note that the per diem allowance will not be granted to travelers that are provided meals as part of their official university business.

For travel to Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories and Possessions and all international travel, use U.S. Department of State per diem rates.

For questions, please contact travel@uml.edu or call the Travel Office at Ext. 4-2400.

Please update your web browser to access Egencia before January 1, 2016

To offer you a faster and more secure experience, Egencia will no longer support Internet Explorer 8 or older, Chrome v22 or older, Firefox v23 or older and Safari v6 or older.

Our list of supported browsers includes: Internet Explorer 9 and up and the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome and Safari. If you are using an older web browser, please update it to ensure you can still access Egencia, after January 1, 2016.

NEW: Travel Authorizations and Business Expense Reimbursements

From:     Michael E. Durkin, Director of Procurement Services

In conjunction with the UMass President’s Office, the Lowell campus will begin to more fully utilize the PeopleSoft system for entering and approving Travel Authorizations and Business Expense Reimbursements.  This business process change will have a number of benefits.  By moving from a paper-based documentation and approval process to an electronic entry and approval workflow, the University will:

Improve the accuracy of data entered into the system

  • Reduce processing time
  • Improve the information provided to departmental approvers
  • Improve reporting
  • Maintain Compliance

Starting in September, the Travel Office will no longer accept paper Travel Authorizations or Business Expense Reimbursements.  All Travel Authorizations and Business Expense Reimbursements entered electronically after the go-live will be routed electronically to the appropriate departmental approver for review.

For the majority of users, the changes will be very small.  Today, over 60% of all Business Expense Reimbursements already utilize this system for Expense Reimbursements.

To facilitate this transition, a number of Job Aids have been developed, including instructional videos, printable job aids and training classes.

All training materials are available at the E*MPAC website or via the link below:

http://www.uml.edu/Admin/empac/Information-for/Expenses.aspx

Should you have any questions, please contact the Travel Office at travel@uml.edu or at ext. 4-3470

AMTRAK – Providence, Rhode Island construction through May 2016

April 8, 2015

Please see the Press Release below issued by RIDOT regarding the Providence Station Area Improvement Project.

Due to the construction around the station customers and passengers should give themselves an extra 45 minutes of travel time. the number of parking spaces will be limited due to the top level of the garage being closed. Also access to the Railroad Street and Park Row west, the Downtown side of the station, will be closed.

Parking is available in the Fidelity Building and in the Providence Place Mall, as well as smaller parking lots within a few blocks of the station. Currently there is no meter parking on Gaspee Street, State House side of the station. Drop off/pick up of passengers is permitted only on the Gaspee Street side of the station.

Allow additional 45 minutes travel time to and from the station.

Text of Rhode Island DOT press release

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) started work this week to upgrade the southern entrance plaza (downtown side) of Providence Station. Through a $6.9 million contract with J.H. Lynch & Sons, planned improvements will enhance circulation for all users of the station as well as create an inviting civic space. Pedestrian enhancements will also be made along Gaspee Street, and damaged concrete and limestone areas on the building’s plaza will be repaired. Other planned improvements include adding amenities for bicyclists, updating signage and landscaping.

This work, which will be broken out into two phases, will require temporary restrictions, including a closure of the top level of the parking garage, a relocation of the taxi stands, and a closure of portions of Railroad Street and Park Row West. Project completion is scheduled for spring 2016.

Phase One: Now – Early May 2015

  • Gaspee Street widened to accommodate taxi service.
  • Temporary roadway built for vehicles to access the parking garage from the lower level.
  • The parking lane on Gaspee Street closed Monday – Saturday (effective March 30).
  • Gaspee Street metered parking prohibited between the station and Francis Street (effective March 30).

Phase Two: May 2015 – May 2016

  • Parking garage entrance relocated; parking restricted to lower level.
  • Existing taxi stands relocated to Gaspee Street.
  • Railroad Street closed; pedestrian detour in effect.
  • Park Row West limited to one-way travel eastbound; full closure scheduled to begin in October.
  • Finance Way limited to one-way travel eastbound at the intersection of Railroad Street and Park Row West (effective April 2016).

Schedule of work is subject to change; RIDOT will make every reasonable effort to accelerate work where possible.

Amtrak and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) services are offered daily at the station, which is ranked as one of the top three busiest stations in the MBTA network and 15th out of the more than 500 stations in Amtrak’s system. This success has led the station to outgrow its 1980s design, and the improvements now underway will address some of the station’s more immediate exterior needs.

To sign up for weekly updates on this and other active RIDOT projects around the state, contact dot.customerservice@dot.ri.gov. Visit www.dot.ri.gov or follow RIDOTnews on Facebook or Twitter for timely information on construction projects and traffic conditions.

Travel Program Frequently Asked Questions

UNIVERSITY TRAVEL PROGRAM – FAQ

EGENCIA & THE TRAVEL COLLABORATIVE

 

What is the benefit of using the Travel Program?

  • Access to University travel discounts
  • One stop shopping – saves time
  • Reporting: data needed in order to negotiate travel contracts, thus resulting in savings for the University
  • Duty of Care: location of travelers in the event of an emergency

 

What if I don’t use one of our preferred agencies?

When travel is booked outside of the Travel Program, the following situations occur:

  • High potential of missed savings.
  • Unable to get the data we need to secure future contracts
  • Missed revenue puts our current contracts in jeopardy.
  • Missed mileage credit for the Airline Corporate Rewards Program*
  • Unknown location of our travelers

 

Am I limited as to what I can book through our preferred agencies?

No.  Both agencies have access to every airline, hotel, and car agency in the world, and would offer the same deals as you would find booking elsewhere.

 

How do I determine which agency to use?

Egencia would be a good choice for simple point-to-point domestic reservations, Amtrak, or hotel and car reservations.  Folks who are comfortable with booking travel on-line.  The tool is very similar to the on-line travel sites like Expedia or Priceline.

The Travel Collaborative is a good choice for complex domestic travel (visits to two or more cities) and international travel.  Travelers who generally require assistance while on the road, group travel or those who prefer personalized service.

 

I have to make a change to my airline reservation.  Do I have to pay a change fee?

Airlines do charge change fees.  The fee will depend on what type of fare you originally booked.  There are rules and restrictions associated with every fare, so please make sure you know what the ‘rules and restrictions’ are prior to purchase.

In addition to airline fees, the agency will charge a fee to exchange your ticket.

 

 

 

Are my travel arrangements direct-billed if I book through our preferred agencies?

No.   Credit Cards are required to make air/hotel/car reservations.  Travelers must have a credit card in their name at check-in, in order to process hotel and car rental reservations.

 

I am booking travel for a University guest, can I have their travel arrangements pre-paid? 

AIRFARE:  A University credit card can be used to book airfare.   If the ticket needs to be changed, the change should be made by the person who originally booked the trip (University travel arranger).  If not, the traveler will be responsible for furnishing a credit card for any fare difference or change fees in result of the change.

HOTELS:     Contact hotel directly, as they may work with you in having the room pre-paid to a University credit card.   However, the hotel will require that the guest have a credit card in their name upon check-in for incidentals.

CAR RENTALS:  Car rentals should never be pre-paid under any circumstances, due to liability.   A driver’s license and credit card in renters name will be required upon check-in.

 

Does the University have any travel contracts/discounts in place?

Yes, the University has contracts in place with several airlines, hotels and ground transportation companies.  Please visit the TRAVEL PROGRAM – TRAVEL AGREEMENTS webpage for more information about our agreements.    As we secure new contracts, this page is updated regularly, so please keep checking back.

 

Can I take advantage of University contract/discounts if I book my travel directly with the airline or another agency?

No.  University contracts/discounts are only available booking through our preferred agencies.

 

How do I know if I’m getting a discount?

Discounts from University contracts are applied automatically if your itinerary qualifies.  In the booking tool, these negotiated fares will populate at the top of your search if applicable.

 

I understand that we have a Shuttle Program in place.  What’s that about?

Yes, this is a contract available to University travelers.  Shuttle flights out of Boston on JetBlue and USAir.  Both airlines offer un-restricted fares in the Washington DC and New York City markets.  Very reasonable low fares that allow the freedom to make changes without a change fee.  Changes may result in a higher fare, in which the traveler would be responsible in paying the difference.   Tickets are refundable.  Please see Travel Agreements webpage for more information about this contract.

 

 

 

 

My spouse is accompanying me on a business trip, and I am paying for their ticket.  Can I book the ticket through the Travel Program?

Yes.  If you are booking your trip through the Egencia booking tool, you need to request a ‘Guest Account’ in order to book your spouse’s ticket.  Please reach out to your campus Travel Administrator to request a guest account.   The Travel Collaborative will assist with spousal travel.

 

Should I book through the Travel Program if I am attending a conference?

Yes, unless special arrangements for discounted fares have been made through the conference.  Typically, conferences have special rates and room blocks at the hotel for their attendees.  If this is the case, please book your hotel directly through the conference.  Airfare can still be booked through the Travel Program.

 

Can I use the Travel Program for personal travel?

You are free to use the Travel Collaborative for personal travel, just advise the agent upon calling.
As for Egencia, the booking tool is designed for business travel and any travel booked through Egencia will show up on University reports.    Expedia.com is the ‘vacation side’ of Egencia, you may want to check that out.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

*The University is a member of the United and Delta Airlines Corporate Rewards Program.  The University earns free tickets for travel booked on these carriers, which is later disbursed among the campuses for business use.   Earned travel is tracked and managed through the Travel Program.

The University does not receive credit for flights booked outside of the Travel Program.

Egencia Booking Tool:  please visit the Egencia webpage for pertinent information regarding the booking tool including the ‘Egencia Must Know Reference Guide’.

Travel Collaborative:  please visit the Travel Collaborative webpage for more information about the agency.  Click on the ‘website’ link to meet their agents.

Questions about the Travel Program:  please reach out to your campus Travel Administrator.

12/9/14 JetBlue Inclement Weather waivers

Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Fee Waiver

Due to inclement weather forecasted to impact the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions, we will waive change/cancel fees and fare differences for Customers traveling on Tuesday, December 9, 2014  to/from the following cities:

  • Baltimore, MD (BWI)
  • Boston, MA (BOS)
  • Buffalo, NY (BUF)
  • Burlington, VT (BTV)
  • Hartford, CT (BDL)
  • New York (JFK)
  • New York (LGA)
  • Newark, NJ (EWR)
  • Newburgh, NY (SWF)
  • Portland, ME (PWM)
  • Providence, RI (PVD)
  • Rochester, NY (ROC)
  • Syracuse, NY (SYR)
  • Washington, DC (DCA)
  • Washington, DC (IAD)
  • Westchester County, NY (HPN)
  • Worcester, MA (ORH)

Rebooking Terms & Conditions

Customers may rebook their flights for travel through Thursday December 11, 2014 prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight. Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund to the original form of payment.  Original travel must have been booked on or before Monday, December 8, 2014.

For Customers wishing to rebook their flights beyond Thursday, December 11, 2014: Process a regular exchange on the ticket, charge any increase in fare, and waive the change fee at the time of the exchange.

GDS Waiver Code Information: WXSAND14

Southwest Airlines-New Agreement!

We now have discount agreement with Southwest Airlines!

Southwest Airlines serves more than 90 destinations throughout the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.  They operate more than 3,800 flights a day including more than 500 round-trip markets.  Some of the benefits of flying Southwest:

  • Low fares
  • 1st and 2nd checked bag flies free of charge
  • No change fees
  • If you cancel your trip, you’ll receive a credit towards a future flight

Beginning November 15, 2014, Southwest Airlines will offer University travelers discounts on select fares in to and out of Boston, MA, Hartford, CT, Manchester, NH and Providence, RI.   This promotional offer is valid for one year.   It is our hope that our new relationship with Southwest will better position us to negotiate deeper discounts in the future.

For more information, visit:  http://pp-prd.umassconnect.net/web/guest/travel-contracts

 

 

9/16 Change of JetBlue gate for BOS-DCA flights

Effective immediately, flights from BOS-DCA will no longer operate out of the C40/41/42 separate gate area.

All BOS-DCA flights will now operate out of dedicated gates within the main concourse.  These gates are C25, C26, C28 or C27.

Please share this info with your travelers who frequent the BOS-DCA route.  We trust they will enjoy the new location which features many more amenities and preflight accommodations.

Additionally, as a reminder, JetBlue now operates out of Terminal B at Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA).