skip to content

Reimbursement Rates – Lodging

State agencies are required to use State Contracted Hotels. If the employee does not use a state contracted hotel AND one was available at the duty point, then a Contract Travel Vendor Exception form must be completed and submitted with the Travel Voucher form. This exception has no bearing on the allowable rates.

University employees are required to use the General Services Administration (GSA)’s federal travel rates to determine the maximum meals and lodging reimbursement rates for both in-state and out-of-state travel. For cities not specifically listed, travelers will use the following rates:

  • In State: $85 maximum for lodging and $46 maximum for meals
  • Out of State: $83 maximum for lodging and $46 maximum for meals

The State allows for its agencies to specify a travel expense payment or reimbursement rate that is less than the maximum rate allowed. In an effort to comply with the requirements to conserve funds, TWU has adopted some policies more restrictive than those specified on the state website. In these cases, TWU employees will follow the policies outlined on this website unless instructed otherwise by the department that is paying for the employee's travel expenses. Departments within the university may specify reimbursement limits that are lower than the maximum allowable under Texas Government Code Section 660.007(b). The department must notify affected individuals in writing about the lower reimbursement rate before implementing it.

Packaged Travel

When using travel services companies such as Travelocity or Expedia please use the following guidelines to ensure your maximum reimbursement:

  • Do NOT bundle any travel services regardless of destination. Do not book air, hotel and/or rental car on the same purchase. These companies do not provide sufficiently detailed receipts to satisfy the State’s auditing requirements.
  • Do NOT book a hotel stay in Texas. These companies do not provide a breakdown of taxes and fees. As a tax exempt agency, we must be able to provide the State proof that no state taxes were paid.
  • Also remember that travelers must use contracted vendors whenever possible.

In-State Lodging 

Attach the original lodging receipt.  The following must be included on the receipt:

  • Name of the traveler
  • The hotel name and address
  • Itemized charges – single room rate separate from any applicable taxes or incidental charges
  • Zero balance proving payment was made

The employee is required to present a state occupancy tax exemption card and the hotel should not charge state tax. City and county tax are reimbursable as incidental expenses in relation to the allowable lodging rate. The State Occupancy Tax Exemption form is available on-line, or cards can be obtained from the Travel Coordinator in the office of Procurement Services.

Lodging expenses above the allowable rate may be paid provided one of the following is true: 

  • All of the lodging expenses are paid using allowable local funds
  • Excess lodging expenses are paid using allowable local funds  

No prior Procurement Services approval or forms are required. 

Out-of-State Lodging 

Attach the original lodging receipt. The following must be included on the receipt:

  • Name of traveler
  • The hotel name and address
  • Itemized charges – single room rate separate from any applicable taxes or incidental charges
  • Zero balance proving payment was made

Out-of-state taxes are reimbursable as incidental expenses in relation to the allowable lodging rate.  

Request for Increase in Lodging – using State funds

When using state funds, the Controller's Office may approve a lodging reimbursement rate that is higher than the State Comptroller’s Allowable Rates.  The request must be on the Authorization to Pay Above Allowable Rates and be received by the Travel Coordinator in the office of Procurement Services no later than the 10th business day before travel begins.  The office of Procurement Services will grant the request only if one of the following is true:

  • Granting the request would result in a decreased total cost of travel to the state or
  • No safe lodging is available for less than or equal to the Comptroller’s maximum lodging reimbursement rate for the duty point

An employee may decrease the meal reimbursement and apply that to receive a greater lodging reimbursement. The total meals and lodging must be less than or equal to the total maximum meal and lodging reimbursement allowed by the state. This must be noted on the Travel Voucher form. Applying meals to lodging will cover excess lodging only. Taxes associated with the excess lodging expense will not be covered and will be the traveler’s responsibility.

Increase in Lodging – using local funds

Lodging expenses above the allowable rate may be paid provided one of the following is true:

  • All of the lodging expenses are paid using allowable local funds
  • Excess lodging expenses are paid using allowable local funds  

No prior Procurement Services approval or forms are required. 

Shared Lodging

Sharing a room with another state employee is subject to the same limitations noted for in-state and for out-of-state travel.  The lodging receipt must show proof of payment from both parties or the hotel should provide separate receipts.  If two employees (A & B) share a room and employee A pays the bill in full, then employee B must pay employee A separately and obtain a receipt showing proof of payment.  Employee A will not be reimbursed for the total bill.  Sharing a room must be noted on the Travel Voucher form by both employees.

Reimbursement Rates – Meals

General Rules

Alcohol is NOT reimbursable. Tips and gratuities are reimbursable. Tips and gratuities count toward the traveler's meal allowance, and will be reimbursed up to the allowable rate for meals. The meal allowance may not be exceeded due to tips or gratuities. Delivery/service fees (commonly applied to room service meals) are also considered part of the meal expense and will be reimbursed up to the allowable rate for meals.

Any amount that exceeds the allowable daily rate for meals will not be reimbursed. Meal allowances may not be borrowed from one day to pay an amount in excess of the allowable rate for another day.

Meal costs incurred during non-overnight trips, regardless of the length of travel time, are NOT reimbursable. Unless the date changes during your trip, no meal expenses can be claimed.

The State allows for its agencies to specify a travel expense payment or reimbursement rate that is less than the maximum rate allowed. In an effort to comply with the requirements to conserve funds, TWU has adopted some policies more restrictive than those specified on the state website. In these cases, TWU employees will follow the policies outlined on this website unless instructed otherwise by the department that is paying for the employee's travel expenses. Departments within the university may specify reimbursement limits that are lower than the maximum allowable under Texas Government Code Section 660.007(b). The department must notify affected individuals in writing about the lower reimbursement rate before implementing it.

In-state Meals

In-State meals are limited to the State Comptroller’s allowable rates.  For any city not specifically listed, the maximum meal allowance is $46. 

Out-of-State Meals

Out-of-State meals are limited to the State Comptroller’s allowable rates. The employee must know the state and city of duty point to search the web page. For any city not specifically listed, the maximum meal allowance is $46. 

page last updated 4/2/2014 3:39 PM