Travel Services - Travel Arrangements

The University offers two designated full-service travel agencies, and a self-booking tool for arranging your official University business airline, hotel,  rental car, and rail travel.  Please ensure your travel complies with BPM E-5-1 Reimbursement of Travel Expenses.  We encourage all travelers to make your official business travel arrangements through Travel Services for the following very important reasons:

  • Risk Management Tracking – You are on our radar for alerts and emergencies when you book through Travel Services.
  • Competitive Airfares, Local Hotel Rates, and Rental Car Rates
  • Air/Local Hotel/Rental Car Discounts – Travel Services offers airline, local hotel and rental car discounts that are not available through other travel booking sources.
  • 24/7 Assistance – You remain connected to our Travel Services designated vendors from the time your travel arrangements are made until you arrive back home, to assist with any need you may have.  Your airline ticket remains in automated quality assurance/control systems to ensure you receive schedule changes, waitlist clearings, alerts to emergency situations (and then re-accommodation as needed), and any other communication you need for a successful trip.
  • Reporting – Travel Services maintains a highly-detailed reporting system for travel data collection that is used to provide risk management tracking of our travelers, to serve as a negotiation tool for vendor discounts, to help departments better manage their travel spend, and to stimulate/improved air service to Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport.

Travel Vendors

International Travel

Payment Options for Travel

Service Fees & Benefits

Required Cost Comparisons

 

Travel Vendors

You may choose from the following travel vendors to make your official University business airline, hotel and rental car arrangements:

  • AAA Corporate Travel Services is a Travel Services designated travel agency based in Cincinnati, and is considered the University’s lead travel agency.  They are required to provide our self-booking tool (Concur below), to consolidate all travel data into a web-based reporting system for the Travel Services Director to access, and to provide scheduled Concur training.   AAA’s full-service travel agents are happy to assist you with official University travel arrangements, as well as personal (leisure) arrangements.  AAA agents are available 24/7 (third-party agents are not used after hours).  For official University business travel arrangements with AAA, a University Procurement Card or personal credit card can be used.  Contact AAA for travel arrangements at (859)-323-5354.
  • Concur is Travel Services’ online self-booking tool, administered by AAA Corporate Travel Services.  Concur offers the flexibility of 24/7 official University business and personal (leisure) travel arrangements.  For official University business travel arrangements on Concur, a University Procurement Card or a personal credit card can be used.  Click here to get started on Concur.  Returning users can access Concur‘s login page by clicking www.concursolutions.com.   Contact AAA’s Online Help Desk for Concur assistance at (877) 463-0543.
  • Avant Travel is a Travel Services designated travel agency located locally in Lexington.  Avant’s full-service travel agents are glad to assist you with official University travel arrangements, as well as personal (leisure) arrangements.   For official University business travel arrangements through Avant, a University Procurement Card or personal credit card can be used. Contact Avant Travel for arrangements at 859-233-0000.
  • Alternate Travel Vendors - While the University prefers and encourages you to make your official business travel arrangements through Travel Services (AAA Corporate Travel Services, Concur or Avant Travel), you do have the option of using an "alternate vendor" instead.  An alternate vendor is any vendor other than AAA, Concur or Avant.  Examples of alternate vendors are Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Delta.com, ABC Travel Agency, etc.  If you choose to purchase an official business airline tickets through an alternate vendor, please understand the following:
  • A personal credit card must be used to purchase the airline ticket, with the expense submitted for reimbursement through TRIP after travel is completed.
  • To substantiate that a favorable airline ticket price was received from an alternate travel vendor, a cost comparison from Concur must be submitted with the TRIP travel expense report and:
    • show the first page listing of airfares/itineraries for the same dates of travel, the same travel destinations, and the same approximate times of departure as shown on the ticket purchased from the alternate travel vendor;
    • show the search parameters used and the airline matrix (all airfares) across the top of the screen; and
    • be printed and date-stamped on the same day as the ticket is purchased.
  • If an air plus hotel or car "package" is purchased through an alternate vendor, then the appropriate cost comparisons for the air as well as the hotel or car must be secured from Concur.
  • Regarding international travel cost comparisons, it may be that Concur cannot provide an adequate cost comparison due to the complexity of an international trip; therefore, it is acceptable to use a cost comparison from one of Travel Services’ designated travel agencies (AAA, Avant Travel) for these types of international trips only.

International Travel

Please register your international travel with the International Center’s International Registry.  The UK International Travel Registry is for University faculty, staff and approved guests who are traveling abroad on a wide range of university-related activities. Activities overseas to be registered include, but are not limited to:

  • Official university business
  • Conference attendance/presentations
  • Research
  • Community service
  • Sabbaticals

Fly America Act

Generally, if a University traveler is traveling on funds provided by the federal government, a U.S. flag air carrier (an airline owned by an American company) must be flown, regardless of cost or convenience.  However, there are times which a foreign carrier can be used through airline code sharing, open skies agreements, or time restrictive exceptions.

  • Airline Code Sharing: When scheduling international travel that is being paid with federal funds, all flights, where possible, are required to be scheduled on U.S. flag air carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag air carrier. Code sharing occurs when two or more airlines "code" the same flight as if it is their own. In other words, a U.S. airline may sell a seat on the plane of a foreign air carrier; this seat is considered the same as one on a plane operated by a U.S. flag carrier. Compliance with the Fly America Act is satisfied when the U.S. flag air carrier's designator code is present on the ticket or documentation for an electronic ticket (passenger receipt).   For example: Delta has a code share agreement with Air France to Paris, France. If the boarding pass (flight coupon) or e-ticket identifies a flight as DL ##, then requirements of the Federal Travel Regulations are met, even if the flight is actually on an Air France airplane.
  • Exceptions to Fly America with Open Skies Agreement:  On October 6, 2010, the United States and European Union (EU) Open Skies Air Transport Agreement was published by the U.S. General Services Administration. It provided full explanation of the multilateral agreement in place so that qualifying travelers whose travel is federally funded may travel on European Union airlines as well as U.S. flag air carriers.  There are also Open Skies Agreements with Australia, Switzerland and Japan.
  • European Union (EU) - When traveling from the U.S. to a destination serviced by an EU airline, travelers flying on federal grants or sub-awards can fly on either a U.S. carrier or an EU carrier as long as it touches down in an EU nation:  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom. Because of their relations with the EU, Norway and Iceland are also included in the agreement.
  • U.S. to Australia, U.S. to Switzerland, U.S. to Japan - Travelers flying on federal grants or sub-awards can fly on a foreign carrier only if a point of origin/destination is either the U.S. or Australia, Switzerland, or Japan; and there is no GSA city-pair contract flight between the two points (origin and destination). Even though UK travelers using federal funds cannot actually use GSA city-pair contract airfares, travelers are still required to use a U.S. flag carrier service when a city-pair contract exists. See this website to search city-pair contracts GSA City-Pair Contract Search.

Exceptions to the Fly America Act without Open Skies Agreement:

  • Travel to and from the United States:   Passenger service by a U.S. flag air carrier will not be considered available when the travel is between a gateway airport in the United States and a gateway airport abroad, and the gateway airport abroad is:  The traveler's origin or destination airport, and the use of U.S. flag air carrier service would extend the time in a travel status, including delay at origin and accelerated arrival at destination, by at least 24 hours more than travel by foreign air carrier. Gateway Airport in the United States - the last airport in the U.S. from which the traveler's flight departs, or the first airport in the U.S. at which the traveler's flight arrives.  Gateway Airport Abroad – airport abroad from which the traveler's flight last departs enroute to the U.S., or at which the traveler's flight first arrives from the U.S.
  • Travel Between Two Points Outside the United States:  For travel between two points outside the United States, U.S. flag air carrier service will not be considered to be reasonably available:
    • If travel by a foreign air carrier would eliminate two or more aircraft changes en route; or
    • if one of the two points abroad is the gateway airport en route to or from the United States, and the U.S. flag air carrier would extend the time in travel status by at least 6 hours more than travel by a foreign air carrier; or
    • if travel is not part of a trip to or from the United States, and the use of a U.S. flag air carrier would extend the time in travel status by at least 6 hours more than travel by a foreign air carrier.
  • Short Distance Travel:  For all short distance travel, regardless of origin and destination, U.S. flag air carrier service will not be considered available when the travel time on a scheduled flight from origin to destination airport by foreign air carrier is 3 hours or less and service by U.S. flag air carrier would involve twice the travel time.

Payment Options for Travel

University Procurement Card (preferred method of payment)

  • Airline Tickets – The University procurement card can only be used to purchase airline tickets for official University business travel through Travel Services.  A procard cannot be used to purchase an airline ticket through an alternate vendor.
  • Hotels – The University procurement card can be used to make hotel arrangements/pay hotel room/tax expenses for official University business travel through any vendor (not limited to Travel Services).  Most of UK’s hotel business is booked for conferences/meetings, and the attendees receive a discounted hotel rate if they book the room through the recommended method conveyed in the meeting materials.  Travel Services cannot usually compete with these rates, as they are privately negotiated and most times lower than published hotel rates.  However, we do encourage all transient hotel arrangements (not for meetings) to be booked through Travel Services so that room nights can be documented and used to help negotiations for a discounted hotel rate program for our travelers.

Regarding payment for hotel expenses, hotels require a credit card in the name of the hotel guest to pay for hotel expenses.  Therefore, travelers who are procard holders easily meet this requirement, or a personal card can be used.   However, for travelers who do not wish to use a personal credit card and would prefer the room/tax expense be charged to a procard, most hotels are accommodating to allow such “credit card authorization”.  The hotel reservation must first be made and guaranteed to a credit card (can be a procard or personal card).  Then, the procard holder can call the hotel to arrange for room/tax expenses to be charged to a procard that is not in the name of the hotel guest.  Each hotel has their own way of handling credit card authorizations.

  • Rental Cars – The University procurement card can pay for rental car expenses for official University business travel only if the card is in the name of the person renting the car.  Rental car companies do not approve credit card authorizations as hotels do.  When a renter picks up the car, the rental car agent requires a credit card in the name of the renter; otherwise, the car will not be released.
  • Personal Travel Combined with Business Travel – A University procurement card cannot be used to purchase airline tickets that combine personal travel with University business travel, or pay for personal nights/days with hotels or rental cars. A personal credit card is required to be used for these travel arrangements.

Personal Credit Card

  • Airline Tickets – As an option to the preferred procard method of payment for tickets purchased through Travel Services for official University business travel, travelers can choose to use a personal credit card instead.  Travelers are required to use a personal credit card for buying business travel tickets through an alternate vendor, which is any vendor other than a Travel Services vendor (a procard cannot be used to buy tickets from alternate vendors).
  • Hotels –  As an option to the preferred procard method of payment, travelers on official University business travel can make hotel arrangements/pay hotel expenses with the a personal credit card.
  • Rental Cars – As an option to the preferred procard method of payment (for renters with their own procards), travelers on official University business travel can pay for rental car expenses with a personal credit card.
  • Personal Travel Combined with Business Travel – A personal credit card is required to purchase airline tickets that combine personal travel with University business travel, or pay for personal nights/days with hotels or rental cars.   A University procurement card cannot be used for these travel arrangements.

Service Fees & Benefits

All full-service travel agencies and many online booking tools charge a service fee to their clients, since the airlines stopped paying commissions to agencies.  Our service fees for Travel Services’ designated full-service travel agencies AAA Corporate Travel Services and Avant Travel are average for colleges and universities. We are glad to advise that our service fee for Concur is among the lowest fees charged for colleges and universities.

Service fees are charged for each airline ticket issued or rail reservation made by Travel Services.   Therefore, please keep in mind that if you request a change in an airline ticket that has already been issued (purchased), this may result in a new ticket being issued as well as another service fee being charged. Service fees are nonrefundable if an airline ticket is voided, refunded or exchanged.  Service fees may also be charged for any other service performed that may be considered beyond a travel agent’s work scope (such as booking a ticket for a traveler directly through an airline website).

 Travel Services Fees

  • AAA Corporate Travel Services and Avant Travel Service Fees - $28 for domestic airline ticket, $38 for international airline ticket, and $20 for group travel ticket (for 10 or more travelers on one itinerary)
  • Concur Online Booking Tool - $6 for domestic or international airline ticket

 Service Fee Benefits

 Our negotiated service fees with AAA Corporate Travel Services, Concur and Avant Travel are supported by the University and carry the following benefits for our business travelers.

  • potential to change your reservation once ticketed
  • potential to re-issue ticket when fare "drops" and results in net savings
  • ability to void a ticket until 11:59 p.m. the next business day after a ticket is issued, avoiding expensive airline change fees
  • extensive quality control over your reservation – 24-hour searches for lower a fare, better seat assignments, waitlist clearings, etc., up until the moment of departure
  • emergency after-hours call centers with immediate response
  • risk management control during states of emergency (domestic and international)
  • complimentary accidental death insurance of $200,000 on each ticket
  • group travel services (for 10 or more flying on same itinerary) with reduced service fees
  • incorporation of your travel data into University travel management reports
  • incorporation of your travel data into UK's discount programs with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines to help negotiations for improved discounts for our travelers
  • Incorporation of your travel data into reports provided to Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport to stimulate and improve air service for Lexington

Special Note:  Reimbursement of alternate vendor service fees will be limited to the service fees for Travel Services.

Required Cost Comparisons

Official University business travel airfare cost comparisons are required for three travel situations:

1. Purchasing Airline Ticket through an Alternate Vendor (not through Travel Services)

While the University prefers and encourages you to make your official business travel arrangements through Travel Services (AAA Corporate Travel Services, Concur or Avant Travel), you do have the option of using an "alternate vendor" instead.  An alternate vendor is any vendor other than AAA, Concur or Avant.  Examples of alternate vendors are Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Delta.com, ABC Travel Agency, etc.  If you choose to purchase an official business airline ticket through an alternate vendor, you must understand the following:

  • A personal credit card is required to purchase the airline ticket, with the expense submitted for reimbursement through TRIP after travel is completed. 
  • To substantiate that a favorable airline ticket price was received from an alternate travel vendor, an airfare cost comparison from Concur must be submitted with the TRIP travel expense report and:
  • show the first page listing of airfares/itineraries for the same dates of travel, the same travel destinations, and the same approximate times of departure as shown on the ticket purchased from the alternate travel vendor; 
  • show the search parameters used and the airline matrix (all airfares) across the top of the screen; and 
  • be printed and date-stamped on the same day as the ticket is purchased.

    In addition:

  • If an air plus hotel or car "package" is purchased through an alternate vendor, then the appropriate cost comparisons for the air as well as the hotel or car must be secured from Concur
  • Regarding international travel cost comparisons, it may be that Concur cannot provide an adequate cost comparison due to the complexity of an international trip; therefore, AAA Corporate Travel Services or Avant Travel can run it for you.
  • Failure to submit a valid cost comparison may result in your reimbursement reduced to the lowest historical airfare in the market.

2. Combining Personal with Business Travel

Any additional cost resulting from combining personal travel with official University business travel is the responsibility of the traveler and not reimbursed by the University. The traveler must provide documentation substantiating that no additional costs are included in the expenses claimed for reimbursement. Otherwise, the expenses will be reimbursed on a pro rata basis between official University travel expenses and personal expenses.

The University permits combining personal travel with official University business travel on an airline ticket purchased through Travel Services or an alternate vendor, per the following requirements:

  • The airline ticket must be purchased with a personal credit card (not with a University procurement card).  Conference registration fees and lodging expenses for the nights related to University business can be with either personal funds or a University procurement card.
  • Any personal choice that is included on an airline ticket regarding travel dates, destinations, detours, upgradeable fares, originating airports other than the traveler’s “work station” airport (for Lexington based employees, Louisville and Cincinnati airports are acceptable as well as Lexington’s), or any other personal choice, must be supported with a “business-travel-only” airline cost comparison.  An airfare cost comparison for official University business travel from Concur must be submitted with the TRIP travel expense report and:
    • show the first page listing of airfares/itineraries for the University business travel dates and destination (not including personal travel),
    • show the search parameters used and the airline matrix (all airfares) across the top of the screen; and 
    • be printed and date-stamped on the same day as the ticket is purchased.

In addition:

  • If an air plus hotel or car "package" is purchased, then the appropriate cost comparisons for the air as well as the hotel or car must be secured from Concur.   
  • Regarding international travel cost comparisons, it may be that Concur cannot provide an adequate cost comparison due to the complexity of an international trip; therefore, AAA Corporate Travel Services or Avant Travel can run it for you.
  • Failure to submit a valid cost comparison may result in your reimbursement reduced to the historical lowest airfare in the market.
  • Reimbursement will be the lesser of either the actual ticket cost or the lowest airfare cost comparison for “business-travel-only” from Concur that would meet the traveler’s official University travel needs

3. Driving Over 400 Miles One-Way to Destination

When the destination is over 400 miles one-way from the traveler’s workstation or residence, the maximum reimbursement, including any ground transportation costs (mileage for personal vehicle, actual costs for a rental car or motor pool vehicle), tolls, lodging and subsistence, is limited to no more than the normal expenses that would have been incurred if commercial air had been used.  

Should you choose to drive instead of fly to a location more than 400 miles one-way, please understand the following:

  • An airfare cost comparison for official University business travel from Concur must be submitted with the TRIP travel expense report and show:
    • show the first page listing of airfares/itineraries for the University business travel dates and destination (not including personal travel),
    • show the search parameters used and the airline matrix (all airfares) across the top of the screen; and 
    • be printed and date-stamped at least 3 weeks before travel (or when travel is known inside of 3 weeks)
    • Failure to submit a valid cost comparison may result in your reimbursement reduced to the historical lowest airfare in the market.
  • An Air vs. Auto Travel Expense Form must be completed and submitted with the TRIP travel expense report, comparing actual driving expenses to airfare expenses.
  • Reimbursement will be the lesser of either actual driving expenses or the comparative airfare expenses.

No Cost Comparison Obtained?

If an airfare cost comparison is not appropriately secured as required for one of the three travel situations above, then a Request for Historical Airfare Cost Comparison form must be completed and submitted to the Travel Services Director, as indicated on the form. 

The form will be returned advising the least expensive airfare offered on the actual ticket date, or three weeks before travel for drivers, for which the traveler would have been eligible to receive for official University business travel.