Purpose Of This Guideline
The purpose of this travel policy is to provide general guidelines for MICA employees, as well as visitors traveling to MICA for business or educational purposes, in the performance of required travel activities on the college’s behalf. These guidelines have also been prepared to be informational, with links to useful websites and preferred providers, as well as instructions for emergencies while on the road. They will facilitate travel related bookings by offering standardized practices and policies that will best utilize campus-wide resources.
The following guidelines outline general types of expenses, assistance in determining “necessary and reasonable” expenses, and details on reimbursement policies. MICA acknowledges that individual needs may require expenditures and amounts that do not always fall within the guidelines stated in this policy. If such expenditures are anticipated in advance, employees must do all they can to make sure their supervisor is aware of these expenses and have them approved. If unanticipated expenses are necessitated in the course of a trip, “best judgment” is expected by the college, and employees must bring these expenses to their supervisor’s or sponsor’s attention upon completion of the assigned project.
- It is MICA policy that airfare should be the most economical coach fare available at the time of booking. In order to maximize savings for the college, employees are asked to:
- Make every reasonable effort to book air travel arrangements as far in advance as possible.
- Use airline websites for discount airlines (like Southwest, AirTran, etc.), and other direct to airline sites. Travel websites (like Travelocity and Orbitz) are valuable for obtaining information for planning and price comparisons, but often charge fees for changes and cancellations. We recommend not booking airline travel through these sites.
- Use restricted, non-refundable fares, when cost effective.
- Consider alternate flight times and alternate airports or means of transportation when significant cost savings are apparent.
- Establish frequent flyer numbers with all airline carriers. Frequent flyer points will be retained by the flyer, not the college.
- When booking Amtrak tickets, use MICA’s Amtrak Guest Rewards for Business program. Begin by enrolling in the program. To join visit www.amtrak.com, click on “Earn Rewards,” then “join Amtrak Guest Rewards.” After you enroll, email Barry Black at email@example.com with your member number and email address. This allows both you and MICA to receive points for free travel in the future.
- MICA’s accumulated business travel points will be redeemed on a first come, first serve basis for free travel associated with the business of the college. Travel points can be used for guest lecturers visiting MICA, special alumni events, conferences attended by train travel, etc. If you have any questions, please contact Barry Black at 410-225-2435
- Employees should book only coach class tickets for rail travel. Acela rail tickets are not reimbursable unless there are special circumstances and a supervisor is notified, and gives approval, in advance of the trip
- As your schedule permits, check departure times for discounts. Often, trains leaving an hour or two later can be significantly cheaper than “rush hour” departures.
- An employee’s personal car may be used for business travel when the cost for the reimbursement is less than the cost of the lowest available round-trip airfare or rail fare. Discuss details with your supervisor about using your own car before planning your trip.
- Mileage reimbursement rates are posted on the MICA portal under the “Administrative Forms” section; look for the “Mileage Rates” link for rates. Mileage rates are updated on this page regularly, and reflect IRS standards for reimbursement.
- Only actual mileage may be claimed on the reimbursement form. Travelers using their personal car are responsible for:
- All costs associated with the vehicle operation, maintenance repair or depreciation
- Insurance to meet state-required minimums for public liability and property damage
- Insurance deductible, in case of an accident
- Accidents involving personal cars driven on MICA business must be reported to the driver’s insurance company as soon as possible. Insurance claims are to be handled by the individual, and are not covered by the college.
- All drivers of rental cars must have a valid driver’s license, and prior approval from MICA to drive a vehicle on the college’s behalf.
- Employees are asked to select a compact or subcompact car when in need of a rental car. However, the following guidelines are available when traveling with large packages or more than one person:
- Any occasion when traveling alone – Compact Car
- Carrying packages or traveling with two people – Compact or Mid-Size
- Carrying packages or traveling with more than two people – Mid-size or Full-Size
- When renting a car, employees must inspect the car for existing damage, and report said damage, before leaving the rental location.
- Employees must make every attempt to refuel a rental car before returning it in order to avoid a fueling surcharge. Fueling surcharges will not be reimbursed, except with proper justification.
- When renting a car in the USA, do not accept the rental company’s insurance, as rentals are covered by MICA insurance. All vehicles rented for business use must be in the name of Maryland Institute College of Art. MICA’s deductible for any rental vehicle is $100 for comprehensive and $1,000 for collision. You may obtain a copy of MICA’s insurance policy card from the Operations Department, or on the webpage with these guidelines.
- Policies do not cover rental cars outside of the USA, since different insurance regulations apply. When using rental cars outside of the USA, always accept the rental car insurance.
When an accident occurs, regardless of driver's fault:
- Report the accident promptly to the police and obtain a report of the accident
- Do not admit negligence or liability, do not attempt settlement, regardless of how minor
- Obtain names, address and telephone numbers as well as vehicle identification and insurance information with all others involved.
- Report any accident as soon as possible to your supervisor, and to “Willis Claims Department, Attn: Denise Buck” at 1-800-937-5657.
- Search for hotels that are appropriate to the level of business activity you are performing on a trip. In most cases, employees should search for mid-priced business travel hotels when booking a room (Hampton Inn, Courtyard by Marriot, Holiday Inn, etc.). In most areas of the country, the average hotel costs should not exceed $100 per night.
- If you are performing business for MICA at a hotel, or attending a conference located in a hotel, discuss upgrade options for meeting space and accommodations with your supervisor before booking your room(s).
- In major cities, where hotel prices are more expensive, use best judgment in finding economical rates for your stay. Discuss with your supervisor what your options are before you book your trip. Review government standards for costs at the link located at the end of this policy.
- MICA recommends looking for hotels just outside a city center (they are usually less expensive and do not charge for parking) when the cost savings (including transportation back into a city center) are significant.
- Request business traveler discounts when booking your room(s).
- Request AAA discount.
- Use government website (listed below in “Valuable Information” section) for help with pricing across the country.
The cost for meals and other incidental expenses will vary widely depending on the area of the country being visited, and the actual business being conducted, so per diems are subject to the approval of your supervisor. Employees should be prudent and use good business judgment when incurring meal costs. MICA requires that each employee settle on a per diem with their supervisor before their trip.
Generally, MICA policy sets per diems in the range of $40 - $50 for most daily meal and incidental expenses. Information on regional per diems can be found at the government website links at the end of this policy.
Gratuities are considered reasonable business expenses and are reimbursable. Reasonable gratuities are 15%-20% for meals, $1 per bag for luggage assistance and 10%-15% for taxi rides.
- Charges for in-flight or hotel room movies
- Expenses incurred by accompanying family members
- Travel insurance
- Airline club memberships
Traveling to MICA
When sponsoring a visitor to MICA, whether for business purposes (interviews, consultations, etc) or for educational purposes (lectures, speakers, visiting critics, etc), MICA expects the same guidelines to be used as for those traveling on business away from the college. MICA has several preferred hotel accounts: information on these accommodations is listed in the “Valuable Information” section at the end of this guideline.
Meal and entertainment expenses are to be set by the sponsor of the visit, in conjunction with their supervisors, as far in advance of the visit as possible. All pertinent expense reporting and rules listed in this policy are to be followed for these trips as well.
All MICA employees are required to fully track expenses (including American Express and cash expenses) for each business trip using the MICA Expense Report Form (see attached form). All expenses must be reported to your supervisor within two weeks upon returning from your trip. Original receipts are required for the following expenses:
- Air Travel
- Car Rental
- Rail Tickets
- Public Transportation
Because travel expenses can vary greatly from region to region, the following government website can help establish reasonable costs for travel, hotels and per diem rates for almost all areas of the country:
Recommended Local Accommodations for Travel to MICA
Recommended Rental Car Websites
(information to come)
Recommended Airline Websites
(information to come)
Insurance Identification Card
Budget Account Numbers
|105001||Travel / Training - Miscellaneous|
|105002||Travel / Training - Meals|
|105003||Travel / Training - Lodging|
|105004||Travel / Training - Air|
|105005||Travel / Training - Rail|
|105006||Travel / Training - Rental Car|
|105007||Travel / Training - Transportation Other|
|105008||Travel / Training - Mileage|
|105009||Training / Conference Fees|