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Travel: Meals and Lodging

Find out about lodging and meal expenses for travel in the continental U.S. that lasts fewer than 30 days.

Before you book a room, find out how to get discounted hotel rates through Concur Travel. Note that:

  • Effective January 1st, 2024, the UC maximum lodging rate for reimbursement is $333 before taxes and mandatory hotel fees.
  • In-room charges such as gym or movie fees are not reimbursable.
  • An expense for lodging within the vicinity of your home or headquarters is generally not eligible for reimbursement unless an early start time is combined with a distance greater than 40 miles from the headquarters or home, whichever is closest. 

Reimbursements for lodging expenses are valid up to $333 per night before taxes and mandatory hotel fees. These reimbursements must be substantiated by original itemized receipts, regardless of the incurred amounts, and should be reasonable for the locality of travel.

It is understood that a traveler may not always be able to secure lodging within the UC maximum, so a couple of allowable exceptions are referenced within the policy:

  • A traveler attending a conference with a prearranged lodging rate exceeding the $333 per night cap may stay at the conference hotel without requiring exceptional approval. In such cases, the traveler will need to provide supporting documentation indicating that the hotel is either the designated conference hotel or recommended by the conference as the preferred place of stay.
  • During peak seasons, if the traveler cannot secure lodging at $333 per night or less, they must provide additional documentation, such as price comparisons within the proximity of the meeting location, supporting the higher lodging rate. The price comparisons should be performed at the time of booking.

Meal costs can be claimed only for travel longer than 24 hours. For details and exceptions, see below section "Meals".


Reserve a room using one of these methods:

Note: If you reserve a room more than 21 days in advance and your card will be charged rather than held to secure the room, reconsider using your Travel & Entertainment Card to avoid any out-of-pocket expenses.

Pay for your hotel using one of these methods:

After your trip, use Concur to report these expenses and itemize your hotel folio:

  • Hotel Itemization/Lodging Expense Type
    • Enter the lodging amount (single room rate plus tax), including any prepayments by UC San Diego.
    • Enter any additional expenses associated with your lodging, such as:
      • Business phone calls
      • Personal phone calls
      • Modem access fee
    • If prompted, enter remarks in the comments
    • Attach the itemized hotel receipts or provide it to the appropriate contact in your department.
  • Meals & Incidentals 
    • Enter any meal expenses that appear on the lodging receipt under the Meals & Incidentals expense type.



  • Meal and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) is the term for the daily maximum for meals and service tips for business travelers' individual costs during trips lasting from 24 hours to 29 days in the continental U.S.
  • Effective July 1st, 2022 claim the actual amount spent up to the maximum of $79 per day.
    • Meal & Incidental Expenses (M&IE) for trips prior to July 1st, 2022 claim up to the maximum of $62 per day.
  • When a UC San Diego employee attends a local conference, they are not on travel status (no lodging or meal expense is eligible for reimbursement).
  • M&IE isn't Per Diem, which applies to long-term U.S. travel (30 days or more) and travel outside the continental U.S.

Recording M&IE

  • Before your trip, ask your department's travel delegate or approver if you must turn in receipts. UC San Diego travel policy doesn't require meal receipts for M&IE, but departments may require them to calculate the actual amount to claim for reimbursement up to the threshold.
  • If your department doesn't require receipts, keep a log of the actual amount spent on meals and tips each day of travel.

Claiming M&IE

Travel shorter than 24 hours:

  • For travel shorter than 24 hours, meals can only be claimed if you had:
    • An overnight stay and you provided a lodging receipt to your department's travel approver
    • A working meal scheduled as an integral part of a conference
  • If you claim a meal for either reason above, indicate the business requirement of the cost in the Notes section of the Meals tab in Concur. Entertainment costs incurred during travel status may be claimed within the Travel Expense Report under Expense Type Entertainment Meals-Travel Status.
  • UC Travel Policy specifies that for travel in excess of 24 hours within the continental US (CONUS), travelers should be required to submit meal receipts if it appears that they are treating the max amount of $79 as per diem by routinely claiming the full M&IE amount.


The incidentals portion of an M&IE rate includes tips for service (e.g., for waiters, baggage handlers, etc.)

Tax consequences

  • Correct use of M&IE, by claiming actual expenses only up to the maximum daily amount, is required.
  • If M&IE is improperly used by routinely claiming the maximum amount or claiming the maximum amount on any occasion without written justification, it would be considered taxable income to the traveler.
Find answers, request services, or get help from our team at the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.
Notice: UC San Diego travel policy, as published in Blink, is decisive. It has been adapted to UC San Diego's organization, delegation of authority, terminology, chart of accounts and processing applications. The source for UC San Diego travel policy is UC Travel Policy and Regulations (PDF).