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Travel Program Benefits

Find out about the University of California's managed travel program which includes cost savings, benefits, and value added services. Learn why using UC's travel program benefits our travelers, departments, and campus.

The University of California's robust travel program features a variety of solid discounts for airfare, hotel and car rentals as well as additional value added services.  Value added services usually come at a cost but are provided at no charge by preferred suppliers of UC's systemwide travel program.  These services improve the savings garnered by the travel program, helping to stretch department funds further.  FY22/23 saw a savings of $197K in value added services campuswide.  

A full list of benefits can be found in the Connexxus Portal (Business Systems Sign-On required) under Partners - Air, Ground Transportation, and Lodging.  

Travel program negotiated rates, benefits, and value added services are only available if travel is booked through Balboa Travel (Concur) or Kahala Travel (for specific federally funded travel.)  Bookings also include automatic registration in UC's traveler insurance.  Want to learn more about our partner travel agencies?  Click here.

Program Benefits

Note that some program benefits are based on availability

Airline Benefits:

  • Campus-paid airfare; no out of pocket costs to the traveler and no waiting for reimbursement
  • Preferred boarding and priority standby
  • Early access to seating maps
  • Access to preferred seating options
  • Additional mileage program points
  • Frequent flier status match/upgrades
  • Automated fare adjustment
  • Unused ticket management

Car Rental Benefits:

  • Rates average $40/day with access to competitively priced and policy approved intermediate sized cars at economy rates
  • Comprehensive insurance coverage included for rentals in the US
  • California rentals include no additional mileage or one-way drop off fees
  • Free car class upgrades when available

Hotel Benefits:

  • Discounts up to 20% off best available rate
  • Free Wifi (Marriott properties and most local preferred hotels)
  • Complimentary room upgrades when available
  • Early check-in/late check out
  • Silver Elite Marriott Rewards instant status for those not currently enrolled in the Marriott Rewards program


Why is Traveler Insurance Important?

The University takes its duty of care obligation very seriously and as such the Office of Risk Services works with Crisis24 to cover a wide variety of accidents and incidents for those traveling on official University business.  While traveler insurance is automatically applied for all UC travelers, travel plans must be registered so the company can easily and immediately provide assistance when needed.  For travelers who book a trip through our preferred agencies, trips are automatically registered and travelers receive notification emails and alerts.  Travelers who book outside the system must register each trip separately.  For more information please refer to the Business Travel Accident Insurance page.

What is Automated Fare Adjustment?

Just like the stock market, airfare can rise or fall based on demand.  To take advantage of periodic fare drops, Balboa Travel uses an airfare price protection program to monitor confirmed tickets within the first 24 hours of booking, automatically re-pricing the trip if the fare falls by at least $50.  An updated invoice will be sent to notify the traveler who may have to re-confirm their seats.  If an adjustment occurs after the first 24 hours of booking, the old higher cost ticket will be converted to credit towards future travel.  In FY22/23 400 tickets were adjusted for a total of $61K in savings to this campus.

What are Unused Tickets?

Travelers who cancel nonrefundable airfare tickets end up with airline credit in their name.  If the original ticket was purchased using the campus-paid option, those credits belong to the COA (fund source) that paid for the ticket.  Travelers should use credits before expiration or the money will be lost.  If the original traveler cannot use the credit, it can be transferred to another traveler in the same department or other campus traveler.  Several airlines provide UC with funding to reduce and/or waive the fees associated with converting these unused tickets to valid travel tickets.  453 nonrefundable tickets were used in FY22/23 for a cost savings of $195K.
Launched in 2008, the University of California's travel program continues to evolve and strengthen as leveraged buying power increases.  Negotiations with partner suppliers are ongoing to reflect the changing travel landscape.
Find answers, request services, or get help from our team at the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.