Our maximum mileage rate changes when both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and General Services Administration (GSA) implement a change. The IRS usually announces a rate change before the GSA.
However, most trips do not qualify for the maximum rate. Please see the Summary of Allowable Expenses under the Mileage - Personal Vehicle heading for additional information.
When a traveler chooses to drive rather than to fly, reimbursement will be the lower of actual driving costs or projected flying costs. The intent of this restriction is to avoid having the university subsidize travel that is partly vacation-related.
Driving costs to be considered include round trip mileage at $.2875 per mile (for trips on or after January 1, 2020), tolls, parking, and extra meals and hotel charges enroute. Projected flying costs may include an airline ticket quote from a contracted travel agency, a $25.00 service fee from the contracted travel agency, round trip mileage to the Des Moines airport at $.575 per mile (for trips on or after January 1, 2020), estimated parking at the Des Moines airport, and either shuttle transportation or car rental. Airline ticket quotes should be obtained in writing from a contracted travel agency at least two weeks before departure to be assured of the lowest fare. Quotes will not be available after the trip. Travelers with questions should contact the Accounting Office before departure to avoid misunderstandings regarding reimbursement.
In the example below, the actual driving costs exceeded the projected flying costs, so the reimbursement must be limited to the lower amount of $559.30.
Actual Driving Costs
$416.86    Ames - Columbus, OH Round-trip Mileage (1450 x $.2875) $12.00    Tolls $35.00    Parking in Columbus $130.00    Hotel in Indianapolis (enroute to Columbus) $130.00    Hotel in Indianapolis (enroute from Columbus) $80.00    Two days of itemized meals enroute (Would not have been necessary if the traveler flew.) $803.86    Total of Actual Driving Costs
Projected Flying Costs
$348.00    Air Ticket for Des Moines - Columbus, OH - Des Moines $25.00    Service fee for the Air Ticket $60.00    Baggage Fees (2 x $30.00) $48.30    Mileage RT DSM Airport - Ames (84 x $.575) $28.00    Parking DSM Airport (4 days @ $7.00) $50.00    Estimated Shuttle or Cab (or rental car, if necessary) $559.30    Total Projected Flying Costs
Exceptions can be made if any of the following situations apply and are adequately explained on the travel reimbursement.
- The traveler was on an extended trip (e.g., > 30 days) that made it more economical to have a personal car than a rental car.
- Multiple people were traveling in the car, thereby making it more economical than purchasing multiple air tickets.
- Specialized equipment must be hauled in the vehicle, which would have been impractical to take on the plane.
- The destination was within a 400 mile radius (e.g., Chicago).
Can I be reimbursed for taking a private taxi to or from the Des Moines Airport?
Although there is not a university policy against this, it usually is not the most economical option. You should investigate other alternatives, such as Executive Express or Transportation Services, before choosing a private taxi.
Can I be reimbursed for two round trips to the Des Moines Airport if a family member drove me?
For extended trips you can justify the second round trip if it meant saving an equivalent amount on parking at the airport. It could also be justified if the family had only one vehicle. If either situation applies, please include this explanation on your Employee Reimbursement.
How do I calculate mileage to or from the Des Moines Airport if I don't live in Ames?
The link provides explanations of what to do if your home is closer to or farther from the airport. (Please note there are two pages to the link.) The same logic would apply to other business destinations. The main theme is that ISU does not reimburse for commuting.
This page was last updated on January 3, 2020.