Unallowable and personal charges will be returned to the traveler’s U-Bill. The traveler or cost center manager must associate a non-restricted Program Worktag with the chargeback. The worktag should be provided to the procurement and expense specialist creating or approving the expense report.

The list below is not all-inclusive. Contact the Office of Compliance with questions (294-3790).

Expense Type Explanation

Airport Lounges

Dues or fees to use an airport lounge (e.g., American Airlines Admirals Club, Delta Sky Club, or United Club) are a personal expense.

Back-to-Back Ticketing

The university prohibits the use of "back-to-back" ticketing -- the purchase of two round-trip tickets, but only using only half of each to avoid much higher "weekday only" fares that don't include a Saturday night stay. The airlines consider this practice illegal and use software to identify travelers who purchased them. Airlines may prevent these travelers from boarding flights or bill them the higher fare.

Baggage Insurance

Any insurance of personal property is not reimbursable, as the traveler is the beneficiary.

Business Class Airfare

Travelers must use economy or coach fares whenever available.

Car Accidents, Car Maintenance, Car Repairs, Car Washes, Locksmith Charges, Oil Changes, Towing Charges

The mileage rate is intended to cover the costs of operation and ownership.

Child Care

This is a personal expense.


Travel between an employee's home and his/her university office is a personal expense. If an employee has an off-campus office for the convenience of the university, traveling from the off-campus office to the campus and back is not considered commuting. However, if the off-campus office is for the convenience of the employee, traveling from the off-campus office to campus and back is considered commuting and is not reimbursable.

Credit Card Charges

Annual fees, finance charges, and penalties are personal expenses.

Credits for Bumping or Flight Delays

Credits given by airlines because a traveler was bumped or a flight was delayed are not reimbursable, as there was no out-of-pocket cost to the traveler.

Extra Seating

Occasionally, travelers with bodies wider than an airline seat have requested reimbursement for an extra adjacent seat. Previously, Iowa State University would deny these as the extra seat was considered a personal expense. However, employees wanting reimbursement for two seats must secure approval from the department cost center manager. Seats must be in economy or coach class and the extra seat expenses cannot be charged to federal funds.

First Class Airfare

Travelers must use economy or coach fares whenever available.

Flight Insurance

Not reimbursable, as this is a life insurance coverage that benefits the employee rather than ISU.

Frequent Flyer Credits

See "Rewards Programs" section on this page.

Frequent Flyer Loyalty

Consistently choosing the same airline for the purpose of accumulating frequent flier miles, rather than the lowest travel cost, is not allowable.

Loss or Theft of a Travel Advance

This is a personal expense. Travel advances should be kept to a minimum. Consider applying for a Travel & Hospitality Card.

Lost Baggage

This is a personal expense.

Medical Costs

Medical care (including costs associated with travel for medical care) while on ISU business is considered a personal expense and is not reimbursable.

Non-U.S. Flag Air Carriers

This restriction only applies when federal funds are being used.

Parking Tickets

These are personal expenses.

Personal Entertainment

Entertainment tickets, green fees, movies, personal reading materials, etc. are personal expenses.

Personal Grooming Items

These are personal expenses.

Personal Insurance

If the traveler is the beneficiary rather than ISU, the coverage is not reimbursable.

Pet Boarding

This is a personal expense.

Rewards Programs

Travelers sometimes earn rewards through programs from vendors that reduce the cost to the traveler. Examples include frequent flier credits, additional nights or credits at hotels, or credits or points earned from using a credit card. Although each of these has a monetary value, they cannot be reimbursed, as reimbursement is limited to the out-of-pocket expenditure for the traveler. Travelers who earn these rewards from personal travel must be careful to not use the rewards towards university travel.

Spousal or Family Travel

Extra charges to accommodate the travel of persons not fulfilling a business purpose for ISU are personal expenses.

In some cases it is allowable to pay for meals of spouses or significant others if there is a business purpose. This only applies to these partners. Iowa State University will not pay expenses for children or other family members.

Ticket Rescheduling Fees for Personal Reasons

Ticket rescheduling fees for personal reasons, rather than business reasons, are not reimbursable. Therefore, the business purpose of the ticket rescheduling fee must be stated on the air ticket requisition or reimbursement. (Exception: A ticket rescheduling fee for a health emergency of the traveler or the traveler's "immediate family" is reimbursable.)

Time Shares

Because time shares can be owned by employees, their friends, and/or family, these are not allowed for lodging reimbursements.

Traffic Violations

These are personal expenses.

Vacation Days

Extra charges for car rental, lodging, meals, parking, etc. for vacation days must be removed, as these are personal expenses.