NEWSLETTER: Spring 2018

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Purchases Not Allowed on Travel Card

There are certain types of purchases that are not allowed on University Travel Cards. These include:

Tuition: You will need to work with your department’s Financial Aid representative they will guide you through the process to have the student’s account billing credited.

Donations, Contributions & Sponsorships: These payments should always be processed through the "Other Payment Request" Specialty Form in the PantherExpress System. You should select "Other" from the Business Purpose drop-down menu and include a description of the purpose in the field provided.

Services: All services must be purchased using the PantherExpress System; you cannot use the Travel Card or P-card. You may also need a W-9, Supplier Verification Form (SVF) and a signed contract to process the request.

Software Subscriptions: Subscriptions on the Travel Card are meant to include journals, magazines and other similar products. Software subscriptions are subject to software purchasing requirements.


Foreign Transaction Fees

When making a purchase to a merchant in a foreign country, your location when making the purchase does not affect whether the transaction will incur a foreign transaction fee. Whether you’re making a hotel deposit while here in the U.S. or you’re paying for dinner in the foreign country, both transactions are subject to the foreign transaction fee due to the merchant location. 

Be sure to use the Expense Type, "Foreign Transaction Fees" to reconcile these charges.

Expense Types for Line Items on Concur Expense Reports

It is important to use the right Expense Type for line items on your Expense Reports. Using the correct Expense Type enables Payment Processing to quickly process your Expense Report and ensures accuracy in expense reporting. Accuracy is paramount for departments to be able to monitor and budget spending on travel and business entertainment expenses.

A list of the Expense Types available in Concur and their corresponding subcode is available here. If you have any questions or cannot find an Expense Type you need, please contact PantherExpress Customer Service.

We also ask that you consolidate expenses onto a single Expense Report by trip or business purpose. We sent a notification about the best practice in March and there are several FAQs to assist you with questions regarding report consolidation.



Fiscal Year-End Information

For the Travel Card, it is important to remember that it can take anywhere from 3-10 business days for some purchases to come through from the merchant and be applied to your account. This delay for charges to clear will extend to how long it takes for them to appear in your Concur account.

As we approach Fiscal Year-End, be sure to allow enough time for the charge to clear, appear in Concur, and be reconciled if you want them applied to your FY18 budget. Please also remember that once charges appear in Concur, to reconcile them and have them hit your department account they must be entered onto an Expense Report, submitted to and approved by an Approver, and processed by the PantherExpress Payment Processing Department.

It is also best practice to consolidate expenses onto a single Expense Report by trip or business purpose. If you are expecting expenses in Concur and are unsure whether to submit the report as is or continue to wait for the Travel Card charge, please contact PantherExpress Customer Service.

The Fiscal Year-end closing schedule will be published by General Accounting on the General Accounting website in the coming weeks. Please check there for the full schedule of deadlines.

Travel Program Savings

March marked one year since the launch of the Travel & Expense Management program. The adoption and use of tools like Concur and the Travel Card and our partnership with Anthony Travel, the preferred travel agency for the program, have produced results showing that the University is meeting or beating costs across the travel industry.

Highlights of the program include:

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domestic travel - plane over usa - icon

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The greatest savings for the University are currently in international bookings. The University's average cost of international airfare is $1,550, a 55% savings over the industry average.* The University's average savings for domestic flights is $83, an 18% savings over the industry average.* Travelers and arrangers who book travel 14 to 20 days in advance, save $45 to $118 per ticket over those who book less than two weeks in advance. The total potential savings to the University is $66,197.*

Average costs for a hotel room at Pittsburgh hotels are 19% lower in the University program than industry averages and the average cost per night for the University across all US cities is 10% lower than the industry averages. Our car rental average costs are the same as industry average costs, however the industry figures do not include car insurance which is included in the cost of our program averages.

We are excited to see these savings so early in the program and are sure that with time our savings through partnerships and the program will continue to increase. 

*Industry averages based off of TOPAZ International and Business Travel News 2017 statistics

REAL ID Extension Update

Pennsylvania residents have a REAL ID enforcement extension until October 10, 2018. PennDOT will continue to request extensions until the REAL ID products are available for residents. Individuals traveling after October 10, 2018 should be prepared to have a valid passport or other acceptable form of identification when traveling domestically.

PennDOT estimates REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards will be available in Spring of 2019.  

Some Pennsylvania Driver’s License holders may have received a notification advising that you may already have your required REAL ID documentation on file. In September 2018 PennDOT’s Driver’s License Centers will be equipped to verify documents for customers who want a REAL ID. To prepare you can gather the required documents in original versions or certified copies (if applicable). No photo copies will be accepted. 

If you are not a resident of Pennsylvania and do not know if your identification is REAL ID compliant please check the status of your state by clicking the state your ID is issued from.  


The Travel & Expense Management team is starting a quarterly Lunch & Learn series to review information and expand training topics related to the travel and expense management programs. Dates for the first training will be announced in the coming weeks and will occur in the following months:

  • July
  • October
  • January
  • April

The PantherExpress Travel & Expense Management team is committed to ensuring that the community feels comfortable and confident with the new travel and expense management tools, the Travel Card and Concur system.

Have a topic you’d like to see covered? Submit your request to Emily Duchene, Travel Program Manager by emailing


Double Check Attached Receipts

For those approving expense reports, you should always review the receipts attached to the Expense Report line items. You can view the receipt associated with a line item by hovering over the receipt for it or viewing all receipts for the report by clicking "Receipts" under the Expense Report header and choosing either “View Receipts in new window” or “View Receipts in current window.” Reviewing receipts is great way to monitor spending patterns and to ensure compliance with policy.


Expense Subcode Lookup

It is important to use the right expense type when submitting your Expense Report for efficient processing. Using the correct expense type is integral to accurate reporting for the University and department budgeting.  

A list of expense type subcodes and descriptions of when they should be used is available on the Expense Reporting page, under Expense Management, of the Travel & Expense Management website.

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