NEWSLETTER: Summer 2018

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The Travel & Expense Management team will be hosting quarterly Brown Bag Lunch & Learns to review information and expand training topics related to the travel and expense management programs.

The summer sessions will be held July 31 and August 1, details below, and attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch while we review topics related to payment processing, expenses, and expense reporting and travel. Both sessions will cover the same content and conclude with a question and answer session.

  • Summer
    • Tuesday, July 31 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the William Pitt Union Ballroom
    • Wednesday, August 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the William Pitt Union Ballroom
  • Fall
    • Monday, October 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the William Pitt Union Ballroom
    • Thursday, November 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the William Pitt Union Ballroom
  • Winter - TBA
  • Spring - TBA

We will be sending an email to all system users next week with information about the summer training.

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


Emergency Withdrawals from ATMs

An emergency phone line has been established for travelers in need of an emergency cash withdrawal outside of normal business hours while travelling. Travelers must contact the Payment Processing Dept. at 412-648-7170 to request that your Travel Card be opened for cash withdrawal. To open ATM withdrawal during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F) please call PantherExpress Customer Service at 412-624-8357.

More information is on the Travel Card page of our website under Travel Card Information.

Basic Economy Fares

Basic Economy fares have been available domestically for more than a year and many airlines have started introducing them for international fares as well. The Basic Economy fares are subject to a number of restrictions, listed below, and are designed to allow traditional airlines to compete with the emerging discount airlines, such as WOW and Spirit.

Common restrictions on Basic Economy fares include:

  • Non-reimbursable ticket that cannot be applied to future flights 
  • Last to board aircraft 
  • Seat assignment after check-in (cannot pick seat in advance)
  • No access to the overhead bin (single carry-on under the seat)  
  • No ticket changes 
  • No refunds 
  • No priority boarding
  • No paid or complementary upgrades 

In some cases, luggage brought to the gate can be subject to higher baggage charges than checking baggage at the ticketing counter.

Basic Economy fares are shown in the Concur online booking tool. Clicking on "View Fares" will show all fare options. A blue information icon appears on the line with Basic Economy fares advising travelers of restrictions. If you have questions about these fares please do not hesitate to reach out to the University’s dedicated travel management company, Anthony Travel, with your questions. The Pitt-dedicated agents will be happy to assist you.  


Unallowable Payments with the Travel Card

The Travel Card cannot be used to pay the University of Pittsburgh. If you wish to make a payment to another department, you must issue an Interdepartmental Charge (IDC) using your 32-digit account code. General Accounting manages Interdepartmental Charges and the policy and procedure are available from the policies page on the CFO's website.

Likewise, the Travel Card cannot be used to pay for a student's tuition or tuition fees. The preferred way to make this payment is directly against the student's bill through the Item Type Request Form provided by the Student Payment Center. You will be able to enter your 32-digit account number and select which tuition-related charges to pay. The student will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses.

Picking the Right Tool

Our Travel & Expense Management Team is looking at ways to provide resources that help to clarify the use of the Travel Card and the Concur expense management system in contrast with our prexisting procurement tools such as the P-Card and the PantherExpress System.

Travel Card or P-Card?

One common theme from recently conducted focus groups with Travel Card users is confusion over what kinds of purchases can be made with the Travel Card and which ones should be made with the P-Card. We are working on a resource guide for cardholders and departments to use to determine whether or not to use a P-Card or a Travel Card in a given situation that will be distributed when available.

Concur or the PantherExpress System?

We have also seen confusion regarding paying honoraria versus paying someone through a contract or agreement. Honoraria are small tokens of appreciation that should be paid using the Concur system. If the payment is subject to specific details or rates, it should be entered as a contract or agreement through the PantherExpress System. Information about honoraria can be found under the Expense Management Menu heading.


Travel Program Savings

For the third quarter in a row, the University's average ticket price booked through Anthony Travel and the Concur online booking tool is below industry averages.

global travel - plane and globe - icon

domestic travel - plane over usa - icon
The University's average cost of international airfare is $1,251, 56% less than the industry average.* The University's average savings for domestic flights is $397, a 10% savings over the industry average.*


If all domestic travelers who booked travel less than two weeks in advance booked 14-20 days out instead, the University would have received potential a savings of $79,425 for the quarter. Something as simple as advanced planning can have a big impact on total costs. 

*Industry averages provided by TOPAZ International


ExpenseIt App Updates

On August 13, 2018, the ExpenseIt app features will become integrated into an upgraded Concur mobile app to create a seamless and simplified experience for users. This means that any ExpenseIt app users will need to go to the Concur mobile app to use the receipt upload and other functionality. We will post a news item and send additional information to the PEXT NotifyU list in August, closer to the date of the change.

To use the Concur mobile app, you will need to set a Mobile PIN in the Concur web application, if you have not already. Mobile registration can be found under Profile > Profile Settings. For further instructions, please refer to the User Guide.



Pennsylvania residents have a REAL ID enforcement extension until October 10, 2018. 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.

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.   


Tax Exemption

The University of Pittsburgh is exempt from sales tax. The Pennsylvania exemption number can be found on the Travel Card, below the cardholder name. Please check your folios and receipts prior to charging purchases to the Travel card.

Certification information for non-Travel Card purchases as well as information about other states with whom we have a tax exemption agreement are available on the PantherExpress Buy-to-Pay website.

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