Given the announcement of the extension of travel restrictions, W&M offers the following guidelines to aid travelers with future travel needs and travel cancellations.
Travel restrictions have been put in place from March 12 through August 31 to support the four key goals outlined by President Rowe: i) safeguarding the health of students, faculty and staff; ii) ensuring students complete their classes; iii) maintaining the university’s research and other operations; and iv) joining in the national effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This was a difficult decision and one that was not taken lightly. The health and safety of our university community is our top priority, and we feel that this is the most prudent action to take for the safety of those traveling while identifying opportunities for cost containment.
During this period, the following guidance is provided:
1) Planning Future Travel
At this time, we recommend that you defer any decisions related to future travel. We encourage travelers to determine if there are alternative methods to participate in existing obligations (Zoom, Skype, etc.). Any future travel deemed mission-critical must be approved in advance by your VP or dean and Amy Sebring, vice president for finance and technology. Routing for the pre-approval in Chrome River will be established the week of May 4. If you are planning for approved travel, you are encouraged to purchase refundable tickets and to be mindful of all cancellation requirements and penalties before entering into any contract or obligating university funds.
2) Seeking Reimbursement for Previously Planned Travel
Previously booked travel should be canceled. Travelers will be fully reimbursed for expenses incurred in the event that conference fees, plane ticket and other costs are non-refundable for trips booked prior to March 12.
Booked Directly with the Vendor
If travel was booked directly with the vendor (airline, hotel, conference), contact the vendor(s) as soon as possible to cancel the services. In some cases, the vendors are waiving cancellation penalties.
- Air and Rail
If you have purchased a nonrefundable ticket (whether you paid with a personal credit card or used a university small purchase charge card), you must contact the vendor directly. Each vendor policy is different in their response to COVID-19. If no penalty waiver exists, you may be given a “credit” (minus any cancellation penalty) which can be used for a future W&M business trip. The university will reimburse the traveler for any out-of-pocket expenses as a result of cancellation with documentation from the vendor. If the vendor issues credits for future use, those credits must be used for business travel. They cannot be used for personal travel. If you use any portion of the unused ticket or vendor credit for personal travel, you are required to pay the university back for the cost of the ticket. Please ensure that you keep all documentation to provide to Accounting Operations (see below).
- Since hotels can charge for non-canceled reservations, these charges will not be reimbursed, if the traveler is negligent in canceling reservations. If the cancellation window closed before March 11, 2020, you will be reimbursed with appropriate documentation.
Booked Directly through Covington
If you purchased a ticket through Covington, call 888-675-5790 or email email@example.com. They will contact the airlines on your behalf and work diligently to provide you with a solution. You can find additional information here: https://www.covingtontravel.com/coronavirus/.
Contact the event registration to see if they will grant a refund for the conference.
Policy does not allow for travel insurance reimbursement and most insurances would not provide coverage in all situations.
- What documents are required to clear a travel advance and/or file a travel expense report in Chrome River?
It is important that you keep all correspondence with instructions, waivers and refund information from the vendor to ensure smooth transition with finalizing the fiscal portion of the transaction. Vendor documentation and correspondence must be uploaded to Chrome River to finalize all reimbursements.
- What if I received a credit from the airline? What documentation is required?
The Accounting Office will assist departments with tracking employees that have received travel credits. Employees are required to upload the airline documentation in Chrome River.
- What if I cannot get a refund for my hotel room?
W&M will reimburse hotel cancellation charges. Employees are required to demonstrate their attempt to cancel the reservations and any documentation received from the hotel.
- What if my trip was combined business and personal?
W&M will reimburse for only those expenses that were related to W&M business.
- Would I get reimbursed for change fees?
For those traveling on university business, the W&M Travel Policy allows for reimbursement of cancellation or change fees with a valid reason. The current Coronavirus meets this requirement.
- How do I include dean or VP approval for travel that is deemed mission-critical?
Attach the email approval from the dean or VP to the preapproval in Chrome River before it is routed to Amy Sebring, vice president for finance and technology. A pre-approval routing system will be established the week of May 4.