Travel on Sponsored Awards


Boston University appreciates the efforts of those who travel on University business. Travelers should be comfortable while traveling, understand the University’s travel and business expense guidelines, and obtain reimbursement quickly. At the same time, it is necessary to keep travel and business expenses within reasonable limits and to follow consistent reimbursement procedures.

Reimbursable expenses must conform to university policy, federal and state law, if applicable, and the restrictions placed upon sponsored awards.

Guidelines to know

Travel is allowable as a direct cost when such travel will provide direct benefit to the award. If federally funded, sponsored awards are subject to certain federal laws and the guidelines set forth in the Uniform Guidance.

Travel should also adhere to the University guidelines on travel and business expenses.

All awards are subject to specific agency restrictions as well. The terms and conditions of the individual agreement should be reviewed prior to incurring and/or submitting any travel cost for reimbursement. When there is a conflict between University policy and award requirements the more restrictive policy applies.

  • Check award requirements: Some awards may prohibit foreign travel, restrict number of trips or number of travelers, require pre-authorization by Sponsor, or specify maximum meal, mileage, or other cost rate.

Travel charged to sponsored awards is subject to the policies described in Boston University’s Travel Policy. In certain circumstances, a sponsored award may have additional restrictions, such as required sponsor approval before the travel, use of U.S. carriers for air travel, and strict budgetary limits. All travelers using sponsor funding should be aware of and comply with the specific requirements of their grant or contract. As part of the expense reimbursement process in Concur, the traveler’s supervisor and the FI approver approve the report.

  1. Travel expenses using the concur Travel card are reviewed by  Sponsored Programs – Post Award on a quarterly basis using a risk based approach;
  2. All Travel Reimbursement requests are reviewed for completeness, compliance with the University’s travel policy, and proper authorization by the Accounts Payable travel group; or
  3. A combo of 1 and 2

There are a number of expenses that may be reimbursable by the University, but cannot be charged to a federal grant or contract. See Appendix B for examples. For additional information contact your Sponsored Programs Pre Award or Post Award Research Administrator.

Air Travel on Sponsored Awards

When traveling under a federally sponsored project, airfare costs are subject to guidelines established by the Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200, §200.474 Travel Costs. Federal regulations prohibit the charging of Business Class (or First Class) accommodations to federally sponsored projects unless it is specifically approved by the sponsoring agency. If a traveler does fly Business Class, and the University has approved the use of Business Class airfare, the traveler must allocate the difference between the Business Class and the lowest available fare Coach ticket to a non-sponsored discretionary cost object.

Travelers must comply with the Fly America Act which requires travelers to use:

  • A U.S. flag air carrier (an airline owned by an American company); or
  • A foreign carrier that operates under a U.S. Flag air carrier code-sharing agreement and identifies the U.S. flag air carrier’s designator code and flight number.*

*Code sharing occurs when two or more airlines “code” the same flight as if it was their own, so a US airline might sell a seat on the plane of a foreign air carrier but the ticket shows the US airline’s code and flight number. For example when Delta sells seats on an Air France flight, and the ticket shows DL## for Delta (rather than AF##).

These carriers must be used unless the traveler can prove that such carriers were unavailable or that one or more criteria were met that waives the restriction on carrier (see the Fly America Waiver Checklist).

Please note: There are over 100 Open Skies Agreements but only 4 meet Fly America conditions:

  • European Union (28 countries) (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, including Iceland and Norway)
  • Australia
  • Switzerland
  • Japan

What are the exceptions?
Traveler’s should check the GSA sites for the most up to date information.

  1. What are the allowable exceptions under the Fly America Act?
  2. The exceptions are
  3. When a U.S. air carrier is not available.
  4. When the use of a U.S. carrier service would extend the travel time by 24 hours or more.
  5. When a U.S. carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service between origin and destination; and,\
    • Increases the number of aircraft changes outside the United States by two or more.
    • Extends travel time by at least six hours or more.
    • Requires a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.
  6. Short Distance Travel – When the flight time from origin to destination is less than 3 hours and the use of a U.S. flag carrier doubles the time en-route.
  7. When there is an applicable Open Skies agreement in effect which the Department of Transportation says meets the requirements of the FAA.


If you have additional information on whether your flight is compliant with the Fly America Act, please click here.

Fly America

Currency Conversions

Per Diem Rates

Federal Travel Regulation Guidelines

Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200, §200.474 Travel Costs

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