Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis | Groups


*Please see MyTrips tab for International Travel

The following guidelines and procedures apply to individuals incurring University business-related travel expenses. These procedures are part of the overall Travel Expense Policy of Washington University in St. Louis developed to provide University travelers with a reasonable level of service and comfort at the lowest possible cost to the University.

Policies apply to anyone traveling on official University business including all employees of the University, students whose travel expenses are being reimbursed by the University, and non-employees who have been invited to the University or who have been authorized to travel on behalf of the University. It is our responsibility to ensure travelers are aware of University policy, and it is the traveler's responsibility to comply with this policy.

Please see the Quick Reference Sheet for a quick reference on what to do before, during and after your trip.  The Executive Summary outlines the Washington University policies in general terms. More restrictive policies have been set by Olin Business School and are detailed in the Policy Statement.  To view the complete Policy Statement for Travel Advances and Travel Expenses as well as an Executive Summary, please see the Forms tab.  Links to travel related forms are provided on the Forms tab for your convenience.

Travel charges to a sponsored project must follow the guidelines set forth by this policy unless the funding agency imposes greater restrictions. Please refer to the terms of the grant or contract for information regarding specific expenditures that are allowed.


  • Travelers are expected to book economy class airfare (the lowest standard coach fare). 
    • Southwest Airline Travel:  Must be booked as “Wanna Get Away” to be considered coach.  If this classification is not available at the time of booking, a screen shot to show the unavailability must be attached to the travel report to ensure quicker processing.                          
  • Upgrades to business class must be approved in advance by the Dean’s Office.   Documentation of the approval must be submitted with your Travel Expense statement to be reimbursed above economy class airfare.    
    • If an upgrade is approved, include the price of the economy fare with your Travel Expense Statement so the cost of the upgrade can be identified.
  • First class airfare is only permitted with written approval from the Chancellor or with exception approval by the CFO or Controller when it is not a one class upgrade.
  • Choice of Air Carrier should not be biased by the employee’s frequent flyer affiliation.
    • Airfare purchased with frequent flyer miles is not reimbursable.
  • Early Bird is an allowable expense on Southwest Airlines since they do not charge baggage fees
  • Seat charges on all other airlines are considered an upgrade and must have Dean’s level approval.
  • Reservations should be made as well in advance as possible to secure the lowest fares.

Business Travel Account

  • Olin maintains a JPMorgan/Chase Business Travel Account for purchasing airline tickets prior to a business-related trip. This account can be utilized by calling one of the three travel agents listed below.  The Business Travel Account may only be used for purchasing airfare.  It may not be used for guaranteeing or purchasing lodging or rental cars.
Aldine Travel     (314) 994-7878
Gwins Travel     (314) 822-1958
TravelPlex Travel (314) 569-1900
  • Airfare purchased using the school's Business Travel Account must be included on Line 2 of the Travel Expense Statement (TR) and a copy of the travel agent's invoice showing the cost of the airfare plus the agent's fee must be submitted with the Travel Expense Statement as supporting documentation.

Domestic Travel

  • Allowable travel expenses include transportation, lodging, meals and related items incurred by employees while traveling on official business of the University.  All expenses are reported on a Travel Expense Statement (TR) after the trip is completed. Reimbursement of meals and incidentals is based on either the actual expense incurred or on the per diem method. All other reimbursements are based on the actual expense incurred.  Travel expenses must be reasonable and documented with paid receipts. If using the per diem method for reimbursement, please refer to page 6 of the Washington University Travel Policy effective July 1, 2016.
  • Local mileage is not required to be submitted on a Travel Expense Statement.  Local mileage is defined as travel less than 100 miles roundtrip and can be submitted for reimbursement on a Check Request Form.  You must include the date, destination, and purpose of travel with the mileage. Current Mileage rates are available on this link.

Foreign Travel

  • Foreign travel is defined as any travel outside of Canada and the United States, its territories and possessions. When leasing vehicles outside the United States, Canada, or U.S. possessions, collision and liability insurance should be purchased.
  • Dean’s Level approval must be obtained before purchasing airfare at a business class rate. Documentation of this prior approval must be submitted with your Travel Expense Statement.
  • First class airfare is only permitted with written approval from the Chancellor or with exception approval by the CFO or Controller when it is not a one class upgrade.
  • On government grants and contracts, foreign travel is defined as any travel outside of Canada and the United States, its territories, and possessions. If a U.S. flag carrier is not available, please contact Sponsored Projects before making your travel arrangements..
  • When submitting your Travel Expense Statement, label receipts in English as "hotel," "rental car," etc. Obtain the average exchange rate for the applicable time period and submit a screen print of the currency conversion with your Travel Expense Statement.  If expenses were paid via credit card, use the actual rate paid as shown on your credit card statement and include a copy of the statement with the Travel Expense Statement. Exchange rates can be found on the Internet at http://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/.

Travel Advances

  • Travel advances are intended to cover out-of-pocket costs for employees traveling for an extended period of time or to reimburse employees for up-front costs, such as airfare or registration fees paid months in advance.
  • To receive a cash advance for out-of-pocket costs for an upcoming trip or to reimburse expenses that you have incurred before the trip, please complete the Travel Advance Form and submit it to your accounting representative with Department approvals. Be sure to include the dates of your trip, location, purpose, and amount of money requested.  Travel Advances will not be approved more than 30 days prior to the trip unless the employee needs to pay travel expenses before the trip has been taken or is taking back-to-back trips.
  • You must submit a completed Travel Expense Statement to reconcile the travel advance upon completion of the trip.


  • Please do not hesitate to e-mail Accounting or call 314-935-6314 for immediate assistance or questions on the Travel policy or forms.

Travel Policies & Forms

  • To view the Policies and Forms, please refer to the Forms tab.