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June 2024

Travel tips and CTP support can help during peak summer travel

Airlines are predicting a significant increase in air travel this summer. If you’re traveling by air this summer, these tips can make your experience smoother:  


  • Anticipate busier airport and security lines and allow extra time for the check-in and TSA screening process. 
  • Be alert for any potential flight delays by using airlines’ mobile apps or flightaware.com
  • When booking, look for itineraries with at least an hour of buffer time during layovers in case of unplanned delays.


There is no way to plan for or avoid all travel-related issues, but Collegiate Travel Planners (CTP) can provide 24/7 support, depending on your needs.


CTP phone assistance

  • Dedicated U-M agents are available during regular business hours—Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET). Please note that if you call CTP outside of these hours, you will be transferred to CTP's after-hours service, which may result in additional fees.
  • Travelers should only utilize the after-hours service if they have an emergency or are traveling within the next 72 hours. Non-urgent calls could impact wait times for those needing immediate or emergency assistance.
  • CTP’s phone service also has a call-back feature to avoid waiting on the line. The call-back feature will hold your place in line and an agent will call you when it is your turn. 
  • CTP’s email inbox is only monitored during business hours, so travelers needing urgent assistance after hours should call CTP.


Self-service options on the web

  • Travelers can make changes to flights—as well as car and hotel reservations—under "Manage Bookings" in the Lightning booking tool.
  • Travelers can also use the Scout chatbot in the CTP Portal to confirm or cancel a booking or check a flight's status. 


Contact CTP

  • Phone(877) 804-3688 or (402) 252-4404 when calling from outside the U.S. Regular business hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET).
  • Emailumichigan@ctptravelservices.com

Allowable airfare classes for booking flights, plus tips for Delta Airlines

Booking airfare for U-M business-related travel? Here are a few key policy allowances to keep in mind:


  • U-M will reimburse expenses for standard economy or main cabin fares. In the Lightning booking tool, these will appear in the "Economy" and "Refundable" columns.
  • Basic economy flights are blocked in Lightning and should not be booked, as these tickets are extremely restrictive.
  • Business class fares can be booked for flights with at least eight hours of total flying time (not including layover time).
  • First class is only allowable when accompanying a major donor or dignitary, with unit pre-approval.
  • Medical exceptions can be made at the discretion and approval of each unit.
  • Federal regulations prohibit the use of federal funds for the purchase of business or first class air travel.
  • Find more information in the Travel Airfare FAQ and/or the Travel and Business Hosting Expense Policy.


Since Detroit Metro Airport is a hub for Delta Airlines—U-M’s most frequently used carrier, here’s how the university’s policies apply to Delta:


  • Employees should not book Delta’s basic economy fares. These fares do not allow refunds or changes, and seats cannot be assigned until after check-in, possibly not until at the gate. Delta basic economy travelers will also be in the last zone to board and cannot earn miles on the flight.
  • Delta Comfort+ is considered an upgraded main cabin, not standard, and requires pre-approval by a chancellor, dean, director, vice chancellor, vice president, or senior university officer.
  • Delta One—available on some international flights—is considered first class, as it is the most forward cabin on the plane. The Premium Select cabin is considered the business class option for these flights.

Earn Delta SkyMiles Medallion Status faster

Through U-M’s contract with Delta Airlines, employees who travel for U-M business may qualify to enroll in the Delta Fast Track to Medallion Status promotion. This promotion allows business travelers to easily earn SkyMiles Medallion statuses of Silver, Gold, and Platinum—good for 12 months—by providing a lower Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) goal for each level:


  • Silver—$2,000 MQDs (standard $5,000)
  • Gold—$4,500 MQDs (standard $10,000)
  • Platinum—$7,000 MQDs (standard $15,000)


To be eligible for this promotion, employees must enter their SkyMiles number in their CTP Profile and book qualifying business flights using CTP—the university’s authorized booking channel—via Lightning or agent assistance. After the qualifying business flight, earn MQDs to complete the promotion requirements within six months of enrollment and earn Medallion Status.


Some Delta SkyMiles card holders are eligible for even lower promotion requirements, but the qualifying flight must be booked through CTP—not using their SkyMiles card.


Learn more about the promotion, including eligibility, requirements, and how to enroll on the Delta Fast Track to Medallion Status webpage.

Supplier Spotlight: black car services—Metro Cars and Golden Limo

The university has contracts for black car services—pre-arranged ground transportation in well-maintained vehicles—with two Michigan-based companies: Metro Cars and Golden Limousine International. Black car services are often used for transportation to/from the airport for business travel. Reservations with both preferred suppliers can be made through the Lightning booking tool in the CTP Portal. The preferred payment method is a PCard, but other payment methods are available. An 18 percent gratuity is automatically included at the time of booking and will appear on the invoice—so travelers do not need to tip at the conclusion of their ride. This knowledge base article illustrates how invoices look and where the gratuity is located.

Limited edition national championship PCard/Travel Card

Procurement Services has partnered with JPMorgan Chase to offer a limited edition PCard and Travel Card celebrating the football team’s 2023 National Championship. 


Why use a PCard or Travel Card?

There are many benefits to using a PCard or Travel Card for business and travel-related expenses—both for you and U-M. Using a PCard or Travel Card:


  • Provides a more secure form of payment, with the ability to track issues and address any improper or fraudulent charges with the support of JP Morgan Chase
  • Eliminates the need for employees to use personal resources and seek reimbursement for U-M business purchases
  • Makes submitting expense reports easier, with most expense information pre-populated and already attached to your user profile
  • Eliminates the risk of taxation on late-submitted expenses
  • Offers faster, simpler payment to suppliers (vs. a purchase order and invoice)
  • Provides more accurate data reporting


Read more on who should apply for a PCard/Travel Card, examples of appropriate transactions, how to update your current card to the limited edition version, or how to apply for a new limited edition card.

Chrome River training available this summer

Procurement Services will host a series of training sessions in June and July to introduce Chrome River, U-M’s upgraded expense reporting system. The move to Chrome River, which is going live on August 1, 2024, was announced earlier this year.


To ensure the university community is prepared for this shift, we are offering a variety of sessions tailored to different skill levels and user roles:


Introduction to Chrome River (Instructor-led): Ideal for all users who create expense reports for themselves or others. This session will cover the basics of navigation, expense creation, and report submission. There will be a live demo of the system, tips and tricks, and time for Q&A. 



Read more about instructor-led and on demand Chrome River Approver Training, SSC Expense Submission Process Training, and what you can do to prepare for Chrome River.

Travel Supplier Showcase draws big crowd

More than 450 U-M employees attended the Spring Travel Supplier Showcase last month and visited booths from nearly 30 exhibitors. The list of exhibitors included Collegiate Travel Planners (CTP), Delta and Southwest Airlines, National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, CIBTvisas, several local hotels, and a number of internal U-M departments.


Employees could also sign up for TSA PreCheck interviews during the event. JPMorgan Chase participated in the showcase to help launch the new limited edition PCard/Travel Card, which features a logo that celebrates the football team's 2023 national championship. 


Raffle prizes were announced throughout the event, including two Delta Airlines $250 certificates, a Southwest Airlines e-pass, a swag bag from Wyndham, and several one night stay vouchers for Hampton Inn Ann Arbor-North, Inn at the Michigan League, Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest, and DoubleTree by Hilton Ann Arbor North. And four attendees won a U-M-branded travel accessory (a hard-side carry-on luggage or a travel backpack).


Visit the Travel Supplier Showcase webpage for photos of the event, helpful handouts, and a list of suppliers and internal U-M departments that were in attendance. If you have feedback on the showcase or suggestions that can help us plan future events, please take a moment to complete this brief survey. We’d love to hear from you and welcome your input!


Information about the next Travel Supplier Showcase will be available in the fall.

Upcoming virtual travel program sessions

Representatives from both CTP and the U-M Travel Program will be available to answer your travel-related questions during the following virtual sessions. We look forward to seeing you and encourage you to add these dates to your calendar. 



Use this Zoom link and passcode below for all 2024 sessions.


https://umich.zoom.us/j/96013633019

Passcode: 684564


Dates for additional sessions will be published on the Procurement Services travel webpage as they are scheduled.

Keep up with travel news between newsletters

We encourage you to join the U-M Travel Program’s new Slack channel, #travel-program, to stay up-to-date on all things related to U-M travel, including program updates, announcements, travel tips, events, and more. 


If you haven’t heard of Slack, we encourage you to check it out! Creating an account is easy and we hope to see you on Slack soon!

Contact Us
Please contact us with any feedback, comments, questions, or concerns at travelexpensesupport@umich.edu. We enjoy hearing from you and welcome your feedback.
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