Travel, Meals & Business Entertainment Policy

The Travel, Meals, and Business Entertainment policy governs travel, meals, and business entertainment related expenses reported by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, including AAMVA Regions 1, 2, 3, and 4 which shall subsequently be referred to as “AAMVA.” This policy applies to AAMVA Members and non-employees conducting business entertainment (such as team events and business meals) or traveling on AAMVA business when reimbursed by AAMVA. Any exceptions to this policy require the approval of an Executive Leadership Team (ELT) member (President & CEO and Vice Presidents). Written approval of the exception must be included as supporting documentation for reimbursement.

Individuals will be reimbursed for all reasonable expenses that are necessary, legitimate, and incurred in accordance with this and other AAMVA policies. Individuals should exercise their best judgment and value with respect to planning travel and spending the company’s money.

Air Travel

Travel arrangements are to be made using AAMVA’s designated travel agency. Air travel should be booked at least 14 days in advance of the planned departure. Any travel booked less than the 14-day advance requires pre-approval by AAMVA. Travelers are required to use the lowest traditional economy airfare whenever possible. A traditional economy airfare is one that includes traveler selected seat assignments in advance without additional fees and includes carry-on luggage without additional fees.

Other fares may be selected when the lowest traditional economy fare would require circuitous routing, travel during unreasonable hours, excessively prolonged travel, or result in additional costs that would offset the transportation savings. When a traveler is required to take a single flight that exceeds 5  hours, they are eligible to upgrade seats within economy class. First or Business class air travel is not reimbursable unless medically necessary and with prior approval by AAMVA.

Southwest Airlines is the preferred airline for all AAMVA travel. Travelers should make a reasonable effort to book on Southwest as the first two bags checked are free and there are no cancellation/change fees. Those flying Southwest Airlines will be reimbursed for early boarding fees (“Early Bird”). No other airline early boarding fees are reimbursable. Memberships in airline flight clubs and costs of flight/travel insurance or cancelation protection are not reimbursable.

AAMVA will reimburse for one standard-size checked bag per flight and up to $40 for a seat selection on a traditional airline. Excess or overweight bag fees will not be reimbursed. If booking on a Low-Cost Carrier (see the Low-Cost Carrier List on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Web site), a traveler must choose a Bundles Rate which includes one personal item, one carry-on bag and advanced seat selection. AAMVA will reimburse for that Bundled Rate cost. 

Travelers must identify and pay for all personal flight costs, even if such flights are an addition to a flight schedule that serves business purposes. AAMVA will not reimburse for additional costs of personal legs on a trip. An airfare quote for the personal portion of the trip is required to be obtained at the same time the actual trip is booked to calculate AAMVA’s expense. For example, a traveler attends a conference or meeting and then takes a vacation or travels to another location for a vacation from that location, returning to the office at a date later than necessary to attend the meeting. The traveler must provide documentation that shows the flights being submitted for reimbursement and the flight cost had they traveled directly to the conference or meeting and then traveled directly back on the date following the meeting or conference. Both the quote and actual airfare receipt are required for reimbursement. The reimbursement will only cover the cost had the traveler traveled to the meeting or conference.

Costs of canceling and rebooking flights are not reimbursable, unless they were required for legitimate reasons (changed meeting dates, airline disruptions,  illness, etc.). Unused tickets must be used for AAMVA business travel only. 

Travelers flying in support of U.S. government programs may be subject to the "Fly America Act" (49U.S.C. §40118) which requires travelers to use U.S. air carrier service for all air travel and cargo transportation services funded by the U.S. Government. All travel related to Federal grants or contracts must comply with the Fly America Act requirements.

Alternatives to Flying

Traveling by plane is usually the most convenient and cost-effective manner to travel. AAMVA’s travel policy is to pay for/reimburse for actual travel costs, up to the cost of traveling by airplane. In some instances, travelers prefer to drive, take a train or bus. Therefore, if a traveler elects to drive, take a train or bus instead of flying (for a trip that is more than 300 miles from origin (i.e. one-way)), they will be reimbursed for the lesser of the cost.

In this circumstance, the following documentation must be submitted with the expense report package:

  1. Train or bus ticket receipt OR mileage documentation, including directions/map from residence to the event location (i.e. MapQuest, Google Maps, etc.)
  2. Total estimated cost of traveling by plane:
    • Airfare quote
    • Costs of travel to/from airport
    • Taxi or shuttle fare to/from event location from hotel
    • Baggage Fees
    • Parking at airport and related travel toll

Rail Travel

Travel by rail shall be at coach class. Upgraded rail travel is allowed when the upgrade cost is equal to or less than traditional economy airfare for the same route (comparison documentation required), for those areas outside the United States where coach class rail travel does not meet safety and medical needs, where direct route coach class is not available, or with prior approval from AAMVA.

Personal Vehicle Travel

AAMVA will reimburse for mileage (at the IRS rate per mile), parking charges, and tolls when a personal vehicle is used for company business. Documentation of all mileage, including directions/map from residence to the event location (i.e. MapQuest, Google Maps, etc.), must be provided. Travelers using a personal vehicle for business reasons must have a valid driver’s license and registration and carry the minimum state or in-country mandated legal insurance limits. Travelers are responsible for any damage, theft, or loss of such vehicles.


Travelers should use hotels or homestays (i.e. Airbnb, Vrbo, etc.) that provide the level of amenities necessary to support the purpose of the trip and are reasonably priced. The daily cost of lodging is a reimbursable expense at the single-occupancy room rate and applicable taxes/property fees.

When traveling to events that require AAMVA event registration, travelers must book their accommodations in accordance with the AAMVA registration process. When attending non-AAMVA conferences, travelers should register in a timely manner and use the negotiated rate for that conference.

A guest may share accommodations as long as it results in no additional cost to AAMVA.

Meals and Incidentals

Meals and incidentals while on travel will be reimbursed up to the federal per diem rate. State mandates that only allow reimbursement at actual cost will be honored. If meals are provided (such as by the event or paid for by another party) the per diem must be adjusted accordingly. Meals provided by a common carrier or complimentary with hotel stay do not reduce the per diem. If a meal is provided and the traveler opts not to eat the meal, no per diem is allowed unless there is a religious, medical, or other business reason that must be documented in the expense request. 

Members, guests, and employees may bring their spouse or partner to meals while attending AAMVA events without being charged for those meals unless it is an AAMVA conference that requires specific guest or meal fees.

Vehicle Rental

Car rentals for standard-sized cars are allowed, unless the circumstances of the trip prove this to be impractical, such as when a group of employees and/or volunteers will be transported. All vehicle rentals must be made using reputable national car rental companies. If the vehicle rental will be billed to Federal or State grant or contract, prior approval from the customer is required and should be submitted with the supporting documentation. Gasoline for a rental car is a reimbursable expense. Mileage is not reimbursed when a rental car is used to perform AAMVA business. 

AAMVA carries a Business Automobile Liability Insurance Policy that covers rentals in the United States and Canada. Collision and comprehensive exposure within the United States is self-insured by AAMVA. For domestic rentals, the traveler should decline all optional insurance coverage. AAMVA will not reimburse optional insurance coverage. The traveler should accept all insurance provided by the rental car company for any international rentals, including those in Canada and Mexico.

Transportation To/From Airport

It is the responsibility of the traveler to utilize a cost-effective means of transportation to and from the airport, considering factors such as mileage reimbursement and parking fees. Shuttle/Taxi/Rideshare service to and from the airport will be reimbursed. Travelers will be reimbursed for airport parking in the daily lot (travel less than 4 days) and economy lot, if available (travel for 4 or more days). Valet and hourly parking costs in excess of the daily parking rate will not be reimbursed unless the parking is for one hour or less.

Expense Reporting

Members and other non-employees must submit expense reports within 30 days by email to Finance, Accounts Payable. Any expense submission after these deadlines may be denied. Expenses must be itemized, fully explained, substantiated by a receipt, and approved. Receipts shall be required for all non-per diem expenses of $25 or more (though travelers are encouraged to submit all receipts at any cost whenever possible). Receipts for meals covered by the per diem allocation should not be submitted. If a receipt is lost, proof of payment and written explanation that includes the following information must be provided to supplement the lost receipt:

  •  vendor/supplier name;
  •  date of transaction;
  •  list of items purchased (include price if possible);
  •  total transaction amount;
  •  name and title of attendees (if applicable);
  •  business purpose; and
  •  proof of payment i.e. credit card or bank statement.

Fully approved expense reimbursement requests will be processed for payment within two weeks of the final approval. Expense reports submitted without appropriate support, justification, and/or signature(s) will be returned to the requestor to provide the required information and this may cause a delay in payment. Reimbursement requests not in compliance with this policy may be denied. Expense reports must be submitted in U.S. dollars. For non-U.S. dollar purchases, either a credit card extract with the U.S. Dollar charge or documentation of the conversion rate on the date of purchase must be attached. A credit card extract must be provided for reimbursement of foreign transaction fee. AAMVA reimburses in U.S. Dollars.

AAMVA treats payments of expenses that have a time-sensitive future benefit as prepaid expenses. Travel and training costs reimbursed in any month prior to the month the event occurs, needs to be coded as pre-paid on the reimbursement request.

Non-Reimbursable Expenses

Reimbursements will not be made if the expense is personal, unreasonable in amount, inadequately documented, or otherwise not a proper business expense. Expenses that are not reimbursable include:

  • Traffic violations or other penalties;
  • Purchase of books, magazines, newspapers, and personal articles for non-business purposes;
  • Fees or premiums for noncompulsory insurance coverage (except where permitted in this policy);
  • Travel accident insurance, if covered by Company Insurance;
  • Laundry and dry cleaning service for domestic trips less than four nights;
  • In room movies, health/exercise expenses, or headset rentals or purchases;
  • Spousal or partner travel except otherwise stated within this policy;
  • Clothing, personal grooming items or over-the-counter medicine;
  • Babysitting, pet care or home maintenance;
  • Rental of formal attire, unless pre-approved for a business related or company sponsored activity;
  • Miscellaneous business expenses while on travel, including routine tips for porters, skycaps, and baggage handlers when traveling under meals and incidentals per diem.