Overnight Travel Reimbursement

Employees may choose one of two methods for reimbursement for overnight travel, whichever is to their advantage. Travelers may not, however, combine the two methods on the same trip. Breakfast and dinner are reimbursable meals; lunch is not.


Unreceipted Method (Method 1)

This method provides for a flat rate allowance for meals, lodging and incidental expenses regardless of where lodging is obtained, including lodging with relatives or friends. Rates are established based on the city or county where lodging is obtained or the location to which the employee is traveling (whichever rate is less), and such location must be indicated on the travel expense report. No receipts are required when using this method. Current rates are as follows:


Per Diem

-New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester Counties


-Cities of Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and their respective surrounding metropolitan areas


-All other locations in New York State


-Out of State  or country


Travelers using this un-receipted method are also eligible for an additional $5.00 for breakfast on the day of departure if they have to leave at least one hour before their normal work start time and/or eligible for an additional $12.00 for dinner on the day of return if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time. 

EX:  Traveler leaves New Paltz at 7:00 a.m. heading to NYC. The traveler stays overnight at a friend’s house in NYC and arrives back in New Paltz the next day at 8:00 p.m. The traveler’s scheduled work hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The traveler is entitled to the un-receipted per diem of $50 for the one night stay in NYC. In addition, the traveler is entitled to an additional $5.00 for breakfast and $12.00 for dinner, based on departure and return times.


Receipted Method (Method 2)

This method provides reimbursement of actual lodging costs and an allowance for meals based on federal reimbursement rates for the county of lodging. The per diem rates for locations within the continental United States are revised annually. 

  • SUNY New Paltz does not use the first and last day meal per diem rates, only the total rate per day that includes breakfast, dinner, and incidental costs. 
  • Receipts are required for lodging, but not for meals*, when using Method 2.
  • Meal expense reimbursements that are associated with overnight business travel are not taxable. 
  • Each day the traveler is in overnight travel status, the traveler is eligible for reimbursement for lodging up to a maximum lodging per diem and a per diem allowance for meals.
  • The meal per diem is for dinner the first night and breakfast the following day.

*Meal receipts are required when using a SUNY Travel Card.

** NOTE: You can provide a Meal Calculator with the Travel Expense Report. This is optional, but may expediate processing.

Travelers using this method are also eligible for an additional per diem for breakfast if they have to leave at least one hour before their normal work start time the first day, and/or for dinner if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time on the last day of travel.

In these cases, breakfast and/or dinner will be reimbursed up to the maximum amount of the meal per diem allowance specified for the particular area of lodging. The current meal allowances are apportioned by 20% of per diem for breakfast and 80% of per diem for dinner.

Per Diem Allowance includes incidental expenses such as: 

  • Fees and tips given to porters
  • Baggage carriers
  • Bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses   
  • Mailing cost associated with filing travel expense reports

Maximum lodging rates exclude taxes. To find a hotel that participates in offering per diem rates check lodging rates.  For travel within New York State, a Tax Exemption Certificate (ST-129)  must be used as taxes are not a refundable item. For travel outside of New York State, state and local taxes are not included in the maximum lodging amount but will be reimbursed in addition to the per diem amount. We also have tax exempt status in the following states: 

Occasionally, travelers may be unable to find a hotel at a rate that does not exceed the maximum federal lodging per diem rate for the location of travel. If that occurs, the traveler must obtain prior approval to exceed the federal rate.  Request for such approval should be submitted with the travel requisition on the Over-per-diem justification form. If over per diem is not justifiable and extremely over the rate, only up to the rate for that area may be paid.