Travel Low-Down on Diner's Club

The University has recognized for some time the need to streamline business processes for better quality service at reduced cost, says Travel Manager Terri McVickers. Accountability and cost containment take on special meaning in a budget-sensitive environment.

Since travel represents one of the largest discretionary and controllable expenses at the University, this area was targeted to identify methods to reduce and control expenses.

As a result, the Diners Club Charge Card Program was approved and has now been implemented. Effective Aug. 1, the University-sponsored American Express program was canceled.

The most important features of the Diners Club Charge Card Program follow:

o Cost savings to the University:

--Short-term investment pool savings should generate a minimum of $80,000 the first year.

--Reduction and/or elimination of travel-advance processing expenses will result in a $32,000 a month or $385,000 a year savings.

--Avoiding the cost to develop and monitor a system to track travel advances to keep the University in compliance with IRS regulations.

--Significantly reducing expenditures by collecting and using specific historical data to negotiate special University fares and prices.

o Ability to obtain cash advances for travel through a network of 125,000 ATMs worldwide.

o Potential savings to both the University and the traveler resulting from free, primary loss damage waiver insurance for the full value of a rental car at no additional charge.

In the event of an accident, the traveler's personal insurance will not be charged, regardless of the rate used or the rental company used.

o Frequent-flyer airline miles, free travel, or merchandise (in addition to the regular airline mileage programs) is available through the Diners Club "Club Rewards Program." Under the program, the card holder may transfer points to almost any airline mileage program such as American, United, Delta, US Air, or the card member may use points accumulated on a two-for-one basis for hotel stays, appliances, televisions, and watches.

The program is available to University card members on an optional basis at the discretion and expense ($40) of the card member.

o Compliance with University policy under Business and Finance Bulletin G-28 Rev. which states: "Travelers who have been issued corporate travel cards are required to use such cards whenever possible to reduce administrative paperwork and the need for cash advances." Today, says McVickers, we would add "and to collect specific, meaningful historical travel data."

Individuals not currently holding a Diners Club card may obtain a rush card within 24 to 48 hours of receipt of the application by Diners Club.


Copyright 1994, The Regents of the University of California.
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