Travel Accepted by the Department from Outside Sources
Generally, an employee may not accept reimbursement for travel and related expenses from any source other than the Government when she is traveling on official duty. However, 41 C.F.R. § 304-1 allows for the Department to accept reimbursement for travel related to attendance at meetings or similar functions from non-Federal sources. Reimbursement may not be accepted for meetings, etc. that are required to carry out the agency's statutory or regulatory function. In order for the Department to accept reimbursement, a travel reimbursement form must be approved by an employee's ethics official and her component head prior to travel. In most cases, an employee may not accept travel expenses for a spouse accompanying her on official travel.
Travel Paid by the Government
Generally, an employee may not retain benefits from commercial sources, including bonus flights, if they result from his official travel. In most cases, an employee may not fly first class when on official business. 41 C.F.R. § 301-10.121-124. If an employee volunteers to take a later flight where the flight is over booked, he may keep any bonus as long as the delay does not interfere with the conduct of his duties and he does not charge the Government for additional costs. 41 C.F.R. § 301-10.116-117.
Frequent flyer points awarded because of official travel may be used by an employee for personal travel or official travel, including upgrades. Employees should make travel arrangements using the most efficient routes and services available to the government, and travelers must not select carriers or routes based on potential frequent flyer benefits. 41 C.F.R. § 301-53.
An employee is required to use his government-issued credit card to pay for all official travel expenses unless an exemption is granted. Expenses incurred at a vendor that does not accept the government credit card, such as a dry cleaner, parking garage or taxi, are exempt. 41 C.F.R. § 301-51.