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FAQs for Travel and Concur

Information below answers commonly asked questions related to travel and to the use of Concur Travel.   

Introduction

  1. What is the travel policy change mandated by Management Memo (MM) #14-03?
    The MM #14-03 (released March 6, 2014) announced a travel policy change for all State of California executive branch departments/agencies requiring the use of Concur Travel and/or CalTravelStore for all air, car and hotel reservations. 

    For those state agencies that are not presently using the STP, please contact the Statewide Travel Program at (916) 376-3974.
     
  2. As a nonexecutive or nonstate government entity, our department would like to access the state’s discounted rates.  What is the process?
    In order to access the state’s discounted rates, a government entity must make all travel arrangements through the Department of General Services STP.  The STP staff will provide assistance with the enrollment process, which is quick and easy.  To begin the process, contact Kelly Bouchard at (916) 376-3991 or kelly.bouchard@dgs.ca.gov 
     
  3. What is the difference between the use of the CalTravelStore versus Concur Travel?  Are they the same or not
    CalTravelStore is the travel agency the State of California has contracted with to provide business travel-related services.  It is the state’s only authorized travel agency.  Concur Travel is the online self-booking tool provided by CalTravelStore to the State of California.  Concur Travel is used by travelers to book their business travel online. 

 

General

  1. Where would I find the name of my department’s travel coordinator?
    Contact your Accounting Office or call the Statewide Travel Program at (916) 376-3974.
     
  2. Why should I use Concur Travel instead of just calling an agent directly?
    Concur Travel is fast, economical, and convenient.  It is available 24/7.  When searching for flights, hotels and cars, Concur Travel is linked to all State of California contract discounts, and Concur Travel provides a record of all travel plans you’ve made.  Concur Travel is the least costly way to book travel. 
     
  3. Can Concur Travel be used for personal use?
    No, the Concur Travel online booking tool can only be used for business-related travel.
     
  4. What are CalTravelStore’s business hours?
    Concur Travel is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The CalTravelStore is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with full-service after-hours services from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.  You can reach the after-hours service for urgent travel needs by calling the main line (877-454-8785) and following the prompts.  There is an additional fee for this service.
     
  5. Will this system tie into State Controller’s Office CalATERS (the California Automated Travel Expense Reimbursement System)?
    No, not at this time.
     
  6. For out-of-state travel (OST), do I have to enter the OST authorization number?
    No, however, prior approval is still required.
     
  7. Where can I find general guidelines on travel?
    For guidelines on travel, see:

Concur Travel Set Up

  1. How do I access Concur Travel?
    For state agencies and departments, contact your department travel coordinator for access to Concur Travel.  Once you receive access and have set up your initial profile (see “Creating a Concur Profile Guide (PDF), you will log onto Concur at www.caltravelstore.com and click on the Concur Login link in the middle of the webpage.
     
    For nonstate entities (local government, K-14 school districts, and special districts)
    , contact Jennifer Shaw for enrollment information at (916) 376-3977 or at jennifer.shaw@dgs.ca.gov.  
     
  2. My user name is my State of California email but what is the password?
    You will create your own password once your Concur account has been created. 
     
  3. What should I do the first time I log into Concur Travel?
    The first time you log into Concur Travel, you should complete your profile.  Before you use Concur Travel to reserve travel, click the “Profile” link and then “Profile Settings” to review and update your profile.  You must save your profile and complete all required fields before you first attempt to book a trip in Concur Travel.  If you are a travel arranger, select the profile that you want to edit from the “acting on behalf of another user” list and then select “Apply.”
     
  4. What are the required fields on the profile page?
    The fields required on the profile page are:  your full name matching your picture identification, contact telephone numbers, email address, and TSA information.  Optional fields include travel preferences such as frequent flier information and seating preferences.
     
  5. What if I do not book my own travel?
    In Concur, you can select an assistant or arranger to reserve your travel.  On the “Profile” tab, click “Profile Settings” and go to the “Assistants and Travel Arrangers” section.  Click “Add an Assistant” to add the person who you would like to authorize to reserve your travel.  This person can now update your profile and also make travel arrangements for you.  If you do not see your travel arranger in the list of people to select from, that individual might not have access to Concur Travel.  To add your arranger to the list, send a request to your travel coordinator.
     
  6. How many primary assistants can I have?
    You may only have one primary assistant but may assign multiple people to the feature:  “Can book travel for me.”
     
  7. Can one travel arranger set-up travel for all travelers?
    Yes.
     
  8. Is my information entered in the travel profile shared with anyone?
    Only you as the traveler and the travel arranger have access to the profile information. The travel arranger does not have access to your personal credit card information.
     
  9. We have commissioners who travel three to four times per year.  They do not have state emails.  Do you recommend that they be designated as a guest?
    They should set up a profile.  Contact your travel coordinator to provide Concur Travel access.  A profile can be set up with a nonstate email address through the CalTravelStore and your travel coordinator.
     
  10. For travelers who travel only once, is there a different set-up?  Can anyone arrange travel for these types of travelers?
    Travel arrangers can be set up to book one-time travelers, or guests.  Contact your travel coordinator for guest booking privileges.
     
  11. I arrange my supervisor’s travel.  Should he or she have their own password?
    Yes, you and your supervisor must each have a traveler profile with separate passwords.  Your supervisor should assign you as a travel arranger via his or her profile.
     
  12. Can I book travel for guests, volunteers, and other non-state employees?
    Yes, after you are given the guest booking privileges by your travel coordinator, go to the left-hand side of the home page and select “Book for a guest.”  For a guest who travels a few times a year, you can have a profile set up for him or her.
     
  13. Do I as the travel arranger need to input the traveler’s credit card number?
    No, the traveler will input their credit card number when they complete their profile.
     
  14. Who should I contact for assistance with navigating Concur Travel?
    Contact the Statewide Travel Program at statewidetravelprogram@dgs.ca.gov or (916) 376-3974 for Concur system navigational assistance.

Reservations - General

  1. I frequently travel to the same destination, stay in the same hotel and rent the same car.  Is there an easy way to book this trip?
    Yes, you can create a template for any trip.  Go to your trip library, select the trip, and, under the “I want to…” section, select “Create Template”.
     
  2. What procedure should I use if I have two or more travelers going to the same destination?
    Concur Travel will allow you to clone a reservation. When the first booking is made, you will be able to clone the reservation via the “Upcoming Trips” tab as one of the trip actions. After selecting the trip action to clone, you will then pull over the next traveler’s profile so that all frequent guest numbers and credit cards are captured and then add any additional cars or hotels before submitted to purchase.  You must be an assigned travel arranger to clone trips.
     
  3. What is the difference between Hold Trip and Purchase Now?
    Purchase Now will purchase and ticket your flight as well as confirm car and hotel reservations.  Hold Trip will save your itinerary and confirm the car and hotel but does not ticket your flight.  You can come back later to purchase the flight.  In order to prevent a hotel no-show charge, you will want to cancel a reserved itinerary if you are not going to use it.  Also, airfare is subject to change until ticketed, so the fare could change until you purchase the ticket or the seat may no longer be available.
     
  4. What does the "most preferred" language represent when viewing air, hotel, and car options?
    The "most preferred" language represents a contracted vendor for the State of California or a California green-certified hotel.
     
  5. Is it possible to book a GPS via Concur Travel?
    No, the rental of a GPS tracking device is not an allowable expense; and it is not possible to book via Concur Travel.
     
  6. When I make a travel reservation via Concur Travel, I receive many types of itinerary notification emails.  Is there a way to adjust the types of notification emails I receive?
    Yes, there are several email settings within the Concur “Profile Settings” link that can be adjusted by unchecking the notifications, i.e., “confirmation”, “trip on hold”, “ticketed travel reminder”, “let me know when one of my requests is approved or denied”, etc.  Your travel arranger will still receive these emails unless they uncheck them in their profile as well.  You will still receive the “official” PDF email from the CA Department of General Services/CalTravelStore showing your itinerary/invoice for submittal with your expense report.
    To uncheck the several types of email notifications, follow these steps:
    * Login to Concur
    * Click on your Profile> Profile Settings>System Settings
    * Go to “Email Notifications”
    * Uncheck the notifications you no longer want to receive.
    * Click on “Save”

Reservations - Flight

  1. Do we have to book refundable fares?
    The Management Memo #14-03 does not make any recommendations on non-refundable versus refundable fares. The Best Practices Guide has information on utilizing nonrefundable flights for cost savings but is provided only as a resource.  Nonrefundable fares are 40% to 60% lower than the comparable refundable fares. The nonrefundable fare option will provide a significant savings if they meet the business need of the department. The analysis of business need versus cost will still be conducted at the department/agency level and each department/agency will set the policy for the use of refundable versus nonrefundable fares.
     
  2. Can you check “price and schedule” when searching for airline reservations?
    In the initial search, you must select either price or schedule.  The STP recommends searching by price.  Once your results are provided, you can use the tabs to search by price or schedule.
     
  3. How can I see the flights I have already booked?
    Go to the Trip Library to view a list of your itineraries. You can search for a specific itinerary by entering keywords and a date range. Click the Actions button to View the itinerary, Email the itinerary, View Request, Create a Template, Change or Cancel the trip.
     
  4. Who should I contact if I feel I am not receiving the lowest fare available via Concur?
    There are certain factors that can affect the pricing of airline tickets.  These factors can include any of the following:  search criteria, availability or time of booking.  Contact CalTravelStore at (877) 454-8785, if you need assistance confirming the lowest fare.
     
  5. Can we print boarding passes through Concur Travel or do we have to go through the airlines?
    Boarding passes are provided via the airlines.  Airline check-in links are provided at www.caltravelstore.com, under “Helpful Travel Links.”

Reservations - Hotel

  1. Can we load multiple credit cards for hotels in our profile?
    Yes.
     
  2. When I enter my credit card number to make a hotel reservation, will anyone see that number?
    No one has access to your number.  The credit card number is encrypted and only the last four digits are visible.  The credit card information stored in Concur Travel is protected by the same state-of-the-art encryption and security used by most major financial institutions.  It’s safe, secure and effective.
      
  3. I do not use a Citibank individual government card and do not want to use my personal credit card.  How can I reserve a hotel room via Concur Travel without entering a credit card number?
    An option you may consider when reserving a hotel room via Concur Travel is using a prepaid credit card.  The reservation will be held with the prepaid card, and, upon your hotel check in, if necessary, you may switch the form of payment.
     
  4. Why are some hotels in Concur Travel more expensive than on their hotel websites?
    This depends on what rates the hotels load on the Global Distribution System (GDS) which is accessed via Concur Travel.  If your travelers have a relationship with specific hotels that offer them lower rates, forward the hotels’ information to the STP staff.  The staff will contact the hotels to discuss options regarding loading the state rates into the GDS which will also be visible to all travelers.
     
  5. What do I do if the conference I am attending has a special conference or hotel rate?
    You should follow the conference instructions and book the hotel separate from Concur Travel.  However, please keep in mind you must adhere to all CalHR policies regarding the maximum lodging amounts.  A cost comparison is recommended to ensure compliance.
     
  6. Will there be a way to select a lodging establishment that is not available in Concur Travel?
    Unless covered by a specific exemption (health and safety), all hotel rooms must be booked through CalTravelStore or the online booking tool, Concur Travel.

  7.  With the Management Memo #14-03 mandate, will the State Controller’s Office deny reimbursement if the hotel bookings are not done through the authorized channel?
    No, there is no impact to reimbursement. A hotel workgroup has been formed by DGS to address hotel booking policy, compliancy and communication. Prior to any change in reimbursement rules, new processes will be vetted and approved by all major control agencies and official notice provided to the 21 California Bargaining Units. 

Cancellations/Changes

  1. How do I make cancellations?
    Cancellations can be made via the Upcoming Trips or Trip Library tabs on Concur Travel.  You can also call CalTravelStore at (877) 454-8785 to make cancellations.  Note:  Cancelling a Southwest reservation on Concur when you have already checked-in for your flight will generate a cancellation message but will not cancel the reservation in Southwest’s system. It appears that it is cancelled but it is only cancelled on Concur, not directly with Southwest. Please contact CalTravelStore to assist you with the cancellation in this scenario.
     
  2. How do I make changes to my itinerary?
    You must call CalTravelStore at (877) 454-8785 for non-Southwest airline changes.  Southwest airline, hotel and car changes can be made through Concur Travel.
     
  3. If I am on the road and I have to make a change to my airfare via the CalTravelStore, will there be a charge?
    This depends on how you initially booked your reservation, see below:
     
    • Yes, there will be a charge if you made your air reservation via the Concur Travel online booking tool and you need CalTravelStore agent assistance to make a change.  The original online transaction fee charge will be adjusted to an agent-assisted transaction fee, not a total of both fees.  This will be an additional $5.00 charge.
       
    • No, there will not be a charge if you made your reservation via a CalTravelStore agent.
        
  4. What should I do if I book an air reservation on Concur Travel, and a few hours later decide to add a car and/or hotel?
    You can add a car or hotel to your trip. To add or modify your trip, click the name of the trip in the Upcoming Trips tab and then select “Add to your itinerary” and click on the “car” or “hotel” icon.
     
  5. What should I do if I have to change a Southwest flight that I have already checked in for and received my online boarding pass 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure time? Note:  This only applies if the first leg of your flight has not been flown.

    If your Southwest reservation was initially made via Concur Travel online booking tool and you want to make the change on Concur, at no additional cost, you will first need to delete the issued boarding pass, as follows:
     
    • Go to the www.southwest.com
    • Click on “Flight/Hotel/Car” tab
    • Go to the “Flight” Section and click on “Manage Reservations”
    • Click on the “Cancel Reservation” tab
    • Enter your reservation info and click “Continue”
    • To the question, “Do you want to delete all issued boarding passes for this reservation?” click “Yes”
    • Proceed to make your change on Concur

    Only the cost difference of the flight will be charged; you will not incur additional service fees.

    If you need agent assistance via CalTravelStore, call (877) 454-8785 and an agent will assist you with the change.  The original online transaction fee will be adjusted to an agent-assisted transaction fee, not a total of both fees.  If there is a difference in the cost of the flight, it will be charged to your Department’s Citibank Central Travel Account (CTA).

Fees: Baggage and Service

  1. Are the airlines charging for bags?
    Yes, most major airlines charge, however, Southwest Airlines is currently the only airline that does not charge baggage fees.  Please refer to the airline baggage fee pricing and policies on Concur Travel or the airline's website.
     
  2. Does the state pay or does the employee pay for bags?
    The employee must pay for the baggage fees; however, the State Controller’s Office will reimburse baggage fees via a Travel Expense Claim.
     
  3. If I have a question regarding Concur Travel and call the CalTravelStore, will I be charged a fee?
    You will not be charged a fee to speak with an agent.  The fee is only charged if a ticket is purchased.