Government Citi Travel Cards
What are DoD Citi Credit Cards?
In the federal government there are always hoops to jump through and forms to fill out. Because of the potential for waste, traveling on official duty is no different. One of the most difficult steps of the travel process is figuring out how to pay for incidental expenses while traveling
Incidental expenses are typically covered as part of your Per Diem. In your Per Diem reimbursement you will probably even see a line item named "M&IE" which stands for "Meals and Incidental Expenses." However, there are some expenses, such as parking fees, that are not covered by the blanket Per Diem reimbursement amount.
These expenses are not already covered under the Per Diem reimbursement, so you are entitled to receive additional reimbursement from your agency. Here is where things get tricky. Do you have to pay that money out of pocket and wait until your agency reimburses you — which could take weeks or months? What if your agency decides not to cover an expense you incurred while traveling? Do you need to save all receipts? What if you lose one?
Citi Commercial Cards
To solve many of the problems surrounding reimbursement and approval for expenses while traveling, federal government employees are required to use their Citi Travel Card. This is a credit card issued by Citi Bank with the card holder's name on it; however, the bill is paid my the government agency on behalf of the employee. This prevents government travelers having to pay out-of-pocket for travel expenses and wait for reimbursement. This style of credit card is known as a Centrally Billed Account or CBA.
After returning from travel, you must submit documentation of the expenses incurred while traveling. This usually involves submitting copies of receipts, but the specific requirements vary between government agencies. The nice part of having a Citi Travel Card is that your supervisor can see the actual expenses on your travel card when approving your reimbursement.
It is important to remember that your travel card should only be used to make purchases while on official government travel. Even when traveling you should not use your travel card for personal expenses — only travel expenses for which your agency will reimburse you. Your supervisor and agency's travel support staff can see purchases made on your Citi Mastercard.
After reviewing purchases on your travel card, your supervisor will authorize your agency to pay those expenses on your behalf so you never have to pay out-of-pocket. Any expenses that your agency is not covering will remain on the card. The charges that remain on the credit card after your agency has made payment are the responsibility of the traveler. These are the charges your agency declined to cover.
Even when you have your travel card, you usually do not use this card to book your airfare. Rather reserve the ticket through your agencies official travel portal and the ticket will be paid for separately.
Most organizations have a dedicated individual or individuals who are authorized to purchase airfare. They use a special travel card for airfare. If you work for the DoD you must use the Defense Travel System (DTS) to book your airfare and plan your trip. Click here to login into DTS.
How do I get my Travel Card?
In order to get a travel card you usually need to have some kind of travel planned in the future. Once you have tentative plans to travel for work, contact your agencies travel specialist to inquire about getting your travel card. They will initiate the processes on your behalf. There are minimum credit score requirements to get a government travel card. If you have a moderate credit score you should have no problems. Also, the credit check for your government travel card will not count against your credit score.
Once you have your Citi Travel Card you can login here to access your account. It usually takes several weeks to get your travel card so make sure to start the process as early as possible. Do not wait until a week before your TDY to get a travel card. You may need to obtain special permission to travel without a travel card or it may not be allowed at all. Again, policies vary by agency. It is best to obtain a card well in advance to avoid difficulties.
Some agencies have completely different procedures for traveling or may use different commercial credit card providers rather than Citi. The information covered in this article applies to most government agencies and in particular this information applies to DoD employees. Other agency's travel cards will work in a similar fashion. You must contact your agency's travel policy expert for specifics on your organizations requirements.