Travel: Claiming Meals Per Diem and Meals Actual

The University’s travel system, Concur, provides different methods for claiming meals based on the traveler’s needs:

  • Meal – Per Diem generated from a travel allowance
  • Meals – Actual entered directly into Concur, not to exceed the CONUS per diem rate
  • Meals charged to a travel card

Meals - Per Diems
The standard method for expensing meals is to use the travel allowance to generate the meal per diems. The travel allowance itinerary indicates where the traveler incurred meals (or lodging) expenses and references CONUS to calculate eligible per diems. The travel allowance can be accessed from an open expense report via the Travel Allowance drop-down menu and selecting Manage Travel Allowance.

Click the Create New Itinerary tab to add at minimum a two-row itinerary for the outgoing and return sections of the trip. If meals or lodging occurred at destinations other than these, include each location as additional rows. Click next to proceed to the Expenses and Adjustments tab to review meal per diems.

Generating Meals Per Diems by Creating New Itinerary Tab and clicking next

The per diems can be adjusted based on any meals that are provided by deselecting the individual meal or the entire per diem, including the $5 incidentals fee, by selecting the Exclude box. See an example of excluding meals in the article footer.

Travel Allowances For Report - Meal Per Diems

Once any adjustments are made, click the Generate Expenses button to create ‘Meals – Per Diem’ expense entries. Adjustments to meals can be made by opening the travel allowance through the Travel Allowance drop-down menu, selecting Manage Travel Allowance and clicking the Expenses and Adjustments tab. Click the Update Expenses button to update the meals expense line item.

Meals - Actual
If travel funds are tightly managed, the expense type ‘Meals – Actual’ can be used to reimburse travelers for the exact amount. ‘Meals – Actual’ cannot be more than the per diem for the day for the location.  When using ‘Meals – Actual’, a receipt must be attached. 

Meals - Actual

If both ‘Meals - Per Diems’ and ‘Meals – Actual’ are used in the same expense report an information alert is triggered, “This Expense Report has both a Travel Allowance and ‘Meals – Actual’. Ensure they are not overlapping”.  The traveler or delegate must ensure that on every day, no more than the meal per diem for the location is being claimed. This alert will not prevent the report from being submitted.

Alert - This Expense Report Has Both Travel Allowance and Meals - Actual

Meals on a Travel Card
While traveling, meals can be charged to the travel card. Travel card transactions should default to the expense type ‘Meals – Actual’ when posted to the cardholder’s profile. If the intent is to pay the actual meal amount instead of a per diem for the day, these expenses should remain as ‘Meals – Actual’. 

However, if the meal per diem is to be paid while traveling, the standard way of expensing these meal charges is to change their expense type to Non-reimbursable/Personal. The amounts of these meals will be deducted from any reimbursement to the traveler, but that will be offset by claiming the per diems. When the expense type is Non-reimbursable/Personal, a receipt is not required for that expense. 


If you have questions or need additional assistance utilizing the University’s travel system, please contact

Excluded Meal Per Diem Example

Example A: Joe Smith went to Louisville, KY for the dates of the 26th, 27th, and 28th.  Breakfast was provided each day, and lunch was also provided on the 27th.  To deduct those meals from the per diem expenses, simply click the checkbox next to each one. 

image of the itinerary section of the travel allowance function

Example B: Using the same scenario in Example A – our traveler has decided that the meals deducted on the 26th and 28th are correct – but ALL meals should be deducted on the 27th.  To deduct all meals for a single day, go to the row for that day and to the left of the date, click the check box in the ‘EXCLUDE’ column.

image of the meals per diem section of the travel allowance function

Please note the amount under the ‘ALLOWANCE’ column on the far right has now changed to $0.00 for the date of the 27th.  By checking the box under the ‘EXCLUDE’ column – the traveler has deducted all meal AND incidentals allowances for that portion of the traveler’s itinerary.

If the traveler wishes to deduct all meals for the duration of the trip – simply check the ‘All’ box next to the EXCLUDE column OR click the ‘Cancel’ button at the far bottom right of the screen next to the blue ‘Create Expenses’ button.

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Article ID: 136248
Wed 10/13/21 4:06 PM
Wed 6/29/22 4:16 PM

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