Updates to the Direct Bill system

June 1, 2021

We’re excited to announce that we’ve updated the system that allows you to charge airfare directly to the university for business travel - Direct Bill. Using the Direct Bill system, you can quickly generate a number called the Direct Bill ID which is then used in place of a payment method when booking air travel through the UC systemwide travel program, ConnexUC. It keeps employees from needing to pay airfare out of pocket and then waiting until after the completion of travel for reimbursement. We have incorporated some general updates to improve the look and feel of the system and make it easier to navigate. We’ve also incorporated two changes in the current system process. First, we’ll require the person setting up the Direct Bill ID to choose a preferred approver and that approver will receive an email informing them that the Direct Bill ID has been generated and that it will be used to bill airfare directly to the university and to a specific chartstring. As long as the travel was authorized and the chartstring is appropriate, then no action is required on the part of the approver, the email is simply a notification. Second, when generating the Direct Bill ID, the system will ask "Is Berkeley the travel destination?" so that booking travel to UC Berkeley will be easier. More information about the updates to the Direct Bill system is available on the travel website. If you have any questions, please contact the T&E team at travel@berkeley.edu.

T&E policy on reimbursement requests - 45-day submission deadline

There is a UC system policy - Policy G-28 - that requires both travel and entertainment reimbursement requests to be submitted no later than 45 days after the completion of travel or, for entertainment, the date of the expense, as specified by the IRS in Publication 463 to ensure we maintain our Accountable Plan status. For the past two years, the reimbursement system has been sending courtesy notifications to employees and their approvers, to remind them of this policy whenever a reimbursement was submitted outside of the 45-day window, so at this point, awareness of this policy should be widespread. As of July 1, 2021, we will begin strictly enforcing this policy and any exceptions will be treated as taxable income, which would result in the employee's being subject to withholding on those reimbursements.

Resources for flight credits

We understand that as a result of the pandemic restrictions, many travel plans were canceled or changed. The T&E team is organizing a plan to ensure that travelers can fully utilize any remaining airline credits from Connexxus bookings that occurred as a result of canceled travel during the pandemic. We are working to create better visibility to what credits are available, their expiration dates, and how to use them for new bookings. We will be sharing details of this plan in the coming weeks, but in the interim, if anyone would like to know if they have outstanding credits available for use, please contact the T&E team at travel@berkeley.edu.

Connexxus rebrand

Connexxus is the UC and CSU systemwide travel program that combines discounts with a range of booking options, providing value, flexibility, and convenience for UC and CSU business travelers. The tool we use has been rebranded to ConnexUC. We’re updating our material to reflect this change.

New flight options

Southwest Airlines has expanded its routes to include Santa Barbara, beginning this past April 2021.

United Airlines is now offering a “Break from Business” discount to UC employees for personal travel even when booking directly at United.com. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Up to 10% off domestic travel, varying discounts on international travel.
  • Family and friends included: use your Break from Business discount to book up to nine travelers (including yourself) on the same reservation.
  • Easy booking when logged in to your MileagePlus account.
  • Valid for all cabins and classes of service, except Basic Economy.
  • Fly on United or United-marketed flights operated by other airlines as applicable.

To enroll in the Break from Business program, you must first log in to ConnexUC and then follow the instructions on the United Airlines Personal Travel Discount page.

If you have questions about these updates, please contact the T&E team at travel@berkeley.edu.

Thank you,

Travel and Entertainment Team