February 2024

Discounts on personal car rentals available again!

U-M employees, retirees, and students can receive a discount on personal rental cars booked through Alamo Car Rental, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and National Car Rental. Rental rates vary by date, location, and vehicle type. To book a personal rental, visit the Mcard discount page.

Dedicated portal offers discounted visa services

The U-M Travel Program Team and CIBTvisas have launched a dedicated web portal offering discounted visa services—up to 70 percent off retail rates—for both business and personal travel. CIBTvisas provides travel visa and passport services for individuals traveling from the U.S. to an international location. Its website can help you prepare for an international trip and avoid travel disruptions by ensuring you have the proper travel documents in advance of your departure. For more information on CIBTvisas, including a link to the new dedicated portal, please visit this page.

Virtual travel assistant offers variety of benefits

CTP recently released a new AI-powered virtual assistant feature. Scout—as it’s known—is an intuitive service chatbot that allows U-M travelers to quickly: 

  • Cancel existing trips within seconds
  • Confirm booked travel arrangements
  • Check flight status
  • Receive fast answers to your travel-related questions 

To use Scout, just click the chat button in the lower right hand corner of the CTP Portal at any time.

New CTP form provides streamlined travel booking

Based on your feedback, CTP is now offering a form that allows arrangers or employee travelers to request booking services from a CTP agent. The form gathers information needed by an agent to complete your booking, which reduces follow-up emails and phone calls. The new form is optional and can be found on the Travel webpage under the Forms section. Once the form is submitted, CTP will immediately acknowledge the request via email. An agent will follow up within four business hours.

Win a free round-trip ticket from Southwest!

U-M employees can enter to win a free round-trip ticket to a Southwest destination! To be eligible, you must have your Rapid Rewards account number entered in your Profile in the CTP Portal. To add your number, just Navigate to Profiles > Travelers and add your Southwest Rapid Rewards number in the Preferences section. After that, be sure to fill out the Sweepstakes Entry Form by March 22, 2024. Two winners will be selected by Southwest and contacted by March 31, 2024 about their prize. Good luck!

For additional information on updating your CTP profile, view this short video or review additional resources in this CTP Profile and Portal Article.

Vendor Spotlight: Southwest Airlines

Southwest partners with U-M to offer point-of-sale discounts on qualifying flights into or out of Detroit Metro Airport. By booking these flights through CTP, you’ll save money and be able to travel more cost effectively. The discounts range from 2-9 percent  off retail value and are only available by booking via Lightning, CTP’s online booking tool, or directly with a CTP agent.


In addition to point-of-sale discounts, U-M business travelers can earn 50 percent more Rapid Reward points on qualifying flights. Just book your business travel through CTP—be sure your Rapid Rewards account number is in your CTP profile—and then fly before June 30, 2024. Rapid Rewards points never expire and have no blackout dates. If you’re not a member, it’s easy to enroll.

It's easy to avoid additional travel booking fees

If your flight is already booked, but you need to add a hotel and/or rental car to your reservation, it’s easy to do in Lightning— with no additional booking fee! To add to an existing reservation, simply sign in to Lightning, navigate to Manage Bookings, select the appropriate trip, and click on the hotel and/or car icon. Because Lightning’s booking fee is comprehensive—which includes air, hotel, and ground transportation—there won’t be a separate fee to add a hotel or rental vehicle.  

Important note: If you create separate bookings for the hotel and/or rental vehicle—as opposed to adding them onto your existing flight reservation—there will be separate fees. An additional booking fee will also apply if you change your airline ticket. 

Review a list of service fees and what they include on our website.

Upcoming virtual travel program sessions

Representatives from both CTP and the U-M Travel Program will be available to answer your travel-related questions during the following virtual sessions. We look forward to seeing you and encourage you to add these dates to your calendar. 

Note: Use the new Zoom link and passcode below for all 2024 sessions.


Passcode: 684564

Dates for additional sessions will be published on the Procurement Services travel webpage as they are scheduled.

U-M's expense reporting system to be upgraded

Procurement Services is partnering with the Shared Services Center (SSC) to upgrade U-M’s expense reporting system to a new software solution called Chrome River, with a targeted go-live date of August 1, 2024. The current expense reporting system, Concur, will be retired on September 30, 2024. Read more.

Reminder: Submit late out-of-pocket expenses by February 15

All out-of-pocket expenses incurred between September 1 through December 31, 2023, must be submitted by February 15, 2024, for tax-free reimbursement. Read prior communications about this topic.

New late reimbursement submission exception form

Out-of-pocket expenses incurred on, or after, January 1, 2024 must be submitted for reimbursement within 45 days of the transaction date—or end of the trip for travel expenses. Exceptions to this requirement may be granted by the Tax Department in extenuating circumstances. Information about applying for a late submission exception—as well as the necessary form—can be found on the Tax Department’s website.

Keep up with travel news between newsletters

We encourage you to join the U-M Travel Program’s new Slack channel, #travel-program, to stay up-to-date on all things related to U-M travel, including program updates, announcements, travel tips, events, and more. 

If you haven’t heard of Slack, we encourage you to check it out! Creating an account is easy and we hope to see you on Slack soon!

Contact Us
Please contact us with any feedback, comments, questions, or concerns at [email protected]. We enjoy hearing from you and welcome your feedback.
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