MAP Peer Review Travel Policy

The Policy covers issues related to travel activities and expenses, and expense reimbursements, associated with the Alliance's Peer Reviewer’s assigned and confirmed site visit for the Museum Assessment Program. Our Peer Review Travel Policy aligns with the Alliance's overall corporate travel policy and accounting policies. 

The MAP site visit is a professional business trip that typically includes transportation, hotel accommodations, and meals. All reasonable expenses directly related to a Peer Reviewer’s site visit (outlined below) are reimbursable. It is the peer reviewer’s responsibility to report his/her actual travel and related expenses in a timely, responsible, and ethical manner, in accordance with the regulations set forth in this Policy.Peer Reviewers are expected to use good judgment\regarding travel-related expenses. 

Travel Planning

The museum and peer reviewer should discuss all travel arrangements in advance, particularly for any unusual or very high expenses, to ensure that the plans are reasonable, appropriate, and acceptable to both parties. It is mandatory for the Peer Reviewer to communicate with the museum about establishing a suitable site visit date. Before finalizing site visit plans (e.g. buying tickets, etc.), the Peer Reviewer and museum must confirm the details of the trip in writing. 

The hosting museum has the option of directly paying a vendor for the peer reviewer’s expenses (e.g., having the hotel or airfare directly billed to the museum) but should not directly reimburse the reviewer. All reimbursements to the peer reviewer must be requested from, and issued by, the Alliance. Again, these details should be discussed between the museum and the peer reviewer as part of the travel planning.

Expense Reimbursement

Timing

Request for reimbursement of expenses, with the appropriate documentation (see below) should be submitted for reimbursement within 30 days of the site visit. This timing very important as it impacts the management and the requirements of the Alliance's Cooperative Agreement with IMLS for MAP and the Alliance's standard accounting practices. Once received and processed, the Alliance will issue a check. This usually takes about about a month. Overdue travel reimbursement requests may result in a delayed payment to the peer reviewer.

Expense Documentation

The Alliance does not reimburse on a per diem basis. Only itemized expenses will be reimbursed. Exceptions will be made to this policy only for incidental cash transactions under $15 in situations where receipts are not traditionally provided (e.g., vending machines, tips, subway fares, in-flight food purchase, etc.). The Alliance will not reimburse any meal and incidental expenses in excess of the GSA per diem for the destination city (see GSA guidelines) without written authorization from the museum reviewed.

Acceptable documentation:

  • Original itemized receipts (date, service description, provider)
  • Copies of itemized receipts

Unacceptable documentation:

  • Copies of credit card statements 
  • Handwritten notes

Pre-Visit Reimbursement

Certain prepaid expenses such as airfare, hotel or car rental may be reimbursed when expense is incurred, upon receipt of appropriate documentation of actual full payment. However, for any reimbursement of expenses before the site visit has occurred, the peer reviewer must also provide documentation of use of service (e.g., board passes, hotel statement, car rental agreement, etc.) after the site visit has occurred. No pre-visit reimbursement will be given for estimated expenses, a reservation, or expenses such as food, fuel or taxi. 

Transportation

Transportation expenses will be reimbursed based on the most economical mode of transportation that is practical and the most commonly traveled route consistent with the authorized purpose of the trip. If possible, transportation tickets should be procured in advance so as to obtain any discounts offered by the carrier. The Alliance covers the cost of coach (economy) class tickets. Any upgrades or enhancements are the personal responsibility of the peer reviewer and will not be reimbursed. In such circumstances, the Alliance will reimburse the documented cost of a coach ticket for the same trip purchased at the same time. If transportation arrangements include segments or start/return destinations unrelated to the site visit (e.g., personal or museum, business), the traveler should discuss with MAP staff how to determine, calculate, and document the portion that will be reimbursed.

Air or Rail Travel

If possible, air travel should be procured in advance so as to obtain any discounts offered by the carrier. The cost of coach class tickets is covered and any upgrades or enhancements are personal expenditures and will not be reimbursed.

Private Vehicles

Travelers may use their private vehicle as the primary mode of transportation if it is less expensive than using alternative transportation, if it saves time, or if flying travel is not allowed for health reasons. The cost of meals and lodging, parking, mileage, tolls, taxis, and ferries incurred while in transit by private vehicle transportation are reimbursed. (Note that extended stopovers or out of the way mileage for personal or museum business is not covered). Such costs shall generally not exceed the cost of airfare, based on the regular coach fare available for the location of travel from a standard commercial air carrier. If use of a private vehicle as the primary means of transportation is necessary or more appropriate but more expensive than flying, the peer reviewer must let the museum and the Alliance know to ensure this is an acceptable and mutually agreed upon expense.

The Alliance reimburses at the current standard federal mileage reimbursement rate. Please refer to the Travel Reimbursement Form to confirm current mileage reimbursement rate. 

Rental Cars

A vehicle may be rented when it is an appropriate means of transportation. Advance reservations should be made whenever possible and the peer reviewer may request pre-travel reimbursement as long as he/she submits an itemized receipt upfront and proof of use/ travel after the site visit.

Other Ground Transportation

Public transportation, taxis, shuttles, supplementary rail, etc. are reimbursable expenses. Limousine transportation is not acceptable or reimbursable. 

Lodging

Nights (room and taxes) in a commercial lodging establishment are reimbursed (hotel, motel, inn, B&B).  If staying an extra night in order to get a less expensive plane ticket nets a cost savings overall, this is acceptable.  If the peer reviewer prepays in full for his/her lodging to lock in a more economical rate, the Alliance will reimburse the peer reviewer at that time upon request. However documentation of stay at the hotel must be provided after the site visit. In room pay-per-view entertainment and other additional cost hospitality services (except room service) are not reimbursable. 

Food

All reasonable food expenses directly related to a Peer Reviewer’s site visit are reimbursable. This includes meals and snacks during travel and at the final destination. Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursed.

Other

Parking (including airport and hotel) is reimbursable. Standard airline checked baggage fees for up to two bags are reimbursable. Fees for additional luggage and/or oversized/weight bags are not reimbursable. 

Cancellations and Last Minute Changes 

If travel has to be changed or cancelled at the last minute the peer reviewer must call the MAP staff immediately to discuss options. Such alternations to travel tickets usually result in a change fee, an additional fare, or forfeiture of payment.  Who is responsible for the cost and how it will be handled differs based on the nature of the situation (fare restrictions, airline policies, peer reviewer emergency vs. host museum requests the change, weather, etc.).

Summary of Reimbursable Expenses

Yes:

  • Coach class air, rail, or bus fare
  • Mileage for use of personal vehicle
  • Rental car
  • Ground transportation (airport shuttles, taxis, public transportation, etc.)
  • Lodging in a commercial establishment (hotel, motel, inn, B&B)
  • Airline standard checked baggage fee for up to two bags 
  • Meals en route and at destination
  • Standard tips
  • Parking (airport, hotel, on site)

No:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal services such as dry cleaning, in-room payper-view entertainment (movies, games, etc.)
  • Unreasonable or unsubstantiated expenses
  • Personal travel
  • Travel upgrades
  • Expenses related to any spouse/family/friend accompanying the peer reviewer on the visit
  • Expenses related to other business (personal or museum business) enroute to the site visit destination or when at the destination 
  • Overweight/sized checked bagged fees

Withholding Honoraria

MAP reserves the right to hold a Peer Reviewer’s honorarium under the following conditions:

  • Peer Reviewer fails to submit confirmation of payment or itemized receipts after prepaid travel reimbursement request has been processed.
  • Peer Reviewer does not submit a Form W-9 to the Alliance (if one is not already on file).

MAP reviewers need to submit a Form W-9 only once. If you do not wish to submit a W-9 form to the Alliance, you may donate your honorarium to the MAP museum, or recycle it back into MAP’s funds. 

Any questions or concerns should be directed to MAP staff: map@aam-us.org or 202-289-9118.