Q&A Session – Travel Reimbursement for Airline Miles


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I recently filed a travel voucher with my agency following my return from leave and temporary duty. I purchased airline miles with my credit card and applied the miles toward my airfare. I used the airfare for my leave, but stopped at a TDY location on the way home. I was told that GAO doesn’t recognize airline miles and would not reimburse my ticket to the TDY location. Is this correct?


Even though you paid with your personal credit card for the miles utilized to obtain your airfare that was ultimately used for official travel, you unfortunately are not entitled to reimbursement.  As you indicated, federal employees are eligible for payment of travel expenses, such as air fare, when performing official travel.  41 C.F.R. § 301-10.1-10.2.  It appears that your trip would qualify as “official travel,” thus warranting reimbursement of your air fare.  However, as the Agency advised you, you are not entitled to reimbursement for the miles used to obtain the airfare, or for reimbursement of the credit card payment maid to purchase the miles.  Such payment is prohibited by the Federal Regulations.  Generally, travel expenses should be paid with an employee’s government-issued travel card, unless you have an exemption.  41 C.F.R. § 301-51.1.  If you receive an exemption, you may pay for transportation expenses with cash, personal credit cards, personal check, or travelers check.  41 § 301-51-101.  Because you did not pay for the airfare with cash or a cash equivalent, you are not eligible for reimbursement, and it is immaterial that you did pay for the miles with a cash equivalent. 

Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.


About Author

Leave A Reply