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Frequently Asked Questions
 

Regulation Questions:

 

DTS Questions:

Government Credit Card Questions:

1.  Can I use excursion fares?

All Travelers must use the GSA contracted air carriers when making their official travel arrangements, unless city-pair fares are not available or use of them will adversely impact the mission. However, excursion fares are now allowed on the same routes as gov't. fares if they are cheaper than the gov't. fare and are available to the general public. They are not available in DTS, but they MUST have AO approval and be purchased through SATO. If the contract city-pair airline offers the same fare as another airline, then the contract airline MUST be used. For more information, contact the Travel Office at 2041.

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2.  Can I use an international carrier departing from/ returning to the United States?

Available U.S.-certificated air carriers must be used for all commercial foreign air transportation of persons/property when the U.S. Government funds the air travel (49 USC §40118 and B-138942, 31 March 1981). Exceptions based on excess travel times and aircraft changes are listed in the reference.   Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O, T4060 B.3. Reimbursement is not allowed when the traveler does not follow the regulations for foreign flag carriers. Ref: JTR Appendix O T4025 C.

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3.  Can I keep my frequent flier miles, and are there any restrictions on using these miles earned on government travel?

Frequent flyer miles belong to the traveler and may be used for any purpose you desire. Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O T4020 B. 9.

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4.  Do I have to use city pair flights?

You must use the contract city-pair airline between the origin and destination airports if there is a contract with that airline, unless there is no seat available, or other justifiable reason exists. When picking a non-contract airline, you must justify the reason to the AO in the Pre-Audit section of the travel authorization. Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix P, Part II-5.

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5.  When can I use premium class, if ever?

Travelers “must use coach-class for all official travel, unless premium-class accommodations are authorized prior to travel by the appropriate level listed in par. U3125-B2a or U3125-B2b.” Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O T4020 B.4.b. At NPS, you may not use premium class without proper permission from the President, NPS, and the Director, Navy Staff.

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6.  Do I have to rent a compact car only?

If you rent a car larger than a compact, then you must justify this choice to the AO in the Other Authorizations section of the Travel Authorization.  Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O T4060 B.6.

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7.  What do I do if my flight is cancelled or changed so it does not meet mission requirements?

“If travel plans change from the itinerary, the traveler should call the CTO’s (SATO’s) 24-hour toll-free number (1-800 359-9999), if possible, to have the needed changes made. The CTO must update the traveler’s Trip Record. The AO may approve the changes after the trip is complete. However, it is best if the traveler gets the AO’s authorization up-front, and has the Trip Record updated. In any case, the traveler is reimbursed only for changes the AO approves on the Trip Record.” Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O T4050 B.1.

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8.  Can I use my personal credit card to pay for airline tickets?

No. “The CTO (Commercial Travel Office—SATO) must charge airline tickets, lodging, and rental car reservations on the traveler’s individual or unit Government travel card.” Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O T4050 A.5. All government employees who travel are required to have a government credit card. Foreign nationals and travelers with bad credit have their airline tickets paid for by the NPS Central Billed Account (CBA) administered by the Travel Card APC. 

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9.  What if I don’t process my voucher within five days?

You will be notified by the travel office that your voucher is overdue. You will still be reimbursed for travel expenses. Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix T4060 C. 1.

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10.  Can I upgrade my seat on my own, by whatever method, as long as it does not increase the cost of the mission?

You can upgrade using frequent flyer miles, or using upgrades earned from the airline. You may not upgrade to premium class at increased cost without proper permission from the President, NPS, and the Director, Navy Staff. Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O T4020 B.4.b

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11.  If I’m on leave just prior to my trip, do I have to return to Monterey to begin my TDY?

If you did not know that you had to go on TDY before you went on leave, then you can travel to the TDY site from the leave site and return. Otherwise, you must either return to Monterey to commence the TDY, or exchange the government-purchased round trip ticket from Monterey for one from the leave site and pay the difference from personal funds. Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O, T4060 B.10.

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12.  If I intend to have family/friends accompany me, can I use DTS to arrange their travel, as long as they pay?

No. DTS can only be used by government employees for travel on official business, or by non-government employees who are invited to travel on behalf of NPS for official purposes. Ref: DoD FMR Vol 9 Chap 2, 020101

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13.  When should I drive to/from the airport, as opposed to using a shuttle, a taxi, or a limo?

You may be reimbursed for expenses for round-trip costs to be dropped and picked up at the airport, or to drive to the airport, park and return from the airport, with the following limitation from JTR para C2192: Terminal parking fees while TDY are reimbursable not to exceed the cost of two one-way taxicab fares, including allowable tips. Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix G 18.

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14.  What are the rules regarding conference fees? Can I use my travel card to pay?

A conference fee is a business expense, not a travel expense. Therefore you must pay conference registration fees by filling out an SF182 and having your departmental purchase card coordinator pay these fees with the purchase card. You may not pay conference fees with the government credit card nor be reimbursed for these fees on the travel voucher.

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15.  Is it okay to use a carrier that gives me miles, as opposed to one that doesn’t?

If your points of origin and destination are a GSA contract city-pair, then you must use that airline if there is a seat available. If not a city pair, you should use the lowest cost airline that will fulfill your mission. Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix P, Part II-5.

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16.  Assuming I have to connect via San Francisco or Los Angeles, which one should I use?

You should use the route with the lowest fare. Ref: JTR C1058 1., 3.

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17.  What expenses are authorized while I am traveling?

These allowed expenses are listed in JFTR/JTR Appendix G. You can access this document on this NPS Travel web site  “Rules and SOPs.”

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18.  What happens if I take leave during TDY and I have a rental car?

You cannot make rental car reservations for leave days in DTS, but you can arrange with the car company when you pick it up to keep the car while you are on leave. You must prorate the cost so that the government only pays for the days you are on duty. You pay for your share by reducing the cost on the voucher to the government’s share, then add your share under “Add’l GOVCC Amt:” on the “Payment Totals” page under “Additional Options.” NOTE: While on leave, you are not covered by government insurance, so you should arrange insurance with the rental agency if not covered by your own automobile insurance when renting a car. Ref: DoD FMR Vol 9 Chap 4, para 040703.

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19.  How do I have a non-government activity pay for my travel?

Non-government activities can pay for travel as explained in the “Gift of Travel SOP” available on the “Rules and SOPs” page of this NPS Travel web site. 

DTS Questions:

20.  Who’s my AO?

Your AO is normally your department chairman/head, and is the person who is designated in DTS to approve your travel authorizations. Most departments have an alternate who can also approve these in the absence of the primary AO. All travel vouchers are approved in the Travel Office. “AO means the individual who controls the mission, authorizes the trip, and controls funds for TDY travel.” Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O T4000

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21.  How can I make sure my airline ticket has been bought and is waiting for me at the terminal?

SATO sends an email to the traveler when tickets are purchased, which is usually three days before departure. If you do not receive such an email, open your travel authorization in DTS, note the Confirmation Code in the airline reservation, then enter this code and your last name into SATO’s web site at http://www.virtuallythere.com/, (password “satotravel.com”) then click on “E-ticket receipt.” If the receipt is present, the ticket has been bought. NOTE: This would be a good time to print out the e-ticket receipt for submission with your voucher.

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22.  Is it possible to look at demos of completing travel documents in DTS?

On the DTS Welcome page, click on the “TraX Travel Explorer” icon at the lower left corner. Create an account and log in to Passport. Click on Training in the lower right corner. Scroll down to the Demo section and select the desired one. They show you how to create a travel authorization and a travel voucher, as well as how to review or approve them if you serve in that role.

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23.  Is there any on-line computer-based training available in DTS? If so, how do I access it?

On the DTS Welcome page, click on the “TraX Travel Explorer” icon at the lower left corner. Create an account and log in to Passport. Click on Training in the lower right corner. Web Based training courses are listed for various topics. Instructor-led Distance Learning courses are also available. Click on "Schedule" for each course to see when they are offiered. Passport also has many other assets to assist you in travel.

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24.  How do I get help with my travel documents?

First, explore the manuals and quick reference guides available on the DTS Welcome page under TRAINING. If you still need help, call the NPS DTS Help Desk at 877 477-2058, ext. 2, or email DTSHelp@nps.edu. Ref: NPSINST 4650.4F, Encl (1), para 2.

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25.  Can I reserve a hotel room and/or a rental car outside of DTS?

You can reserve a hotel room outside of DTS. You would have to do this to reserve a room in a conference hotel, since rooms set aside for a conference are not available in DTS. You are not permitted to reserve a rental car outside of DTS. Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O T4020 B. 3.

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26.  What do I do if my travel plans change?

If your plans change before travel, log into DTS and locate your authorization. If it has not been approved by the AO, click on “view/edit,” then unclick the “View Only” box and click “Open.” If it has been approved by the AO, click on “amend,” then follow the same procedure. Make necessary changes, and then restamp the document “SIGNED.”  NOTE: If your travel reservation needs change while traveling, amend the authorization in DTS if the change is more than 36 hours in the future. If less than 36 hours ahead, call SATO in Monterey during California working hours at 855 744-4657; if ourside of those hours, call SATO 7/24 number at 800 359-9999. If you are going to request SATO to purchase a new ticket, you must tell them that the AO has approved the change.

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27.  How do I have another government activity pay for my travel?

Other government activities can send a “fund cite” to NPS which can be entered into DTS as an NPS job order by the comptroller office. You can then select this job order under “Accounting” in your travel authorization. Fund cites are handled by the Travel Office. See the Fund Cite SOP under "Rules and SOPs. Ref: Fund Cite SOP, NPS Travel web site under SOPs.

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28.  Can I use DTS to create a local voucher?

Yes. Open DTS, highlight “Official Travel,” and then click on “Local Voucher.” This document is similar to the SF1164, but can only be used for travel expenses in the local area. Ref: DTS Document Processing Manual, para 5.1.

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29.  How do I reimburse Visa for meals charged on my government charge card?

Open the “Payment Totals” page of the voucher under “Additional Options.” Add any GTCC charges that are not listed separately as expenses in the “Add’l GOVCC Amt:” box, and then click “Calculate.” This transfers this amount from the DFAS reimbursement to your bank account to the payment to CitiBank for your GTCC. Ref: DTS Document Processing Manual, Chap 4, Table 4-1.

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30.  How do I update the flight cost on my voucher?

Travelers need to check the flight cost in the voucher and compare with the receipt. If it is different, then click on Edit in the flight information window of the Preview screen, click on “Change Ticket Data,” and enter the correct amount. Ref: DTS Document Processing Manual, Chap 4. para 4.4.1.

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31.  How do I update my voucher itinerary?

Open the voucher, click on Itinerary, and enter the correct data. Dates and locations can be changed or added. Ref: DTS Document Processing Manual, Chap 4, para 4.3.

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32.  What does Audit Flag --- mean?

The Audit Flag selects certain elements of an authorization or voucher that have non-standard data entered, and presents these at the end of the document so that the traveler can enter justifications for these elements for the AO to consider in approving the document. Ref: DTS Document Processing Manual, Chap 2, para 2.10.2.

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33.  What is the status on my document?

You can open any document, click on “Review/Sign,” then click on “Digital Signature.” The completed status is shown under “Document History,” and the future routings are shown under “Pending Routing Actions.” Ref: DTS Document Processing Manual, Chap 2, para 2.10.4.

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34.  How do I cancel an Authorization?

Follow the instructions in the Quick Reference Guide for cancellations at this link

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35.  How do I correct an already paid voucher?

To add an expense that was left off of a previously submitted voucher, amend the voucher, add the omitted expense, and then sign it. The voucher will be processed and the added expense will be reimbursed. If it is for lodging or is $75 or more, then you need to also fax or scan the receipt into the amended voucher.  Ref: DTS Document Processing Manual, Chap 4, para 4.2-2.

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36.  Why can’t I log into DTS?

If you have problems logging in, contact the NPS DTS help desk at 866 817-5245, ext. 2. The primary reasons are problems with the CAC card or PIN number, or the fact that your profile is not properly entered into DTS by your departmental travel administrator (ODTA.) Ref: NPSINST 4650.4 series, Encl (1), para 2.

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37.  Why can’t I sign my document?

Anyone who has access to a travel authorization can sign it. Only the traveler can sign a travel voucher. Ref: DTS Document Processing Manual, Chap 4, para 4.9.4.

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38.  Is there a report that shows me ------ ?

There are many reports available in DTS to show the status of travel, pending and completed travel documents, and lists of travelers by groups and organizations. They are available in the “Reports Scheduler” section of the “Reports” item on the DTS login page. Ref: DTS DTA Users Manual, Chap. 10.

GOVERNMENT Credit Card Questions:

39.  Can I get a cash advance?

If you do not have a Government Travel Card you can get a cash advance using the DTS system. Travelers who do have a Travel Card are authorized limited Automated Teller Machine (ATM) advances with the travel card. Commanders may authorize a larger ATM advance as required, to ensure cardholders have access to sufficient funds in primarily high cost areas, or where the travel card is not an acceptable means of payment for lodging, meals, etc. In accordance with DON policies, commanders may not authorize ATM advances to exceed $2,000.

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40.  Can I get an increase in my credit limit?

Permanent increases will no longer be permitted. Restricted accounts-limits may only be temporarily increased up to 6 months, after which they are subject to renewal.
Standard accounts-limits may only be temporarily increased for up to 12 months, after which they are subject to renewal.
APCs may not upgrade accounts from restricted to standard. Only your local APC can increase your credit limits. You must contact your local APC by phone at x3211.

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41.  How do I convert foreign currency transactions into US dollars?

You can use the exchange rate that was used by the credit card company on the charge receipt, or the exchange rate that was used when you exchanged US currency into foreign currency, or you can access http://www.oanda.com/ and use the rate for the country and the date that you spent the money.

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42.  How do I get tickets issued earlier than three days before travel?

After your travel authorization has been approved by your AO, call SATO at 855 744-4657 and request them to purchase your tickets. NOTE: Your GTCC will be charged for airline tickets on the ticketing date. If you request tickets well in advance of travel, payment may be due prior to the completion of travel. You are responsible for this payment even if you have not yet been reimbursed. 

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43.  Do I have to have a government charge card (GTCC?)

All travelers are required to obtain and use a GTCC. Refer to the "Travel Card" section of this web site for an application, or contact the GTCC APC at 3211 to request a card. Ref: Office of Under Secretary of Defense memo dtd 3 May 2007.

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44.  If I have a GOVCC, for what expenses am I required to use it?

You must use the GOVCC to pay for airline tickets, lodging and rental cars. You should use it to pay for other travel-related expenses. Ref: JFTR/JTR Appendix O T4050 A. 5.

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45.  After being paid on my voucher, why do I still owe money to CitiBank?

All GTCC charges during travel must be earmarked for payment directly from DFAS to CitiBank. Expenses whose Method of Reimbursement is listed as GOVCC will automatically be paid this way. Other GOVCC charges which are not listed as expenses, such as ATM advances, meals, prorated part of rental car charge while on leave, hotel movies, minibar, etc., should be included in the “Payment Totals” screen under “Additional Options” in the “Add GOVCC ATM:” and “Add’l GOVCC Amt:. The only time you are permitted to receive a bill from CitiBank is if there is insufficient Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) money to cover these expenses. Ref: DTS Document Processing Manual, Chap 4, Table 4-1.

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46.  I have a trip coming up soon, and I am an infrequent traveler.  How do I/when do I get my card turned on?

The Travel Card Coordinator runs a daily DTS report to ensure customers who have upcoming travel have active accounts. Activation dates are set according to order travel dates. Customers are encouraged to contact the Travel Card Coordinator (656-3211) for further assistance, especially to ensure the GTCC is open and active at an appropriate time to expedite mission travel.

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47.  Why use the GTCC anyway?

It is Navy Policy to have a GTCC while on official travel. Temporary de-activation of the account does not mean “no use of the GTCC.” See DoD Financial Management Regulations on GTCC here, and Asst. SECNAV memo on mandatory use of GTCC here.

Customers will have an OPEN account but it will be in temporary de-active status while NOT on travel. This serves to prevent potential fraudulent activity such as compromise of account information, or if the GTCC is lost or stolen.

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48.  Can you inform a traveler when the card is de-activated?

Activation and de-activation dates are according to travel dates. A week after the travel end date on orders will be the de-activation date.  DTS will auto-generate an email advising your travel is paid. After the voucher has been processed and paid, you can confirm with the Travel Card Coordinator (656-3211) that the GTCC is de-activated.

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