Starting April 8, 2022, Stanford will align its international lodging reimbursement maximums for actual expenses to the federal per diem rates, meaning that the same maximum applies for international lodging whether the traveler uses the per diem or actual expenses reimbursement method. In some locations, the new maximums will result in lower thresholds; in others, it will increase. There is no change to domestic lodging rates, which Financial Management Services (FMS) will continue to analyze and update annually.

This new guidance, now updated on Fingate’s Lodging policy page, applies to all university-sponsored travel, regardless of whether the funding source is sponsored or non-sponsored (such as designated funds, operating budgets, gifts, etc.), that is booked on or after April 8, 2022. International lodging reservations made prior to April 8, 2022 (including those for travel that occurs after that date) that are not within the federal per diem rates should be in compliance with the previously published guidance (see the 2021 Lodging Maximums on the Lodging policy page for reference).

Please note that travel meal reimbursement maximums will continue to feature both an option for actual expenses as well as the per diem method when traveling internationally. Additionally, with all travel expenses, reimbursement methods are restricted by the type of traveler, such as when the traveler is a visitor (in which case, only actual expenses may be reimbursed) or when the funding source is a federally sponsored fund (in which case, the traveler must be reimbursed at the per diem rate). As with all business and travel expenses, individual schools and units may choose to set lower limits than what is published on Fingate.

Benefits of the Change: Safety and Compliance

These maximums, also known as the Foreign Per Diem Rates by Location, are maintained by the U.S. Department of State and are updated regularly. Stanford is moving to the federal schedule to help ensure that university travelers stay in safe lodging that is priced appropriately for their region of the world. For some locations, such as Tokyo, Japan and London, England, the federal schedule allows a higher lodging reimbursement maximum than Stanford had in previous years, providing more options to travelers to meet their needs.

Additional benefits of the transition include more streamlined compliance. For example, it was already required to use these rates when traveling on federally-sponsored funds. This helps Stanford standardize its international lodging expenses and better aligns the lodging policy with peer institutions in higher education.

How to Use the New Maximums

The lodging maximums should be used to book university-sponsored travel to international locations. Here is an overview of the process, with a detailed example noted in the section below.

  1. Before booking lodging for a university-sponsored trip (paid by Stanford regardless of funding source), check the Foreign Per Diem Rates by Location for the city where lodging will be needed. Note the “Maximum Lodging Rate” for that city. This will be your maximum room rate (before taxes and fees).
  2. If booking through a Stanford Travel booking channel, access the channel to book the lodging. Please note that Stanford Travel booking channels, such as Egencia, will not limit searches to below these rates.
  3. Book the hotel that best suits the traveler’s needs and the department’s/university’s guidance.
    • To be reimbursed with the actual expenses method for the cost of the lodging, save this booking documentation, as it will need to be provided to process the expense transaction.
    • To be reimbursed with the per diem method for lodging, it is a best practice to save the documentation, but is not required to process the expense transaction.
  4. When the trip is complete, follow the How To instructions to create an expense report for a Stanford Payee, or for a non-Stanford payee/visitor. This will include indicating in the expense report how the travel was booked (such as through a Stanford Travel Booking Channel or elsewhere).

Other Recent Updates to Business and Travel Maximums

FMS also increased several other business and travel expense reimbursement maximums in early 2022. For reference, previous reimbursement maximums will remain on Fingate, along with the new maximums, for several months.

If You Have Questions or Need Help

If you have any questions about these changes, please submit a support request to the Business Expense team.

To learn more about international lodging maximums and other business expense and travel topics, attend a live Procurement Services event.

  1. Conduct Search by Country
    For example, to calculate lodging rates for a research trip to San Juan, Costa Rica, go to the Foreign Per Diem Rates by Location page and use the Country drop-down menu to select Costa Rica, then select Go.
    Federal webpage with foreign per diem rates by location
  2. Identify Maximum Lodging Rate for Location
    The search will return all established rates for that country. The results show that the federal Maximum Lodging Rate appears for San Juan, Costa Rica ($147 U.S.).
    Webpage with San Jose Maximum Lodging Rate
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