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Learn About Meal Per Diem

Meals and certain other incidental travel expenses are reimbursable only for overnight official business travel outside the traveler’s official station, the area within a 25-mile radius of an employee’s base point.

M&IE Per Diem

The M&IE per diem must correspond to the location specified for the overnight lodging.

GSA CONUS and OCONUS rates are used as the standard meal and incidental reimbursement guidelines (including all related taxes and tips) and are provided at the following website.

The applicable M&IE per diem is payable to the traveler without itemization of expense or receipts. Reimbursement for actual expenses incurred during overnight travel for these expense categories is not permitted above the M&IE per diem. Departments may be more restrictive and reimburse actual expenses up to the appropriate M&IE allowance in place of maximum per diem.

Direct billing of meal expenses incurred during overnight travel, including charging meals to direct-billed hotel rooms, is not permitted.

Incidental Allowance

Incidentals consist of meal tips, baggage handling, and housekeeping tips are included in the M&IE per diem amounts as shown on the CONUS and OCONUS rate tables.  Reimbursement of these expenses as separate items is not permitted. 

Miscellaneous Expenses

Miscellaneous business related expenses that are not covered by the incidental allowance include cab fares, fax, telephone, copy charges, room taxes, energy surcharges, laundry, cleaning and pressing of clothes and other business related expenses.

M&IE Proration and Reductions

On a travel departure or return day, 75% of the M&IE is reimbursed.  For trips involving multiple travel destinations, base the reduction on the per diem in effect for where the night was spent as follows:

Departure Day:       Where you spend the night.

Return Day:            Where you spent the night before returning to home base.

When meals are provided at no cost in conjunction with travel events, the applicable M&IE per diem reimbursement rate shall be reduced by the amount shown for the applicable meal in the M&IE Rate Table.

When meals are provided at no cost in conjunction with travel events on a travel departure or return day, the full day’s per diem rate is reduced by the full amount of the appropriate meals, followed by prorating the balance by 75%.

When meals are included with registration or lodging expense as part of a package, the number and type of meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) must be recorded.  The applicable meal amount must be reduced when meals are provided at no cost during an overnight travel period.

Choosing not to eat a meal that has been provided does not allow the traveler to then claim per diem for that meal unless a justification is provided. 

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