Friday, August 17, 2018

GSA Publishes 2019 Travel Per Diem Rates

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) this week released the fiscal year (FY) 2019 travel per diem rates, which will take effect on October 1, 2018. By law, GSA sets these rates for travel in the continental United States each year.

Based on local market costs of mid-priced hotels, lodging per diem rates provide caps, or maximum amounts, that can be reimbursed to federal employees for lodging and meals while on official travel. As an additional savings measure, GSA's lodging per diem rate methodology includes taking five percent off of the final average daily rate in each location.

But these rates don't just apply to Government workers. They also represent caps on what the Government is willing to reimburse contractors. These rates, of course, are limit costs on cost-type contracts but are also used in pricing fixed-price contracts. The regulatory authority comes from FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) 31.205-46:
...costs incurred for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses (as defined in the [Federal Travel Regulations]) shall be considered to be reasonable and allowable only to the extent that they do not exceed on a daily basis the maximum per diem rates in effect at the time of travel as set forth in the --
The 2019 rates have not changed significantly from the 2018 caps. A few have gone up a couple of bucks and some have actually decreased by a few dollars (the peak season in San Francisco dropped from $302 per night to $299 per night but good luck finding that rate - Bloomberg reports that the average price for a hotel room in San Francisco is now $397 per night).
Contractors need to prepare to implement the new rate schedule beginning October 1st. To view the new per diem rates, visit the GSA website.

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