Continuing on from yesterday’s post about changes to DoD lodging and DTS. Here are the new options for commercial lodging:
- DoD Preferred – As of June 15, 2015 , the JTR requires all travelers TDY to an metro area at an Integrated Lodging Program Pilot site to book DoD preferred commercial lodging before other lodging options. DoD preferred commercial lodging properties meet strict quality, safety and security requirements and offer rates below per diem, as well as, additional traveler protections (no fee for cancellations before 4pm, etc.) and conveniences (free internet, free parking, etc.) at no additional cost. The free internet and parking is great and glad to see them include that. Not that you couldn’t pay for that and then seek reimbursement, but this just makes that not a problem.
- FedRooms – DoD travelers are permitted to use the General Services Administration (GSA) FedRooms program. FedRooms offers specially negotiated federal government hotel rates at or below per diem. The program offers benefits to travelers such as no early check-out fees, no deposits, no hidden fees and travelers can cancel a reservation until 4pm on the day of arrival without penalty. For more information on GSA FedRooms, log on to: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/105396 or http://www.fedrooms.com. To obtain these benefits, you must reserve the room with the FedRooms rate – not a government rate. The Defense Travel System (DTS) displays FedRooms properties in the lodging display and rooms may be booked for DoD organizations. FedRooms is basically what we get now with DTS.
- Navy Elite – The Navy Elite Lodging Program offers hotels with rates that are at or below the local per diem rate for lodging and are Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) safety compliant. In general, all locations are within a 5-mile radius or a 15-minute driving distance during rush hour to the DoD facility of assignment. There are no deposits required, hotels offer same day cancellation policies, and may include additional amenities. The Navy Elite program is operated by CWTSatoTravel as part of their Navy travel service contracts. Navy travelers can contact their CWTSatoTravel agent for reservations. The Navy Lodge system is very solid and I often stay there. However, it seems to be often sold out.
- Lodging Success Program (LSP) – The Lodging Success Program (LSP) provides DoD official travelers with quality commercial hotels when installation lodging is unavailable. Contracted room rates are 8% – 50% below per diem. LSP hotels meet minimum mandatory quality and security requirements and are Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) safety compliant. LSP hotel capabilities vary by location supporting full service, limited service, extended stays, and meeting/conference requirements. Additional program information is available at: http://www.armymwr.com/travel/lodging/lodging_success.aspx or phone: 866-363-5771 (866-DoD-LSP1). More on this down below.
- Fort Lee, VA
- Fort Benning, GA
- Charlottesville, VA
- Long Term Lodging – If a traveler is to be TDY at one location for more than 30 days, lodging reservations should be made on a weekly, monthly, or other long-term basis if possible. Companies offering long term lodging arrangements under a General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule can be found at http://www.gsa.gov/corporatehousing. These facilities are typically in an apartment or condominium type property and may be furnished with all the amenities of a home. In addition to the properties offered by GSA, selected properties in the LSP may also offer long term rentals. If you need assistance booking these properties, contact your organization’s supporting Commercial Travel Office. Never had to use this, but long term housing is often an issue for the poor E-2 who has to go to a five-month course.
So I was pretty familiar with all of the above except the Lodging Success Program. I looked into that a little more and see that it is probably what the IILP will look like with a few lodging choices in the AO, but perhaps not what you want. Here is a screenshot from looking up the hotels for staying at Ft. Sam Houston.
As you can see, they do have major hotel chains in the choices, but if you wanted to stay at the Hyatt (in this instance) you would be SOL. Note also the price and remember the language I underlined in yesterday’s post. If you did not stay at one of the IILP choices, your reimbursement would be limited to the amount you would have paid if you stayed at one of the program’s hotel NOT PER DIEM. As a taxpayer, I have to agree that you can’t spend more tax dollars than required, but again just be aware. I can foresee a problem when the economy improves and hotel prices rise faster than the per diem can be adjusted. Remember some of the problems in 2005-8? Again, if someone tries this new program, please let us know what your experience was.