Carpe Your Per Diem

Carpe Your Per Diem

When on the road, whether it be for business or pleasure, it’s pretty easy to overspend. But when you’re on the company dime, it’s important to control your budget, based on the standards and regulations set by your company policy. And that is where a per diem comes in handy.

As a daily allowance to cover living expenses when traveling, a per diem helps to keep overspending at bay, and leaves no room for question as to what’s within policy, and what isn’t. By providing a benchmark limit, per diems provide a boundary for business travelers, while giving company accountants and administrators piece of mind that the T&E budget won’t be compromised.

Companies interested in implementing a per diem have one of two options: a customized per diem or following the General Services Administration (GSA) suggestions. The GSA establishes appropriate per diem rates for frequently traveled cities based on both lodging and meals and incidental expenses (M&IE). Lodging covers any overnight stays, whether they be in hotels, motels or even Airbnb. Meals and incidentals account for any food consumed on the trip, as well as additional costs like tipping for services or dry cleaning and laundry. Customized per diems can be established by any company, and can work directly with specific policy controls, spend benchmarks and administrator preferences.

And because the cost of living differs from place to place, the GSA sets average per diem rates for cities all over the country, helping guide those companies who choose to use their own customized per diem. Consider some of the current GSA per diem rates for these frequently traveled destinations:

  • New York, NY
    • Lodging: $267/night
    • M&IE: $74/day
  • Los Angeles, CA
    • Lodging: $175/night
    • M&IE: $64/day
  • Chicago, IL
    • Lodging: $137/night
    • M&IE: $74/day
  • Houston, TX
    • Lodging: $135/night
    • M&IE: $59/day
  • Miami, FL
    • Lodging: $196/night
    • M&IE: $64/day


If you’re looking at these numbers, and find your company’s travel budget seems way off, have no fear. Certify GSA services and Certify Policy Compliance tools help you set up the per diem that works best for your company. Regardless of where your travels may take you, Certify’s flexible configuration instantly and accurately calculates a per diem rate based on expense date and destination, all using current data. And because no one per diem fits all, Certify offers options for different meal combinations, incidental expenses, changes in travel dates and much more.

Ready to find out more? Current Certify customers can reach out to their dedicated account manager any time. Not yet a Certify customer? Contact a representative to find out more, or request a demo, today.