City Pair and Hotel Programs

» Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Airlines, Hotels | 0 comments


In 1978, the Airline Deregulation Act changed the dynamics and working ways of the airline industry.

The government taking a cue from corporate houses, that started demanding discount in airline prices, established the City Pair program to benefit from the travel expenditure on airlines. These fares are only issued against government credit cards or GTR’s and published under the code YCA, where Y means unrestricted coach and “CA” means Contract Award. There is also Government Business contract issued under code –CB (like DCB, which means controlled capacity in Business booked under D and “CB” means Contract Business. To confront various scenarios of what can happen, certain exceptions to the mandatory use of city pair program were established and can be checked in the manuals. Of course if these exceptions were to be utilized, a waiver code and authority must be obtained.  Refunds of tickets should go back to the Government whether credit card or GTR.

Airlines which are awarded contracts should be US flag carriers which participate in CRAF (Civil Reserve Air Fleet). The FTR and JTR detail the requirement for government travelers using federal funds in accordance with “Fly America Act” which requires use of US flag carriers or US Code Share flights.


Government employees are allowed to accumulate either miles on airlines or points at hotels/cars.


Beside airlines, government travelers also use hotels for their official stays and transportation. They spend almost $2 billion dollars annually on accommodations. These properties can be divided into 3 categories, Transient used by TDY traveler, extended stay used by those who stay 30 day or more in one location & corporate housing for permanent change of station travelers. Those properties recognizing the value of government business often offer the travelers extra amenities for free like breakfast, evening cocktails & airport shuttle. Many of these hotels set their rates at or below per diem rates to lure these travelers. Per diem rates are reviewed annually by GSA for CONUS, DoD for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Dept. of State for foreign countries.  All these properties must be on FEEMA list and must be certified by FEEMA for government use. Travelers should give these properties and those in FEDROOMS priority. They can be booked through FedRooms (outsourced by GSA & managed by Carlson Wagonlit) & GDS’s.

It is worth to mention that a program called The Emergency Lodging Services Program was developed to provide temporary emergency lodging in support of emergencies or disasters. An example was that during Hurricane Katrina, over 750000 people were successfully housed. In September 2005, a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) for Emergency Lodging Services was awarded to Corporate Lodging Consultants to support the government lodging needs in case of emergencies or disasters. It is also available for Continuity of Operations Program for planning accommodations at identified and negotiated properties in geographical areas.

Hotels have their own yield management system by which they decide room rates as per occupancy requirements and advance bookings. Hotels still pay commissions (not like airlines with their zero commission) except maybe some government hotel rates are non-commissionable.

Reporting hotel bookings is easy now a day because all bookings made by electronic means can be traced and can be captured and reconciled with charge cards. Hotels participating in the FedRooms program are required to submit a monthly report about usage and fees.

By Metri Altwal


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