P-Card or T&H Card: Which Should I Use?

Expense Type

Purchasing Card

Travel and Hospitality Card

Additional Information

Car rentals  
Conference registrations and fees ✔ ✔Payment is preferred on a T&H Card, unless declined due to merchant code controls.  If T&H Card is declined, or you do not have a T&H Card, a P-Card may be used.
Educational materials  
Food for research purposes  
Food/refreshments for events  
Gas for car rentals This does not include rentals from Iowa State Transportation Services.  Gas for vehicles rented through Transportation Services should be paid with the WEX fuel card provided by Transportation Services.
Gas for lab or farm use  
Gifts and door prizes  
Goods, materials, supplies  ✔ Use of the P-Card is intended only for items not available from University Stores or through cyBUY contract requisitioning (or other university contracts); or for low-cost items needed immediately.
Lodging (Hotel, Airbnb for Work) If securing lodging within the State of Iowa, all providers must be verified through the Iowa Office to Combat Human Trafficking Website.
Meals during employee travel  
Meals for hospitality events  
Meeting room expenses  
Restaurant or coffee shop gift cards    ✔If purchased at a restaurant or coffee shop, the purchase will decline on the Purchasing Card due to blocked merchant codes.
Other gift cards  
Parking fees  
Professional dues/membershipsProfessional dues/memberships are preferred on the Purchasing Card but may decline due to merchant code controls, so if you experience a decline, you can try on your Travel and Hospitality Card.
Promotional Items  
Repair, technical, rental services  


This chart is not an exhaustive list.  If your question isn't answered here or you need more information, please contact cardservices@iastate.edu.