Coffee being prepared by a barista

Apply for a hospitality card 

Staff can apply for a hospitality card to pay for lunch, dinner, smaller numbers of hot drinks and snacks for meetings where external visitors are present, and at times when a delivered catering order is not appropriate or possible. A hopsitality card should only be used when entertaining external clients, students and visitors on campus, or when providing services to staff in accordance with the College Expenses policy

How does it work?

  1. Download and complete the Hospitality Card Application Form (MS Excel) 
  2. Get the form signed and stamped by your department's finance manager 
  3. Send it by internal post or scan it and email it to: hospitalitycard@imperial.ac.uk or to James Heaton, Finance, Level 5 Sherfield Building, South Kensington Campus
  4. Your form will be processed and you will be emailed when your card is ready for collection 

Important things to know 

  • Depending on how you will need to use the card, e.g. for external visitors or for staff members, you will either be issued with an external hospitality card or an internal hospitality card or if appropriate, both types of cards
  • Hospitality cards are valid for 12 months from the date of issue and cardholders will need to get in touch with us when their card needs to be renewed
  • If the cardholder leaves their employment at the College, they should return their card to Catering Services, or inform Catering Services by email of the replacement cardholder, providing their details

Using a hospitality card 

a. Entertaining external clients and visitors 

It may be appropriate for you to provide hospitality, e.g. lunch, dinner, hot drinks and refreshments, for visitors and external clients. Examples of would be providing hospitality for potential event bookers, suppliers and visiting business contacts with whom the department is seeking to develop a relationship with. To obtain an external hospitality card (which is different from an internal hospitality card), you must demonstrate the need to provide external hospitality to your Senior Manager. This is important because for tax purposes, a distinction must be made between external and internal hospitality. 

B. Providing hospitality to staff members

It may sometimes be appropriate to provide modest hospitality to staff, for example, hot refreshments during a planned weekly meeting. Purchases must be proportionate to the occasion. 

c. Where a hospitality card may not be used

The hospitality card is NOT for personal use. Its sole function is to provide hospitality when there is a clear business justification (i.e. developing new business relationships, cementing current business and College relationships, team motivation, reward and recognition and staff celebrations). The hospitality card may NOT be used for:

  • team leaders to purchase hot drinks and snacks for staff at daily or informal meetings
  • card holders to buy coffees or snacks for themselves throughout the day

Help with your card

If you need any help, advice or guidance about the use of your card or if you experience any issues with your card please contact Catering Services