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UA "TravelBank" Q&A , with option to deposit funds

Old Dec 3, 2020, 5:44 pm
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
United Travel Bank is an online account in which funds can be stored for future purchase of United or United express flights, as well as certain subscription products on United.com and the United mobile app. Other types of purchases (e.g. certain upgrades, inflight purchases) are not currently eligible. If you have an available Travel Bank balance and are making an eligible purchase, the option to use Travel Bank will appear at checkout. Travel Bank funds can be used in combination with another commercial payment method (i.e., not including FFCs or ETCs) in an amount of the users choosing. User-purchased funds expire 5 years after deposit; funds received through credit cards and other promotions may expire earlier. Purchases as need to be in USD $ and point of sale USA.
See TravelBank Terms and Conditions

History
The United Travel Bank has been around for many years. UA had a program where purchasing a ticket on united.com would receive a $5 Travel Bank bonus. This was called united.com Club and had an annual $25 subscription fee. This ended in early 2020. But funds are still accessible for 18 months after earning. Also at one time the Travel Bank had a Gift Registry pre-2018. For more on those prior Travel Bank Programs, see "TravelBank"- United.com Club & Gift Registry Q&A - No new/renewals as of 23 Apr 2019 Then for a period of time, Chase / UA offered a 1.5% cash-back Travel Bank credit card where the cash-back went into the Travel Bank, that ended Sept 2020 Chase United TravelBank Card becoming non-cashback Chase MP Gateway Card 21 Sept 2020
In July 2020, the Travel Bank was recasted as a cash pre-funding option that might have a short term bonus offering -- cash or miles or both.

Potential Uses
TravelBank purchases can be used to assist in meeting credit card spend requirements and accumulating points/miles (including on United co-branded cards). Additionally, TravelBank can be used for bank credit card travel reimbursement funds (e.g. AMEX). As of 2022, certain IHG credit cards provide users with a $50 deposit of TravelBank funds every six months for short-term use. New Chase IHG Credit Card Options

Q&A

What can I use Travel Bank funds for?
1. Only for an all UA-operated itinerary
2. Most United subscriptions (E+, baggage, wifi, etc.)
3. Not for in-flight purchases, post-purchase E+ access or upgrades
4. Cannot be used to pay just taxes on flights or other purchases, per the current T&Cs
5. But, T&Cs do mention "TravelBank Awards" as eligible purchases -- miles & cash co-payments???? Unclear what this is referring to
6. Including a Travel Bundle may block TB usage

Technical Limitations
- Sometimes the app is more reliable than the website. It may sometimes still fail to show as a payment option and you may need to use an phone/twitter/FB/... agent.
- There have been reports that the Travel Bank option may not appear if doing Advance Flight Searches with options selected such as upgrade availability. Also, may not show TB as a payment when coming from Google flight.
- For those with "Business Travel" option, when your account is linked to a UA corporate account, TravelBank may not be available. It does seems to be available for "Break from Business" usage

Do Travel Bank funds expire?
They could per T&Cs
- Older methods for funding -- united.com, travel bank card cash back .... have 18 month expiration from last deposit
- New cash funds have a 5 years expiration from deposit
- Bonus from cash deposit -- depends on promo T&Cs but recent terms have been 4 months
- Each $1 TravelBank Cash issued as Chase purchase bonus is valid through June 30, 2022
- CLEAR signup
$100 TravelBank credits will be valid for 9 months (late Aug/early Sept 2021) after the credit is deposited into members accounts.

Where can I see my Travel Bank balance / expiration?
Look in your My Account section and click on Details. https://www.united.com/en/US/account/travelbank

Funds have to be used / trip booked by expiration. Travel can be after expiration

Where can I add funds?
https://www.united.com/offers/travelcash or https://www.united.com/en/US/account/travelbank
Members can choose from six purchase amount options and once purchased the value remains valid for five years from the date it is deposited in your TravelBank account. Purchases are not refundable and are limited to $5,000 per day per MileagePlus account. This purchase is also subject to all of the TravelBank terms and conditions.
Do I get PQP credit for flight purchases with Travel Bank funds?
Yes, UA treats the Travel Bank funds just like a cash purchase

What if I refund a ticket purchased with Travel Bank funds?
When cancelling within 24 hours, the funds go back to original form of purchase, so the Travel Bank portion of the funds go back to the Travel Bank. (most likely with original expiration date and not a new date). FFCs will be issued for non-refundable tickets cancelled more than 24 hours after purchase.

For a refundable ticket purchased with Travel Bank or any ticket refunded in 24 hours of original purchase, funds should go back to Travel Bank, even when cancelled more than 24 hours after purchase. However, changing to a cheaper fare will result in the fare difference not crediting back to Travel Bank. Instead, cancel the ticket and rebook. Note return of TB refunds can takes multiple days or even up to 2 weeks. TB fund use may not be a good idea if a refundable cancellation is a high probability,

Can you use Travel Bank funds in conjunction with a Credit Card and/or ETCs?
Yes, you can select to pay in whole or in part with Travel Bank funds and then the remainder, if any, with the other forms of payment. There have been mixed reports about ETCs -- YMMV

Can you "deposit" your ETCs (or FFCs) into your Travel Bank?
No

Can I use the Travel Bank funds to purchase a ticket to someone else?
Yes but you have to be the purchaser

Can I transfer Travel Bank funds to someone else?
No

Can I cash out my Travel Bank funds?
No

What merchant category is Travel Bank?
It's treated as an airline purchase. American Express posts it as a ticketing fee while pending and then changes to just United Airlines.

Why does Travel Bank state "This offer has ended?"
This message appears during website maintenance.

Does Travel Bank count as a reimbursable incidental with American Express?
This topic is discussed in a separate thread. Do not contact Amex.

Does Travel Bank count as a reimbursable incidental for other credit cards? Post your experiences
Yes, for BoA cards

Archive: UA "TravelBank" Q&A {Archive}

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UA "TravelBank" Q&A , with option to deposit funds

Old Apr 18, 2023, 2:13 pm
  #136  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: PEK and BOS
Programs: BA - Blue
Posts: 4,569
Originally Posted by fumje
For what it's worth, I wouldn't feel the seat fee is worthwhile use of the funds unless you truly have no other purpose for them. I take E+ being free and appreciate it, but I've flown back of the plane many times and wouldn't pay $5 to move into a "preferred" seat.

If there's any chance you'll be booking a personal ticket before expiry of the TB, I'd find $25 off that much better.
I don't anticipate flying UA except for this segment in the forseeable future...hence it's either this case use or the credit just expires... I won't pay cash money (of my own) to move to a 'preferred' seat, but I would 'prefer' it...if it doesnt' cost me anything. Why anyone would pay $24 to pay for it for a ~2hr flight I have no idea...

tb
trueblu is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2023, 2:55 pm
  #137  
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Posts: 14,970
Originally Posted by trueblu
I don't anticipate flying UA except for this segment in the forseeable future...hence it's either this case use or the credit just expires... I won't pay cash money (of my own) to move to a 'preferred' seat, but I would 'prefer' it...if it doesnt' cost me anything. Why anyone would pay $24 to pay for it for a ~2hr flight I have no idea...

tb
because to some people, particularly those tall people who are exceptionally cramped in the undersized pitch that most carriers offer in Y, it is worth it for that extra bit of comfort.

If you are still looking to use the credit, always possible to buy a ticket from your account for someone else, that might avail soemone of the credit. Just an option.
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emcampbe is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2023, 12:25 am
  #138  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: PEK and BOS
Programs: BA - Blue
Posts: 4,569
Originally Posted by emcampbe
because to some people, particularly those tall people who are exceptionally cramped in the undersized pitch that most carriers offer in Y, it is worth it for that extra bit of comfort.

If you are still looking to use the credit, always possible to buy a ticket from your account for someone else, that might avail soemone of the credit. Just an option.
I can totally understand paying for E+, but this is for a seat just further forward in the cabin: no extra room...

Yep, good to know about purchasing tickets for others...will keep in mind.

tb
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Old Apr 19, 2023, 4:04 pm
  #139  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: SFO
Programs: Free agent; tend to fly DL and UA most
Posts: 42
Did UA ever suggest that Travelbank was eligible as a payment method for subscriptions?
Yeah my guess is that despite the checkout screen not preventing me from trying to use TB funds, that using them for things like E+ subscriptions isn't allowed.
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Old Apr 19, 2023, 9:49 pm
  #140  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Washington, D.C.
Programs: AA, but I play the field
Posts: 1,528
Originally Posted by emcampbe
Did UA ever suggest that Travelbank was eligible as a payment method for subscriptions?
The T&Cs give United pretty free reign to determine and change the acceptable uses, but one of the uses listed on the Travel Bank webpage is for "certain subcription products"
TravelBank Cash can be used alone or in combination with other forms of payment to pay for flights operated by United and United Express and certain subscription products. If you have an available TravelBank balance, the option to use it for an eligible purchase will appear at checkout (TravelBank Cash can only be redeemed for purchases denominated in U.S. dollars). View your TravelBank balance anytime in My Account while youre logged in
https://www.united.com/en/us/fly/acc...ravelbank.html

It's been a number of months since I've read this thread in its entirety (yes, I did that once) but I believe that muaddib89 's post above is the first report of TB not working for an E+ subscription. I don't recall if there were other affirmative reports of success posted.
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ZenFlyer is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2023, 10:40 pm
  #141  
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Posts: 13
Another TB question. If I use TB to book a single ticket for someone else and they add it to their account using the confirmation code, and I / they subsequently cancel after 24 hours to get FFC, can the FFC be used by the other person to do bookings on their own?
mcspiffin is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2023, 10:57 pm
  #142  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,569
Originally Posted by mcspiffin
Another TB question. If I use TB to book a single ticket for someone else and they add it to their account using the confirmation code, and I / they subsequently cancel after 24 hours to get FFC, can the FFC be used by the other person to do bookings on their own?
The funds belong to person named on the ticket and can then be used to book a different flight. There is no need to add to their account, they just need the confirmation / PNR code.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Apr 20, 2023, 10:01 am
  #143  
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
The funds belong to person named on the ticket and can then be used to book a different flight. There is no need to add to their account, they just need the confirmation / PNR code.
Thanks so much for the quick reply!
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Old Apr 25, 2023, 2:33 pm
  #144  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 26
Some more datapoints:

1) Booked UA one-way flight for my 2 yr old son. Booked him as an adult. Total cost was ~$1,200 in TB credit.
2) The ticket became cancellable at 26 hours from booking for FFC.
3) Called into UA to book him on ANA metal utilizing the FFC generated for him. The year of birth actually didn't match up. Error on my part but it didn't seem to be a problem.
4) UA agent was able to book the ticket and linked his ticket to mines even though my ticket was booked directly with ANA (so PNR and ticket # was not in UA's system).

On the phone calling ANA now to verify everything good on their end before I breathe a sigh of relief.

To be honest, I didn't know what I would do with the TB credit. I typically don't fly UA metal and often don't pay for tickets at all. This was a rare case where I needed to buy a ticket and I'm glad I could make use of the TB credit.
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Old Apr 25, 2023, 6:05 pm
  #145  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: ATL/MCO
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Posts: 5,705
I do apologize if this question has been asked before, but I have a $25 in my TravelBank via the IHG Premier Card. Unlikely I'll use it to purchase tickets, but was wondering if it can be used for a full flight Wi-Fi pass on a B772 bound for HND if that matters it being a certain internet provider. I did read the wiki and see it can be used towards a subscription which is different from a onetime pass.
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Old Apr 25, 2023, 6:40 pm
  #146  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Washington, D.C.
Programs: AA, but I play the field
Posts: 1,528
Originally Posted by miamiflyer8
I do apologize if this question has been asked before, but I have a $25 in my TravelBank via the IHG Premier Card. Unlikely I'll use it to purchase tickets, but was wondering if it can be used for a full flight Wi-Fi pass on a B772 bound for HND if that matters it being a certain internet provider. I did read the wiki and see it can be used towards a subscription which is different from a onetime pass.
The only way to know for sure would be to try to purchase the full flight pass and see if TravelBank shows up as a payment option. Since you already have the funds deposited it would seem you have nothing to lose - why don't you at least start the process of making a purchase and see if it shows up - please report back!
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ZenFlyer is offline  
Old Apr 25, 2023, 7:19 pm
  #147  
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Originally Posted by bruceleeroy
Some more datapoints:

1) Booked UA one-way flight for my 2 yr old son. Booked him as an adult. Total cost was ~$1,200 in TB credit.
2) The ticket became cancellable at 26 hours from booking for FFC.
3) Called into UA to book him on ANA metal utilizing the FFC generated for him. The year of birth actually didn't match up. Error on my part but it didn't seem to be a problem.
4) UA agent was able to book the ticket and linked his ticket to mines even though my ticket was booked directly with ANA (so PNR and ticket # was not in UA's system).

On the phone calling ANA now to verify everything good on their end before I breathe a sigh of relief.

To be honest, I didn't know what I would do with the TB credit. I typically don't fly UA metal and often don't pay for tickets at all. This was a rare case where I needed to buy a ticket and I'm glad I could make use of the TB credit.
Off-topic to this thread, I suppose, but important to know what 'linking' essentially is. It's basically a note in the notes section specifying your child is traveling with you, and maybe manually referencing your ticket number. Visible to an agent....who bothers to look at that section. Will not result in anything automated happening together (ie, rebooking in the case of a canceled flight, etc.).

Since you mention a child on their own on the their own PNR, even 'linked', I'd expect trouble at check in, as they'll need to verify you are traveling together. Child will almost certainly not be able to check in online, and likely an extra process at the airport. Do yourself a favor and give yourself lots of extra time to check in.

Originally Posted by miamiflyer8
I do apologize if this question has been asked before, but I have a $25 in my TravelBank via the IHG Premier Card. Unlikely I'll use it to purchase tickets, but was wondering if it can be used for a full flight Wi-Fi pass on a B772 bound for HND if that matters it being a certain internet provider. I did read the wiki and see it can be used towards a subscription which is different from a onetime pass.
Good luck, but I highly doubt it. I'd never say don't try, that's always an option, but I'd expect it not to work, and be happy with a better result.
emcampbe is offline  
Old Apr 29, 2023, 10:36 am
  #148  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by emcampbe
Off-topic to this thread, I suppose, but important to know what 'linking' essentially is. It's basically a note in the notes section specifying your child is traveling with you, and maybe manually referencing your ticket number. Visible to an agent....who bothers to look at that section. Will not result in anything automated happening together (ie, rebooking in the case of a canceled flight, etc.).

Since you mention a child on their own on the their own PNR, even 'linked', I'd expect trouble at check in, as they'll need to verify you are traveling together. Child will almost certainly not be able to check in online, and likely an extra process at the airport. Do yourself a favor and give yourself lots of extra time to check in.



Good luck, but I highly doubt it. I'd never say don't try, that's always an option, but I'd expect it not to work, and be happy with a better result.

Thanks for the tip. I will definitely try to check in sooner than usual as this is the first time we're traveling with a 2 year old.

As an update to my last post:

The UA agent admitted she has never done this type of booking where she applied a FFC + link a non-UA PNR to a ticket issued by UA. She said she fixed his birthdate and it's all good. After calling ANA, it was NOT all good. First, they saw no notes of the ticket being linked to an adult. Probably as you stated, the linking is just notes so I don't see why ANA would see UA's notes. Second, the birthdate is still wrong. ANA took care of it with no questions. This is the second instance where ANA was able to change a vital personal info after a ticket is booked. I was always under the impression airlines cannot make that type of change and the ticket needs to be reissued. Regardless, ANA said they fixed everything on their end and that is all that matters as I would be checking in and flying with them.
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Old Apr 29, 2023, 5:40 pm
  #149  
 
Join Date: May 2015
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Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
The only way to know for sure would be to try to purchase the full flight pass and see if TravelBank shows up as a payment option. Since you already have the funds deposited it would seem you have nothing to lose - why don't you at least start the process of making a purchase and see if it shows up - please report back!
Originally Posted by emcampbe
Good luck, but I highly doubt it. I'd never say don't try, that's always an option, but I'd expect it not to work, and be happy with a better result.
Thank You both!

Yes, I'll go ahead and report back.
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miamiflyer8 is offline  
Old Jun 8, 2023, 8:06 pm
  #150  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 66
Has anyone had recent DPs for refunds on flights made with Travel Bank funds?

I cancelled a flight due to a schedule change. Part of the flight was booked with my Travel Bank. I received the refund for the portion paid with my credit card, but never received the refund for my travel bank. I tried contacting CS through the chat, but they have not been super helpful.
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