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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

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 Jul 5, 2023, 9:18 pm
  #166  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,281
Originally Posted by Rik_Des
I had another question that i have some travel certificate expiring end of this year from COVID time, would they get extended if i get additional travel certificate credits?
No But if you use the ETCs? to book a flight, wait 24+ hours and cancel, the FFC will have a year to use -- but it will be locked to the individual. UA is slow limiting the flexiability of these older credit.
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Old Jul 6, 2023, 5:37 am
  #167  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 37
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
No But if you use the ETCs? to book a flight, wait 24+ hours and cancel, the FFC will have a year to use -- but it will be locked to the individual. UA is slow limiting the flexiability of these older credit.
Got it, thank you, i will try to use my Travel Bank to get FFC.
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Old Jul 6, 2023, 2:01 pm
  #168  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 23
Extend your expiring United Travel Bank credits

I was kinda torn on whether to drop this here or in the Chase IHG card forum, but I figured since its about Travel Bank credit in general, it might fit in better here. Right now is a pretty sweet time to extend your Travel Bank credit. Here's the cool part - you can actually combine the two $25 Travel Bank credits issued by Chase IHG Premier in the first and second halves of the year.

If you want to use or indirectly extend the UA Travel Bank credits do these:
  1. Use a mobile app to make the purchase, and don't add any extra items during the purchase process.
  2. Buy a ticket that is non-refundable and a non-basic economy, and don't forget to hook it up with United Airlines' frequent flyer program. Then, restrain yourself and wait until after 24 hours to cancel.
After you cancel, you'll have Future Travel Credit snuggling in your account, which you can use until the end of next year.
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Old Jul 6, 2023, 4:24 pm
  #169  
SBT
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 120
Using my friends Travel Bank to buy a ticket in my name.

My friend has $50 in his United travel bank curtesy of IHG. He doesn't plan on traveling in the near future. He provided me with his Mileage Plus number and password. Would I be allowed to book a flight using his $50 travel bank credit, paying the balance of the ticket using my credit card and placing the ticket in my name?
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Old Jul 6, 2023, 5:09 pm
  #170  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by SBT
My friend has $50 in his United travel bank curtesy of IHG. He doesn't plan on traveling in the near future. He provided me with his Mileage Plus number and password. Would I be allowed to book a flight using his $50 travel bank credit, paying the balance of the ticket using my credit card and placing the ticket in my name?
Yes, it has to be book from their account.

Note if you cancel, you keep the funds.

BTW, tell you friend it is a bad idea to lend out their MP account and password. To many horrid stories of relationships turn bad and negative consequences.

Originally Posted by xinux
..After you cancel, you'll have Future Travel Credit snuggling in your account, which you can use until the end of next year.
A word of caution, this FFC is locked to the travelers name while the travelbank could have been used for anyone. But if close to expiration this makes sense.
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Old Jul 7, 2023, 1:12 am
  #171  
LAX
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia, PA
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Posts: 6,157
Who should I contact about missing refund to TB after cancelling a reservation (within 24 hours) using TB funds? It has been over 4 weeks and still no credit. TIA.

LAX
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Old Jul 7, 2023, 11:44 am
  #172  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 745
Question Travel Bank uses

What other options do I have to use my United Travel bank?

I see that it can't be used to pay fees on flights that are paid with United Miles. I can't seem to find much information about other uses.

Can I transfer them to someone?
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Old Jul 7, 2023, 11:53 am
  #173  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SJC/SFO
Posts: 373
Your best bet is to book a United flight that is just slightly over the amount of your Travel Bank flights, then wait more than 24 hours, then cancel the flight to receive future flight credit. Future flight credits can be used on United and non-United flights and also used for things like seat upgrades. FAQ is here: https://www.united.com/en/us/fly/travel/credit.html Biggest downside is that they expire 12 months from when the original flight was booked.
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Old Jul 7, 2023, 12:13 pm
  #174  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by iowa guy
What other options do I have to use my United Travel bank? ...
Originally Posted by wiki
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 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????
#5 is unclear what that means

Originally Posted by iowa guy
Can I transfer them to someone?
No but you can use them to purchase a ticket for someone else and if canceled, the FFC belong to the named traveler.
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Old Jul 7, 2023, 5:15 pm
  #175  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
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Originally Posted by iowa guy
... I have read that TravelBank can be used to pay for in-flight wifi. Is that correct?....
Subscription, Yes. Not sure "in-flight
/ single flight internet fees qualify. Does some one have a successful report?
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Old Jul 7, 2023, 9:44 pm
  #176  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Washington, D.C.
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Originally Posted by iowa guy
I have read that TravelBank can be used to pay for in-flight wifi. Is that correct? If so, do I make that TravelBank payment online for an upcoming trip?
Can you share where you read that? My understanding is that it won't work for an in-flight purchase, but it might work for a "day pass" which is considered a subscription product.
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Old Jul 8, 2023, 3:11 am
  #177  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NRT / HND
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Posts: 5,848
Much appreciation to the information in this thread, though it took a lot of digging. I had some very old pre-pandemic ETCs about to expire, but didn't add up to a huge amount, about $125. So I wanted to book with those to finally burn them off fully and pay for the rest with my travel bank funds. Well low and behold, you can't do it, after applying the ETCs it would only allow me to pay the balance from a credit card, absolutely no Travel Bank option. Thanks to the wisdom I found in this thread, I found that if I booked 2 tickets (one with the ETCs and one with the Travel Bank funds) and cancel them after 24 hours then they turn into future flight credit, which low and behold you can use multiples of for a single new ticket.

God bless Google flights to find non-BE flights that were within $2 of my target price for both the ETCs and Travel Bank. Definitely not a straight forward process most people would come up with on their own, a great thing about the breadth of knowledge on Flyertalk.
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Old Jul 8, 2023, 12:06 pm
  #178  
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Originally Posted by serpens
On Google Flights, does an icon of a seat with a slash through it mean it is a basic economy fare?
Originally Posted by emcampbe
Yes. That's the symbol that basically indicates no carry on (roller board) included, ie, basic economy.
Ah, that icon does represent luggage rather than a seat. My tired old eyes misled me again. Thanks.
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Old Jul 8, 2023, 7:34 pm
  #179  
SBT
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 120
Question:

Scenario: My friend signs into to his Mileage Plus Account. He has a $50 travel credit. He buys a ticket worth $200 (for simplicity). I am the named traveler and provide my Mileage plus number, cell phone number and email address. We apply the $50 travel bank credit. The remaining $150 is paid for using MY credit card.

Questions:

If I take the flight (since I am the named traveler and provided my mileage plus number) will flight will appear in my mileage plus account under my trips, will I be able to check in using my United App and I can obtain a boarding pass with no hassle. Is this correct? What if any notification does my friend receive since he is not the named traveler?

Suppose I cancel. I assume I receive the $150 FFC is refunded back to my credit card. What happens to the $50 travel credit? Does it get lost, go to my friend who booked it or myself as the named traveler? Does it matter if the original travel bank credit had to be booked by the July 15 expiration date and I cancel on August 1?

I take nothing for granted with United. True story:

Many years ago my employer used an in house travel agent to purchase airline tickets for employees. She has a company credit card used solely to book tickets and in this instance I am the named traveler. When I tried checking in for my flight at the United kiosk, the screen stated "see agent". The agent wanted to see the actual credit card used for the purchase. I stated my employer booked the ticket. Despite proving my identity, proving who my employer was, producing a company credit card in my name (not the one used to purchase the ticket) United would not let me board the plane.
Finally it was revealed I was a United Premier Mileage Plus Member. The agents response, "Oh your Premier, we don't care who bought the ticket".
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Old Jul 8, 2023, 9:17 pm
  #180  
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Originally Posted by SBT (Post # 804)
If I take the flight (since I am the named traveler and provided my mileage plus number) will flight will appear in my mileage plus account under my trips, will I be able to check in using my United App and I can obtain a boarding pass with no hassle. Is this correct? What if any notification does my friend receive since he is not the named traveler?

Suppose I cancel. I assume I receive the $150 FFC is refunded back to my credit card. What happens to the $50 travel credit? Does it get lost, go to my friend who booked it or myself as the named traveler? Does it matter if the original travel bank credit had to be booked by the July 15 expiration date and I cancel on August 1?
The named traveler always receives the PQPs, redeemable miles (RDM), and lifetime miles, regardless of the form of payment, and with your MileagePlus number included, will show up on your trips.

I am unsure what access the TravelBank donor has to your itinerary.

Unless fully refundable, when cancelled, the entire amount will go to a future flight credit (FFC) in the name of the traveler (you). Some people do this intentionally to extend the effective life of TravelBank funds.

Last edited by SPN Lifer; Jul 8, 2023 at 9:26 pm
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