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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 26, 2023, 11:46 am
  #196  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by levilevi
There's an interesting question in the Frequent Miler blog comments today on Free checked bags for United Chase card holders paying with Travel Bank entirely (vs putting a small amount on the card and the balance with Travel Bank) and still getting free checked bags. Wondering if any insight here/DPs?
The only comments I see in the blog are all negative datapoints:



and


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Old Aug 13, 2023, 2:25 am
  #197  
 
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On July 14, 2023, I booked a $74.90 flight using $50 IHG United Travelbank funds with expiry date 7/15/23 and $24.90 IHG United Travelbank funds with expiry date 1/15/24.

The aforementioned flight scheduled to depart this October is now cancelled. Under "schedule change", I see that I already got put on a different flight. In this case, what are my options?
Are they able to refund back to my travelbank funds with a new, extended expiry date? If so, what new expiry date shall I expect?
Am I able to request refund in United miles in lieu of getting travelbank funds?
hightide is offline  
Old Sep 6, 2023, 8:27 pm
  #198  
 
Join Date: May 2015
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Hi. Can TravelBank funds be used to pay the copay on a mileageplus upgrade award? I have an itinerary from CMH-IAD-DUB. The upgrade options are 20k for Premium Plus and 20k + $550 for Polaris. I have a decent chunk of travelbank funds so if I can use those to eat away part of the copay I might spring for it although not really worth the cash on a 7 hour flight if I'd have to charge the full amount to a credit card. It should be worth noting that this was an reservation that was not originally eligible to use travelbank towards the fare since the return was a codeshare on Air Canada. I'm just talking about the upgrade on the outbound portion though, which is entirely on UA metal.
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Old Sep 6, 2023, 9:44 pm
  #199  
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Originally Posted by Weymar Osborne
Hi. Can TravelBank funds be used to pay the copay on a mileageplus upgrade award? I have an itinerary from CMH-IAD-DUB. The upgrade options are 20k for Premium Plus and 20k + $550 for Polaris. I have a decent chunk of travelbank funds so if I can use those to eat away part of the copay I might spring for it although not really worth the cash on a 7 hour flight if I'd have to charge the full amount to a credit card. It should be worth noting that this was an reservation that was not originally eligible to use travelbank towards the fare since the return was a codeshare on Air Canada. I'm just talking about the upgrade on the outbound portion though, which is entirely on UA metal.
no. Will have to use cash for that.
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Old Sep 6, 2023, 9:44 pm
  #200  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Originally Posted by Weymar Osborne
Hi. Can TravelBank funds be used to pay the copay on a mileageplus upgrade award? I have an itinerary from CMH-IAD-DUB. The upgrade options are 20k for Premium Plus and 20k + $550 for Polaris. I have a decent chunk of travelbank funds so if I can use those to eat away part of the copay I might spring for it although not really worth the cash on a 7 hour flight if I'd have to charge the full amount to a credit card. It should be worth noting that this was an reservation that was not originally eligible to use travelbank towards the fare since the return was a codeshare on Air Canada. I'm just talking about the upgrade on the outbound portion though, which is entirely on UA metal.
Unfortunately no
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Old Sep 7, 2023, 10:14 am
  #201  
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Originally Posted by hightide
On July 14, 2023, I booked a $74.90 flight using $50 IHG United Travelbank funds with expiry date 7/15/23 and $24.90 IHG United Travelbank funds with expiry date 1/15/24.

The aforementioned flight scheduled to depart this October is now cancelled. Under "schedule change", I see that I already got put on a different flight. In this case, what are my options?
Are they able to refund back to my travelbank funds with a new, extended expiry date? If so, what new expiry date shall I expect?
Am I able to request refund in United miles in lieu of getting travelbank funds?
if you dont like the rebooking option you can request a refund, but YMMY in the expiration date. They may also agree to an ETC in this case with travel bank as refunds are a bit cumbersome. The easiest is to ee-use the fund within a year from ticketing. You now have an FFC which you can use or combine for the next year.
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Old Sep 7, 2023, 11:25 am
  #202  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,549
Correct me if I'm wrong:

I cannot use Travel Bank funds AND an ETC to purchase a ticket?

If that's correct, then a potential workaround is to book something with the Travel Bank, wait over 24 hours, cancel it, and it'll come in the form of an FFC, and that can be combined with an ETC?

.....

So looks like you still cannot combine an FFC with an ETC. Sounds like you may be able to "convert" an ETC to an FFC by booking and waiting 24 hours and then cancelling. Then I'd have multiple FFC to use.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 7, 2023 at 5:13 pm Reason: merged consecutive post / update by same member
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Old Sep 7, 2023, 5:15 pm
  #203  
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Originally Posted by hurnik
...So looks like you still cannot combine an FFC with an ETC. Sounds like you may be able to "convert" an ETC to an FFC by booking and waiting 24 hours and then cancelling. Then I'd have multiple FFC to use.
Correct on both points
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 11:12 am
  #204  
 
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Asking this question broadly and if it's not allowed, please delete.

If I'm running into an issue with foreign POS causing higher ticket prices, does purchasing through the TravelBank help here? As it wouldn't use my billing address?
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Old Nov 11, 2023, 6:01 pm
  #205  
 
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So it seems like its a bit of a loophole to use up soon expiring TravelBank credit for a non refundable reservation, wait 24 hours, and then end up with a FFC good for another year. But what if you have the opposite scenario -- you have TravelBank credit good for many years and want to keep that expiration. If you book a _refundable_ fare using TravelBank and then refund it, does it go back with the same expiration date? ...[/quote] Yes (or has been) and it takes a couple of weeks for manual processing.
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Old Nov 11, 2023, 9:53 pm
  #206  
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Originally Posted by CPS89
Asking this question broadly and if it's not allowed, please delete.

If I'm running into an issue with foreign POS causing higher ticket prices, does purchasing through the TravelBank help here? As it wouldn't use my billing address?
UA typically changes POS to match your card billing address. If you were using a foreign card, its going to use that POS.

I think TravelBank used to be limited to US residents (or maybe Im mixing up the old gift registry terms). And while I dont see that anymore (though to be fair, could have missed it), I do see the following:

TravelBank Cash can only be redeemed for purchases denominated in U.S. dollars
I realize that may not be a direct answer to your question, but Im not sure how UA would determine the POS if there is no billing address - I suspect you could try starting at the US site and see if it keeps you there through the purchase, even if departing from a foreign airport.
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Old Nov 12, 2023, 5:37 pm
  #207  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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I'm guessing no based on the wiki, but #5 left me confused (and Google couldn't find me any usable answer): can I use travel bank to buy/pay for United Mileageplus miles?
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 5:21 pm
  #208  
 
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do they send any kind of reminder before funds expire?
ffly45 is offline  
Old Nov 20, 2023, 5:57 pm
  #209  
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Originally Posted by ffly45
do they send any kind of reminder before funds expire?
No, you must track that. Info is readily available. You could create your own calendar reminder.
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 6:20 pm
  #210  
 
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Originally Posted by Carq
I'm guessing no based on the wiki, but #5 left me confused (and Google couldn't find me any usable answer): can I use travel bank to buy/pay for United Mileageplus miles?
Unless someone else has a recent report of trying this, I'd say the only way to know for sure is to go through the online process as if you were going to buy miles, and then see if Travel Bank is available on the screen as a payment option. If it's not, then you know the purchase is not eligible. The T&Cs say that TB is for the purchase of air travel "and as otherwise permitted by United," so they have given themselves a lot of wiggle room.
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