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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 userís 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 memberís 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 Nov 21, 2023, 10:34 am
  #211  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 46
Has anyone else had problems using their Travel Bank funds lately? I have about $700 in funds, I am trying to use them to purchase a standard domestic flight, UA metal. I got an error when trying to buy on the website, and have been on the phone for two hours now trying to get this ticketed. Spoke with several agents, they all say they can see the funds, but when they try to apply the funds to the reservation they get an error. Very frustrating.
eastbysouthwest is offline  
Old Nov 21, 2023, 11:17 am
  #212  
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Originally Posted by eastbysouthwest
Has anyone else had problems using their Travel Bank funds lately? I have about $700 in funds, I am trying to use them to purchase a standard domestic flight, UA metal. I got an error when trying to buy on the website, and have been on the phone for two hours now trying to get this ticketed. Spoke with several agents, they all say they can see the funds, but when they try to apply the funds to the reservation they get an error. Very frustrating.
Suggest they get a supervisor to convert to ETC.
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WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Nov 21, 2023, 6:18 pm
  #213  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Thanks. That's what actually happened in the end, but it took more than two hours (first supervisor tried but couldn't do it).
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Old Nov 29, 2023, 9:09 am
  #214  
 
Join Date: Nov 2023
Posts: 1
Question about what happens with cancelled TB funds that may have been answered but I didn't see (feel free to point me in the correct direction if so, sorry!).

I have a flight in February that I want to book w/ points close in, but in case there is no availability close in, I'd like to have a flight on the books ahead of time. I know if I book w/ credit card and cancel, I'll get FFC that expire in 1 year, which might not be enough time for me to utilize all the FFC. What happens if I buy Travel bank funds to use to buy my flight (not a fully refundable fare), and then cancel > 24 hrs after reservation - seems like those funds would still go to FFC that expires in 1 year rather than back to Travel bank with expiration in 5 years?
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Old Dec 1, 2023, 10:58 am
  #215  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 669
Using my travelbank to pay fees for another persons award flight?

I think the short answer to this is "no" - but was wondering if anyone had ideas,

I have $600 in my travel bank.
My wife wants to purchase an international award ticket with her miles. Can I use my travelbank to pay her fees?
I don't think there is a way to transfer my travel bank to her account, and it doesn't make sense to transfer her miles to mine.

Correct?

PS- I don't have the miles in my account to cover the cost of the ticket

thanks
Scotttyd is offline  
Old Dec 1, 2023, 1:22 pm
  #216  
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You can't use travel bank to pay for ANY award travel fees, not even your own! Travel bank can only be used for paid tickets.
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cfischer is offline  
Old Dec 1, 2023, 1:25 pm
  #217  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 669
Originally Posted by cfischer
You can't use travel bank to pay for ANY award travel fees, not even your own! Travel bank can only be used for paid tickets.
oh well, was worth the try - didn't realize that - thanks for the heads up -
Scotttyd is offline  
Old Dec 1, 2023, 9:34 pm
  #218  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Originally Posted by Scotttyd
oh well, was worth the try - didn't realize that - thanks for the heads up -
It really sucks how limited the use of TB funds are. Honestly, quite ridiculous.
Hawkeyefan is offline  
Old Dec 1, 2023, 10:30 pm
  #219  
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Originally Posted by ashah113
Question about what happens with cancelled TB funds that may have been answered ...
If a refundable fare or cancelled in first 24 hours, returned to TravelBank, can take weeks

If nonrefundable fare and cancelled after 24 hours, goes to trip FFC.

Originally Posted by cfischer
... Travel bank can only be used for paid tickets.
and a bit more
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 just taxes on flights or other purchases, per the current T&Cs
SPN Lifer likes this.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Dec 1, 2023 at 11:04 pm
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Old Dec 1, 2023, 11:48 pm
  #220  
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Originally Posted by Hawkeyefan
It really sucks how limited the use of TB funds are. Honestly, quite ridiculous.
It's TravelBank -- used for buying travel, not for fees ... United wants to encurage us to buy more airline tickets.
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Xyzzy is offline  
Old Dec 2, 2023, 1:48 pm
  #221  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy
It's TravelBank -- used for buying travel, not for fees ... United wants to encurage us to buy more airline tickets.
I call it weak sauce...
Hawkeyefan is offline  
Old Dec 10, 2023, 11:00 am
  #222  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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I have $700 in TB,first time trying to use it, trying to book a Economy+ ticket for 2 people total comes to 698.80-- try to use TB and it will only cover the airfare and not for the charge for Economy+-- I thought TB could be used for seat selection at time of booking?
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Old Dec 10, 2023, 9:02 pm
  #223  
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Originally Posted by JRV62
I have $700 in TB,first time trying to use it, trying to book a Economy+ ticket for 2 people total comes to 698.80-- try to use TB and it will only cover the airfare and not for the charge for Economy+-- I thought TB could be used for seat selection at time of booking?
Iím not sure if thatís correct.

I believe FFC (and ETCs, maybe) can now be used for ancillaries purchased with the ticket. Iíd not be surprised if TB funds canít - there is still some differences between how different United payments can be used (TB canít be used with a partner segment, for example but FFCs and ETCs can).
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Old Dec 11, 2023, 4:30 pm
  #224  
 
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Originally Posted by emcampbe
Iím not sure if thatís correct.

I believe FFC (and ETCs, maybe) can now be used for ancillaries purchased with the ticket. Iíd not be surprised if TB funds canít - there is still some differences between how different United payments can be used (TB canít be used with a partner segment, for example but FFCs and ETCs can).
Thanks,so is my best option to book a non refundable flight, wait>24 hours and have it refunded as FCC?
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Old Dec 14, 2023, 4:52 am
  #225  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
If a refundable fare or cancelled in first 24 hours, returned to TravelBank, can take weeks

If nonrefundable fare and cancelled after 24 hours, goes to trip FFC.

and a bit more
How can a nonrefundable fare be canceled after 24 hours? I thought nonrefundable meant...well...nonrefundable. What am I missing? I'd like to convert my TB to an ETC or FFC, if possible. Thank you much for the info!
adventurechick is offline  

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