Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

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

Old Dec 3, 2020, 5:44 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
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}

Print Wikipost

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

Old Dec 14, 2023, 6:24 am
  #226  
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Programs: UA1K
Posts: 524
Originally Posted by adventurechick
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!
a helpful way to think of non refundable is that you wont get a refund to your original method of payment. so if you booked with your credit card, it wont be going back to your card, but youll get a credit issued by UA. its not a refund since UA is not returning money to you; its just allowing you to use those funds on a different UA purchase
unitedwildcat is offline  
Old Dec 14, 2023, 6:42 pm
  #227  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SFO/SJC
Programs: UA Silver, Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 14,970
Originally Posted by adventurechick
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!
non-refundable means exactly what it says - they wont refund you the $ when you cancel.

it doesnt mean non-changeable - which most tickets outside of BE arent (at least on US carriers - not necessarily true on some international carriers). You can change, but the value goes back in an FFC, not to your original form of payment.
adventurechick likes this.
emcampbe is offline  
Old Dec 19, 2023, 2:55 am
  #228  
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 10
I've got $40 in travel bank that will expire in January. I've never been able to apply it to any ticket I've bought. The option simply doesn't appear when I go to checkout on united.com. I just booked a ticket today, and was unable to use travel bank because one of the legs was a partner airline. Is there a way to donate the funds to charity? Or should I just be resigned to loosing the $40?
blts is offline  
Old Dec 19, 2023, 12:46 pm
  #229  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,528
Originally Posted by blts
I've got $40 in travel bank that will expire in January. I've never been able to apply it to any ticket I've bought. The option simply doesn't appear when I go to checkout on united.com. I just booked a ticket today, and was unable to use travel bank because one of the legs was a partner airline. Is there a way to donate the funds to charity? Or should I just be resigned to loosing the $40?
Find a really cheap one-way ticket in the UA system and book -- look multiple months away from weekends and holidays
Cheapest possible flight (How do I redeem this flight credit?)
It may cost you additional cash but the once you cancel after 24 hours you will have a FFC for the entire amount usable for any bookings on ua.com including partners
Xyzzy, sobore, hurnik and 2 others like this.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 1, 2024, 10:45 pm
  #230  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: STS
Posts: 34
Had a question that may have been answered pages back (scanned several pages back from current)

Is there any way to reinstate Travel Bank funds? In this case the funds were originally part of the United gift registry program but they were moved over to Travel Bank at some point. There had been no expiration date listed (I know that for sure as had just added to the Travel Bank re: AMEX Plat 2 weeks ago). At any rate, just had all the former gift registry funds cancelled today. Any guidance or ideas are appreciated.

Last edited by Steelsnow; Jan 1, 2024 at 11:02 pm
Steelsnow is offline  
Old Jan 1, 2024, 11:08 pm
  #231  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,528
When did these fund go into the Gift Registry and why have they been sitting there for so long?

The Gift Registry ceased to exist over 5 years ago (some time in 2018). TravelBank funds had a clear 5 year expiration in the T&Cs.

On what grounds would you request UA to reinstate TB funds past expiration.

There is some possibility the original Gift Registry T&Cs might have some useful clause.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 2, 2024, 3:59 pm
  #232  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: STS
Posts: 34
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
When did these fund go into the Gift Registry and why have they been sitting there for so long?

The Gift Registry ceased to exist over 5 years ago (some time in 2018). TravelBank funds had a clear 5 year expiration in the T&Cs.

On what grounds would you request UA to reinstate TB funds past expiration.

There is some possibility the original Gift Registry T&Cs might have some useful clause.
Hi WCUA! So these funds were put in the Gift Registry of P2 between 2015 and 2017. At that point there was no expiration so no worries, I did double check the email receipts for those Registry contributions and there are no expiry dates listed or implied.

I do not see any date listed within the account that shows the date the funds were converted over to the Travel Bank. We attempted to use the funds once SFO-PPT rt but the connecting flight that was available on United.com using Tahiti Air to BOB stopped us from using those funds (& at the time, we valued the married itenary and baggage.). Then Covid happened and several parental health issues.

At any rate, when I went to load AMEX P funds at the end of 2022 and 2023, no expiry dates were shown and all the funds were present, and we already had travel planned for that 2023. Assumption was made that the earlier funds were grandfathered on Gift Registry terms (oh assumptions bad assumption in hindsight) since as you noted, more than 5 years had passed during Covid times.

So as you concluded, my possible leg to stand on was/is the Gift Registry terms. The amount would be worth pursuing (1k) if there is a chance that pleading for mercy and forgiveness for misunderstanding matter. Absolutely accept some of the fault here too.

Last edited by Steelsnow; Jan 2, 2024 at 4:48 pm
Steelsnow is offline  
Old Jan 2, 2024, 5:12 pm
  #233  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SFO/SJC
Programs: UA Silver, Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 14,970
Maybe Im mis-remembering, but I thought the gift registry was simply a way to get other people to put money into ones TravelBank, and that any contributions were just basically deposits into a TravelBank? Is that wrong? (Coming from someone who did have a gift registry set up circa 2012). And that expiry policy was simply the TB one.

in any case, the terms did change, as I remember at one point, and its been a while, TB funds expired if there was no activity in the TB for two years (the date was renewed for all funds once said activity renewed - all funds always expired at the same time), and at that point, they would transfer all funds into an ETC if you hit that threshold, so then you had an extra year to use that. At some point - 2018 sounds about right - they went to the 5 year expiry (except some promotional deposits which have different expiry) - that is by $ so some funds might expire before others, and expiring funds are just gone.
emcampbe is offline  
Old Jan 2, 2024, 6:31 pm
  #234  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,528
The wiki of "TravelBank"- United.com Club & Gift Registry Q&A - No new/renewals as of 23 Apr 2019 provides some data

Originally Posted by wiki
5 April 2018 -- UA started posting an "expiration date", appears to be at least 18 months after most recent activity (some are longer for unknown reasons)
also states
Some of your UnitedTravelBank Cash may expire on a different date than what’s displayed here. Please check your balance details for a complete history of your UnitedTravelBank Cash transactions and the expiration date for each amount.
Expiration had previously been in the T&Cs for some time (2 years of inactivity? but now is 18 months) and had stated an ETC would be issued if the funds did timeout. Unclear if that still applies.

The Gift Registry has been disabled since Fall 2017 (Sept?) (appears this may be related to a tax issue?)
As of 5 May 2018, it still states
We're sorry, our gift registry page is currently unavailable for maintenance. You can still use the funds from your gift registry to book travel during this time, but you will not be able to receive contributions or update your registry details. We expect the page to be up and running again in early 2018.
Around Sept 2018, wording changed to
We're sorry, our gift registry page is currently unavailable for maintenance. You can still use the funds from your gift registry to book travel during this time, but you will not be able to receive contributions or update your registry details.
In 2013, 2014, 2015, ... the expiration terms for TB were
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
in T&Cs
Account has an expiration date of 24 months of inactivity. After that time, the remaining amount will be issued in the form of an electronic travel certificate (ETC). The ETC is valid for one year from the date the certificate is originally issued to the account owner.
no aware of any expiration of travel bank funds
And that applied to Gift Registry deposit into TB. These terms were in the TB T&Cs

By 2018 Gift registry had disappeared and the TB had 5 year expiration or shorter for specific items, such $5 booking rebates which become 18 months and no ETC.

Best I can tell, there has never been a period of time without some expiration period in the TB T&Cs (since at least 2013)

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 2, 2024 at 7:03 pm Reason: Best I can tell, there has never been a period of time without some expiration period in the TB T&Cs
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 3, 2024, 11:36 am
  #235  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Fishers, IN (Indianapolis)
Programs: Hilton Honors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 97
Airfare purchases using United TravelBank

Hi. I apologize if this has been answered previoulsy.

I have a Chase United Explorer card and it is my understanding is that to check bags/take carry-ons for free on United basic economy flights, I have to actually purchase the ticket with the card (in contrast to American/Delta.they let you use any credit card with this benefit as long as you have the right kind of credit card with them).

Would this not work if I use the TravelBank to purchase airfare? If this is the case, is it possible to still get this benefit by paying a portion of airfare with the credit card and paying for the rest with the TravelBank?

Thanks.
psoque is offline  
Old Jan 3, 2024, 5:44 pm
  #236  
 
Join Date: Dec 2023
Location: SEA
Posts: 20
Wanted to post a recent DP towards using UA TB towards completing a Farelock reservation, process can be complicated but it still works. I don't have MP Status and was still able to get this completed.

Didn't have the option to use TB when I tried to finish my reservation online, I ended up having to call United support to finish making the booking for me.

They had to convert my TB towards a Travel Certificate which allowed them to finish the purchase with the balance deducted on a credit card.

Overall not bad for being able to double dip my BoA PR Travel Incidental Credit, and use the 18-23 young fare discount.
ZenFlyer likes this.
Bubblewhale is offline  
Old Jan 3, 2024, 6:09 pm
  #237  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Between AUS, EWR, and YTO In a little twisty maze of airline seats, all alike.. but I wanna go home with the armadillo
Programs: CO, NW, & UA forum moderator emeritus
Posts: 35,669
Originally Posted by emcampbe
Maybe Im mis-remembering, but I thought the gift registry was simply a way to get other people to put money into ones TravelBank, and that any contributions were just basically deposits into a TravelBank? Is that wrong? (Coming from someone who did have a gift registry set up circa 2012). And that expiry policy was simply the TB one.
That's hw I remember it too.
Xyzzy is offline  
Old Jan 5, 2024, 9:24 am
  #238  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 145
I'm on the fence switching my airline for the $200 annual credit at Amex Plat to UA because of the Travel Bank option.

The Wiki states:
What can I use Travel Bank funds for?
1. Only for an all UA-operated itinerary

Has anyone actually tried booking a code-share flight? Most of my or my parent's travel will involve a leg on LH as a code-share with UA. Hence, I better be safe than sorry. DL is always an option for me, but UA would make the credit easier to use.
omxfl is offline  
Old Jan 5, 2024, 10:05 am
  #239  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sunny AZ
Programs: HH Diamond, Sixt Platinum, IHG Spire Ambassador, Marriott/SPG Gold .....
Posts: 3,248
Originally Posted by omxfl
I'm on the fence switching my airline for the $200 annual credit at Amex Plat to UA because of the Travel Bank option.

The Wiki states:
What can I use Travel Bank funds for?
1. Only for an all UA-operated itinerary

Has anyone actually tried booking a code-share flight? Most of my or my parent's travel will involve a leg on LH as a code-share with UA. Hence, I better be safe than sorry. DL is always an option for me, but UA would make the credit easier to use.
Book an itinerary as close in price as possible on UA only. Once it is booked to to change my booking (inside 24h) and change it to the desired itinerary (including the LH leg).
ZenFlyer likes this.
blitzen is offline  
Old Jan 5, 2024, 11:10 am
  #240  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,528
Originally Posted by omxfl
I'm on the fence switching my airline for the $200 annual credit at Amex Plat to UA because of the Travel Bank option.

The Wiki states:
What can I use Travel Bank funds for?
1. Only for an all UA-operated itinerary

Has anyone actually tried booking a code-share flight? Most of my or my parent's travel will involve a leg on LH as a code-share with UA. Hence, I better be safe than sorry. DL is always an option for me, but UA would make the credit easier to use.
Originally Posted by blitzen
Book an itinerary as close in price as possible on UA only. Once it is booked to to change my booking (inside 24h) and change it to the desired itinerary (including the LH leg).
The other option is book an all UA non-refundable itin for the TB $ and then cancel after 24+ hours, getting FFC the can be used to book an itin with a partner flight for the named traveler (travel must start within 1 year)
hurnik and ZenFlyer like this.
WineCountryUA is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.