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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 Jan 5, 2024, 5:29 pm
  #241  
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When cancelling a fully refundable flight booked partially with TB is there an option to get the refund as a FFC?
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Old Jan 5, 2024, 6:46 pm
  #242  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
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Thank you WineCountryUA and blitzen - this seems a bit too cumbersome; DL is easier to use, so I'll stick with them, at least for another year.
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 3:32 pm
  #243  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
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I'm trying to use my $50 IHG Travel Bank without spending too much of my own money. What's the closest ticket you've found to $50 ?
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 3:50 pm
  #244  
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
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Originally Posted by UserMark
I'm trying to use my $50 IHG Travel Bank without spending too much of my own money. What's the closest ticket you've found to $50 ?
IAH-VCT is usually a go to segment. It's $66 one-way right now for non-BE (only a $5 differential from BE).
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 1:42 am
  #245  
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Originally Posted by UserMark
I'm trying to use my $50 IHG Travel Bank without spending too much of my own money. What's the closest ticket you've found to $50 ?
Don't they usually deposit in two batches, $25 in 1st half and another in 2nd half, with expiration dates in the same period.
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 2:22 am
  #246  
 
Join Date: Dec 2023
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Originally Posted by Repooc17
Don't they usually deposit in two batches, $25 in 1st half and another in 2nd half, with expiration dates in the same period.
There can be about a week of overlap when one has credited and the other hasn't expired.
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 10:35 pm
  #247  
 
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Can I pay for checked bags with travelbank funds?
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Old Jan 10, 2024, 12:34 am
  #248  
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Originally Posted by returnoftheyeti
Can I pay for checked bags with travelbank funds?
No
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 8:37 am
  #249  
 
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Used Travelbank to buy E+ subscription Jan 2024, even though
(a) Two customer service reps (in foreign countries) said no
(b) Current UA website seems to say it's not allowed

Originally Posted by WineCountryUA

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
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 8:59 am
  #250  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Rochester, MN
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Originally Posted by mitchell
Used Travelbank to buy E+ subscription Jan 2024, even though
(a) Two customer service reps (in foreign countries) said no
(b) Current UA website seems to say it's not allowed
It says right on there you CAN buy an E+ subscription.....
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 5:53 pm
  #251  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Combine travel bank and travel credits on one purchase?

Can you combine a travel credit (I believe ETC?) I have one for $600 after some IROPS, and I wanted to purchase travel bank so I can get max value now out of my US Bank altitude reserve points - I bought a $50 travel bank with points as a test because I know I will use it sometime in the next 5 years, but I can't seem to combine them on a purchase - is this possible? Or can you only use one or the other.


Thanks
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 6:02 pm
  #252  
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by Scotttyd
Can you combine a travel credit (I believe ETC?) I have one for $600 after some IROPS, and I wanted to purchase travel bank so I can get max value now out of my US Bank altitude reserve points - I bought a $50 travel bank with points as a test because I know I will use it sometime in the next 5 years, but I can't seem to combine them on a purchase - is this possible? ...
No they can not be used together for same purchase.

However, they each can separately be used and converted to FFC, and the FFCs then can be used together. Note FFCs are more restrictive on traveler and can only be used by the named traveler and must be used for travel starting in 1 year.
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 6:34 pm
  #253  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
No they can not be used together for same purchase.

However, they each can separately be used and converted to FFC, and the FFCs then can be used together. Note FFCs are more restrictive on traveler and can only be used by the named traveler and must be used for travel starting in 1 year.
thanks- oh well, was worth a try, I will eventually be able to use the funds, but was hoping to cash out the funds now- better to just save for my next trip on united,
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Old Jan 30, 2024, 7:45 pm
  #254  
 
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I know that TB funds can only be used on United metal flights and in order to use them on partner flights purchased via United I should buy a United ticket for same/similar value, wait 24 hours and cancel to FFC which can then be used to book the partner flight.

I want to book a flight on Air Canada and I'm having a hard time finding a flight of similar value that's non refundable economy, can I book a refundable fare, pay with TB and use the change flight option to rebook onto the Air Canada flight I want or the website won't give me the AC options in that case?

ETA: This actually is doable. I tested it myself by booking a refundable fare using TB funds and then going into the reservation and selecting change flight. I went through all the steps all the way until I had to submit a payment of $1 and change for the nominal difference in fare and didn't actually go through with it but I don't see why I wouldn't be able to complete it. I then fully canceled the reservation but was very disappointed to see a message stating that it required a manual refund that will take 10 to 30 days. Why would that be the case for a fully refundable fare I had just booked a short while ago?

On a different note, the trip I'm taking includes my minor children traveling with me, so how can I use this method (or even the conversion to FFC) to book their tickets on the Air Canada flight when United will not allow me to book minors on their own itinerary?

Last edited by friedablass; Jan 30, 2024 at 8:09 pm Reason: Update and additional questions
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Old Feb 2, 2024, 11:29 am
  #255  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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United Travelbank

Has anyone here ever used Travel bank? I have a trip I coming up that could be pretty expensive I was going to sock some money in Travelbank every month, but its an airline not a bank and I read the T&C and after 18mo if I don't use it they'll seize it. That being said, I'm just wondering if anyone has any Travelbank stories good or bad?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 2, 2024 at 12:08 pm Reason: moved to existing thread
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