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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 Feb 2, 2024, 11:33 am
  #256  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Originally Posted by n198ua
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?
I just recently cleaned it out of the $50 I had ruminating in there. I dont see any reason to use it.
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Old Feb 2, 2024, 11:37 am
  #257  
 
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I use Fidelity cash mgmt as my bank, it take about 2 minutes to open a new cash mgmt account with them so I guess I could do that. The problem with saving for a big trip or purchase is that (for me anyway) its just to easy to spend. If United has is - they're keeping it one way or another.

Last edited by n198ua; Feb 2, 2024 at 11:37 am Reason: /
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Old Feb 2, 2024, 11:39 am
  #258  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by n198ua
I use Fidelity cash mgmt as my bank, it take about 2 minutes to open a new cash mgmt account with them so I guess I could do that. The problem with saving for a big trip or purchase is that (for me anyway) its just to easy to spend. If United has is - they're keeping it one way or another.
Personal problem.

Use no penalty CD (with low minimums) there are several that give 4% interest
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Old Feb 2, 2024, 12:06 pm
  #259  
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Originally Posted by n198ua
... I read the T&C and after 18mo if I don't use it they'll seize it. ...
Cash deposits are good for 5 years but there are better ways for setting aside funds for a future trip (with auto transfer capabilities)
A common use of TB is for the travel reimbursement benefit of some credit cards.

TB funds can only be used for all UA operated itins (but there is a workaround)
TB funds can not be used with FFCs or ETCs (but there is a workaround)
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 2, 2024 at 12:11 pm Reason: (but there is a workaround)
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Old Feb 2, 2024, 12:31 pm
  #260  
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Agreed there are better ways to set aside for a trip.

many banks have a goal feature that you can use. Or open a new savings account to use for this purpose - name it as Travel Savings (or whatever), then set up an auto-transfer for your desired amount per month. Or if you are paid regularly via payroll, many allow you to go online and split your wages into different accounts - so you could set up $X dollars to go into this new account, or X%, then the balance to your regular account. Just some ideas.

we have used TravelBank many times, and it works mostly as advertised. A few glitches over the years (there was, for example, one point where the option to use it didnt always display, even on all UA itineraries). Another pain point is if you refund a ticket back to original form of payment, as it generally is manually processed and so generally takes a week or two. But generally, we have used to either take advantage of Amex plat credit, or to get a quick boost for a sign up bonus. Back in the day, we used the gift registry function, but dont believe that is available anymore and the only way to fund is by logging into your own account.
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 9:26 pm
  #261  
 
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Can Travel Bank be used for flight purchases originating outside USA? TPE-SFO for example.
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 9:49 pm
  #262  
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Originally Posted by frudd38
Can Travel Bank be used for flight purchases originating outside USA? TPE-SFO for example.
should not be an issue. I in fact just booked a MEX-SFO ticket using TB (and credit card) last week. Might need to be using the US version of the site though (I think TB is by T&Cs only available to US residents, or maybe it was that way at one point but is no longer the case).
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Old Feb 10, 2024, 2:54 pm
  #263  
 
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What do TB ticket receipts look like?

Thinking of booking a professional trip for which I should be reimbursed, but it is large organization with a lot of rules and getting reimbursed will become a PITA if there is anything on the ticket and purchase receipt that smacks of points etc. Anyone have any experience/advice on this?
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Old Feb 10, 2024, 8:16 pm
  #264  
 
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Originally Posted by Biggie Fries
Thinking of booking a professional trip for which I should be reimbursed, but it is large organization with a lot of rules and getting reimbursed will become a PITA if there is anything on the ticket and purchase receipt that smacks of points etc. Anyone have any experience/advice on this?
The email receipts I get for flights purchased with TB say "Payment Method: Travel Certificate".
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Old Feb 10, 2024, 9:32 pm
  #265  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Cash deposits are good for 5 years but there are better ways for setting aside funds for a future trip (with auto transfer capabilities)
A common use of TB is for the travel reimbursement benefit of some credit cards.

TB funds can only be used for all UA operated itins (but there is a workaround)
TB funds can not be used with FFCs or ETCs (but there is a workaround)
How do you use etc with travelbank? What is the workaround? Thank you
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Old Feb 10, 2024, 10:12 pm
  #266  
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Originally Posted by frank808
How do you use etc with travelbank? What is the workaround? Thank you
Convert both to FFC and then the two new FFCs can be used together,

Converting each to FFC, means booking separate flights with each and then cancelling, yielding two separate FFCs.

Note FFCs mean the credits will be locked to a specific individual.
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Old Feb 10, 2024, 10:20 pm
  #267  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Convert both to FFC and then the two new FFCs can be used together,

Converting each to FFC, means booking separate flights with each and then cancelling, yielding two separate FFCs.

Note FFCs mean the credits will be locked to a specific individual.
Will add that the flights need to be non refundable (but not basic economy) and cancelled after 24 hours as canceling prior to that will refund to original payment.

Also, FFC is valid for 1 year from purchase date of ticket vs 5 years for TB.
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Old Feb 13, 2024, 8:44 pm
  #268  
 
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I just canceled a flight booked with TB funds only about 21 hours after purchase and the refund was issued as FFC and did not go back to TB. Not sure this is a new policy or an anomaly. Everything I have read (including in the wiki) says that cancellations under the 24 hour mark will go back to original form of payment including TB payments.
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Old Feb 13, 2024, 9:41 pm
  #269  
 
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Originally Posted by xenophile
I just canceled a flight booked with TB funds only about 21 hours after purchase and the refund was issued as FFC and did not go back to TB. Not sure this is a new policy or an anomaly. Everything I have read (including in the wiki) says that cancellations under the 24 hour mark will go back to original form of payment including TB payments.
Put in a refund request to have the funds re-deposited into your TB account.
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Old Feb 13, 2024, 9:44 pm
  #270  
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Originally Posted by xenophile
... Everything I have read (including in the wiki) says that cancellations under the 24 hour mark will go back to original form of payment including TB payments.
But takes a week or two --- 24 hour cancellation of TB funded ticket has been a manual, slow process. And best not to do if sub-24 hour cancellation is being considered.
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