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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 13, 2024, 9:52 pm
  #271  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
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.
And on occasion, TB refund does not show up. Then it takes multiple interactions with various United departments (TB, refund) to fix.
True personal story.
geclub1 is online now  
Old Feb 13, 2024, 10:12 pm
  #272  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Programs: Marriott Bonvoy Platinum, Hilton Honors Diamond, Delta Gold
Posts: 4,489
Originally Posted by friedablass
...I tested it myself by booking a refundable fare using TB funds .... 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.
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
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.
Originally Posted by geclub1
And on occasion, TB refund does not show up. Then it takes multiple interactions with various United departments (TB, refund) to fix.
True personal story.
As noted above, on 1/30 I booked a flight using TB funds and canceled the same day receiving a notification that the refund will take 10 to 30 days which was disappointing. On 2/2 I decided to submit a refund request via United site and see what happens. On 2/3 I had the money re-deposited in my TB account. Just sharing my experiences as it seems submitting the refund request actually pushed it through much faster.
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friedablass is offline  
Old Feb 14, 2024, 7:53 am
  #273  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: UA MP
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Originally Posted by geclub1
And on occasion, TB refund does not show up. Then it takes multiple interactions with various United departments (TB, refund) to fix.
True personal story.
I had an issue with TravelBank that has been ongoing for several months.

As nobody was actually able to resolve it, I just escalated it to executives.....
acregal is offline  
Old Feb 14, 2024, 7:14 pm
  #274  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: ORD
Posts: 132
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
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.
This was immediate. The FFC was there, ready to use as soon as I canceled. This morning I used the FFC funds for a new itinerary which cost more. I knew from previous reports that I wouldn't be able to use my other, preexisting TB funds and just paid cash for the difference.

It worked out fine for me in this instance, but others may want to know that, at least in my instance, canceled TB itineraries are being refunded as FFCs. And yes, as stated upthread, the expiration date was one year out. Good luck, everyone!
xenophile is offline  
Old Feb 15, 2024, 11:09 pm
  #275  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 195
How do you even use TravelBank? Tried to look a flight from LAX to JFK and it only lets me choose Credit/Debit, Travel Credit no Travel Bank?
laddielad is offline  
Old Feb 15, 2024, 11:25 pm
  #276  
 
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Originally Posted by laddielad
How do you even use TravelBank? Tried to look a flight from LAX to JFK and it only lets me choose Credit/Debit, Travel Credit no Travel Bank?
If the flight is on United metal then you should have an option to change the payment method and select Travel Bank.

There are no options to JFK with United. The non stop flights are to EWR and those with a stop go either to EWR or LGA.
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friedablass is offline  
Old Feb 15, 2024, 11:28 pm
  #277  
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Posts: 14,940
Originally Posted by laddielad
How do you even use TravelBank? Tried to look a flight from LAX to JFK and it only lets me choose Credit/Debit, Travel Credit no Travel Bank?
if you have funds in your TravelBank, and are traveling on an all-UA(/UAX) itin, the option should be there. Should go without saying you need to be logged into your account to access it.

I am curious on your itin - UA does not serve JFK, so curious about how you are able to find an itinerary into JFK, as no typical UA partners can service an itin to JFK on a domestic trip.
emcampbe is offline  
Old Mar 4, 2024, 1:21 pm
  #278  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Thousand Oaks, Ca., USA
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I am united silver, my wife has no status.

We both have IHG card, and I have the United business card.

if I understand it, if I want to use both of our $25 travel bank from the credit card on the same itinerary, we have to book separate tickets? In which case, she wont get the limited benefits she would have from being on my reservation (upgrade to E+ at checkin, free bag checked).

am I correct? I guess the strategy needs to be two trips if I want to use both of the travel bank benefits and stay on the same itinerary.
beachfan is offline  
Old Mar 4, 2024, 1:31 pm
  #279  
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
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Posts: 489
Originally Posted by beachfan
I am united silver, my wife has no status.

We both have IHG card, and I have the United business card.

if I understand it, if I want to use both of our $25 travel bank from the credit card on the same itinerary, we have to book separate tickets? In which case, she wont get the limited benefits she would have from being on my reservation (upgrade to E+ at checkin, free bag checked).

am I correct? I guess the strategy needs to be two trips if I want to use both of the travel bank benefits and stay on the same itinerary.
yes, you can't combine TravelBank credits from separate accounts. like you mentioned, book two one-way trips. if it's domestic the price should be the same as booking a round trip with both of you
unitedwildcat is offline  
Old Mar 4, 2024, 1:35 pm
  #280  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
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Posts: 67,270
Originally Posted by beachfan
...
if I understand it, if I want to use both of our $25 travel bank from the credit card on the same itinerary, we have to book separate tickets? In which case, she won’t get the limited benefits she would have from being on my reservation (upgrade to E+ at checkin, free bag checked). .....
The TB credit can only be used when logged in as the account holder.

You could do something crazy like purchase a ticket in each account and then cancel and get a FFC. In each traveler's name. Then book a joint ticket and use the FFCs for credit for each traveler. Or some variation of this, but seems like a lot of work for $25 credit. Do watch the expiration of the TB credits, believe the IHG credit is shorter than others.
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WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Mar 4, 2024, 2:18 pm
  #281  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Thousand Oaks, Ca., USA
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Posts: 8,477
Yes, the IHG TB expire every six months

Thanks for the workaround. There is a two eeek period where the IHG credits stack to $50. Might do it then.

Originally Posted by unitedwildcat
yes, you can't combine TravelBank credits from separate accounts. like you mentioned, book two one-way trips. if it's domestic the price should be the same as booking a round trip with both of you

thats a good idea; unfortunately the next trip is one way. But will work on a future trip.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 4, 2024 at 2:27 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
beachfan is offline  
Old Mar 7, 2024, 4:32 am
  #282  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Thousand Oaks, Ca., USA
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No Travel bank for seat purchase after ticketing? (E+)?
beachfan is offline  
Old Mar 21, 2024, 6:59 am
  #283  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 81
I booked refundable tickets with Travel Bank months ago and canceled the reservation at the beginning of this month. It has been almost 3 weeks and have not received the funds back in Travel Bank. Have made multiple phone calls to Refunds department, Mileageplus department, Web Support department. Sent DM on Twitter. I am always told to wait longer. I need the funds to book another flight. There's no way to communicate directly with the Travel Bank people. Super frustrating.
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Old Mar 21, 2024, 8:56 am
  #284  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Originally Posted by druryvanek26
I booked refundable tickets with Travel Bank months ago and canceled the reservation at the beginning of this month. It has been almost 3 weeks and have not received the funds back in Travel Bank. Have made multiple phone calls to Refunds department, Mileageplus department, Web Support department. Sent DM on Twitter. I am always told to wait longer. I need the funds to book another flight. There's no way to communicate directly with the Travel Bank people. Super frustrating.
I wrote my experience above - submitting a refund request on the website seems to have done the trick for me to get the TB funds back for a canceled ticket. Not a single call or Twitter DM needed.
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friedablass is offline  
Old Mar 21, 2024, 9:16 am
  #285  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 81
Originally Posted by friedablass
I wrote my experience above - submitting a refund request on the website seems to have done the trick for me to get the TB funds back for a canceled ticket. Not a single call or Twitter DM needed.
Thanks for the suggestion. For all of the tickets in my reservation, the refund was already approved (weeks ago). I just submitted a refund request so I'll see if it does anything.
druryvanek26 is offline  

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