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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 user’s 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 member’s 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, 2022, 7:38 am
  #16  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Originally Posted by ctcristo1
i have multiple travel bank credits in my account, with different expiration dates, including $100 from Clear expiring soon.
When i book a flight it does not allow me to choose which credit to use first. Does the system know to use the one expiring earliest first?
Thanks.
it always uses the ones that expire first. No way to 'select' anything, even if you wanted to do that.
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cfischer is offline  
Old Feb 13, 2022, 11:39 am
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 470
Is there a way to convert TB to travel credit? Basically, I am trying use the money I have in TB indirectly for united partner-airline on united website. I did a quick booking yesterday and cancelled right away for the 24 hour refund but I wonder if they return back as TB or travel credit? and if there is a way around to convert them to travel credit so I can book that united partner airline
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Old Feb 13, 2022, 12:47 pm
  #18  
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by good_boy_1234
Is there a way to convert TB to travel credit? Basically, I am trying use the money I have in TB indirectly for united partner-airline on united website. I did a quick booking yesterday and cancelled right away for the 24 hour refund but I wonder if they return back as TB or travel credit? and if there is a way around to convert them to travel credit so I can book that united partner airline
Wait more than 24 hours and you will get an immediate FFC.
Inside 24 hours it is refunded to original form of payment. Note the TB funds may take up to a week to refund.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Feb 13, 2022, 1:08 pm
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 470
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Wait more than 24 hours and you will get an immediate FFC.
Inside 24 hours it is refunded to original form of payment. Note the TB funds may take up to a week to refund.
Thank you but correct me if I am wrong, didn't United remove cancellation fees waiver? So when I get my TB refund back, what kind of booking (what fare economy class) I need to make using the TB that if I wait more than 24 hours, I will get the TB back as FFC- without penalty- so I can book on a partner airline?
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Old Feb 13, 2022, 1:22 pm
  #20  
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Originally Posted by good_boy_1234
Thank you but correct me if I am wrong, didn't United remove cancellation fees waiver? So when I get my TB refund back, what kind of booking (what fare economy class) I need to make using the TB that if I wait more than 24 hours, I will get the TB back as FFC- without penalty- so I can book on a partner airline?
no cancellation fees - they are gone ‘for good’ - as long as flights are ex-US. The waiver only applied to flights booked from outside the US - and that did indeed expire, so change fees have returned for that. In that case, just book your flight from a US city - then cancel after 24 hours and you’ll get your FFC. You can then change to leave from wherever you want - just note that the no change fees will no longer remain if your new departure is from outside the US (save for computer error).
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Old Feb 14, 2022, 9:30 am
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 470
Originally Posted by emcampbe
no cancellation fees - they are gone ‘for good’ - as long as flights are ex-US. The waiver only applied to flights booked from outside the US - and that did indeed expire, so change fees have returned for that. In that case, just book your flight from a US city - then cancel after 24 hours and you’ll get your FFC. You can then change to leave from wherever you want - just note that the no change fees will no longer remain if your new departure is from outside the US (save for computer error).
Can you further explain here so I don't mess it up like I did as I am currently waiting on the TB to return to my account? My goal is to book a flight from ORD to Europe on a partner airline. When I get my TB back, do you suggest booking ORD to any destination in the US then after 24 hours to modify the booking to the Europe destination? Or completely cancel the booking after 24 hours?
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Old Feb 14, 2022, 12:51 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by good_boy_1234
...My goal is to book a flight from ORD to Europe on a partner airline. When I get my TB back, do you suggest booking ORD to any destination in the US then after 24 hours to modify the booking to the Europe destination? Or completely cancel the booking after 24 hours?
The later, cancel and get FFC after 24 hours. The modify booking probably would work but it is cleaner to get the FFC.
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Old Feb 23, 2022, 2:51 am
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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I can't access my Travel Bank funds to pay: period. I cannot see a Travel Bank button (panel) when I go to check out.

I have read through this thread assiduously and noted all of the things that make a ticket ineligible for Travel Bank. I tried to eliminate all of them from the ticket I was trying to purchase. That did not work. I tried two different laptops, one using Firefox, one using Chrome. That did not work. I do not use the app, but I got my son, who does, to go in "as me" and try to book. The Travel Bank option never showed up. (By the way, I was always logged into my account, and Travel Bank funds were visible on-line in the same sessions when I was trying to book.) After innumerable delays and dropped calls, I got someone at United to transfer me to web support. They went through everything with me to make sure that I was clicking as appropriate and not clicking as not appropriate. They were in the middle of taking it under advisement when that call eventually terminated.

Before calling again for a flight I want, I decided to reverse engineer and book as "vanilla" a flight as possible -- a simple round-trip in Economy from EWR to ORD and return. Surely that would be on UA metal. I did not opt for any bundles or anything else. I did choose seats, but not seats that required payment. (I also tried without choosing seats.) Same issue. I get to the place where they say that the Payment Options are being changed, and click on the link to go to the other alternatives, but the panel for Travel Certificates does not say Travel Certificates and Travel Bank, as I have seen in the screenshots of others.

So I'm reduced to thinking that is either/or (a) something "special" about me; (b) a browser issue I have still not fixed.

Experiences of others welcome. TIA.
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Old Feb 23, 2022, 3:06 am
  #24  
 
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I have all kinds of problems with Fire Fox-- what browser did you use ?
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Old Feb 23, 2022, 6:36 am
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by SPLP007
I have all kinds of problems with Fire Fox-- what browser did you use ?
I've tried on Chrome on one laptop ...

.. and Firefox on another.

Most of the repeated tests were using Chrome.
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Old Feb 24, 2022, 3:16 am
  #26  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 393
People that said fully refundable refunds may not go back to the TravelBank "quickly" aren't kidding. Cancelled on 1/16/22. Refund was approved and supposedly sent on 1/18/22. However, not there. First chat agent couldn't see what happened to the refund other than that it was approved. Transferred me to someone else. I was at work and had to leave after an hour. Submitted the email ticket way and have a case #. Will report back once I get a resolution.

Does anyone know where we would see the refund in the ledger, would it just show up under the All and Earned tabs with the specific refund date?
charlesonmission is offline  
Old Feb 24, 2022, 8:22 am
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Geez. It sure looks like United is having some issues with their technology after the recent refresh of TravelBank.

For me, I wish that their could be more flexibility on the us of the funds, such as for in-flight, baggage fees, etc.
loomis is offline  
Old Feb 24, 2022, 10:01 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Biggie Fries
I can't access my Travel Bank funds to pay: period. I cannot see a Travel Bank button (panel) when I go to check out.

I have read through this thread assiduously and noted all of the things that make a ticket ineligible for Travel Bank. I tried to eliminate all of them from the ticket I was trying to purchase. That did not work. I tried two different laptops, one using Firefox, one using Chrome. That did not work. I do not use the app, but I got my son, who does, to go in "as me" and try to book. The Travel Bank option never showed up. (By the way, I was always logged into my account, and Travel Bank funds were visible on-line in the same sessions when I was trying to book.) After innumerable delays and dropped calls, I got someone at United to transfer me to web support. They went through everything with me to make sure that I was clicking as appropriate and not clicking as not appropriate. They were in the middle of taking it under advisement when that call eventually terminated.

Before calling again for a flight I want, I decided to reverse engineer and book as "vanilla" a flight as possible -- a simple round-trip in Economy from EWR to ORD and return. Surely that would be on UA metal. I did not opt for any bundles or anything else. I did choose seats, but not seats that required payment. (I also tried without choosing seats.) Same issue. I get to the place where they say that the Payment Options are being changed, and click on the link to go to the other alternatives, but the panel for Travel Certificates does not say Travel Certificates and Travel Bank, as I have seen in the screenshots of others.

So I'm reduced to thinking that is either/or (a) something "special" about me; (b) a browser issue I have still not fixed.

Experiences of others welcome. TIA.
Use UA mobile App. Desktop is not functional.
geclub1 is offline  
Old Mar 2, 2022, 12:12 am
  #29  
BAK
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Originally Posted by geclub1
Use UA mobile App. Desktop is not functional.
Thanks very much for the heads up. The desktop is still not functional but I can see my balance in the app on my phone.
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Old Mar 5, 2022, 1:34 pm
  #30  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 393
Refund came in 3/4/22. Was cancelled 1/16/22. Twitter United was able to get ahold of someone in TravelBank that could manually process the refund. That's not how it's supposed to work (supposed to be automatically refunded after cancellation within 20 days, but it is what it is....)

Note for people reading this - this is for fully refundable fares.

Originally Posted by loomis
Geez. It sure looks like United is having some issues with their technology after the recent refresh of TravelBank.

For me, I wish that their could be more flexibility on the us of the funds, such as for in-flight, baggage fees, etc.
charlesonmission is offline  

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