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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 Mar 24, 2024, 12:29 pm
  #286  
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Originally Posted by friedablass
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.
[...]
Probably I'm reading too much into this, but what is the significance of "same/similar value" as opposed to the cheapest flight that will use up the TB funds? In other words, if I have $25 in TB (thank you, IHG) and want to use those TB funds for a $400 partner flight, why wouldn't I choose IAH-VCT for $78 rather than search for a $400 United flight to get the FFC? Thanks for any education.
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Old Mar 24, 2024, 2:55 pm
  #287  
 
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Originally Posted by serpens
Probably I'm reading too much into this, but what is the significance of "same/similar value" as opposed to the cheapest flight that will use up the TB funds? In other words, if I have $25 in TB (thank you, IHG) and want to use those TB funds for a $400 partner flight, why wouldn't I choose IAH-VCT for $78 rather than search for a $400 United flight to get the FFC? Thanks for any education.
Don't know what the OP intended. Perhaps "same/similar value" as the TB fund?

If I was trying to "convert" TB funds into an FFC, I wouldn't spend any more out of pocket than I needed in order to do so.
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 2:12 pm
  #288  
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I'm doing it wrong; please help

Originally Posted by friedablass
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.
[...]
The only good news is that UA 5024 Denver to Cheyenne is $60.10 on May 01. It seemed to be a good match for converting my $25 TB funds to FFC.

But I can't buy the ticket. I'm logged in (as evidenced by the ability to select TravelBank at the Checkout screen). I selected TravelBank, said I wanted to use the full $25, and entered my credit card and billing information in regions 3 and 4 (under region 2 TravelBank Cash, where I have a check mark next to the $25). But when I click Buy Now, the page immediately jumps so that "Please pay for the remaining value with a debit or credit card below to complete the purchase" is at the top of the screen. Any idea what I'm doing wrong? (I did deselect "Save credit card for onboard refreshment purchases" since I intend to cancel the ticket for a credit after a day. But if that's required, why am I allowed to deselect it?)

Thanks for any hints.
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 2:59 pm
  #289  
 
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^ Have you tried the app? I don't even get an option for TB unless I am in the app
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 3:10 pm
  #290  
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Originally Posted by airb330
^ Have you tried the app? I don't even get an option for TB unless I am in the app
No, I'm not an app person. I like a larger screen and a real keyboard. And I did have the TB option; it just didn't work--until later.

The problem has been solved. How? I wish I could tell you. I have three candidates.

First, I started from scratch. Well, not quite from scratch; I said I wanted to pay by credit card, which wiped out my previously entered information (but not the flight). Then I selected TravelBank again and proceeded as before.

Second, when I got to the phone number, I added dashes. Rather than 1234567890 (like the first time), I entered 123-456-7890. If that's what did it, shame on United for not saying how it wanted the phone number formatted.

Third, it was something else of which I am completely unaware.

Anyway, I now have a ticket and I'll cancel it the day after tomorrow, then make the codeshare reservation I really want.
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 3:19 pm
  #291  
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Originally Posted by serpens
....
Anyway, I now have a ticket and I'll cancel it the day after tomorrow, then make the codeshare reservation I really want.
What was your personal time ROI for $25
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 3:27 pm
  #292  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
What was your personal time ROI for $25
Not enough, but you knew that. But that $25 was tax-free.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 7:38 am
  #293  
 
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Originally Posted by serpens
Probably I'm reading too much into this, but what is the significance of "same/similar value" as opposed to the cheapest flight that will use up the TB funds? In other words, if I have $25 in TB (thank you, IHG) and want to use those TB funds for a $400 partner flight, why wouldn't I choose IAH-VCT for $78 rather than search for a $400 United flight to get the FFC? Thanks for any education.
In my case I was referring to finding a similar value ticket as the one I was trying to book on AC which was about $135 being that I had $1k in TB funds at that time and obviously wasn't going to use it all for that.

Originally Posted by econ
Don't know what the OP intended. Perhaps "same/similar value" as the TB fund?

If I was trying to "convert" TB funds into an FFC, I wouldn't spend any more out of pocket than I needed in order to do so.
Yes, of course if the amount of TB left is less than the ticket wanting to be purchased then you try to find a value of a ticket as close as possible to the remaining TB funds. I wouldn't either spend any more out of pocket than necessary.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 7:52 am
  #294  
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Originally Posted by beachfan (Post # 282)
No Travel bank for seat purchase after ticketing? (E+)?
Sorry, afraid not. From the Wikipost Q & A:

Quote:
3. Not for in-flight purchases, post-purchase E+ access or upgrades
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 8:04 am
  #295  
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Originally Posted by friedablass
In my case I was referring to finding a similar value ticket as the one I was trying to book on AC which was about $135 being that I had $1k in TB funds at that time and obviously wasn't going to use it all for that.
[...]
Well, silly me. I was sitting on $25 in TB and it just didn't occur to me that someone would have more dollars in TB than the desired ticket. Thanks for the explanation and expanding my world view.
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Old Mar 28, 2024, 8:25 am
  #296  
 
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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.
Just to provide an update. Requesting the refund on the website did not work for me. The refunds were already approved. It has now been 21 days since I canceled the reservation and the funds are not there. I am still told it can take up to 20 business days (so I guess I'm still within their acceptable timeframe).
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 8:47 pm
  #297  
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I noticed that TB is no longer showing as an option online, after I did Farelock (it was showing before). I believe I just have to call in to use the TB funds to purchase the locked fare, correct?
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 12:45 pm
  #298  
 
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Originally Posted by nk15
I noticed that TB is no longer showing as an option online, after I did Farelock (it was showing before). I believe I just have to call in to use the TB funds to purchase the locked fare, correct?
No, can't be done directly, AFAIK.
You'll need to "convert" your Travel Bank to an FFC and then hope an agent will let you convert the FFC to an ETC and THEN you can use it for a farelock. The phone agents *may* be able to do this for you per this January 2024 DP:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/35873740-post236.html

I thought I'd edited the Wiki for Both farelock and Travel Bank for this caveat, but either went mental or it got changed/removed.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 2:48 pm
  #299  
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Originally Posted by hurnik
No, can't be done directly, AFAIK.
You'll need to "convert" your Travel Bank to an FFC and then hope an agent will let you convert the FFC to an ETC and THEN you can use it for a farelock. The phone agents *may* be able to do this for you per this January 2024 DP:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/35873740-post236.html

I thought I'd edited the Wiki for Both farelock and Travel Bank for this caveat, but either went mental or it got changed/removed.
Do you think there are any issues with this, in the event of a cancellation? It will be a nonrefundable reservation, so in either case (do this or purchase outside a farelock; just eat the farelock cost) it will go back in as a future travel certificate, right? (and not in the TB).
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 3:48 pm
  #300  
 
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Originally Posted by nk15
Do you think there are any issues with this, in the event of a cancellation? It will be a nonrefundable reservation, so in either case (do this or purchase outside a farelock; just eat the farelock cost) it will go back in as a future travel certificate, right? (and not in the TB).
I’m pretty sure it goes back as an FFC
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