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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 Jan 5, 2023, 12:20 pm
  #46  
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Originally Posted by GK8
Asking for a friend :P : Has anyone had any luck fixing a travelbank screw up? Say if someone selected $1000 in the drop down instead of $100 and processed the charge? Has since got the run around between customer service, refunds, Mileage Plus and websupport?
The terms and conditions clearly say that, "Purchases are nt refundable and are limited to $5,000 per day per MileagePlus account." I think you're going to have a hard time getting your purchase refunded. You may wish to mention to UA that this was clearly a mistake and that you'd rather not have to go to your CC company to initiate a chargeback, but they likely don't have much of a process for this. Also, the T&C are not in your favour so it's not clear that initiating a dispute of the charge will end in any way other than disappointment.
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Old Jan 5, 2023, 1:33 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy
The terms and conditions clearly say that, "Purchases are nt refundable and are limited to $5,000 per day per MileagePlus account." I think you're going to have a hard time getting your purchase refunded. You may wish to mention to UA that this was clearly a mistake and that you'd rather not have to go to your CC company to initiate a chargeback, but they likely don't have much of a process for this. Also, the T&C are not in your favour so it's not clear that initiating a dispute of the charge will end in any way other than disappointment.
You're right, and I was aware of the non-refundable language. Also I wouldn't bring it up to a dispute since it was my fault. But I'm also hoping there might be a pathway or contact who can correct for clerical errors. On a related note I really wish that the website had a review screen before finalizing the purchase.
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Old Jan 6, 2023, 9:51 am
  #48  
 
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Smile Does Amex (Personal Platimum) still reimburse UA Travel Bank Purchase

Oh Wise UA Flyertalkers,

I am a Amex Personal Platinum Card Holder. Years ago I designated UA as my preferred Carrier for the "$200 Platinum Airline Credit". Last year (Jan 2022) I used my Plat Amex to buy a $250 UA Travel Bank Credit and was promptly reimbursed (credited) $200 by Amex.

On 1/3/2023 I used my same Plat Amex to purchase $250 UA Travel Bank Credit. As of today (1/6/2023) I have not received any credit from Amex for this purchase. There is no notation for the charge and reads as follows: "United Airlines HSCAC-12th Floor 609 Main Street Houston TX 77002 United States."

Has Amex stopped crediting Travel Bank Purchases or Should I chill and wait a couple more day ?
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Old Jan 6, 2023, 10:27 am
  #49  
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Originally Posted by gpicur
Oh Wise UA Flyertalkers,

I am a Amex Personal Platinum Card Holder. Years ago I designated UA as my preferred Carrier for the "$200 Platinum Airline Credit". Last year (Jan 2022) I used my Plat Amex to buy a $250 UA Travel Bank Credit and was promptly reimbursed (credited) $200 by Amex.

On 1/3/2023 I used my same Plat Amex to purchase $250 UA Travel Bank Credit. As of today (1/6/2023) I have not received any credit from Amex for this purchase. There is no notation for the charge and reads as follows: "United Airlines HSCAC-12th Floor 609 Main Street Houston TX 77002 United States."

Has Amex stopped crediting Travel Bank Purchases or Should I chill and wait a couple more day ?
oh my ... give it a few days. This can take up to 2 weeks, because Amex does these in batch processes. Nothing has changed
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Old Jan 6, 2023, 6:38 pm
  #50  
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Originally Posted by gpicur
Oh Wise UA Flyertalkers,

I am a Amex Personal Platinum Card Holder. Years ago I designated UA as my preferred Carrier for the "$200 Platinum Airline Credit". Last year (Jan 2022) I used my Plat Amex to buy a $250 UA Travel Bank Credit and was promptly reimbursed (credited) $200 by Amex.

On 1/3/2023 I used my same Plat Amex to purchase $250 UA Travel Bank Credit. As of today (1/6/2023) I have not received any credit from Amex for this purchase. There is no notation for the charge and reads as follows: "United Airlines HSCAC-12th Floor 609 Main Street Houston TX 77002 United States."

Has Amex stopped crediting Travel Bank Purchases or Should I chill and wait a couple more day ?
Amex credits for anything used to be consistent but over the last year have been mostly not, sometimes my credit for everything from W+ to digital credit to CLEAR happen in a day, sometimes it takes a month.

That said, UA credits have been pretty consistent at taking 6 days, at least in the last few months. This includes a TB purchase made in late Dec.
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Old Jan 6, 2023, 6:58 pm
  #51  
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How to deal with billing issue?

One of my $100 TB loads errored out. I think I mis-typed the exp date. No fund added to my TB. But the charge has since posted to my amex card.

Which department of UA should I contact to deal with this billing issue? Any suggestions?
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Old Jan 6, 2023, 7:10 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by gpicur (Post # 645)
Does Amex (Personal Platimum) still reimburse UA Travel Bank Purchase

I am a Amex Personal Platinum Card Holder. Years ago I designated UA as my preferred Carrier for the "$200 Platinum Airline Credit". Last year (Jan 2022) I used my Plat Amex to buy a $250 UA Travel Bank Credit and was promptly reimbursed (credited) $200 by Amex.
* . * . * . *
Has Amex stopped crediting Travel Bank Purchases or Should I chill and wait a couple more day ?
Originally Posted by cfischer (Post # 646)
oh my ... give it a few days. This can take up to 2 weeks, because Amex does these in batch processes. Nothing has changed
Originally Posted by emcampbe (Post # 648)
Amex credits for anything used to be consistent but over the last year have been mostly not, sometimes my credit for everything from W+ to digital credit to CLEAR happen in a day, sometimes it takes a month.

That said, UA credits have been pretty consistent at taking 6 days, at least in the last few months. This includes a TB purchase made in late Dec.
There is extensive discussion of this issue in the AmEx forum, confirming the foregoing. All normal.

Airline fee $250/$200 reimbursement reports: UA only (2023)
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Old Jan 6, 2023, 10:10 pm
  #53  
 
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Should someone try to edit the wiki? And should it be me?

Since returning to FT a few months ago I've benefitted a lot from the new wikis, but I'm still not sure about the community etiquette for editing. I had to do a bit of research on TravelBank recently, and in doing so, noticed that this thread's wiki here has a fair amount of material that is now outdated. While the research is fresh in my mind I'd be willing to try updating it (e.g. maybe retaining the older material but labeling more of it as historical), but I have two hesitations: (1) as this is a new topic for me, I may need to solicit advice here in the thread about before making certain edits, and (2) from looking at the FT support forum, it seems like there are a lot of random issues with wikis on FT these days, so there is a chance that touching it could break it in some way, at least for a while.

With these factors in mind, I wanted to solicit opinions:
  • should I try my hand at updating it?
  • should I instead leave that for someone with more extensive knowledge of TravelBank?
  • (is there such a volunteer?)
  • should we all just leave it alone?
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Old Jan 6, 2023, 11:25 pm
  #54  
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The reason we are eligible to make edits to the Wikipost (Expert How-Tos and Guides) is to encourage all of us to contribute our time, talent, and knowledge.

Remember to click the "Source" button occasionally when editing.
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Old Jan 7, 2023, 5:45 am
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
... While the research is fresh in my mind I'd be willing to try updating it (e.g. maybe retaining the older material but labeling more of it as historical)
I hope you keep the historical information somehow. Using the strikethrough like this in the wiki works sometimes, or an archive note at the end like you said. It helps when someone asks about an old rule or technique and didn't realize it's no longer in place.
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Old Jan 7, 2023, 12:04 pm
  #56  
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Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
....
  • should I try my hand at updating it?
Sure

If uncertain you can post a draft in the normal thread of what you are considering -- particularly if changing a previous comment. The "truth" can be vary situational dependent. And as mentioned keeping some historical information has value.
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Old Jan 7, 2023, 5:31 pm
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by SPN Lifer
The reason we are eligible to make edits to the Wikipost (Expert How-Tos and Guides) is to encourage all of us to contribute our time, talent, and knowledge.

Remember to click the "Source" button occasionally when editing.
Originally Posted by rrgg
I hope you keep the historical information somehow. Using the strikethrough like this in the wiki works sometimes, or an archive note at the end like you said. It helps when someone asks about an old rule or technique and didn't realize it's no longer in place.
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Sure

If uncertain you can post a draft in the normal thread of what you are considering -- particularly if changing a previous comment. The "truth" can be vary situational dependent. And as mentioned keeping some historical information has value.
Thank you all for the replies. I went ahead and made some changes to the beginning sections, including adding a summary of the current program terms, and distinguishing those more clearly from the history. I also added a couple of other new points and headings for readability, and tweaked some of the wording and word order. I also deleted a comment suggesting that that TravelBank purchases are no longer eligible for AMEX "incidental fee" reimbursement, because there is a comment at the end of this very wiki and a series of very long threads that say otherwise.

Following is the section where I made the most changes, based on reading both the thread and the current T&Cs (which I think may have been recently updated by United fwiw)[.][.]

Old version:
What can I use Travel Bank funds for?
1. Only for an all UA operated itineraries
2. *NEW* Award fees & taxes and subscriptions appears eligible for use of TravelBank funds
3. Not for in-flight purchases, post-purchase E+ access or upgrades, ....

Edited version:
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 (but see notes below)
4. Cannot be used to pay 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????
[.]
Obviously, you can all read this for yourselves above and anyone else is free to re-edit as they please. I just wanted to call this specific part to folks' attention in case it requires further tweaking.

When I have a bit more time, I will try to also take a stab at updating the "expiration" section as well. Consistent with some of the old promos, and per several blog posts, apparently there was a recent version of the T&Cs that indicated funds would expire if there was no TravelBank activity for 18 months. But that provision seems to have now been removed, and the old promos seem to have now all expired, meaning that there is a 5 year expiration (I think) for everything but the IHG credit card deposits.
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Last edited by ZenFlyer; Jan 7, 2023 at 10:31 pm
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Old Jan 7, 2023, 8:46 pm
  #58  
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Thanks for refreshing the wiki, Wikis after some program changes, need a spring cleaning.

Made a few tweaks, Non-refundable tickets purchased with TB funds, cancelled more than 24 hours after purchase will go to FFC, not ETCs. If a refundable ticket or cancelled under 24 hours, the funds go back to TB with original expiration. Not sure what happens if the original date has had expired as the vast majority of funds are 5 year expiration. Earlier when there were shorter expiration period there were some inconsistent reports. Note any return to TB can take a week or two.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 7, 2023 at 8:53 pm Reason: spring cleaning.
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 10:50 am
  #59  
 
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before I make a dummy reservation to flip my travel bank into future flight credit, is there a way to purchase a new ticket using both travel bank and a future flight credit?
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 2:43 pm
  #60  
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upgrade seats on award flight?

I made an award reservation and was unable to use TravelBank funds to pay the taxes and fees, as noted in the wiki. But I was also unable to use TravelBank funds to pay for premium seats in economy, which I expected to be able to do. Did I misunderstand or did the United web site foul up?
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