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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
6. Including a Travel Bundle may block TB usage

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 8, 2023, 3:13 pm
  #61  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by serpens
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?
Logically, one would think TB would cover this. But as noted in the wiki list above (#3), it actually cannot be used for post-purchase E+ or upgrades. It can be used for an E+ subscription, or (I gather) if you select E+ as part of your initial ticket purchase. It's not that the T&Cs specifically exclude post-purchase E+ and upgrades, but United simply does not offer TB as a payment option in such cases.

ETA: I will go back and better highlight the "not" in that list fwiw
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 3:58 pm
  #62  
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Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
[...] It can be used [...] (I gather) if you select E+ as part of your initial ticket purchase. [...] United simply does not offer TB as a payment option[...]
It was during the initial purchase that I had no option to use TravelBank to pay for upgraded economy seats (which I assume is what E+ means). United simply did not offer TB as a payment (or partial payment) option.

It was a frustrating experience. I went through the reservation process, declining upgraded seats because I'm a cheapskate. Then when TB did not appear, I visited FlyerTalk in another browser tab and saw that TB should not appear in that situation, but it should appear if I chose upgraded seats. So I went back (I couldn't find a way to revisit seat selection without restarting the entire reservation) and chose upgraded seats. Then I found no TB option, so I went back again and made the original reservation from scratch. Then I came back to FT and posted my question.

By the way, thank you for your work on the wiki.
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 4:23 pm
  #63  
 
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Originally Posted by serpens
It was during the initial purchase that I had no option to use TravelBank to pay for upgraded economy seats (which I assume is what E+ means). United simply did not offer TB as a payment (or partial payment) option.
I tried making some dummy bookings to confirm a couple of things while updating the wiki; I agree that there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to what it can be used for (other than the exclusion of taxes, which is perhaps not surprising). Others may have views, but my sense was that it may be more IT-driven than a policy choice.

In your case I think the issue may have been that your original booking initial was for an award ticket rather than a revenue ticket. But perhaps someone with experience will chime in. Sorry it didn't work for you.
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 7:06 pm
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Colin
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?
no, you can not combine different United payment methods. Can not combine any of FFC/ETC/TB - only one and then a card if there is a leftover balance.

Originally Posted by serpens
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?
no, I dont think this is allowed.

while I believe Ive seen the option of using TB funds to pay with a cash fare that includes paid E+ at time of booking, doubt it works with an award. Likely once you select an award, it disables any option of using United payment methods (you cant use FFC/ETC either for award taxes, though not sure about the old gift cards).

Originally Posted by serpens
It was during the initial purchase that I had no option to use TravelBank to pay for upgraded economy seats (which I assume is what E+ means). United simply did not offer TB as a payment (or partial payment) option.

It was a frustrating experience. I went through the reservation process, declining upgraded seats because I'm a cheapskate. Then when TB did not appear, I visited FlyerTalk in another browser tab and saw that TB should not appear in that situation, but it should appear if I chose upgraded seats. So I went back (I couldn't find a way to revisit seat selection without restarting the entire reservation) and chose upgraded seats. Then I found no TB option, so I went back again and made the original reservation from scratch. Then I came back to FT and posted my question.

By the way, thank you for your work on the wiki.
again, probably disabled once you are booking an award.

While Ive had very few issues using TB funds when I am eligible, there have been reports of issues in certain circumstances. At one point, there were a few reports of itins with UAX segments that wouldnt let folks use it - I dont know if the data supported a specific cause (ie, it was happening with certain UAX carriers and not others, etc) or if there wasnt a discernible pattern. In some more recent cases, it seemed to not allow using TB on all UA itineraries on the website, but finding the same itinerary on the app allowed it, leading to a conclusion an IT error somewhere down the line.
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 7:16 pm
  #65  
 
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Originally Posted by emcampbe
no, you can not combine different United payment methods. Can not combine any of FFC/ETC/TB - only one and then a card if there is a leftover balance.
can two FFC credits be combined into one new booking?
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 8:34 pm
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Colin
can two FFC credits be combined into one new booking?
multiple of either FFC or ETC can be used, but not say, 1 FFC and an ETC. of course, note, FFC can only be used for the traveller named on the original ticket.
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 8:36 pm
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Colin
can two FFC credits be combined into one new booking?
Yes, even more than two if applicable
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 9:41 pm
  #68  
 
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Originally Posted by emcampbe
no, you can not combine different United payment methods. Can not combine any of FFC/ETC/TB - only one and then a card if there is a leftover balance.
This is a useful clarification. It's worth noting that the United webpage explaining TravelBank is arguably a bit confusing/misleading/incomplete on that front:
TravelBank Cash can be used alone or in combination with other forms of payment to pay for flights operated by United and United Expressand certain subscription products
I think by saying "other forms of payment" instead of e.g. "a credit card," they are probably trying to capture things like Paypal and other commercial payment services.

Last edited by ZenFlyer; Jan 8, 2023 at 9:49 pm Reason: added web link
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 11:35 pm
  #69  
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This new wiki wording may need more work
. Cannot be used to pay taxes on flights or other purchases, per the current T&Cs

While TB can not be used for award itins or the taxes /fees of award tickets,
in the past I have been able to entirely pay for a cash + taxes + fees, has that changed?
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Old Jan 9, 2023, 7:09 am
  #70  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
This new wiki wording may need more work

While TB can not be used for award itins or the taxes /fees of award tickets,
in the past I have been able to entirely pay for a cash + taxes + fees, has that changed?
That's a good question. I based that in part on this part of the old wiki, where "taxes" had been crossed out (2. *NEW* Award fees & taxes and subscriptions appears eligible for use of TravelBank fund) and in part on para 31 of the T&Cs, which states: "Members are responsible for all taxes, fees and surcharges, including without limitation passenger facility charges, international departure tax, customs users immigration fees, agricultural tax and airport security charges and Members must pay them at the time of ticketing." Looking at it again now, however, it seems that paragraph is really about responsibility for taxes rather than payment method, and the next paragraph indicates that the TB Cash may, in fact, be used. Here's how paras 30-32 read all together for context:
30. Tickets purchased in whole or in part with TravelBank Cash will be subject to the taxes, fees, tariffs, contract of carriage, ticket terms, and re-accommodation policies of the carrier on which travel is scheduled.

31. Members are responsible for all taxes, fees and surcharges, including without limitation passenger facility charges, international departure tax, customs users immigration fees, agricultural tax and airport security charges and Members must pay them at the time of ticketing.

32. If TravelBank Cash is used to purchase air travel, purchaser is required to pay, using either TravelBank Cash or recognized currency, all taxes, including, but not limited to, the US Excise Tax and any other International ad valorem taxes shown in the booking path for the portion of the air travel purchased with TravelBank Cash, regardless of how the TravelBank Cash has been obtained, and the source of which United may not be able to determine. Some purchases made with TravelBank Cash may be subject to a refund that purchaser may seek from the relevant taxing authority.
So feel free to clarify, or revert to the old wording, as appropriate! (Not that you need an invitation, lol . . .) It would also be useful if anyone has recent experience to report -- I have the impression that the T & Cs were changed sometime in the past year or so, though not necessarily on these points.
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Old Jan 17, 2023, 8:14 pm
  #71  
 
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BE on codeshare with TB?

May not be a directly related question to TB per se, but trying to use TB fund for UA codeshare flights...
Booked a non BE fare with TB, tried to change to UA codeshare (AC metal) in 24h window. but it does not show 'basic economy' fare-only 'economy' and up are shown.
Is because it's not possible to change non-BE fare to BE fare in the first place? Or am I missing something here?
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Old Jan 17, 2023, 11:58 pm
  #72  
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Originally Posted by edta450
May not be a directly related question to TB per se, but trying to use TB fund for UA codeshare flights...
Booked a non BE fare with TB, tried to change to UA codeshare (AC metal) in 24h window. but it does not show 'basic economy' fare-only 'economy' and up are shown.
Is because it's not possible to change non-BE fare to BE fare in the first place? Or am I missing something here?
I think this has zero to do with TB, and more to do with basic.

AFAIK, yes, once you book a regular fare (no matter the payment method, so that you used TB to pay is completely irrelevant), you can not switch the PNR to BE. Or vice-versa. Only way is to cancel and receive the $ back to TB. Though you can now pay your way out of BE, so maybe you can do it the other way around now, just not heard that you can go regular to BE.

Also, not sure your destination, but if it is in Canada, note that BE fares to Canada are relatively new, and AFAIK, unless its been expanded, BE isn't available on all routes to/from Canada. Even if it is, it's definitely not guaranteed that every flight will have BE fare available. Is it possible your specific route/flight doesn't have BE available. If that's the case, you wouldn't even have the option if booking new. .
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Old Jan 18, 2023, 12:17 am
  #73  
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Originally Posted by edta450
May not be a directly related question to TB per se, but trying to use TB fund for UA codeshare flights...
Booked a non BE fare with TB, tried to change to UA codeshare (AC metal) in 24h window. but it does not show 'basic economy' fare-only 'economy' and up are shown.
Is because it's not possible to change non-BE fare to BE fare in the first place? Or am I missing something here?
Cannot move your post to the right thread at the moment due to a system issue but BE fares can only be exchange for a BE and the same is true of r non-BE. Why??? That's what the fare rules say.



an earlier discussion
Regular Economy FFC cannot be used for Basic Economy/BE FFC can't be used for Economy
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Old Jan 18, 2023, 9:50 am
  #74  
 
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Originally Posted by emcampbe
I think this has zero to do with TB, and more to do with basic.

AFAIK, yes, once you book a regular fare (no matter the payment method, so that you used TB to pay is completely irrelevant), you can not switch the PNR to BE. Or vice-versa. Only way is to cancel and receive the $ back to TB. Though you can now pay your way out of BE, so maybe you can do it the other way around now, just not heard that you can go regular to BE.

Also, not sure your destination, but if it is in Canada, note that BE fares to Canada are relatively new, and AFAIK, unless its been expanded, BE isn't available on all routes to/from Canada. Even if it is, it's definitely not guaranteed that every flight will have BE fare available. Is it possible your specific route/flight doesn't have BE available. If that's the case, you wouldn't even have the option if booking new. .
Thanks for the clarification. Codeshare is not payable with TB, and BE fare cannot be changed. So there is no chance to pay BE fare on codeshare with TB.
And yes, it is AC metal to Canada and UA does offer BE codeshare on AC metal, which does not show as options when trying to change non-BE fare (which I was enlightened).
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Old Jan 21, 2023, 6:31 am
  #75  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Travel Club Credit in TravelBank - presumably discontinued?

I was planning to use some of my TravelBank and realized that United was no longer providing Travel Club Credits since 2020. I presume this was discontinued but just wanted to check. Thanks.
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