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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
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 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, 2023, 12:51 pm
  #106  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Programs: Marriott Gold, Hilton Diamond, Radisson Rewards Gold, Best Western Diamond Select
Posts: 1,858
Originally Posted by luv2ctheworld
Question for those in the know:
I used TB funds to purchase group of 4 people for travel in June. Got an email saying the flight times have changed, and the new time requires us to cancel the tickets. HOWEVER, I don't want the funds to be made into FFC, as I don't expect the same members of this group to travel anytime soon.

Can the $ be credited back to the TB as it was UA's schedule change the resulted in the need to cancel?

TIA
I'm going through this. Was refunded only 1/3 the travel bank and nothing to credit card yet. Called this morning and apparently refund is being expedited.
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Old Feb 13, 2023, 10:38 pm
  #107  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Kobe, Japan
Programs: Bonvoy Platinum, IHG Diamond, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 1,564
Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
I agree that some of the TravelBank restrictions are not intuitive. But in your case, I think the major limitation is that the IHG-deposited funds expire every six months.

Depending on your UA flight schedule, you could potentially apply the funds as partial payment toward purchase of a monthly wi-fi subscription (i.e. to cover wifi charges on all of your UA flights for 30 days), which you would then immediately cancel after one month. That may or may not save you money compared with in-flight wifi purchases you would otherwise purchase, it depends how many flights you are taking and where. (As you probably read, unfortunately TB cannot be used for in-flight wifi.)
Thanks for the suggestion. I might use it buy wifi for flights if there is no other choice, but it really kills the value of the "gift" from IHG. I would rather use it for something I need (food/drink/airfare/upgrade etc).
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Old Feb 15, 2023, 11:32 am
  #108  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Programs: Marriott Gold, Hilton Diamond, Radisson Rewards Gold, Best Western Diamond Select
Posts: 1,858
After a week of waiting for 2 of 3 tickets on my PNR to be refunded, I called the 1K line who called the refund department and discovered an "error." Now I should get the remaining travelbank and cc refund within 24-48 hours. Apparently this is a common issue for multiple tickets, with and without travelbank. But especially for travelbank.

Edit: Still waiting for 1 refund. Unbelievable.

Last edited by slickvik; Feb 17, 2023 at 7:34 am
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Old Feb 27, 2023, 10:05 pm
  #109  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: HNL / SIN
Posts: 87
Nothing new to share but just sharing another data point.
1. Had $300 TB funds.
2. Purchased a refundable ticket which cost $308, using $300 TB and charging $8 to my credit card.
3. Up until T-26 (similar to another post above), my ticket was still indicating 1) that the credit was still eligible for the 24-hour free cancellation (despite being over 24 hours) and the credit would be refunded back to my original form of payment and also that 2) that someone would need to process this.
4. After around T-26, when I clicked the cancel button, the page was different and gave me options to refund as future flight credit or something else which I can't remember now. Did the flight credit option which showed up immediately in my account, and I was able to proceed to purchase a flight with no UA-operated flight segments and use the future flight credit amount of $308.
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goodtasting is offline  
Old Mar 1, 2023, 5:47 pm
  #110  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NYC suburbs
Programs: UA LT Gold (BIS), AA LT Plat (CC SUBs & BD), Hilton Dia (CC), Hyatt Glob (BIB), et. al.
Posts: 3,439
Can TB funds be purchased via the mobile app? Thank you.
Dr Jabadski is offline  
Old Mar 1, 2023, 5:55 pm
  #111  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SFO/SJC
Programs: UA Silver, Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 14,993
Originally Posted by Dr Jabadski
Can TB funds be purchased via the mobile app? Thank you.
app - no. But no reason you can’t get to the purchase page via your phone’s browser and purchase that way.
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Old Mar 1, 2023, 10:09 pm
  #112  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NYC suburbs
Programs: UA LT Gold (BIS), AA LT Plat (CC SUBs & BD), Hilton Dia (CC), Hyatt Glob (BIB), et. al.
Posts: 3,439
Originally Posted by emcampbe
app - no. But no reason you can’t get to the purchase page via your phone’s browser and purchase that way.
Thank you. I asked because I'd like to pay for a TB purchase in the next day or 2 with a new Chase UA Club card (4x UA purchases) that I won't receive for 7-10 days (Chase will not expedite) but was able to add to my mobile digital (Apple) wallet via the Chase mobile app.

I tried the suggested method (above) on my mobile Apple phone. Only choices for payment were the credit card on file in my UA account or another credit card which required entering full account number and information. Seems this TB purchase will have to wait for the arrival of the new (physical) card. Thanks again.
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Old Mar 10, 2023, 1:31 pm
  #113  
GDL
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Guadalajara MX,
Programs: VB, UA, AM
Posts: 164
The option of TravelBank at the purchase page does not show up for me at all. Was trying to book a Mex-USA-UK ticket. All on united metal. I thought maybe the international cities was preventing me from accessing the TB funds; but then went back and did dummy bookings all within US and still no option of TB on payment page.
Am I missing something here? Am I making any mistakes through the booking process?
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Old Mar 10, 2023, 2:05 pm
  #114  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 404
Originally Posted by GDL
The option of TravelBank at the purchase page does not show up for me at all. Was trying to book a Mex-USA-UK ticket. All on united metal. I thought maybe the international cities was preventing me from accessing the TB funds; but then went back and did dummy bookings all within US and still no option of TB on payment page.
Am I missing something here? Am I making any mistakes through the booking process?
Any different result if you try the app?
charlesonmission is offline  
Old Mar 11, 2023, 4:56 pm
  #115  
GDL
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Guadalajara MX,
Programs: VB, UA, AM
Posts: 164
Originally Posted by charlesonmission
Any different result if you try the app?
Good news / Bad news for me. Within the app it allows me to use TravelBank funds. Except my total funds are off by a decimal point.
A 90 minute call with customer service was enough to verify my actual funds, to see that it was displaying wrongly on the app, not allowing me to use on desktop, and finally get the monies refunded to my original form of payment.
TravelBank just wasn't the experience I thought it would have been. Glad I'm getting my funds back without having to fly.
​​​​​
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Old Mar 12, 2023, 9:41 am
  #116  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Programs: AA Gold, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Explorist, Marriott Gold
Posts: 177
Originally Posted by GDL
The option of TravelBank at the purchase page does not show up for me at all. Was trying to book a Mex-USA-UK ticket. All on united metal. I thought maybe the international cities was preventing me from accessing the TB funds; but then went back and did dummy bookings all within US and still no option of TB on payment page.
Am I missing something here? Am I making any mistakes through the booking process?
I'm also not seeing the TravelBank option on the website - only on the app. Rather annoying.
JJ804 is offline  
Old Mar 14, 2023, 11:54 am
  #117  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 26
I need to book a ticket for my son on ANA. I have $1,200 in United Travel Bank. To clarify before I move ahead:

1) Book a dummy ticket for my son on United metal for around $1,200.
2) Wait > 24 hours and cancel the ticket. The $1,200 Travel Bank credit gets refunded as Future Flight Credit (FFC).
3) Use the $1,200 FFC + extra cash to book the ANA flight.

Is it as simple as that? My son is 2 years old. Does anyone know if it will any problem going through the steps outlined above? I have a ticket already on the ANA flight so if everything goes well, I will call up ANA to attach his ticket to mines. But I'm not certain if United's system will throw a fit if I try to purchase a solo ticket for a 2 year old.
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 4:16 pm
  #118  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sunny AZ
Programs: HH Diamond, Sixt Platinum, IHG Spire Ambassador, Marriott/SPG Gold .....
Posts: 3,261
Originally Posted by bruceleeroy
I need to book a ticket for my son on ANA. I have $1,200 in United Travel Bank. To clarify before I move ahead:

1) Book a dummy ticket for my son on United metal for around $1,200.
2) Wait > 24 hours and cancel the ticket. The $1,200 Travel Bank credit gets refunded as Future Flight Credit (FFC).
3) Use the $1,200 FFC + extra cash to book the ANA flight.

Is it as simple as that? My son is 2 years old. Does anyone know if it will any problem going through the steps outlined above? I have a ticket already on the ANA flight so if everything goes well, I will call up ANA to attach his ticket to mines. But I'm not certain if United's system will throw a fit if I try to purchase a solo ticket for a 2 year old.
Or do 1) and then “change flight” right afterwards and pay difference (worked for me).
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Old Mar 21, 2023, 8:51 am
  #119  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: NYC
Programs: AS, AA, UA, Hilton, Marriott, Caesars DE
Posts: 2,091
Any data points on Travel Bank refunds, I am looking at 19 days now and had also submitted a refund request for the original ticket over a week ago? Pretty ridiculous the time it takes to refund something in-house.
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Old Mar 21, 2023, 2:42 pm
  #120  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sunny AZ
Programs: HH Diamond, Sixt Platinum, IHG Spire Ambassador, Marriott/SPG Gold .....
Posts: 3,261
Originally Posted by safari ari
Any data points on Travel Bank refunds, I am looking at 19 days now and had also submitted a refund request for the original ticket over a week ago? Pretty ridiculous the time it takes to refund something in-house.
Around a week if I remember correctly
blitzen is online now  

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