Old Jan 25, 2024, 12:52 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
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

Print Wikipost

UA "TravelBank" Q&A {Archive}

Old Jan 13, 2020, 10:43 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 114
UA "TravelBank" Q&A {Archive}

I had bought a ticket on the United website using my travel bank funds and then changed my mind and canceled it within 24 hours. This was on Dec/21/2019 and the funds have not been returned yet to the travel bank as of today.

As part of the same trip, I had also separately paid for, and then subsequently canceled within 24 hours, tickets on Alaska airlines using my credit card. These funds were refunded to my card within 2 days.

United just takes too long to refund the money even when the trip was canceled within 24 hours. This is not the first time. United has taken a long time in other previous instances as well. So what is a reasonable time to give them? I have chatted with them twice and both times they said to expect the funds in 7 business days.

edit: Also the trip was more than a month out. So there is no issue of close ticketing/cancellation.

Last edited by sarpotd; Jan 13, 2020 at 12:09 pm Reason: trip time
sarpotd is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 10:52 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: SBA and LAX
Programs: AA, UA
Posts: 335
In my experience, the authorization never even posted to the account with UA when canceled within 24 hours. Might have to do something with the time of the day I booked and when UA systems capture the auth.

There was an instance with AA, I think that I had to call and request a refund. You may wanna call UA and check.
daKav is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 10:52 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,625
Originally Posted by sarpotd
United just takes too long to refund the money even when the trip was canceled within 24 hours. This is not the first time. United has taken a long time in other previous instances as well. So what is a reasonable time to give them? I have chatted with them twice and both times they said to expect the funds in 7 business days.
You've given them plenty of time. File a DOT complaint. It only takes a few minutes.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 11:00 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: UA 1K, Hyatt Globalist, Virtuoso Travel Agent, Commercial Pilot
Posts: 2,117
The DOT requires carriers to process credit card refunds within 7 business days of the cancellation, so I'd give them that plus a bit of buffer to give your card issuer time to process it.

Regardless, they've had plenty of time by now.
Sykes is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 11:03 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,625
Originally Posted by Sykes
The DOT requires carriers to process credit card refunds within 7 business days of the cancellation, so I'd give them that plus a bit of buffer to give your card issuer time to process it.
OP is asking about a TravelBank reservation; I'm not sure if there's a specific DOT timeframe for refunds to internal forms of payment, but, honestly, how long can it take? This is just UA not caring.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 11:05 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: UA 1K, Hyatt Globalist, Virtuoso Travel Agent, Commercial Pilot
Posts: 2,117
Originally Posted by jsloan
OP is asking about a TravelBank reservation; I'm not sure if there's a specific DOT timeframe for refunds to internal forms of payment, but, honestly, how long can it take? This is just UA not caring.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that it falls under the same rule. It's basically divided between electronic and cash/check payment types.
Sykes is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 11:17 am
  #7  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,153
Travel Bank refunds have had issues in the past and with the changes in TravelBank operation, it appears UA is seeing the Travel Bank is more of a problem than a benefit.
"TravelBank"- United.com Club & Gift Registry Q&A - No new/renewals as of 23 Apr 2019

You might try the "backdoor" [email protected] email account (if still active) that resolved many TravelBank crediting issues in the past.

Or file a formal refunds request

The DOT complaint is another avenue.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 11:45 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: MBS/FNT/LAN
Programs: UA 1K, HH Gold, Mariott Gold
Posts: 9,634
Does the ticket still show in your active itineraries?
jhayes_1780 is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 12:06 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 114
No. The ticket/itinerary does not show in 'my trips'. I got the cancellation email, which I have saved when I canceled the ticket.

I think I will file the complaint. I think someone higher up needs to take responsibility and fix it going forward.

Thank you all.
sarpotd is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 12:08 pm
  #10  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX
Programs: AS 75K; UA 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott LTP; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 56,703
Originally Posted by sarpotd
I think I will file the complaint. I think someone higher up needs to take responsibility and fix it going forward.
After cleaning up its act, UA has gotten lax with refund processing again. There may be another DOT fine in its future.
Kacee is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 12:11 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: MBS/FNT/LAN
Programs: UA 1K, HH Gold, Mariott Gold
Posts: 9,634
Originally Posted by sarpotd
I think I will file the complaint. I think someone higher up needs to take responsibility and fix it going forward.
If it was me: I would give UA one more shot, but include the DoT threat, and specify that it was cancelled on the 21st. If not resolved by next weekend, send to the DoT complaint pile.
jhayes_1780 is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 12:36 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 114
So I looked at the cancellation email again and here is what it says:

"Your reservation, XXXXX, was canceled and we have received your request for a refund. If you are requesting a credit card refund, please allow seven business days for processing. If your credit card refund is not posted within one billing cycle, please contact your credit card company. For all other forms of payment, including cash refunds, please allow 20 business days for processing.


Assuming travel bank comes under the cash refund clause I will give it another week to account for the end of the year holidays/weekends etc.
sarpotd is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 12:43 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 11,577
When more than a week has elapsed and my expected refund hasn't showed up, I find it easiest to just submit for a refund here: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/customer/refund (just give the reservation details and say your refund hasn't been processed). Only once did I ever have to follow up further.

I haven't been tracking to gauge if there is some systematic problem, though.
fumje is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2020, 2:58 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Canada! eh?
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 386
I noticed tickets refunds involving travel bank are automatic. but it goes in a queue for manual processing.
It takes approx 7 days. If you split a payment with Credit Card, it will be tied up and refunded together.
schnitzer is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2020, 10:01 am
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 114
No refund as of today. I have gone ahead and file a DOT complaint as well as manually asked for the refund through the form as well. FYI.
sarpotd is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.