How to Make the Most of United Airlines' TravelBank (2022)

Guide on How To Use United's Travel Bank

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In this article, I will explain how to set up an account with United's TravelBank and load money onto it.

United's TravelBank is a great way to make use of credit card travel credits that expire within a year.

United's TravelBank allows for the rerouting of funds for a period of five years, providing some longevity and flexibility despite the fact that travel is not expected to pick up again in the near future.

Funding your United TravelBank with no-interest cash from your credit cards is a smart way to save money on airfare, whether you're planning a trip this year or for later.

United's Online Travel Agency (TravelBank)

When booking flights with United or United Express, you can use your TravelBank funds alone or in conjunction with certain other payment methods, as stated by United.

When I tried to use my TravelBank balance to cover the taxes on an award ticket or the price difference on a voucher or rebooked travel credit, the system always gave me an error.

But when I tried to book paid United tickets, even though the fare was Basic Economy, I ran into no problems.

Together, United and Basic Economy Have Created TravelBank

Constraints and Restrictions

The following details are drawn directly from United com

  • You can choose from six different purchase amounts, and your TravelBank balance will remain active for five years from the date of purchase.  
  • In addition to a daily limit of $5,000 per MileagePlus account, all purchases are final.
  • United reserves the right, with or without prior notice, to cancel or amend this promotion or any of its terms, conditions, rules, regulations, policies and procedures, benefits, and/or conditions of participation, in whole or in part.

United's TravelBank: How to Load Your Account with Money

STEP 1:

Use the link below to access United's TravelBank. United requires that you access your MileagePlus account before making a purchase.  

Don't have a United Club card just yet  

In addition to being completely free, signing up is also very simple. To join United's Mileage Plus program, please click here.

STEP 2: 

You can check your United Mileage Account, your United miles, and your TravelBank cash balance after logging in.  

We won't go into detail about Plus Points, but that's a points system that lets passengers upgrade their flights for free. The details of this initiative are available here.

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STEP 3:

Choose the amount of money you'd like to spend on your trip.

You can fund your TravelBank with one of six different amounts, as was previously mentioned.

Guide on How To Use United's Travel Bank

STEP 4:

On the following page, you'll be prompted to enter your billing details.

You should use an airline-affiliated credit card in this situation. You can find a list of these credit cards in one of the subsequent sections.

After that, you will be notified that your purchase went through successfully. In addition, you'll receive a receipt via email right away.

For this illustration, I referred to my The American Express Platinum® Card for Organizations purchase $100 in United TravelBank

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How to Spend Your United Airlines Gift Card

STEP 1:

The generous time limit of five years that we have to use our vacation funds is greatly appreciated.  

Return to your United account whenever you're ready to make a reservation for your flight. Log on to your profile on com and add your itinerary.

Guide on How To Use United's Travel Bank

STEP 2:

Choose your flight, double-check your info, and select your seat.

After that, click the link to proceed to the Payment Page.  

United will then ask if you would like to purchase travel insurance (yes/no options), priority boarding, or miles.

The section for making a payment will appear after you make your decision about whether or not to buy the optional extras.

A variety of payment methods are available to you:

  • United TravelBank Cash and Travel Certificates (if you don't see this option, it's because you're not allowed to pay for this particular ticket with travel cash) )
  • The Acceptance of PayPal and Other Alternative Payment Methods
Guide on How To Use United's Travel Bank

STEP 3:

Go to the Payment Options menu and pick "Travel Certificates and United TravelBank Cash." ” 

My $100 vacation fund deposit has been posted to my account.

Guide on How To Use United's Travel Bank

STEP 4:

The next step is to input the total cost of the flight you wish to book.

It is not required that you spend all of your United travel cash at once if you have other plans for its use.

When you've settled on a sum, it's time to hit the "Apply" button.

Here's an example: I withdrew from my $100 United TravelBank balance.

Guide on How To Use United's Travel Bank

STEP 5:

The remaining balance will be calculated immediately following the deducting of your travel cash.

Guide on How To Use United's Travel Bank

STEP 6:

To proceed with your purchase, please choose your preferred method of payment for the outstanding balance.   

It's wise to pay at least some of the airfare with a credit card that provides some sort of travel protection, like the Involves the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card or the The Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card from Chase.  

You can also opt to buy Insurance for a Trip in order to pay for the whole trip  

When you book your United flight before March 31, 2021, you have the option to change your departure date without any fees, even if you plan to leave on a date after the However, before you click "buy," you should check the specific flight's terms and conditions.

Where Can I Find My TravelBank Account Information?

United's website has been recently updated. Your United TravelBank account details and balance are accessible in the "Wallet" section of the United app or website.

Format: Electronic Version
Electronic Model
Mobile Application Release

Solving Possible Problems

First Problem: United's Online Travel Agency (TravelBank) Is Missing

A number of you have mentioned that you can't seem to find United's TravelBank option on their website.

STEP 1:

If you see a notice like the one below under "Payment Method" and want to make a payment, but United's site is in the process of updating its payment page, you can do so by clicking the "find those payment options..." link.

STEP 2:

Following this link will take you to United's "United Travel Options" page, where you can choose to supplement your purchase with trip cancellation and medical coverage. A choice must be made.

STEP 3:

After that, select "Payment Information," where you'll see the TravelBank option.

STEP 4:

To pay with Travel Cash, go to "Travel Certificates and United TravelBank Cash" and click the appropriate button. Substitute the sum you're willing to spend here.

Some experts recommend charging at least some of your flight on a card that offers travel insurance, such as the Credit Card with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Name or the The Credit Card with the Most Luxury Amenities, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

In addition, you have the option to buy Insurance coverage for a trip furthermore, to cover more ground

Troubleshooting Step 2: United's TravelBank Keeps Freezing

When looking into purchasing a $167 plane ticket to Cabo Recently, I was having trouble paying with TravelBank on the United website, and the page eventually froze.

After much trial and error, I discovered that entering a whole number into the TravelBank box would cause it to function.

Specifically, I used a credit card that provides travel protections ( Traveler's Checks ) and $165 in TravelBank credits to purchase this ticket. Credit Card with a Sapphire Reserve® Designation from Chase In order to make up the difference ($2 78)

Problem 3: Payment Failure When Attempting to Add a New Credit Card to Your TravelBank Account

United The number of credit cards that.com can store on your profile is limited.

If you're unable to add a new credit card to your United TravelBank account, you may need to sign in to your primary United account. com account, navigate to "Wallet," delete any unused credit cards, and add any new cards you'd like to store.

Take note of the last four digits of your credit card and its expiration date once you've linked it so you can quickly locate it on your list of saved cards the next time you try to buy United TravelBank funds.

United Airlines Travel Credits - When Do They Expire?

It now seems that five years is the cutoff for using TravelBank funds. I took the screenshot below from my TravelBank account, which seems to back up my claim.

United TravelBank deposits are good for five years, but if there is no activity for 18 months, the money will be lost.

Consequently, at least once every 18 months, either add money to your TravelBank or use your TravelBank funds to buy tickets.

However, United also specified that refunds for canceled tickets paid for with TravelBank dollars do not count as an eligible activity. In a nutshell, the expiration date will NOT be recalculated for redeposited funds.

United may also alter the termination date of subsequent deposits or end the program entirely at any time. Who knows? Only time will tell.

If you're running out of time to use up airline credit on your credit card, you should definitely look into this option to convert it into flexible currency.

What Credit Cards to Apply For

Funding your TravelBank account should only be done if you do not plan on making any other qualifying travel purchases for the remainder of the year.

Chase 

A Credit Card from Chase Called the Sapphire Reserve® (CSR)

The $300 annual travel credit that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) card expires on the cardholder's anniversary date and cannot be carried over to the following year.

Since Chase offers a wide variety of valuable ways to redeem this credit, I advise against using it to buy funds on United's TravelBank.  

Your travel credit will be activated not only when you buy a plane ticket, but also when you buy transit passes, rideshare services, parking, lodging, meals, and activities while away.  

Citi

Credit Card with the Citi Prestige ® Logo, a Trademark of Citi

The $250 dining and transportation credit on this card can now be used for everyday purchases like food and takeout.

However, unlike Chase, this credit starts over every year and does not carry over.

As there are better ways to spend your money, I would not recommend using your Citi Prestige travel credits to buy United TravelBank funds.

Visa, MasterCard, and American Express

Credit Cards from American Express® that Waive Airline Fees

  • An Individual Platinum Credit Card from American Express ($200 Discount on Plane Fare Per Year)
  • The American Express Hilton Aspire® Credit Card a $250 annual credit toward airfare

When compared to Chase and Citi, whose similar offers are more convenient, American Express' airline fee credit is more difficult to redeem.

In order to make the most of these deals, consumers have had to jump through hoops time and time again over the past few years.  

Credits from Chase and Citi can be used with any airline or other travel service, and there is no need to activate them.

Whereas American Express's Airline Fee Credit is inactive until you activate it, Additionally, it is only valid for travel on the specific airline that you choose in advance (ideally at the start of the year).

There are indications (DP) that Amex has been more accommodating in allowing the preferred airline to be changed via chat as of late, but it is impossible to know with certainty how long this trend will continue.

Amex Limits Credit for Airline Fees

AMEX has very specific rules about what kinds of fees are eligible for this rebate.  

Technically, only non-essential purchases like seat selection, baggage fees, change fees, lounge access fees, and in-flight food and beverage purchases qualify.  

Awards, airfare, upgrades, and gift cards are examples of more commonplace expenditures that do not qualify.

United TravelBank is currently one of the additional methods that temporarily appear to activate this airline fee credit.  

While there is nothing in the fine print to indicate that this particular purchase does not qualify, I feel it necessary to emphasize that Amex reserves the right to reverse this credit at any time if they determine that TravelBank is not eligible. Therefore, consider that possibility.  

This strategy should only be used if you know you won't be making any more airline fee purchases before the end of the year.   

Procedures for Choosing an Airline Using American Express

Since AMEX doesn't make it obvious how to activate this perk, read on to learn how to pick your preferred airline before making a purchase.

You should choose United as your airline of choice if you want this TravelBank tactic to work to its full potential.  

STEP 1:

Go to AmericanExpress.com, The next step is to sign in to your account.

STEP 2:

You can get a refund on your airline fees by using one of the American Express cards that currently do so.

  • The Platinum Card from American Express
  • American Express Platinum for Business
  • To the Hilton Aspire, American Express

STEP 3:

Benefits can be accessed from the main page by clicking "More" and then "Benefits." ”

STEP 4:

Find "Airline Fee Credit" on the Benefits page's bottom. Here's where you can make yearly adjustments to your preferred airline.  

It's worth stressing again that you can't switch your preferred airline midway through the year, so make your decision carefully.

However, there are anecdotal reports of people who were able to change their airline by chatting with AMEX, though your mileage may vary.

The following U.S. airlines accept your fee credit as of the date of this writing: S carriers:

  • United
  • American
  • Delta
  • Alaska
  • Southwest
  • Frontier
  • Hawaiian
  • JetBlue
  • Spirit

If you're on the Benefits page, sign up for everything that looks interesting, even if you're not 100% sure you'll use it.  

You may as well make use of them since you effectively already paid for them when you paid your annual fee.

The high annual fee for an Amex ultra-premium card can be somewhat mitigated by making the most of the airline fee credit.

STEP 5:


Make a payment toward your AMEX travel credit.

Under this perk, AMEX creates a tracker that shows how much airline credit you have left, in case you've lost track of it.

STEP 6:

Verify on a regular basis that the credit for airline fees was applied to your Amex card.

If that isn't the case, it's likely that Amex has closed this redemption option.  

Closing Reflections

To that end, United's TravelBank is a welcome addition to the limited list of eligible purchases that trigger American Express's elusive airline credit.

I know this method won't last forever, so I try to take advantage of it while I can, especially when I'm about to run out of options for redeeming my Amex airline fee credit.

I'm crossing my fingers that Amex follows the lead of Chase and Citi and eases up on this perk, making redemption much simpler in the future. To tide us over until then, we'll have to comply with American Express' rules

At the end of the day, I'm thrilled that United's TravelBank gives us such a great new way to spend our unused travel credits.

It not only extends the life of our money, but also gives us the leeway we really need, especially in these volatile times.  

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of any financial institution, credit card company, hotel chain, or airline. None of the entities mentioned in the post have reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed the content.

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