United TravelBank Working Again

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Update 1/8/22: When United TravelBank returned on January 3, I made a $100 purchase with one of our Amex Platinum cards which had United selected for the airline fee reimbursements.

When checking my account yesterday, the statement credit wasn’t showing in the transactions list yet, although when clicking through to the card benefits the tracking bar at the top of the page showed that I’d used $100 of my airline fee credits.

United TravelBank Amex Airline Fee Credit used

That made me confident that United TravelBank was still working, but I wanted to wait until the actual statement credit hit my account and sure enough – the $100 credit appeared in my transaction list today. Other readers have reported the same thing in the comments below. There’s no knowing how long this opportunity will last, so it could be worth taking advantage of it sooner rather than later.

United TravelBank Amex Airline Fee Reimbursement

Update 1/3/21: United TravelBank is back up! We don’t know whether this is a permanent return or not, so it might make sense to take advantage sooner rather than later if you were looking for this option. Keep in mind that we don’t know whether anything has changed in terms of how charges code since the outage, so it might make sense to start with a $50 load to confirm that it works as expected before loading more. Keep in mind that this avenue briefly stopped working early last year.

The original post about TravelBank going down follows for reference.

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If you procrastinated with topping up your United TravelBank at the end of 2021, you were out of luck as United turned off the ability to do that on New Year’s Eve.

That was frustrating if you were wanting to use up your Amex airline fee credits at the last minute because TravelBank was a great way to lock in value from those credits if you had United selected as your airline choice.

Piggy Bank Money

It seemed strange that they’d turn off the ability to reload your TravelBank balance on what’s presumably one of their busiest days of the year for people taking advantage of the feature, but there wasn’t anything you could do at that point and so sadly people had those 2021 credits go to waste.

As you might expect, a number of people reached out to United to find out if and when TravelBank will be back and, as you also might expect, the replies provided by their reps have been all over the place.

One person was assured by a rep that it was a known issue and that it would only be down for a couple of days. Another was advised that United TravelBank would be down for about a week, but that it would be back.

More ominously – especially seeing as the United TravelBank landing page says ‘This offer has ended. This special offer is no longer available’ – a FlyerTalk member reports that they were told the following:

I sent a DM to United on Twitter and got a response that going forward Travel Bank had been discontinued but a new and exciting program will be launching soon to replace it. So that’s what I got but we will see what happens next

Three reps, three different answers.

United TravelBank went down mid-January last year before returning a few weeks later, so hopefully the same thing will happen again this year. For now it’s just going to be a case of having to wait and see if it does return, if a new program takes its place or if TravelBank is gone forever with nothing replacing it. If a new program is introduced to replace TravelBank, it’ll then take a few days for data points to start rolling in as to whether or not Amex airline fee credits get triggered.

If you applied for an Amex Platinum card in December 2020 with the intention of triple-dipping airline fee credits before cancelling in January, that doesn’t leave you much time to take advantage of the credits. American Express allows you to change your airline selection each year, so if you only have a week or two before you need to cancel your card in order to not be charged an annual fee, it could be worth changing your selection to a different airline and using a different method that does still work. Check Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works? for details about your other options.

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dizzy

I keep having my card declined. Amex said it’s UA

Mikey

Me too – on 2 of my 4 cards, it consistently gets declined without even hitting Amex (the other two have no problems). In fact the ‘declined” message appears so quickly for one of them, I’m not even sure it goes out to the network to process it. Very weird. I have used those cards for other stuff and for TravelBank also in late December.

Mikey

Hi @dizzy,
I think I just found a workaround and verified it on not just the 2 cards that were getting declined, but a third separate one also started to fail. So I think this is a pretty solid workaround.

  • Go to your main United Account and in the wallet, add the card that was getting declined as a “saved payment method”
  • Not sure if this matters, but if you have any other cards saved that have the same last 4 digits (and this happens often with Amex for diff cards since they used zeros generously in the last 4 digits), remove them from the saved payment methods, at least for now
  • Go back to TravelBank and purchase using the newly saved payment method. The declined cards work this way.

As someone with a software background, I think I have an inkling of what bug on UA’s side is causing this and it has to have been introduced very recently since the same cards worked for me even after Jan 1st based on my records. But my “guess” needs some more tests to confirm, which I am too lazy/busy to do right now. However, net result is that saving the payment method in your United account and then using it to purchase TravelBank funds seems to work for the cards it was declining.

And by the way, the cards that were NOT getting declined, still continue to work fine without the above workaround.

dizzy

Thank you! This worked right away!

JIMBO

100% it works, just seems to be taking longer than normal (purchased $50 on Jan 3, received credit on Jan 10).

BLUE TEAM GO, BLUE TEAM GO.

Steven

What am I doing wrong? it seems like I have go through your link to get to the travel bank site. I tried incognito and going through my account and can’t seem to get to the site where I can add funds.

Mikey

Yes, its been like this since they relaunched Travel Bank as different from a gift registry. You can view Travel bank activity etc in your MileagePlus account (under MyUnited, in the Dashboard under the TraveBank amount, click “View details”) For some odd reason, there is no way to get to the purchase page from there which would be the normal thing to do. But if you (a) go directly to the link as you have done (https://www.united.com/offers/travelcash) or (b) from MyUnited, click on Wallet->TravelBank, it will give you that purchase page after having you sign in one more time.

I suspect its still an integration-in-progress to tie in to the single sign on that the rest of the United website uses.

Steven

Cool…thanks!

Brands

Stephen, can you please update the title? It makes it seem like The travel bank is still down, and I freak out a little bit every time I see it!

Vince

Just purchased $100 (first time using this) and the amex charge comes up as “United electronic ticketing” not “United Airlines Houston TX” as your screenshot shows. I would guess that this is not going to reimburse.

Vince

Thank goodness! Thanks for the fast reply!

Boo Boo Bear

Like many others, purchased on 1/3 with credit today 1/8. I did $50×2.

Mick

My credits posted as of today as well for a 1/3 purchase. On related note: anyone else finding it difficult to book UA flights with travel bank? I press purple purchase button and it just spins around and around for minutes.

JEB

I’m corn-fused does it work (United Travel Bank) currently?

Thanks Stephen for all you do, love GCGalore.

Greg please give us our PEPPER more often, he saves me real money and seems like a great guy.

Chaser123!

So odd. I see the credit in my quicken transactions but when I log into amex I do not see the credits. Also odd on website charge is 1/3 and on quicken charge is 1/4 and credit is on 1/7. I have never noticed that items posted in quicken before I see it on Amex website.

Steven

made purchase on 1/3, see credit on account on 1/8 with a posted date of 1/7.

Amy

Just got my credits back on $200 Platinum and $250 Hilton Aspire yesterday.

Frank

Still no juice from Amex.

Hombre

Anyone gotten credit back from AMEX yet?

wendy

I bought on 1/3, the charge has been post, but no credit yet

Amy

Same here.

Hombre

Finally hit. Now to do all cards!

Mikey

Same here. Charged 1/4, credited 1/8, went ahead with all 7 cards between me and P2 on 1/9. Let’s hope they didn’t change their mind on this after crediting the test charge .