(EXPIRED) 5-10% bonus when adding United Travel Bank funds (potential great use of airline credits)

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United is offering a 5-10% bonus when you add funds to your United Travel Bank (the bonus amount depends on how much you add in one shot). While the bonus cash is only valid for 4 months, the money you actually add to your Travel Bank is valid for five years. I wouldn’t ordinarily be in a hurry to lock up cash in airline credits, but the fact that these are valid for so long means that it could be a terrific use of airline fee credits.

The Deal

  • United is offering a 5-10% bonus when you add funds to your United Travel Bank in the following denominations:
    • Load $50, get $2.50 bonus cash
    • Load $100, get $5 bonus cash
    • Load $250, get $25 bonus cash
    • Load $500, get $50 bonus cash
    • Load $750, get $75 bonus cash
    • Load $1,000, get $100 bonus cash
  • Direct link to this promotion

Key Terms

  • 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 made between December 3, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. CT and December 9, 2020, at 11:59:59 p.m. CT, are eligible for a bonus deposit equal to 5% of the purchase value for purchases of $50 and $100, and 10% for purchases of $250, $500, $750 and $1,000.
  • The bonus value expires 120 days from the bonus deposit date.
  • Purchases of TravelBank cash are not refundable and are limited to $1,000 per promotion per MileagePlus account.
  • See promo page for full terms

Quick Thoughts

As noted at the top, the amount of “bonus cash” you get depends on how much you load. These bonuses are on the amount added in one purchase — the bonuses are not cumulative to my knowledge.

Note that you can earn bonus cash on a maximum of $1,000 loaded to your United Travel Bank account and the promotion is set to end on 12/9/20.

There are a few reasons why this promotion is more appealing than it seems on the surface. If you know that you’ll book United travel in the next few months, this can obviously be a rare opportunity to save money on those trips. However, even if you’re not sure that you’ll travel before the bonus cash would be set to expire, you should be able to book a ticket with those funds now and then later cancel for a credit that is valid for a couple of years.

But more importantly, United Travel Bank purchases have been working lately to trigger Amex airline incidental credits. YMMV as this is not one of the “official” uses of those credits, but it has been known to work this year. It may also work with airline credits on cards from other issuers (like the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, etc). The nice thing here is that the funds you add to your travel bank remain valid for five years. That’s about as good as it gets if you’re looking to turn your incidental credits into funds that are usable well into the future.

I had a Hilton Aspire card with a full $250 in fee credits to use, so I just now added $250 to my United Travel Bank via the link above. While the purchase terms indicated that the bonus cash would be added within 7 days, I immediately saw it in my United account. Note that while the $275 initially showed an expiration of 4/3/21, an information bubble explained that my funds had different expiration dates. Clicking through for full details indicated that the $25 in bonus cash will expire on 4/3/21, but the $250 that I added are valid through 12/3/25.

I have long been using Southwest for Amex airline fee credits since award fees have long triggered the credits, but I may load up on United cash here in order to have funds available farther into the future since I will very likely find a good use within the next five years (I currently have enough Southwest points and gift cards to last me for the next couple of years).

Keep in mind that if you haven’t yet used any of your airline credit for the year, Amex will usually allow you to change it via the chat function on the website (and sometimes they have let me change it even after using some). It’s always worth asking if this appeals to you.

H/T: Dan’s Deals

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