Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
About a year ago I paid $25 for a yearly membership in the United.com Club. In return for my $25 fee, I received a $5 credit in my United TravelBank for each ticket I purchased (that was also actually flown) on united.com for the next 12 months. I only had to purchase and fly on 5 tickets to break even, and I knew I would purchase much more than that since I travel on United a fair amount, have three travelers in my family, and sometimes buy tickets for others as well.
I noticed that my united.com Club membership has expired, so before deciding whether to pay the $25 to renew my membership I looked at how much I had earned throughout the year. Turns out so far $200 in credit had been deposited into my TravelBank account thanks to this $25 membership purchase. That means that roughly 40 tickets were bought and flown from my account within the last 12 months. Not everyone will have that good of a return for their $25 investment, though I am sure some do much better than I did, especially since the tickets booked can be for anyone. I think this is the kind of offering that can work really well for families since one person having the membership can result earning $5 credit for everyone’s tickets as long as they are purchased when logged into that account. If you purchase the outbound and return separately that will count double (though from Houston that is often cost prohibitive on many routes so we didn’t do that very often).
If you are new to United.com here are some FAQs from their website about this program:
If I purchase a ticket for another person, do I get the credit?
Yes, as long as you are signed in when you make the purchase. A $5 united.com Club credit will be deposited in your TravelBank when travel is completed on any ticket purchased at united.com.
Can I use my credit toward any flight?
Credits are deposited in your TravelBank and may be applied to United or United Express® air travel purchased on united.com (excluding MileagePlus award travel).
If I am not a united.com Club member and I purchase the ticket for someone who is a united.com Club member, do they get the credit?
No. The per-ticket credits are only available to united.com Club members who have signed in and purchased a ticket. The $5 credit will be issued to the purchasing united.com Club member’s TravelBank after travel is completed.
Can I use united.com Club deposits to pay for my taxes and fees for an award ticket (mileage redemption)?
No. united.com Club credits are deposited to your TravelBank, which is currently only applicable for the purchase of non-award tickets.
If the balance in my TravelBank exceeds my ticket price, what happens to the balance?
The TravelBank amount designated for the ticket purchase will be deducted and any remaining balance will stay in your TravelBank for future use.
Can I use my TravelBank funds to pay for a partial amount of my ticket if the balance in my TravelBank is less than the ticket price?
Yes. The TravelBank funds may be combined with a credit card to complete the ticket purchase. Additional form of payment combinations may be added in the future.
I will add that you cannot combine TravelBank funds and a gift certificate or voucher to go toward the same purchase, though as the FAQ’s state, you can make a partial payment toward the ticket with TravelBank funds and pay the rest via a credit card.
This is just one of the many things that my family does to stretch our travel dollars a little further. Turning a $25 purchase into $200 in United credit over the course of a year isn’t a game changer, but it isn’t bad either.