Getting $200 in United Credit for $25 Via Club

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About a year ago I paid $25 for a yearly membership in the 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 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. club

I noticed that my 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 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 Club credit will be deposited in your TravelBank when travel is completed on any ticket purchased at

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 (excluding MileagePlus award travel).

If I am not a Club member and I purchase the ticket for someone who is a Club member, do they get the credit?
No. The per-ticket credits are only available to Club members who have signed in and purchased a ticket. The $5 credit will be issued to the purchasing Club member’s TravelBank after travel is completed.

Can I use Club deposits to pay for my taxes and fees for an award ticket (mileage redemption)?
No. 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.

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  1. That was really smart. All of you do a really great job of finding and making use of your bonuses but I have a question, how do you keep track of the bonuses you are signed up for? I use Awardwallet for my points and miles but what do you use to track bonus promos you’ve signed up for and due dates?

  2. Alisa, I’m a bad one to ask. Spreadsheets are popular. I only track the really big stuff. I would never track every single TravelBank dollar I am due as I simply don’t have the time. Maybe someone else will have better suggestions!
    Ed, yuck! I’ve never messed with that, but it doesn’t sound fun.
    Jon, ticket. You can book them on the same rez. For example, if we all book a ticket to Colorado on the same reservation we get the credit x 3.
    Naif, yes, and you need to be logged into your account.

  3. Thanks for writing about this, prompting me to check into my membership which I thought expired. It was part of the Continental Airlines Travel Bank credit card I had which earned a cash rebate with every dollar spent on the card. It was more rewarding then (redeemed for $100 and $189 toward airfares) but I just checked and found I’ve quietly earned $5 for every UA flight since October 2010 (my anniversary date with the card). The membership fee is incorporated into the fee for my UA Select Visa, as it was with the Continental card. Thanks to Chase and you!

  4. The club site says: “In addition, Club members receive special offers on travel and merchandise, including hotel, cruise and vacation packages.”

    Are any of these offers of real value? Has anyone experience with these offers?

  5. Would this work for paying for Economy Plus seat? For sake of clarity, your ticket was purchased when not logged in, but you later log in and purchase an E+ seat – would the credit then apply or not? It seems not, but thought I ask!

  6. Helena, if I have been offered one of those as a result of the club I haven’t noticed it as being any different than the normal spam type offers you get.
    Bob, I don’t think so, but not sure I have ever tried.

  7. Great post! Wasn’t really aware of this, but as a United Premier Platinum, I should have been, so I signed up after reading your post. Question: now that I’m a member, do tickets I’ve already booked qualify for the $5 credit? Or just tickets I book from this point forward? many thanks.

  8. This is probably already obvious given what has been said previously, but if I must use Amex to book corporate travel that then buys from United, that would not get credit huh?

    • Rebecca, the purchase would have to be made when logged into your United account, so if you have to book via a corporate travel site, through an Amex program, etc. then it won’t end up working for those tickets.

  9. Question directed toward Peggy or anyone else who knows: I have the old MP Select Visa and was not aware of this benefit (“The membership fee is incorporated into the fee for my UA Select Visa”). When I go to sign up for the Club, it doesn’t show a free option, but instead wants the standard $25, even though it suggests I pay with my MP Select Visa. Any ideas here? Do I go ahead with the purchase and then I get a credit later?

  10. Hi MP, Sounds like a good rational approach. Many, including me, look forward to following your experience over next year. Myself, I am unclear whether will be a UA 1k in 2016 too, but will probably stick for now as the Globals are handy if in a biz that requires international travel.

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