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United TravelBank Card Review

United TravelBank Card Review

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Dec 11, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

United Airlines has several credit cards that earn miles and offer valuable benefits, but most charge annual fees. If you aren’t a regular United Airlines passenger, you may not get enough value from a United Airlines card to justify the fee. However, the United℠ TravelBank Card is a $0 annual fee card that offers travelers the ability to earn rewards towards future United Airlines flights.

With the United℠ TravelBank Card: Earn 2% in TravelBank cash per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United and 1.5% per $1 spent on all other purchases. These rewards are called TravelBank cash and can be used to purchase flight tickets on United. The sign-up bonus on the card is $150 in TravelBank cash after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

In this review, we’ll break down the pros and cons of the United℠ TravelBank Card, and show how it compares to the United℠ Explorer Card.

In this post:

Where the United℠ TravelBank Card stands out

Travelers often apply for the credit card of their favorite airline, but the annual fees can add up and make a dent in your budget. The United℠ TravelBank Card charges a $0 annual fee yet still has a solid rewards program.

Earn 2% in TravelBank cash per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United and 1.5% per $1 spent on all other purchases. The rewards earned on your card are saved in your TravelBank account and can be used to purchase tickets with United. If you don’t have enough TravelBank cash to buy your tickets, you can use a combination of cash and rewards to purchase the ticket.

The United℠ TravelBank Card offers $150 in TravelBank cash after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Additional benefits:

  • 25% statement credit for in-flight purchases for food, beverages and Wi-Fi
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Price protection

Where the United℠ TravelBank Card falls short

For those who are used to valuable perks from an airline credit card, you will be left wanting with the United℠ TravelBank Card.

No priority boarding. With most airline credit cards, you’ll typically receive priority boarding as a perk when paying with your card. This benefit is not available with this card.

No waived checked bag fees. Checked bag fees now cost $30 for the first bag, each way, on United. For many frequent fliers, a waived checked bag fee is a primary reason to have an airline’s credit card. The United℠ TravelBank Card does not offer this perk.

Limited redemption options. The TravelBank cash rewards earned are the same as cash. This means that you cannot redeem them for additional value like you can when booking with miles. For example, spending $50,000 on this card will only earn $750 in TravelBank cash (assuming you didn’t buy any United flights with the card).

Compare it to the United℠ Explorer Card

  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

  • Priority boarding, free first checked bag, & $0 foreign transaction fee

Highlights
  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck™ Fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

See additional details for United℠ Explorer Card

More Info

The United℠ Explorer Card offers a bundle of benefits for people who fly on United. You receive priority boarding for you and your companions on the same itinerary. Checked bag fees for you and one companion are waived. United gives you two complimentary passes to the United Club airport lounges each year. Plus, there are no blackout dates when booking award tickets.

As a new cardholder, you can earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

The card does have an annual fee of $0 intro for first year, then $95. The foreign transaction fee is $0, and you’ll be reimbursed up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees every four years. You’ll also save 25% on your in-flight purchases of food, drinks and Wi-Fi when flying with United.

See how the cards compare side-by-side in the table below.

United℠ TravelBank Card vs. United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ TravelBank Card United℠ Explorer Card
Annual fee $0 $0 intro for first year, then $95
Sign-up bonus $150 in TravelBank cash after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Rewards rate Earn 2% in TravelBank cash per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United and 1.5% per $1 spent on all other purchases Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Free checked bags None One each for cardholder and companion on same reservation
Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit None Up to $100 every four years
Priority boarding No Yes for cardholder and companions traveling on same itinerary
Foreign transaction fees $0 $0

The United℠ TravelBank Card and United℠ Explorer Card both earn rewards towards flights on United. While they both earn rewards, the TravelBank cash is more restrictive because those rewards are just like cash. The miles earned from the United℠ Explorer Card can be redeemed for potentially higher value flights.

The bottom line

The United℠ TravelBank Card is a good option to earn up to rewards on daily purchases without paying an annual fee. It offers a $150 in TravelBank cash after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Rewards earned are equivalent to cash and can only be used to pay for United flights. There are $0 foreign transaction fees and, if you do fly with United, you’ll save 25% on your in-flight purchases.

If you’re looking for a United Airlines card that has plenty of perks for the frequent traveler, consider the United℠ Explorer Card. The annual fee is $0 intro for first year, then $95 and you’ll get 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. The first checked bag is free for you and one companion and you’ll both receive priority boarding. Plus, you’ll be reimbursed up to $100 for any Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees every four years.

The information related to the United℠ TravelBank Card has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.


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