The IHG Premier Business Credit Card comes with a somewhat odd perk. You receive $25 in United Airlines TravelBank credit twice a year, for a total of $50 in annual credits. But because they are given twice a year, 6 months apart, and each expire after 6 months, it can be hard to use in a meaningful way.
If you fly UA all the time, this is just an easy $25 twice a year. However, if you are an infrequent flyer on UA, one or both of these is likely going to expire each year, thanks to the expiration policy:
Each calendar year, the primary cardmember will receive one $25 United® TravelBank cash deposit in their United MileagePlus® account on or about January 1, and another $25 United® TravelBank cash deposit on or about July 1.
TravelBank Cash that is received as part of this benefit and deposited between January 1 and June 30 will expire on July 15 of the same calendar year, regardless of deposit date. Deposits made between July 1 and December 31 will expire on January 15 of the following calendar year, regardless of deposit date.
You’ll note, however, that there is a 15 day overlap from “around” July 1 to “around” July 15th each year. The way to save these credits is to take that overlap time to book a ~$50 flight, wait until the risk-free 24 hour cancellation period ends, and then cancel the ticket for a Future Flight Credit.
I’ll walk you through how I did this – although I had an extra $25 on hand from last year due to a delay in getting my first TravelBank credit after receiving the card due to a system glitch.
For me, with $75, I hunted for a fare that I expected could be around $75 one way. I figured a short route like LAX-LAS (or maybe LGA-DCA, etc) would do the trick and I nailed it with an LAS-LAX flight for $74.90.
At checkout, I applied my TravelBank funds.
As you can see I owed nothing, but banked $74.90 into a ticket.
I waited until two days later (so as to not cut it close) and cancelled it. Voila! I now have the full $75 banked to use towards a future ticket by Jan 7, 2024
This might not be a life changing travel hack, but instead of having to actually use two random $25 credits before they expire, you can “bank” them for a full year.
But the best part is that, in July, I’ll get another $25 credit which I can of course combine with my future flight credit. So in my case, I can book a free $100 flight (or save $100 on a flight) from July onwards as long as I fly by Jan 7th, 2024. The only hutch here (as pointed out to me by several members of our Facebook group) is you cannot combine a Future Flight Credit with a TravelBank credit, so you’d have to find a $25ish flight, do the same thing, and use both Future Flight Credits (which can be combined).
In a normal case, it would be $50 + $25, or an easy $75 stacked up to use at once. You’re using the benefit only once per 18 months, but in a much more efficient way.
And that is how we take a lackluster benefit and use it a bit more advantageously 🙂
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You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.