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Bask Bank is best known as the bank that offers an innovative savings account that earns American Airlines AAdvantage® miles. Now, Bask Bank is expanding to offer a more traditional account: the Bask Interest Savings Account.
We are still huge fans of earning airline miles instead of earning interest on savings. However, this new savings account gives you an easy way to diversify and earn cash interest on a portion of your savings. If you get both types of Bask Bank Savings Accounts, you’ll be able to quickly adjust your balances to get the ideal mix of miles and cash for your travel goals.
Here’s what you should know about Bask Bank’s new Interest Savings Account—and why everyone who has a Bask Mileage Savings Account that earns AAdvantage® miles should consider signing up.
- New Bask Interest Savings Account
- How the Bask Mileage Savings Account Works
- How You Can Get the New Bask Interest Savings Account
- Reasons to Earn Interest in Addition to AAdvantage® Miles
- Other Considerations
- Bottom Line
New Bask Interest Savings Account
The new Bask Interest Savings Account works just like any traditional savings account. You'll earn cash interest monthly based on the amount you deposit into the account and the current savings rate.
The current savings rate is 0.80% annual percentage yield (APY). At that rate, you'll earn $80 in cash interest per $10,000 saved per year. That’s over 13 times the national average savings account rate as of April 1, 2022.
As with the Bask Mileage Savings Account, there's no minimum balance or monthly fees.
How the Bask Mileage Savings Account Works
In case you're just learning about Bask Bank's Mileage Savings Account, here's how it works: You earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 saved per year. Mileage earnings are deposited monthly—usually just a few days after the month closes.
Say you deposit $10,000 into the Bask Mileage Savings Account. You'll earn mileage interest of around 27 miles per day. After a 30-day month, Bask Bank will deposit around 822 miles into your AAdvantage® account.
While that may not sound like much, the earnings definitely add up. Plus, earning AAdvantage® miles each month is a great way to make sure that your AAdvantage® miles don't expire from inactivity.
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Bask Mileage Savings Account. In fact, when interest rates dropped, I moved all of my cash savings into a Bask Mileage Savings Account. Since then, I've used the mileage earnings to book domestic awards from:
- Charleston to Atlanta (7,500 miles)
- St. Louis to New York City (8,750 miles)
- New York to Atlanta (7,500 miles)
- Las Vegas to New York (10,000 miles)
How You Can Get the New Bask Interest Savings Account
Initially, Bask Bank had limited sign-ups for its new Bask Interest Savings Account to current Bask Mileage Savings Account holders. That meant you couldn't sign up for the cash savings account on its own.
That restriction is no longer in effect. Now, anyone can open a Bask Interest Savings Account. Just head over to Bask Bank's website, and click the button to open an account. You'll see the option to open either type of account.
Current Bask Mileage Savings Account holders can add the new Bask Interest Savings Account from their online banking dashboard. Just click the “Discover Products” link in the main navigation to start the process.
Reasons to Earn Interest in Addition to AAdvantage® Miles
Finance is personal. So, everyone is going to have their own preferences on how they save their money. Most travelers will get more value from earning one AAdvantage® mile per dollar saved annually than earning an interest rate of 0.80% APY on their savings balance.
But that assumes you can put all of your AAdvantage® miles to use. If you already have enough miles to cover flights for the foreseeable future, there are some excellent reasons to shift your savings allocation to earn interest. Bask Bank makes it easy and convenient to change the type of return you’re earning—and manage your savings from a single online account.
Here are a few reasons that you might want to sign up for a new Bask Interest Savings Account in addition to a Bask Mileage Savings Account.
Ease of Changing Your Strategy
As noted above, the optimal strategy will depend on how much value you assign to American Airlines AAdvantage® miles and the current APY on the new Bask Interest Savings Account. Both are subject to change, so it’s a great move to set up both types of Bask Bank Savings Accounts to give yourself maximum flexibility.
American Airlines recently made some big changes to how AAdvantage® members earn elite status. Many feared that the next big announcement by the AAdvantage® program would include an increase in the number of miles you need for award travel. Fortunately, it looks like award prices will stay the same for now—but it’s always possible that AAdvantage® miles will become less valuable for the type of travel you want to book in the future.
Bask Bank’s two savings account options put you in a perfect position to adjust your personal earning strategy. Whether it’s a change in the cash interest APY, a change to the AAdvantage® program, or a change in your travel plans, you can easily shift from earning miles to cash or vice versa.
Use Interest to Cover Out-of-Pocket Costs on Award Tickets
When you redeem AAdvantage® miles for a flight, you’ll still be responsible for some out-of-pocket costs for taxes and “carrier-imposed surcharges” that aren’t covered by the miles you redeemed.
One reason you might want to allocate some of your cash to a Bask Interest Savings Account is to offset these additional fees. If some of your savings is earning interest, you can put that towards the out-of-pocket costs on your next award ticket.
Thankfully, American Airlines doesn't charge carrier-imposed surcharges (commonly referred to as “fuel surcharges”) on most awards. For domestic awards, you generally only pay the mandatory $5.60 security fee each way. That's true even on American Airlines Flagship Business class and Flagship First class premium transcontinental awards:
However, taxes and fees on international awards are often more expensive. Say you want to save up to visit Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest 2022. You can currently book an award from Los Angeles to Munich for the last weekend of the festivities for 50,000 AAdvantage® miles round-trip. But, you'll need to pay $135.27 in taxes and fees on this American Airlines economy award:
Out-of-pocket costs can be frustrating—especially when they are higher than expected. Award tickets are almost free, but you still have to hand over some cold hard cash along with your miles. If you allocate some of your cash to a Bask Interest Savings Account, you can use the interest you earn to cover those out-of-pocket costs.
At the current interest rate, this won’t be optimal unless you already have enough AAdvantage® miles for upcoming trips, but it can feel really nice to know that your hard-earned savings fully offset the cost of a trip by earning both miles and cash interest.
Use Interest to Cover Taxable Income from Earning Miles
Earning AAdvantage® miles instead of interest isn't free. Each year, Bask Bank is required to report the taxable value of the AAdvantage® miles you earn through your Bask Mileage Savings Account.
Thankfully this taxable rate is very low compared with the value you get from using miles. Currently, each mile earned increases your taxable income by just 0.42 cents. In other words, you’ll pay taxes on an extra $42 in income for every 10,000 AAdvantage® miles earned—no matter how much value you get from redeeming those miles.
If you want to avoid dipping into your savings to pay taxes on income from your Bask Bank Accounts, one option is to move enough money to your Bask Interest Savings Account to cover your tax bill.
The calculations can be a bit complicated if you want to get the math just right. But, let's run through an example of how you can do this.
Say you pay a 25% income tax rate, earn cash interest at 0.80% APY, and AAdvantage® miles are taxed at 0.42 cents per mile. For your cash interest to cover your income taxes on both accounts, you'll want to save about 20% of your savings in a Bask Interest Savings Account and the other 80% in your Bask Mileage Savings Account.
|Savings amount||Annual earnings||Taxable income||Tax Owed (at 25%)|
|Bask Interest Savings Account||$2,000||$16.00||$16.00||$4.00|
|Bask Mileage Savings Account||$8,000||8,000 AAdvantage® miles||$33.60||$8.40|
|Totals||$10,000||8,000 miles + $16||$49.60||$12.40|
With this savings allocation, you’d owe taxes on a total of $49.60 of income from your two Bask Savings Accounts. At a 25% tax rate, that translates to $12.40 in taxes owed on the combined earnings. That means the $16 you earned from your new Bask Interest Savings Account would be enough to cover the taxes incurred on both accounts.
- FDIC Insurance: If you've got a hefty amount of savings, keep in mind that the new account won't count separately for FDIC insurance. Since FDIC insurance is by institution, all accounts that you have with Bask Bank, BankDirect, and Texas Capital Bank will count toward the $250,000 insurance limit.
- Loyalty Points: Bask Bank shared with AwardWallet that AAdvantage® mileage earnings will not count as Loyalty Points in the new AAdvantage® elite status program.
The new Bask Interest Savings Account is now available to both existing Bask Mileage Savings Account holders and those that haven't previously held an account with Bask Bank. The new, traditional savings account offers competitive cash savings rates—currently 0.80% APY, 13 times the national average*.
We are still bigger fans of earning miles instead of cash interest. However, this new option gives travelers more options and an easy way to pivot between earning miles and cash on their savings.
* Industry average annual percentage yield of 0.06% is based on the FDIC calculated national rate effective 4/1/2022.
Terms & Disclosures:
Bask Bank and BankDirect are divisions of Texas Capital Bank, Member FDIC. The sum of your total deposits with (i) Bask Bank; (ii) BankDirect; and (iii) Texas Capital Bank, are insured up to $250,000. Additional coverage may be available depending on how your assets are held.
The value of this offer will be reported to the IRS and the recipient is responsible for any federal, state or local taxes on this offer.
American Airlines reserves the right to change the AAdvantage® program and its terms and conditions at any time without notice, and to end the AAdvantage® program with six months notice. Any such changes may affect your ability to use the awards or mileage credits that you have accumulated. Unless specified, AAdvantage® miles earned through this promotion/offer do not count toward elite-status qualification or AAdvantage® Million MilerSM status. American Airlines is not responsible for products or services offered by other participating companies. For complete details about the AAdvantage® program, visit aa.com/aadvantage.
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