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Update: Effective October 18, 2023, the Bask Interest Savings Account now earns 5.1% annual percentage yield (APY). Effective May 1, 2023, the Bask Mileage Savings Account earns 2.5 AAdvantage® mile per $1 saved per year.
Bask Bank is best known as the bank that offers an innovative savings account that earns American Airlines AAdvantage® miles. But in December 2021, Bask Bank expanded to offer a more traditional account: the Bask Interest Savings Account.
We are still fans of earning airline miles from savings. However, this 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 can 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 Interest Savings Account — and why everyone who has a Bask Mileage Savings Account that earns AAdvantage® miles should at least consider signing up.
- Bask Interest Savings Account Rates and Fees
- How the Bask Mileage Savings Account Works
- How You Can Get the Bask Interest Savings Account
- Reasons to Earn Interest in Addition to AAdvantage® Miles
- Other Considerations
- Bottom Line
Bask Interest Savings Account Rates and Fees
The 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 5.1% annual percentage yield (APY). At that rate, you'll earn $510 in cash interest per $10,000 saved per year.
For context on just how much Bask Bank has improved interest rates, consider that in June of 2022, the APY was just 0.80%. That's an increase of more than 6x in a short period of time — putting the Bask Interest Savings Account far ahead of the national average APY.
As with the Bask Mileage Savings Account, there's no minimum balance or monthly fees. Bask Bank deposits are FDIC insured through Texas Capital Bank up to $250,000.
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 2.5 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 55 miles per day. After a 30-day month, Bask Bank will deposit around 2,055 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 ensure 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 my AAdvantage® mileage earnings from Bask Bank to book awards from:
- Charleston to Atlanta (7,500 miles)
- St. Louis to New York City (8,750 miles)
- New York to Atlanta (7,500 miles)
- Houston to the Maldives in Qatar Qsuite (70,000 miles)
- Maldives to New York in Qatar Qsuite (70,000 miles)
- Johannesburg to Los Angeles in Qatar Qsuite (75,000 miles)
- Colorado Springs to Atlanta (9,500 miles)
- Atlanta to New York (7,500 miles)
- New York to London in Flagship First (72,000 miles)
- Stockholm to New York in Finnair business class (57,500 miles)
- Atlanta to Los Angeles (8,000 miles)
- Atlantic City to Austin (7,500 miles)
- Austin to Pittsburgh (9,500 miles)
- Atlanta to Bangkok in business class (70,000 miles)
- New York to Atlanta (6,000 miles)
From 2020-2022, it was a no-brainer to earn AAdvantage® miles instead of cash interest. Just look at all of that travel I've been able to take using my mileage earnings from Bask Bank!
However, earning 2.5 AAdvantage® mile per $1 saved per year isn't as clear of a winner now that you can earn 5.1% APY through the Bask Interest Savings Account.
How You Can Get the Bask Interest Savings Account
Initially, Bask Bank limited sign-ups for its Bask Interest Savings Account to current Bask Mileage Savings Account holders. 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 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. Some travelers will get more value from earning 2.5 AAdvantage® miles per dollar saved annually than earning an interest rate of 5.1% APY on their savings balance. Other travelers may prefer to earn cash interest and then use those earnings to pay for flights.
There are also other factors to consider. If you already have enough miles to cover flights for the foreseeable future, you may want to shift your savings to earn interest. Or, if you need to build your mileage balance for a particular award, you may want to prioritize earning miles instead.
If you're an account holder of both types of accounts, 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 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 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 AAdvantage® program would also include an increase in the number of miles you need for award travel in those changes. 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 are 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. 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 $126.45 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.
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 5.1% 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'd need to allocate less than 10% of your savings to a Bask Interest Savings Account. The rest can go into your Bask Mileage Savings Account.
|Savings amount||Annual earnings||Taxable income||Tax Owed (at 25%)|
|Bask Interest Savings Account||$1,000||$51||$51||$12.75|
|Bask Mileage Savings Account||$9,000||22,500 AAdvantage® miles||$94.50||$23.63|
|Totals||$10,000||22,500 miles + $51||$145.50||$36.38|
With this savings allocation, you’d owe taxes on a total of $144.50 of income from your two Bask Savings Accounts. At a 25% tax rate, that translates to $36.13 in taxes owed on the combined earnings. That means the $51 you earned from your Bask Interest Savings Account would be enough to cover the taxes incurred on both accounts plus have a little cash left in your account for out-of-pocket expenses.
- 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 confirmed with AwardWallet that AAdvantage® mileage earnings will not count as Loyalty Points in the AAdvantage® elite status program.
The Bask Interest Savings Account is now available to both existing Bask Mileage Savings Account holders and those who haven't previously held an account with Bask Bank. This traditional savings account offers competitive cash savings rates far above the national average.
We are still big fans of earning miles. However, Bask Bank is clearly leading the way in increasing cash interest rates, making it a tough decision about whether to earn miles or cash interest. Having both types of Bask Bank accounts gives travelers more options and an easy way to pivot between earning miles and cash on their savings.
Terms & Disclosures:
Bask Bank is a division of Texas Capital Bank. Member FDIC. The sum of your total deposits with (i) Bask Bank and (ii) Texas Capital Bank are insured up to $250,000. Additional coverage may be available depending on how your assets are held.
The annual percentage yield is effective as of Monday, June 12, 2023. Rate is variable and subject to change after account opening. There are no monthly account fees. If an account remains unfunded for fifteen (15) days, we reserve the right to close that account. Read Terms and Disclosures here.
AAdvantage® bonus miles are awarded within 10 business days upon meeting offer qualifications and may take 6 to 8 weeks to post to your AAdvantage® account. The value of this bonus 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 Miler™ 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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