Earn 5,000 Bonus AAdvantage® Miles With a Bask Bank Savings Account

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Looking for a way to boost your American Airlines AAdvantage® balance? You can now put your savings to work earning miles instead of interest with a Bask Bank Savings Account.

Traditional methods of earning frequent flyer miles have grown harder to capitalize on in recent years, and the need to diversify your rewards earning strategy is more important than ever before. This means looking outside of conventional points and miles earning techniques at strategies you may not have used in the past.

This week, we want to introduce a way of leveraging your savings to earn AAdvantage® miles from a Bask Savings Account. You can earn unlimited miles, there are no fees, it’s quick to set up, and you’ll get 5,000 bonus AAdvantage® miles when you open an account and fund it with $1,000 for at least 30 days.

Key Features and Highlights of the Bask Bank AAdvantage® Offer

A Bask Savings Account earns miles instead of interest. Every dollar you save earns one AAdvantage® mile annually, paid in monthly installments into your AAdvantage® account. On top of the annual earnings, Bask Bank is currently offering a one-time account opening bonus, a feedback bonus, and a tiered balance bonus if you maintain a balance of between $25,000 and $100,000 for 12 consecutive months.

These are the details for each of the bonuses:

Account Opening Bonus

  • Deposit $1,000 in your Bask Savings Account and earn 5,000 bonus miles.
  • Must open an account by February 29, 2020. Must maintain a minimum account balance of $1,000 for 30 consecutive days within 60 days of opening an account. Valid through February 29, 2020

Feedback Bonus

  • Help Bask Bank perfect their program and earn 1,000 bonus miles.
  • Must provide feedback through the online banking portal or mobile app. Offer valid through June 30, 2020.

Balance Bonus

$25,000 Balance Bonus

  • Maintain a $25,000 balance in your Bask Savings Account and earn 10,000 bonus miles.
  • Fund your account within 60 days of opening and maintain a minimum account balance of $25,000 for 12 consecutive months. 5,000 miles paid after six consecutive months of a $25,000 balance, 5,000 miles paid after 12 consecutive months of a $25,000 balance. Valid December 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020.

$50,000 Balance Bonus

  • Maintain a $50,000 balance in your Bask Savings Account and earn 20,000 bonus miles.
  • Fund your account within 60 days of opening and maintain a minimum account balance of $50,000 for 12 consecutive months. 10,000 miles paid after six consecutive months of a $50,000 balance, 10,000 miles paid after 12 consecutive months of a $50,000 balance. Valid December 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020.

$100,000 Balance Bonus

  • Maintain a $100,000 balance in your Bask Savings Account and earn 40,000 bonus miles.
  • Fund your account within 60 days of opening and maintain a minimum account balance of $100,000 for 12 consecutive months. 20,000 miles paid after six consecutive months of a $100,000 balance, 20,000 miles paid after 12 consecutive months of a $100,000 balance. Valid December 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020.

The name on the savings account must match the name on your AAdvantage® account, so you need to be the primary account holder to transfer the miles into your account.

How to Maximize the Bask Bank AAdvantage® Partnership

With the average savings account fetching an interest rate of ~1%, earning miles allows you to leverage your savings for travel experiences you couldn’t otherwise afford with the interest garnered from your account balance. Let’s crunch some numbers to see how earning AA miles instead of interest rolls out over the first year if you moved $100,000 into a Bask Savings Account:

Savings account earning 1%

  • $100,000 x 0.01 = $1,000
  • Total: $1,000

Bask Bank Savings Account

  • $100,000 x 1 mile = 100,000 miles
  • + 5,000 Opening Account Bonus
  • + 1,000 Feedback Bonus
  • + 40,000 Balance Bonus
  • Total: 146,000 AA miles

What is 146,000 AAdvantage® miles worth? That depends on how you redeem them. But they are potentially worth a lot more than $1,000 if you use them to book international premium cabin flights on American or partners like Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and Etihad.

For example, 140,000 AA miles will land you round-trip business-class flights from New York to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, paying minimal fees and taxes.

Bask Bank American Airlines AAdvantage Promotion

The nearest cash equivalent business-class tickets will set you back $3,098, much higher than the $1,000 you would receive as interest over the course of a year.

Bask Bank American Airlines AAdvantage Promotion

And if you were to book the exact same flight on Cathay Pacific, it would cost roughly $17,000! While it is not likely you would pay $17,000 for a flight in any class of service, the miles earned on your savings can buy you adventures you wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.

Are There Any Potential Downsides?

While you won’t pay any account fees for a Bask Savings Account, you do need to factor in that the IRS treats miles as taxable when they are earned from a bonus like this one; Bask Bank will send you a 1099 at the end of the year based on the miles earned with your account. Fortunately, Bask Bank values AA miles at a much more conservative value than we attribute them here at AwardWallet.

According to Bask Bank's terms and conditions, “Miles are currently valued at 0.42 cents per mile, the equivalent of 0.42% annual percentage yield.” While this value is subject to change, it gives us a good point of reference for how taxes could be affected.

If you maximize this offer and earn 146,000 miles, the taxable value at 0.42 cents per mile would be $613.20. At a 30% marginal tax rate, you’d be looking at a cost of ~$185, which is quite modest when compared with the potential value of the flights you could book with your miles.

It's worth keeping in mind that gains from any high-interest savings account are also subject to taxes, so the real question is whether you can get substantially more value from the AAdvantage® miles you can earn with Bask Bank. And the answer should be a resounding yes. Since Bask Bank doesn't charge any monthly fees, you can think of the tax liability as the out-of-pocket cost for collecting miles.

Please Note: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. 

Final Thoughts

Most frequent flyer programs allow you to supplement the miles earned by flying and spending on co-brand credit cards with points transferred from flexible rewards programs like Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards, providing an easy way to boost your account balance without increasing your everyday spending. The ability to supplement your current miles earning strategies by earning AAdvantage® miles on your savings could provide a significant boost to your balance at the end of the year.

While it’s common to earn miles via credit card spending, flying, shopping portals, and dining programs, the one thing that’s been missing is earning airline miles on your savings. We don’t see the Bask Savings Accounts as replacing the traditional methods of collecting frequent flyer miles, but it's a great way to supplement the miles earned via credit card bonuses, and it enhances your earning options. In the 48 months you now have to wait between signup bonuses on the Citi AAdvantage® cards, you could potentially earn tens or even hundreds of thousands of AA miles by banking your savings in a Bask Bank online savings account.

Miles awarded to you are subject solely to the terms and conditions of the AAdvantage® program. Please refer to these disclosures for additional questions regarding miles. Bask Bank is not liable for lost or expiring miles.

Bask Bank, a division of Texas Capital Bank, N.A. Member FDIC

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Comments

  • ron_vaughn@hotmail.com says:

    Not a bad deal when compared to the paltry rates generally offered by banks. But I do see higher rates for one years CDs advertised by Ally, Synchrony and others, around 2%. That might change the math a bit.

  • So instead of taking a guaranteed 1.7% monthly cash payment from Capital One 360 performance savings or 1.6% monthly interest rate from Ally you want me to take less of a return from an unheard of Bask Bank and run the risk of them defaulting and American devaluing their entire program which is a very real possibility. Most of the benefits are paid on the back end making the deal worse. Using The Points Guy’s value of 1.4 cents per mile and getting taxes on 0.43 cents makes they yield less than 1 percent. Almost every loyalty program has been gutted wholesale with a few areas left that are being phased out slowly (top tier awards requiring increasing points/miles, creation of peak vs. non peak, etc.). How can you steer people towards Bask when it is so clearly inferior to earning real cash on your money, paying taxes on it, and using the excess cash to fly whatever airline you want….

    • If you’re getting less than 1.4 cents per American mile, and you get 1.7% interest, this might not be for you.

      I don’t follow your calculation on the <1% yield. Unless you're paying a 100% tax rate, paying taxes on 0.42 cents won't reduce your yield to less than one percent (even if you use 1.4 cents per AA mile). If you get 10,000 miles, at 0.42 cents each, your 1099 would be for $42 in income. (which doesn't mean you pay the IRS $42). It means you pay income taxes as if you earned $42 dollars more during the year.

      If you had a 1.7% interest account with $10,000, you'd pay taxes on $170 in income.
      At 30% tax, 1.7 savings account costs $51 for a net gain of $119

      With 10K Earning AA miles, you'd get 10,000 miles and pay $12.60 in taxes (30% tax times $42 in taxable income).
      10K AA miles at 1.4 cents is $140 worth of miles for a net gain of $127.40

      $127.40 > $119, so even at 1.4 cents, AA miles would come out ahead.

      Would I rather have $119 or 10,000 AA miles (and pay $12.60 in tax)? I’ll take the miles without hesitation.

  • I like options to earn bonus miles without a credit check!

  • ron_vaughn@hotmail.com says:

    Your math seems to need a bit of adjustment.

    1. Using the CSR card to pay the cash fare you earn at least $92.94 cash rebate. Or you would earn 6,056 miles using an AA card.

    2. You would earn at least 5 miles/$1 spent for the cash fare, higher if you have status, minimum of 15,060 miles (estimate $68 of the cash fare is govt fees).

    3. Ergo, using miles actually costs you 161,116 AA miles, not the 140,000 you quoted.

    4. Compared to a one year CD at an advertised rate of 2% (Ally, Marcus, NFCU, etc.) yields $2,000 in lost interest (reduced by the $68 fees charged by AA) in exchange for 161,116 AA miles, or about 1.2 cents per mile.

    • Fair point; opportunity cost can be hard to calculate. While you would certainly earn many more miles for buying a cash fare, a ~$3,000 business class ticket would cost 200,000 Chase points with the CSR. For those that can (and do) buy business class tickets, there are certainly some other details to consider, including redeemable miles earned and elite qualifying progress when you buy a paid ticket.

      I see your point in #4, but I’ll still take AA miles over 2% interest.

  • Not to steal the thunder from the blog post, but I’d suggest considering not just the hypothetical 1% savings rate, but also real available rates like 1.6% (Ally), 1.8% (Purepoint), etc.

  • Salina Chen says:

    anybody opened this bank account? how easy to close it?

  • Not a bad deal if you’re looking to earn some points

  • Its certainly a tempting option to park some cash in, but any potential tax issues would make it not worthwhile. However, if you are only getting about the 5k bonus, would a 1099 be issued still for that smaller value?

  • Thank you for the promotion info.

  • While getting miles is great, I think most people would prefer interest on their account.

  • Some banks now are offering comparable deals, but with cash, not miles, which are more limiting.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    The concept of earning tens or even hundreds of thousands of AA miles by banking my savings in a Bask Bank online savings account, is very appealing. Sounds good.

  • Do we have to pay tax on the AA miles earned.

    If the FED raise interest, will the bank more miles accordingly?

  • Never heard of Bask and we prefer to bank with a trusted company.

  • It looks interesting on the surface but, just as I prefer earning flexible points, I definitely prefer to earn my interest in the most flexible currency of all: Cash. It is true that you can get outsized value from redemptions, but you also have to find that award availability.

  • Interesting. I received the email earlier this week. Seems, if you just need a few miles to top off your an account for an award flight, going with the minimum $1,000 in the account for a year, you would earn either 6K or 7k in miles (do you also get 1K for the $1k plus the 5k bonus and the 1k feedback bonus or just the 5k and the feedback?) Either way, it works out to 6 or 7 percent return based on the value of one cent per mile. Granted this is on a small dollar amount. The one thing, I did not see anywhere, are the funds protected by FDIC or similar insurance?

    • Hey there. You’ll still earn the normal rate on the 1K deposit (in addition to the bonus). So if you leave that in the account for a full year, you could expect 7,000 miles including the feedback bonus. Bask is a division of Texas Capital Bank which is a member of FDIC. (see note at the bottom of the post).

  • What you are giving up in interest elsewhere is unlikely worth more than you should “pay” for AA miles – especially considering they will be taxable at likely some inflated value on a 1099.

  • I tried to open an account and ran into many technical issues at the Bask website and was advised to contact customer service. They were worthless. After four attempts as advised I gave up.

    • Read your comment after I posted mine, ha. Same here. I couldn’t receive the security code to my phone and they said it was a browser issue. WTH?

    • That’s rather unfortunate. You certainly want to competency from your bank… for a number of reasons.

  • I think we’ll see more of this as competition for your money grows – points-based incentives instead of just interest rates.

  • I do not think it is worth the hassle of opening a bank account for a 5000 mile bonus. There is also absolutely no way I would tie up $100K to get some AA miles. You stand to come out way, way ahead by investing that money. Long term return will far out way any miles, which do the opposite and decrease in value as time passes.

  • It is better off to buy corporate bonds with around 3% yields if you actually spare have 100 K.

  • I think they have better rates than my current bank…thanks!

  • This is an interesting savings product. It may be worth the account bonus. But I don’t know how long the account must remain open with the $1000 in order to get and keep the bonus miles. Also, I do not like the fact that I have to pay income tax on the miles.

  • I heard about this earlier and have already gotten the 1000 miles into my account. Soon I will be putting in to get the 5000. I like that you’re telling us about this to make sure we have this as an option. I like earning interest on my money but I also earn money back from shopping apps that I can put into this and earn miles with American. Something that I wouldn’t be doing with that money. I usually just put into paypal. So it’s a win-win for me.
    It’s a try for a Texas bank that has promos to earn miles with American and now they are trying this. I’m willing to gamble and earn miles. It does say it’s protected and I had no issues at all setting it all up.
    I did read through reviews of Bask and everything on their website before signing up. So I will try it out.

  • Sounds interesting! How easy is this Account to close?

  • Although the downside is that there’s a taxable value attributed to these miles that you have to report to the IRS on, consider that 0.42 cpm is an incredible value for AA miles that are not that easy to get otherwise. Fiji Airways redemptions, Air Tahiti Nui and the Emirates Apartments are excellent aspirational redemptions that are well worth going through the trouble for.

  • This is intriguing. I’m going to give it a whirl at least for the bonus but will keep my main banking elsewhere.

  • I opened a Bask account two weeks ago. Account opening was easy. The only glitch is that they held my $1000 deposit for a week before it was available to me (their website says money will be available in one to three business days). I gave feedback on the account and received 1000 miles promptly (one or two days). Now I am waiting for my 5000 mile bonus to post. Then I will close the account. For me, the 6000 miles bonus is worth it.

  • I have not heard of Bask before. Seems like there are few issues with this program. I will take a pass for now.

  • It seems a no brainer to open an account with just $1000 to get 5000 miles, seeing it costs $150 on the AA website.

  • This is perfect little bonus for AA users.

  • Is this something you can do online, or do you need to visit a branch/office?

  • I live in Argentina, can I open an account with Bask Bank? Here Aadvantage miles accumulate with Santander bank. Thank you.

    • Hey Florencia, thanks for sharing about Santander bank. The Bask Bank account is only open to U.S. residents for now. Can you provide a link to the AA earning account with Santander?

  • This account sounds interesting but I like others have mentioned above is concerned about sending money to a bank I’ve never heard of before this promotion.

  • Good initial bonus for the $1000. The issue is customer service is not very competent when a problem arises.

  • Has anyone had any experience with Bask? This deal sounds really tempting, but I have never heard of the bank and don’t know how eager I am to park $25k with them for a year.

  • Might be worth it for the 5K bonus, but thanks for reminding us about the Tax implications. I had heard about this offer elsewhere and completely forgot about this detail.

  • Stick with a regular savings account.
    1. Miles get taxed
    2. Airlines constantly devalue their miles

  • Seldom fly AA and I can get miles other ways. Unless I have a specific need for AA miles, which often seem to lose value, I’ll stick with earning cash returns that I can spend anywhere on anything. Thanks for keeping us informed.

  • Martin Argento says:

    This benefit is only for Americans. I thought that AA had only an agreement with Santander 🙁

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