Posted by Chuck on March 4, 2020
Bank Account Bonuses

Published on March 4th, 2020 | by Chuck

63

Bask Bank Savings Account Offers American Airline Miles Instead of Cash Interest (1 per $1), Plus 6,000 Miles Signup Offer

Update 3/4/20: The 5,000 points bonus is still available but now requires $5,000 instead of the previous $1,000 requirement. (hat tip to reader Bob)

Update 2/25/20: The 5,000 points signup bonus is slated to end on February 29, 2020.

Offer at a glance

  • Interest Rate: None
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Maximum Balance: None
  • Availability: Nationwide
  • Hard/soft pull: Soft pull
  • ChexSystems: Unknown
  • Credit card funding: None
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Insured: FDIC

The Offer

Direct Link | Special Offer

Bask Bank is part of the same back-end as BankDirect who offers American Airlines AAdvantage miles instead of traditional cash for keeping your money with the bank. We’re familiar with BankDirect and their checking account offering; now, Bask Bank has a savings account offering which gives miles instead of cash.

There are 4 separate offers here, let’s try to break them down below.

Standard Earnings:

  • Earn 1 mile per $1 that’s kept with the bank for a year. This is based on a yearly average, similar to APY.

Miles are earned monthly, so each month you’ll get miles based on one-twelfth of your average balance that month. For example, if you keep $1,000 in the account for a month, you’ll get 83 miles at the end of the month. Keep the money there for a full year and you’ll end up with 1,000 miles for keeping $1,000 with them for a year.

Tiered Signup Offer:

Through March 31, 2020, signup and make a deposit of at least $25,000, and hold those funds for a year, and you’ll get another bonus, as follows:

  • $25k tier: Get 10,000 bonus AAdvantage miles when you deposit $25,000 and maintain that balance for 360 days.
  • $50k tier: Get 20,000 bonus AAdvantage miles when you deposit $50,000 and maintain that balance for 360 days.
  • $100k tier: Get 40,000 bonus AAdvantage miles when you deposit $100,000 and maintain that balance for 360 days.

This tiered bonus gets paid out in two increments: half after 180 days and half after the next 180 days. So you don’t need to commit here for the full 360 days.

Special Offers:

  • Get 1,000 AAdvantage miles for giving feedback after signing up. These miles will post within 10 business days; in practice, they’ve been posting much quicker  than that.
  • Get 5,000 AAdvantage miles when you signup and within 60 days you deposit $1,000 (update 3/4/20: now $5,000). You must also hold those funds in the account for 30 days. This offer is valid October 18, 2019 through February 29, 2020.

1099 – Tax Implications

Bask Bank currently values AAdvantage miles at .42 cents per mile (less than one-half of a penny per mile). That seems fair enough, or even generous for someone who values the miles at more like 1 cent or more. You’ll end up saving on taxes based on their valuations versus if you’d get cash and use that to travel instead.

Our Verdict

Let’s just use an example to put this all together: if you open an account now and deposit $100,000 within 60 days, and leave those funds there for a full year, you’ll end up with 146,000 miles at the end of the year:

  • 100,000 miles – standard earn ‘interest’ rate
  • 40,000 miles – tiered signup bonus offer
  • 5,000 miles – fixed signup bonus offer for depositing $1k
  • 1,000 miles – if you leave feedback

Opening an account with $1,000 seems pretty worthwhile for the 6,000 bonus (5k fixed signup bonus + 1k feedback bonus). We don’t usually post bonuses under $100, but this one is quick and easy, plus its value can be even more than $100 bonus to some people due to the low-ish tax valuation.

I can also see this making sense for the first year for someone with at least $25k of cash on hand since you get both the ongoing ‘interest’ earn + the tiered signup bonus offer earn. You’ll be losing 1.5-2% when using this instead of a traditional high-yield account earn, but you’ll get 1.4 miles per dollar with a low-ish tax valuation.

After the first year, it could still make sense for those who really value AA miles or those in the highest tax brackets, but then again, cash is king, so you’ll have to crunch the numbers and decide.

Hat tip to VFTW and to readers Ben J. and Robert D.



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TravelBloggerBuzz

This was first reported at veteran Gary Steiger’s site.

VFTW does not link to Gary S.
You link to VFTW.

And it goes on…

When I first saw this…I yawned. My threshold for adding mental real estate these days is much higher. I am stayinh with my high yield savings account.

Good luck y’all.

This bank will likely hit you on the way out imho.

Devyanks90
Devyanks90

This was on Reddit 3 weeks ago.

Russ
Russ

Bask has been running google ads all over the travel and financial deal blogs I frequent for at least a couple days now. Seems like a well-coordinated launch, not news to be scooped.

Anonn
Anonn

I thought AA had exclusivity agreements with Citi and Barclays.

Mr G
Mr G

You’re probably thinking of the credit card agreements. This is for a banking product.

ithrowpoop
ithrowpoop

Not sure how popular this will be at this time. AA shutdowns still occurring, some of us accumulated tons of miles from bankdirect legitimately over the years and will get those miles confiscated as part of this larger cull.

Z
Z

Can you please elaborate? I haven’t heard of this before (I don’t have anything AA yet) and would appreciate the info

Ryan
Ryan

Plus with the overly broad “rationale” AA is using, they could go after literally anything you earned just because they feel like it. Wait until AA Corp Security decides it doesn’t like something about you having obtained this bank bonus and miles gone, flights cancelled, account terminated. I’m avoiding AAdvantage for the foreseeable future due to what they’re doing right now.

cows123
cows123

Not to mention bonuses Fidelity offered in AAmiles.

Robert
Robert

BTW: Routing number is 111026177.

Easiest account opening I’ve done in a while!

Bob
Bob

Account opening was very easy. However, a full week has passed and the $1000 I transferred in has still not reached my Bask account! (It left my other bank on January 8.) I called customer service and they promised me its on the way………..
Nothing I can do now but wait, but for now I am very unhappy with this bank.
Of course, it remains to be seen if I will get any miles, too.

Bob
Bob

I called in a second time, and I was told that I have to wait another day for my money to be deposited in my account. This bank is pathetic.

Chilli Con Karne
Chilli Con Karne

U still have a day left in your week timeframe. In ach dealingS that’s an eternity….lol.

Bob
Bob

It took Bask 6 business days until my money was in my account. On their website, it says that transfers will take 1 to 3 business days. They admitted they put a hold on my incoming funds.

Dslow
Dslow

Is the feedback process just putting a 5 star rating?

Dublin
Dublin

Some people you just can’t make happy. If you don’t like the deal don’t sign up for it. Personally it took me seven minutes to open up a separate account for my wife and I. I would say if you need the thousand dollars don’t do it. If you have a savings account that you really don’t touch too much why not? So they send me a 1099 for about a dollar who cares

Chilli Con Karne
Chilli Con Karne

The word now is FREE plus. Free not good enough.

aquac
aquac

When/where does the initial feedback option appear?
I just signed up, but don’t see an option for feedback neither did I get any email.

Bob
Bob

Log into your account, then look down the page under “Welcome Checklist”, you will see “Provide app feedback”. Click there and give your feedback.

aquac
aquac

Thanks, this feedback was just selecting stars for 1 question.
The 1K bonus has already posted! thanks!

Bob
Bob

My 1000 miles posted in about two days after I provided feedback

aquac
aquac

Did the initial funding go through? It’s been over a week and funds haven’t been deducted from my source bank yet.

Yinuo
Yinuo

Has the 1000 miles been deposited to your AA.com account?

aquac
aquac

yes, it took close to 10 days

BezosBalls
BezosBalls

AA then proceeded to shut down your account for exploitative practices.

P
P

How much do they value the miles and do you have to pay taxes on them?

MisterBill
MisterBill

The article said 0.42c/mile and yes you do need to pay taxes if they send you a 1099 (and probably even if they do not).

hai
hai

One naive question, after I open the account, how can I link it to my AA miles number? Did not see anything during application.

hai
hai

I figure it out: after login in the the bank account, there is a place to link to AA #.

Pag
Pag

So, for 146000 miles (by depositing $100000 for a year), the tax will be paid on $613.20 interest (.42/100*146000). Plus, opportunity cost of ~$2500 (~1.7% interest in some savings account). So, all in, it is like buying 146000 AA miles for ~$3000, which is 0.5-0.6 mile for a cent.

Current AA promotion to buy miles outright is around 2.37 cent / mile for 150000 miles. This one is around 2 cents per mile. AA miles are valued at 1.4 cent / mile on some blogs.

Pag
Pag

Cost will be ~$2000, considering loss of 2500 interest is pre-tax so right around 1.4c / mile.

veeRob

This math seems way off. 1.7% of $100k is $1,700 not $2,500. I think you did 1.7% of $146,000 which is not what you’re depositing. Also, buying 146,000 miles for $3000 would be 2 cents a mile. I don’t see how you’re getting 0.5 or 0.6.

For me, I have a 2% interest account so opportunity cost is $2k, less taxes I would have paid, let’s call that 20%, so $1,600. Plus taxes on $613.20 so let’s call that $122.

Total cost is $1,722 which means buying 146,000 miles at 1.17 cents/mile. Not worth jumping through all the hoops for this rate for me.

Or perhaps I’m wrong and my math is way off.

Avi
Avi

This seems like an easy way to keep your AA miles from expiring on an ongoing basis.

aquac
aquac

Did the initial funding go through for anyone?

Jeremy
Jeremy

Opened on 2/26, account still says 0 balance even though I did $1,000 funding at signup

Yinuo
Yinuo

Does initial deposit $1k count as the total $1k deposit requirement within 60 days?

aquac
aquac

I would think so. But did it post to Bask?
How long did it take?

Yinuo
Yinuo

It displayed in transaction on next day after account open but seems pending as the available balance is still $0.00. Been pending for 8 days.

Joanne Reg
Joanne Reg

Once you open an account where do you get your referral code to pass on to friends for 1K AA mi?

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