Easy AA miles w/ new bank account through Bask Bank

View from the Wing reports on a new, easy, and potentially fairly lucrative offer to earn miles with a savings account from Bask Bank. While many long-time readers will remember BankDirect, this is actually a different account that I believe is backed by the same entity (Texas Capital Bank, N.A.). This Bask Bank account works similarly, but is better in many ways. I’m only half sold on the long-term value proposition, but I was sold enough to sign up and pick up a very easy 6,000 American Airlines miles at least in part because you never know when that kind of mileage may get you to New Zealand.

The short story

  • Bask Bank is offering a mileage-earning savings account. You’ll earn 1 American Airlines AAdvantage mile per dollar saved annually (more on how this is determined below). You can additionally earn new account bonuses as follows:
    • Open an account and provide app feedback (can be done immediately after opening an account), get 1,000 AAdvantage miles
    • Deposit $1,000 and maintain that minimum deposit for 30 consecutive days within 60 days of account opening and get 5,000 AAdvantage miles
  • You can additionally earn bonus miles by funding your account within 60 days and maintaining a minimum balance for 360 days thereafter (keep in mind that these totals are in addition to 1 mile per dollar saved for a year):
    • Fund and maintain $25,000 for 360 days and get 10,000 bonus miles
    • Fund and maintain $50,000 for 360 days and get 20,000 bonus miles
    • Fund and maintain $100,000 for 360 days and get 40,000 bonus miles
  • Direct link to Bask Bank for more information and to open an account

Will you get a 1099-INT tax form?

Yes, you will. However, Bask Bank is valuing the miles at a rate of 0.42c per mile. In other words, you’ll be taxed on a value of $4.20 per thousand miles. If you earn 10,000 bonus miles, you’ll therefore owe tax on $42 worth of “income”. I’m not an accountant, and this obviously varies based on your tax bracket and situation, but doing the quick math on tax brackets between 12% and 32% (which I think covers most Americans), that seems like a fairly reasonable amount.

Of course, note that Bask Bank could make changes here. At the moment, it seems they have a pretty fair valuation that won’t necessarily be a deal-breaker.

How hard is this to do?

Opening this account is incredibly easy. It took me 9 minutes and 37 seconds total from the time I hit “Open an Account” to the time when I had arranged the transfer to fund it and logged in to provide feedback. That includes time spent taking screen shots and Googling an answer for one of the ID verification questions (just an odd coincidence I think — they asked which street was closest to an address on file and none of the answers sounded familiar to me) — you may find it takes you half my time. There is no hard pull and you can link your external account via bank login (they use Plaid for this) and fund your new Bask Bank account that way or you can alternatively use their routing number and your account number to fund from an external source after opening. It was as quick and easy to open the account as one would expect.

Normal mileage earning

This account earns 1 mile per dollar saved annually. Here’s how the FAQs explain that:

The Bask Savings Account awards one AAdvantage® mile for each dollar saved annually. Miles are accrued daily and awarded monthly based on your average monthly balance. For example, if the account’s average monthly balance for January is $60K, you will earn 5,096 AAdvantage® miles for that month ($60K ÷ 365 × 31). If that same balance is maintained in February, you will earn 4,603 AAdvantage® miles. After one year of maintaining an average balance of $60,000, the customer will have earned 60,000 AAdvantage® miles.

In other words, they figure your average monthly balance and pay you the miles earned for that month’s share of a year’s miles, so the number of miles you earn could vary each month if you are depositing or withdrawing. If you leave the money alone for a year, you’ll earn 1 mile per dollar at the end of a year’s time.

Bonus 1: Share feedback get 1,000 miles

After opening the account and logging in, you can easily click to “Provide app feedback” within your account and given them a star rating and write a couple of sentences. In my case, I gave a slightly longer piece of feedback due to the identity verification question oddity I encountered, but I don’t think others are likely to have the same situation.

Note that the terms state that miles will be deposited in your AAdvantage account within about 10 days (assuming you link your AAdvantage account, which can be done from your account dashboard after opening your account and logging in by clicking the “Rewards” tab). However, Gary Leff reports that these bonus miles for feedback showed up in just a couple of days.

Bonus 2: Fund with $1,000 within 60 days and maintain it for 30, get 5,000 miles

Bask is also offering a new account opening bonus. When…

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