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Is It a Good Idea to Earn AAdvantage Miles Instead of Interest?

Is It a Good Idea to Earn AAdvantage Miles Instead of Interest?
Joe Cortez

If you’re looking for a new way to earn American Airlines’ AAdvantage miles – outside of flying and using airline credit cards – a Texas-based bank may have the solution for you. Quietly opened at the end of January, Bask Bank is offering frequent flyer miles instead of traditional interest for deposits to their savings account.

 

“Bask” in a New Mileage Earning Opportunity

One of the biggest complaints around traditional savings accounts is their limited opportunity to earn interest on a modest balance. According to NerdWallet, the average interest rate on a savings account is only 0.09 percent, while the highest yield accounts only offer between 1.70 and 1.95 percent interest.

Instead of offering low interest on savings, Bask Bank is offering something different for every dollar invested: American Airlines AAdvantage miles. According to the bank, flyers earn one American AAdvantage mile for every $1 invested in their account, annually. As an example scenario, the bank claims an initial deposit of $50,000 and weekly recurring deposit of $1,000 weekly could yield 72,000 AAdvantage miles in the first 12 months after opening.

The bank is also offering quicker delivery of their “interest” payments. According to a press release from American, miles are accrued daily, and awards based on average monthly balances.

“It’s a bold new platform — a stronger option for savers who aren’t getting much out of a traditional savings account,” Matt Quale, president of Bask Bank, said in the press release. “Bask Bank helps you enjoy more of life’s experiences today, while still saving for the future.”

To encourage new deposits, the bank is offering 5,000 bonus AAdvantage miles for opening an account after depositing and maintaining a minimum $1,000 balance for 30 days within the first two months of opening. The bank also promises to offer “a variety of balance bonuses” in the future.

Should You “Bask” in the New Earning Opportunity?

While AAdvantage miles may get you further than interest, parking a large sum in the bank would potentially short-sell the value of that cash.

“Even if its 146,000 AAdvantage miles for parking $100,000 for 12 months that still doesn’t make sense in my opinion, especially the last 12 months where you would have easily pocketed a far better return in cash on that investment than you could get out of using those miles,” observed one FlyerTalker. “Then you could use the money you earned to buy whatever ticket you’d have used those miles for, have some cash leftover as a bonus and earn miles on the ticket.”

But, value is subjective. If you have the capital and a plan for the miles, like this FlyerTalker: “To me, based in the Middle East, each 40,000 AAdvantage miles is a one-way business class flight to anywhere in Asia (even as far as Bali where I’m writing this). Comparing to the cash prices of these tickets, this is a fantastic deal and superior to any interest currently offered.”

Would you open a savings account to earn AAdvantage miles? Share your thoughts on the FlyerTalk forums!

View Comments (7)

7 Comments

  1. DarF2001

    February 3, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    The fine print states: Bank calculates the value of the miles you are Awarded each year based on a good faith estimate of value. There’s a reason they don’t out right disclose that “rate” and I’m guessing that “good faith estimate” is going to way higher than the FlyerTalk “going-rate”. That number on the 1099-INT could easily ruin the deal once the Taxman cometh.

  2. dhuey

    dhuey

    February 3, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    I agree with DarF2001 — I suspect the claimed fair market value will be based on the retail price for miles AA sells to Advantage members.

  3. The_Bouncer

    February 4, 2020 at 6:21 am

    No, because this is simple interest and does not compound.

  4. jhassanny

    February 5, 2020 at 6:27 am

    Agree with the bouncer. The power of compound returns over time is more valuable than any mileage currency without an immediate use.

  5. OssianBlue

    February 7, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    I can’t believe anyone would think or argue this is a good idea after AA’s mass shutdowns based on 4 or more Citi SUBs that have been going on for the last month and a half.

  6. HappyTravelingConsultant

    February 9, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    I wouldn’t put a lot of money in long term, but will get the 6000 miles for depositing $1,000 for 60 days.

    Good way to get points if I need a few to round out a ticket.

    Also, they say on their website that for taxes they value the miles at .42 or .48 cents. I forget which, but low value.

  7. bigislanddave

    February 29, 2020 at 9:51 am

    AA continues to devalue its points. Cash is King

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