Update 9/27/21: They have launched a new account called ‘Bask Interest Savings Account’. This is only available to Bask Bank Savings Account holders (account that earns AA). The new account just earns 0.6% APY. This is competitive but not the best high yield savings account.
Update 12/16/20 The signup offer is now 1,000 points with $5,000 deposited. Updated below.
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
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.
- 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.
- (Still valid?)
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.
5,0001,000 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.
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.