Earning American Airline Miles with BankDirect Checking Account

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UPDATE: Read this new post to learn more about the monthly limitations of earning the full number of points. Starting June 1, 2013, BankDirect will only be giving the 100% earning potential for the first $50,000. After that, the number of miles earned will be reduced drastically by 75%.

As I posted earlier this morning, starting December 1, 2011 American Airline will be making it more difficult to obtain lifetime gold and platinum status. Luckily though, we still have three months to try to earn as many miles as possible to count towards our million mile status. With this, I wanted to point out a way to get some quick and easy miles with moving your checking accounts over to BankDirect. BankDirect has many checking/saving/money market/CD programs, however, there is one option to actually earn American Airline miles instead of traditional interest. Over the next few weeks, I will continue to post additional ways to earn AA miles quick and easy to count towards your million mile status.

For new accounts you will earn 1,000 miles off the bat for opening the account and then another 1,000 miles when you are referred by an existing BankDirect customer. Feel free to contact me for a referral (I also will receive 1,000 miles per referral) or seek out a friend that can send you the referral link and help them get another 1,000 miles. Click here for full program details.

New Checking Account or Money Market Account:

  • Earn 1,000 miles for each new Mileage Checking Account or Mileage Money Market Account opened.  Additionally, earn 1,000 miles for every $100,000 in initial deposit, up to $500,000, per household.
  • Earn 10,000 miles for establishing full payroll direct deposit from your employer into a Mileage Checking Account. Needs to be the full amount for three consecutive months.
  • Earn 5,000 miles for using BankDirect’s bill pay service. Need to have 3 bill pay merchants for 12 consecutive months.
  • Earn 5,000 miles for using your BankDirect Visa® CheckCard. Need 12 transactions per statement for three  consecutive months.
  • Earn 1,000 miles for referring a friend when they open a Mileage Checking account.
  • Monthly Earning Opportunities:
    • Earn 100 miles per month for every $1,000 of the monthly average collected balance in your Mileage Checking Account up to the first $200,000 on deposit. For monthly average collected balances over $200,000, earn 25 miles per $1,000 for all balances over the first $200,000 on deposit.
    • Earn 50 miles per month for every $1,000 of the monthly average collected balance in your Mileage Money Market Account up to the first $200,000 on deposit. For monthly average collected balances over $200,000, earn 25 miles per $1,000 for all balances over the first $200,000 on deposit.

Bank direct now charges $12/month maintenance fee, so keep that in mind when doing your mathematical calculation.
For the purpose of this analysis, I am going to assume that for new customers you will have two more months to have the miles earned from BankDirect to hit your account by the December 1, 2011 deadline (takes time to open the account and have the miles posted). BankDirect states that miles can take between 6-8 weeks, however, many times if you call after your activity, you can get the miles pushed through quickly. My earned miles have always been posted the week the activity occurred.

Let’s say you can move $50,000 from your current checking/savings account to a new BankDirect account. You will immediately get 2,000 miles (1,000 for opening your account and another 1,000 for being referred). Since you earn 100 miles per $1,000 per month, the $50,000 will give you an additional 5,000 miles/month. This can earn you a quick and easy 12,000 miles in total (2,000 for the new account and 10,000 after 2 months). While I know this is minimal towards the amount of getting to the million mile status, it will still help.

And while most of the new account offers will not hit your account in time, you will eventually be able to earn an additional 20,000 miles. So over the course of 12 months, this $50,000 amount will ultimately earn you 82,000 miles – enough for a business class round-trip ticket to Europe, or two off-peak economy class round-trip tickets to Europe, or almost enough for a business class round-trip ticket to Asia or Australia. With an interest rate of let’s say 2%, you will be forgoing $1,000 in your traditional checking account over the year. I know 2% might be high or low for some of you based on your current accounts, but I am just picking a realistic percentage. To me personally, the 82,000 miles is worth more than $1,000 and you get some of the miles toward the million mile status. Despite the miles counting towards your million mile status, I also believe BankDirect provides of a good value for a checking account (especially with extremely low rates right now).

Since BankDirect is an online bank, they also will reimburse ATM fees 4 times/month up to $2.50 each time. Since I am traveling often and use various banks, this is a great perk. Additionally, from my experience, the customer service has been phenomenal.

Additionally, you can earn miles through a CD:

New Certificates of Deposit:

  • Earn 1,000 miles for every $1,000 invested in a two-year Mileage CD purchase up to $200,000. Additionally, earn 25 miles per $1,000 invested over $200,000.
  • Earn 500 miles for every $1,000 invested in a one-year Mileage CD purchase up to $200,000. Additionally, earn 25 miles per $1,000 invested over $200,000.
  • Earn 250 miles for every $1,000 invested in a six month Mileage CD purchase up to $200,000. Additionally, earn 25 miles per $1,000 invested over $200,000.

If you are looking for a high number of miles, you can open a 6 month CD with a deposit of $200,000 and earn 50,000 miles.

*All customers limited to 2 transaction accounts per household; one Mileage Checking Account and one Money Market Account.

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Comments

  1. Okay, it’s September 23, 2011. Need 200,000 miles for AA Lifetime Platinum. Will a BankDirect CD get me those miles before November 30, 2011? Will the miles post in time? Any other ideas on how to make up those miles in a few weeks?

    • @Joe – I hear ya! For a BankDirect CD, you will earn the following:

      Earn 1,000 miles for every $1,000 invested in a two-year Mileage CD purchase up to $200,000. Additionally, earn 25 miles per $1,000 invested over $200,000.
      Earn 500 miles for every $1,000 invested in a one-year Mileage CD purchase up to $200,000. Additionally, earn 25 miles per $1,000 invested over $200,000.
      Earn 250 miles for every $1,000 invested in a six month Mileage CD purchase up to $200,000. Additionally, earn 25 miles per $1,000 invested over $200,000.

      So for 200K miles you will need to open up a 2-year CD for 200K. It is do-able!

  2. Bankdirect says they need 10 working days to open the account. Miles will be earned at the end of the month it is opened. Bankdirect allows 4-6 weeks after the month close to credit the AA miles. Close to November 30, 2011. Any other ways of doing it?

  3. @dealswelike – I emailed for a referal code. Do we still like this with the $12\mo fee? I think yes. I haven’t seen another bank give better miles? Thoughts anyone?

    • @Jon – Got your email and just send you a referral. Even with the $12/month fee, I still think it is worth it, but it really depends on how much $$ you have in the account and the rates you can get elsewhere.

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