Changes to Earning American Airlines Miles with BankDirect Checking Account

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About a year and a half ago I wrote about a method to earn American Airline miles with a checking account. I’ve been using this account for the past two years and am thoroughly enjoying my 10,000+ miles a month! This past month I actually earned 16,800 AA miles by using BankDirect as my primary checking account! To me it is a great way to earn miles. Unfortunately though, the amount of money you can have in this account and earn the full amount of miles is drastically decreasing – by 75%! Currently, you can have up to $200,000 in the account and earn the full amount of miles – 100 AA miles for every $1,000 you have in the account on average for that month. Staring June 1st, this amount is changing to $50,000! After the $50,000 mark, you will only earn 25 AA miles for every $1,000 in the account. This will significantly change how I value the account and I will be keeping only $50,000 in this account after this date. While I will still earn 5,000 AA miles a month or 60,000 AA miles a year, it is a huge change in my opinion. Also, keep in mind that BankDirect started charging $12/month for this type of account last year, so those 60,000 AA miles will cost $144 – still a cheap way to “purchase” AA miles, but remember there is an opportunity cost of not having that money in an interest earning account (which you will need to determine what works best for you financially).

Here is a quick recap on how to earn miles with a new BankDirect checking or money market starting June 1, 2013 (you can also check out this document here)

  • Earn 1,000 miles for each new Mileage Checking Account or Mileage Money Market Account opened.
  • 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 six consecutive months totaling a minimum of $2,000 each month
  • Earn 5,000 miles for using BankDirect’s bill pay service. Need to have 3 bill pay merchants totaling at least $500/month for six consecutive months.
  • Earn 5,000 miles for using your BankDirect Visa® CheckCard. Need 12 transactions per statement totaling at least $500/month for six consecutive months.
  • Earn 1,000 miles for referring a friend when they open a Mileage Checking account. You can earn up to a maximum of 10,000 miles (10 referrals).
  • 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 $50,000 on deposit. For monthly average collected balances over $50,000, earn 25 miles per $1,000 for all balances over the first $50,000 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 $50,000 on deposit. For monthly average collected balances over $50,000, earn 25 miles per $1,000 for all balances over the first $50,000 on deposit.

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.

If you still want to keep more than $50,000 in your BankDirect account, your best bet is to put the first $50k in the Mileage Checking Account and then the next $50k in a Mileage Money Market Account. While you’ll only be earning 50 miles per $1,000 in the Mileage Money Market Account, it is better than the 25 miles per $1,000 you’d earn in the Mileage Checking Account for your $50k-$100k amount.

Also, even if you aren’t interested in parking your money in this checking account for the long term, I think it is worth it to get the new checking account bonus miles which can be up to 22,000 miles and it will only take you 6 months. Also, if you currently have a checking account and want to refer people, include your email address in the comments section. I am currently maxed with referrals, so I’d love to share the wealth with others!

I am personally bummed about this change, but it was good while it lasted. Will this be changing your relationship with BankDirect?

Thanks to View from the Wing and OceanBreezes on Milepoint for sharing this information!

Comments

  1. This will definitely be changing my BankDirect strategy. I will reduce my account to 50,000 as soon as June hits. Between this and the service charge, I’m thinking about pulling the plug on my entire BankDirect relationship.

  2. I have just over $200k with Bank Direct. On June 1 I will pull all of it and put it into my ALLY account. With the $12 per month fee and foregone interest of .0085% I would be paying $569 a year for 60,000 miles with $50,000 in the account. Not worth it to me….. Currently I get 240,000 miles per year (with $200K in the account) for an annual cost 0f $1844 ($144 in monthly fees and $1700 in foregone interest).

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