Reminder: Changes to Bank Direct Accounts in Effect

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This is a reminder that the Bank Direct limitations have gone into effect starting June 1st. Bank Direct is an online checking account that allows you to earn American Airline miles based on the average monthly dollar amount in the account (you can learn more about this account type and earning AA miles here).

I personally have been using this account for the past two years, but will be changing my strategy drastically. As I mentioned in May, the amount of money you can have in this account and earn the full amount of miles is drastically decreasing – by 75%! Prior to June 1st you could 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. Now, the amount you can have in the account and earn 100 AA miles for every $1,000 is only $50,000. For all money over this amount, you’ll only earn 25 AA miles for every $1,000 in the account.

While I know many people will be closing their account (as it does cost $12/month to maintain the account). I personally am keeping my account but have transferred out all excess money over $50,000 to another account. This will still give me 5,000 AA miles a month (60,000 AA miles a year). I still think it is worth it as these 60,000 miles yearly will cost me only $144. Keep in mind that there is an opportunity cost there as that $50,000 is making extremely minimal interest and you can definitely make more interest on your money elsewhere (high interest checking account, stocks, money markets, CDs, etc.). However, if you are looking to keep about that much money in a checking account where you have easy access to the money this could work for you. You get free checks and can get reimbursed with ATM fees 4 times/month (up to $2.50 each time).

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 monthtotaling 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.

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!

Stay tuned for a post in the next few days of where you can park some money in other types of accounts to earn miles.

Comments

  1. Since I can get 0.85% APY on $50K in an online savings account that means $50,000 would earn $425 elsewhere.

    Add the $144 per year in banking fees and now the 60,000 miles earned in a year costs $569 meaning the cost is 0.948 cents/mile. Not the implied 0.24 cents/mile ($60k/$144)

    If you’re an AAdvantage miles junkie, perhaps this is worth it to boost your account, but I’d rather take the interest earnings now and not worry about potential mileage devaluations once the US-AA merger is completed.

  2. @askmrlee, you also need to factor in taxes on the interest. If we assume a 1.0% APY interest rate and 25% tax rate the 60K miles is costing $50K x 1.0% interest x (1 – 25% tax) + $144 fees = $519, or 0.87 cents per mile. I doubt miles would be devalued below a cent so still probably one of best options out there for a $50K FDIC insured liquid investment.

  3. “Earn 1,000 AAdvantage® miles for every $1,000.00 invested in a two-year Mileage CD purchase up to $50,000. Earn 25 AAdvantage® miles per $1,000 invested over $50,000.”

    CDs at BankDirect will definitely generate a 1099. CHecking accounts charge $12/mont……..

    ANd, BD has serious customer support phoen issues.

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