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Through BankDirect you can ultimately pay $12 for 5,000 American Airline miles – and you can do this on a monthly basis! This means you can pay $144 for 60,000 miles over the course of the year. 60,000 miles is a free trip to Europe in economy class, so well worth $144. But there are some stipulations to earn these points – you must open up a checking account with BankDirect. I’ve been using BankDirect for 4 years now and have earned around 300,000 miles. Unfortunately they changed the program about a year ago to minimize the number of miles you can earn, but I still think it is a great deal!
I haven’t posted on this method for quite some time, so want to ensure new readers to the blog are up to date on this BankDirect / American Airline partnership. Ultimately, you can 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. BEST OPTION
- or, 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.
Personally, I only think maintaining a $50,000 monthly balance is worth it. Anything over that you are not getting a great value for the money in your account. And, of course the Mileage Checking Account is much better than the Mileage Money Market Account.
So if you have $50,000 in your account, you’ll earn 5,000 miles every month. The cost to keep a miles earning account with BankDirect costs $12/month regardless of how much money you have in it. So while you can absolutely keep less money in the account, you are still paying the monthly fee of $12, which might not make the miles you earn worth it.
Now, there is one HUGE caveat to this deal. Your money is tied up in BankDirect and the interest you earn is close to nothing. So there is an opportunity cost there and you will need to determine what that monthly loss is a month. If the money is sitting under your mattress or in another no or low interest checking/saving account then it is a no brainer. But, if you have your money in the stock market making a 10% on average return a year you might think twice. I would say the 60,000 miles is worth a conservative $900. Although if you are looking to use those points for a business or first class ticket then the value will be much more. So if you are able to keep your money elsewhere and make at least $900 over the course of the year then BankDirect is probably not for you. But remember, you will pay taxes on the money earned in the stock market or another high interest earning account. And the miles you receive from BankDirect are tax free. So there are a few things to think about when evaluating whether or not this is worth it, but only you can determine the value based on your particular financial situation.
Now, if you are looking to sign up with BankDirect, there is a decent new member bonus.
- Earn 1,000 miles for signing up through a referral
- 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).
So you can earn up to 22,000 miles for taking part in the first five bullets and then up to another 10,000 miles miles for referring your friends to BankDirect. So 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. If you currently have a BankDirect account and want to refer other blog readers, feel free to comment below.
Since BankDirect is an online bank, they also will reimburse ATM fees 4 times/month up to $2.50 each time. This is great for those that travel often and do not always have access to their local bank’s ATM.
Feel free to share your experience using BankDirect. I personally find the customer service phenomenal and am really enjoying those extra 5,000 miles on a monthly basis! Getting the extra new member bonus points was easy as well.