BankDirect Sunsetting Mileage-Earning Checking Accounts 8/31/20

I’ve been a BankDirect checking account customer since July 2003. When I opened the account ‘online-only banking’ was actually new. Earning AAdvantage miles to bank online was even better. And I earned a lot of miles over the years.

BankDirect is part of Texas Capital Bank and this year they launched Bask Bank and the Bask Savings Account which is a no fee product that earns American AAdvantage miles too.

Over the years they had to scale back the value of the checking account, capping the number of miles earned and imposing $12 a month fees. Checking accounts are a lot more expensive to service than savings accounts.

So it doesn’t surprise me at all that BankDirect, which has already stopped offering new accounts to customers, is informing accountholders that they’re discontinuing mileage-earning on the checking account effective August 31, 2020. However,

  • They’ll waive fees for anyone whose account would incur one to close

  • They’re offering existing BankDirect customers a 5000 mile offer to open a Bask Savings Accoung by August 31 and keep a deposit of at least $5000.

Customers can keep their existing BankDirect checking accounts, but those will simply be interest-earning and not mileage-earning starting September 1.

Here’s the note sent to accountholders:

Thank you for being a valued BankDirect customer. It has been our pleasure to provide you with a variety of mileage-earning solutions. As we prepare to discontinue the BankDirect mileage program on August 31, 2020, we’re excited to share a new opportunity to keep earning miles with Bask Bank, a new division of Texas Capital Bank, N.A. With a Bask Savings Account, you will earn one American Airlines AAdvantage® mile for every dollar you save annually instead of interest. Bask Bank currently only offers a savings account. While BankDirect will continue offering interest-bearing products, we encourage you to take advantage of a Bask Savings Account and the current bonus miles opportunities that can help boost your mileage balance while you continue to save.

Opening a Bask Savings Account is simple and only takes a few minutes. Get started by creating an account on baskbank.com and fund your account with an external bank transfer during the onboarding process. If you want to transfer funds from your BankDirect mileage account, send us a secure message through the online messaging center or call customer service at 833-260-4320.

Bask Bank is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 5,000 AAdvantage® miles* exclusively to BankDirect mileage account holders who open a Bask Savings Account by August 31, 2020 and deposit at least $5,000. If you already have a Bask Savings Account, you are still eligible to receive this offer. Visit baskbank.com/special-offers for more details on additional bonus miles opportunities.

We hope you’ll join Bask Bank and continue to earn AAdvantage® miles for saving. If you do not wish to join Bask Bank, we will automatically transition your current BankDirect account into a BankDirect interest-bearing account on September 1, 2020. You can also close your account by calling customer service. Please review the inserts included with this letter to understand how your current BankDirect mileage account compares to a Bask Savings Account, as well as which type of BankDirect account your current account would be transitioned into should you decide not to make the switch to Bask Bank.

Transferring To A Bask Savings Account

BankDirect customers can open a Bask Savings Account, and then either move funds through the Bask Bank external transfer feature or Secure Message through either account’s online banking for help moving the funds.

Current BankDirect mileage-earning checking customers receive 5000 American Airlines miles when they open a Bask Savings Account through August 31st, 2020 and maintain a minimum balance of $5000 from September 1, 2020 to September 15, 2020. This bonus will post within 30 days of completing the requirements.

Several Bask Savings Account Bonuses End June 30

The following bonus mileage offer programs will expire on June 30th, 2020 – it’s a great time to sign up for a no fee Bask Savings Account before that happens.

  • Account Opening Bonus: 5000 AAdvantage miles for new customers that open an account by June 30 and maintain a minimum daily account balance of $5,000 for ninety consecutive days during the first 120 days the account is open.

  • Feedback Bonus: This one is easy, open the no fee account and receive 1000 AAdvantage miles and either use the Bask Bank online banking portal or the Bask Bank mobile app to provide feedback using the Give Feedback feature by June 30, 2020.

  • Balance Bonus: Up to 10,000 bonus miles on top of regular earning for a $25,000 balance; up to 20,000 bonus miles on top of regular earning for maintaining a $50,000 balance; up to 40,000 bonus miles on top of regular earning for maintaining a $100,000 balance. Half the miles are awarded after 180 days, and the second half after a second 180 days.

Time To Switch Completely

Bask Bank and BankDirect are both divisions of Texas Capital Bank. It makes sense for them to focus on the no fee savings product, which is less expensive to offer, especially with interest rates near zero. Incentivizing an online checking account made sense when I opened my BankDirect account in 2003. It probably doesn’t any longer.

I find that the Bask Savings Account is just as lucrative when you consider it’s no fee, while the checking account has a $12 monthly fee. I really just kept my checking account as-is because I get payroll direct deposit there and there are (very modest) transaction costs for switching.

They’ve given me the prompt to move funds over to the Bask Savings Account, which I already opened at the start of the year. If you haven’t opened one of their no fee accounts, it’s a good idea to do it this month before their bonus offers expires.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Just out of curiosity, will you be switching to another checking account at Texas Capital or moving that piece of banking elsewhere?

  2. Can you elaborate on the savings account AA earnings. Is one better off earning 1.3% interest at another bank or AA miles at Bask at the bonus levels or even with less money than the bonus levels? Thanks.

  3. I have accounts at both. They told me to secure message them from either my BankDirect account or my Bask account to move funds from BankDirect to Bask and close the BankDirect account. Since I earn slightly more with BankDirect than with Bask and my $12 monthly fee is in abeyance, I will probably wait til the BankDirect AA miles hit in August before consolidating with Bask.

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