BankDirect’s 22,000 American Airlines Mile Signup Bonus

Back on March 5 I wrote about changes to American Airlines mileage earning checking and money market accounts with BankDirect, they were upping their signup bonus offers and reducing mileage earning for accounts with balances over $200,000. The big bonuses are great, and my checking account has less than $200,000 in it, so from my perspective this was pretty good news.

Here are the basics of the account:

I’m a big fan of BankDirect, I’ve written about it in the past such as here, they’ve hosted my primary checking account since July 2003. I’ve found the customer service excellent and the value proposition compelling.

I get 100 American Airlines miles for every thousand dollars of average balance each month, which in a low interest rate environment is a pretty good rate of return (and unlike Citibank, they don’t 1099 the miles). As long as I keep an average balance of $2500 in the account I’m avoiding fees. They reimburse my out-of-network ATM fees and give me postage-paid envelopes for mailing in deposits.

And here’s the new signup bonus that went info effect April 1:

  • 1000 miles per new account, plus 1000 miles per $100,000 in initial deposit

  • 10,000 miles for payroll direct deposit

  • 5000 miles for using bill pay (presumably still a 12 month requirement? Not yet clear).

  • 5000 miles for using their Visa Checkcard

  • 1000 miles for referring new accountholders/being referred by an existing accountholder

So a standard account opening bonus, presumably fully received after a year, would be 22,000 American Airlines miles — up from 9,000 miles. Pretty good.

If you’re opening an account you should be referred by an existing accountholder. I’ve earned great referral bonuses by referring folks, of course. You can email me for a referral but of course are under no obligation to do so. The strange thing is that there have been references to earning up to 10,000 miles from referrals, and I recall once seeing a limit of earning 20 referral credits, but in practice I can verify that no such limit has been enforced.

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, 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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  1. […] I use BankDirect, the checking account that awards you American Airlines miles for your average balance each month. (I get 100 miles for every $1000 average balance, and there’s a $12 per month fee for the account that isn’t waived). They not only don’t charge a fee to use ATMs that aren’t theirs, they rebate the fees that the ATM’s owner charges (up to $2.50 each time, four times per month). Since there’s an additional 1000 miles as an account signup bonus if you’re referred by an existing customer (the referrer gets 1000 miles as well), I frequently get e-mails from folks looking for a referral. Unfortunately I no longer have any to offer. I suggesting folks contact Deals We Like for that. […]


  1. Seems to be a nice offer. Question is how many bank accounts should you have. Currently I have wellsfargo for all my local banking needs. Citigold with my mortgage and they waive the annual fee for Diners club and two AA cards. Then I have Fidelity brokerage accounts for most of my investments and retirement accounts. I feel like I need to stop somewhere.

  2. What if you are an existing member and never ordered the visa check card. Can you order one and qualify for 5000 miles?

  3. @ Caveman, how did you get Diners club and how many years have you had it. I would like to get this card but I understand it is not available anymore.
    I am also Citigold. Thanks

  4. I had diners club since 12 years and now its eating dust in my drawer. Just curious why would you like to apply for diners club after losing so many benefits. May be I am missing here something. I only use it occasionally for rental cars because of primary insurance.

  5. i use the Diner club card to fill up loose Hilton, Marriott, and SPG accts. Plus top off a few of the airlines they still deal with. Its a great card and better for marriott everyday purchases than marriotts own Visa card.

  6. @ Caveman,it was for car rental insurance, but as I gather may not be worth it now. Thanks

  7. Finally getting around to signing up for this account. I can’t find anything on their website that speaks to the 5,000 miles for using the Visa checkcard. Can anyone provide more info on that part? Also are there any requirements on the size of the direct deposit? Do you get it after just one month? Thanks,

  8. For the debit card, you need 12 transactions per month for 3 months.

    For direct deposit, you contact them after it is set up and had a deposit, but they do check to make sure it’s the whole amount, based on the salary you reported on account opening.

    For Bill Pay, you need to pay 3 bills per month for 12 months.

    All of these activities require you to call them after it’s been completed, as it is not an automated process.

  9. If you have ever had a Bank Direct Acct but haven’t in years, is there ever a time when one could re-apply and get the sign up bonuses?

  10. Sad to say, just got, on 12/2/11, a notice from BankDirect that they are going to charge a fee of $12 a month. Regardless of how much you have in your account.

  11. I like the easy 22K miles, plus the US miles bonus sounds like a great way to increase both account before the big bang happens. I just signed up for the sun trust delta account.

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