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Update 5/1/23: The Bask Bank Mileage Savings Account now earns 2.5 Miles per $1 Saved Annually.
If you aren’t earning frequent flyer miles from your savings account, you probably should be. At least you should open an account – which has no annual fees or minimum balances – so that you have the option to earn miles when you want to. It’s a great way of potentially earning a lot of miles, and one of the very few ways to do that without actually spending money.
Bask Bank’s Mileage Savings Account rewards you with frequent flyer miles instead of traditional interest. You earn 2 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles for every $1 saved annually.
I’ve been a customer of Bask and its parent company, Texas Capital Bank, since 2003 as a way to earn miles myself. Based on my math, earning miles for your savings is a better deal than you’ll find from most savings accounts.
Great Rate Of Return On A Savings Account
Bask Bank offers a high rate of return.
- Value compares favorably to most savings accounts. I value AAdvantage® miles at 1.3 cents apiece, earning 2 per dollar saved annually represents to me a 2.6% rate of return. As of this writing, according to the FDIC the average savings account returns 0.35%.
- Return looks even better on an after-tax basis. Bask Bank has reported the miles I’ve earned for tax purposes at a value of 0.42 cents apiece. At a current earning rate of 2 miles per dollar saved annually, this represents a taxable Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 0.84%.
Assuming that doesn’t change over the next year, earning 40,000 miles (which I value at $520) saving $20,000 would generate a 1099 tax reporting form showing a value of $168.00. If you pay taxes on those miles with a hypothetical combined federal and state income tax rate of 47%, you’re paying $78.96 in taxes. That means netting $441.04.
Compare that to a hypothetical 4.00% APY. That same $20,000 saved would yield $800, $376 in taxes, and a net of $424. In other words, even at my arguably low valuation of miles you’re beating a very high yield interest offer by earning miles. The more you value the miles, the bigger the difference.
- Even better with a bonus for new accountholders. That rate of return doesn’t even factor that as a new accountholder you can earn additional miles, as I’ll describe below.
Choose Miles Or Money
Bask Bank offers both their Mileage Savings Account and Interest Savings Account. Neither one has a monthly or annual fee, and neither one requires a minimum balance to avoid fees (just fund your account within 15 days of opening).
You can move your money to adjust what you’re trying to earn for – whether it’s the miles for your next ticket, or spending money on your next trip. The current offer for a Bask Interest Savings Account is 4.75% APY**. (Update: effective 7/31/2023 the offer is 5.00% APY.)
Why I Choose Miles
When I was single, I felt like I had all the frequent flyer miles in the world. When I got married, I was able to go into multi-player mode earning miles, but I was spending miles much faster too (and my wife has real preferences about how we fly). Now that I’m a dad my miles go much faster.
I also earn miles by making purchases through online shopping portals, for airline shopping, and even by arranging for sitters for my dogs when we travel. The problem is that while every mile matters, there are limits to how many miles I can earn this way. And this is the currency I’ve redeemed for my travels most often.
A Bask Mileage Savings Account is unique because it:
- Lets you earn large amounts of miles
- Offers earning that is repeatable without limit
- Doesn’t require spending money
You can move money in and out as you have the need to earn miles. And you should open the Bask Mileage Savings Account right away to take advantage of 2,000 bonus miles*.
Bask Bank is offering 2,000 AAdvantage® miles for customers that (i) have not previously opened a Bask Savings Account; (ii) meet Bask Bank’s qualifications to open an account; (iii) complete the online account opening process between March 17, 2023 and May 31, 2023; (iv) fund the account within fifteen (15) calendar days following the initial account opening; (v) maintain a minimum daily account balance of $10,000 for ninety (90) consecutive days out of the first one hundred and twenty (120) days following the initial account opening; and (vi) provide Bask Bank with an AAdvantage® account number in the same name as the subject Bask Savings Account.
Opening the account and earning miles extends expiration of miles in your frequent flyer account (or a family member’s American Airlines AAdvantage® mileage account if they open an account with Bask Bank). And a very small deposit will regularly earn a mile and keep expiration at bay indefinitely.
American Airlines Business Class, Boeing 787-9
How You Can Make Use Of Bask Bank Mileage Earning
Now let’s take a look at what you can do with 140,000 miles. The truth is that many people don’t take big redemption trips every year, so for you it may make sense to consider what to do with a larger mileage balance. And a Bask Mileage Savings Account is part of an overall mileage strategy, so consider the miles you already have and those you’ll earn elsewhere.
Still, I think it’s helpful to understand the Bask Bank value proposition to look at how you can use the miles.
- Stretching your miles for travel on American Airlines. Traditionally, airlines made award seats available when they didn’t expect to sell those seats for cash. Even when planes are pretty full, airlines need to satisfy their program members. They’ve got to look at seats that would sell for cash but where the cash price might be low.
American Airlines web specials can offer flights for as little as 7,500 miles each way. 146,000 miles can be redeemed for as many as 19 flights.
- Business class roundtrip to the Maldives. I’ve been to the Maldives half a dozen times. All but one of those times I redeemed my American Airlines AAdvantage® miles to get there. It’s one of my favorite places to vacation because of the distance. By the time I get there I’m immediately ready to collapse into vacation and the time difference means I check my email first thing in the morning and the U.S. business day is over for my entire day ahead. Nobody is trying to reach me.
Overwater Villa in the Maldives
American charges 140,000 miles roundtrip in business class on partner airlines whether you’re flying just to the Mideast, flying to India, or to the Maldives. American’s partners Etihad and Qatar Airways serve Male, the capital of the Maldives, from their Mideast hubs. Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong), SriLankan (Colombo), and China Southern (Colombo) serve the Maldives as well.
- Business class roundtrip to South America. American’s Flight Awards start at 60,000 miles roundtrip for South America – Short Haul travel and 180,000 miles roundtrip for South America – Long Haul. Buenos Aires is a great food city. While you’re there travel to the Mendoza wine region in the country.
American’s partnership with Brazilian carrier Gol makes it easier to connect to places like Iguazu Falls. When I traveled, there I flew American Airlines business class via Miami and connected in São Paulo to Gol.
- Business class roundtrip to Tokyo. AAdvantage® charges 120,000 miles roundtrip for a business class partner ticket to Tokyo. Before the pandemic I stayed at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, where much of the film Lost in Translation took place. The goal was to have as much great sushi as possible, and Michelin two star Sushi Masuda was really incredible. I’m planning to return this summer.
With Chef Rei Masuda After An Incredible Lunch
I was there for sushi, but after having lunch at Jiro Roppongi my wife and I weren’t much inclined to go out to dinner so we ate at the New York Grill at the hotel. I had Akita Nishiki Tenderloin and it was the best piece of meat I’ve had in my life.
You might think about Malaysia (Malaysia Airlines is an American Airlines partner) for the best satay and prawn mee soup and some great beaches, or perhaps Bali.
The most expensive one-way business class award on the American Airlines partner award chart is 80,000 miles. That’s the cost of flying between the U.S. and South Pacific (including Australia). Some of my family moved Down Under when I was five years old. I flew to Australia on American Airlines back when they served Sydney 30 years ago via Honolulu on a DC-10. More recently, preferring to fly in premium cabins, I’ve redeemed my miles to fly American’s partner Qantas and for my next trip again on American.
Sydney Opera House From My Room At The Park Hyatt Sydney
I’m Earning Miles With The Company I’ve Banked With For 20 Years
Texas Capital Bank launched Bask Bank in 2020, offering online savings accounts that earn American Airlines AAdvantage® miles. I love that they’ve continued to improve the value proposition since then, increasing earning from the original 1 mile per dollar saved annually to 1.5 miles per dollar and now 2 miles per dollar saved annually.
I’ve been a customer of Texas Capital Bank since 2003. This is a great way to save money and a great way to earn miles. It’s free, quick and easy to sign up and earning miles for your savings is a better deal than you’ll find from most savings accounts.
My primary use for the account is to put away money for my annual property taxes. That’s one of my biggest expenses each year. It’s something most people don’t earn miles for. Bask Bank helps me set aside the funds and earn miles for it at the same time.
* Mile rewards are subject to change at Bask Bank’s sole discretion.
**Annual percentage yield (APY) as of APRIL 27, 2023. APY is variable and subject to change at any time without notice. Must fund within 15 business days of account opening.
Bask Bank is a division of Texas Capital Bank, Member FDIC. The sum of your total deposits with (i) Bask Bank and (ii) Texas Capital Bank are insured up to $250,000 per depositor for each account ownership category.