News You Can Use – Fewer Miles with Bank Direct, 100% US Air Share or Buy Miles Bonus & Marriott Promotion

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1.   Fewer Miles with BankDirect Checking Accounts

I’ve written previously about earning American Airlines miles with a checking account with BankDirect.  You earn 100 miles (per month) for every $1,000 in your account, up to $200,000 in your account.  For every $1,000 above $200,000 you would earn 25 American Airlines miles per month.

This meant that a deposit of $200,000 would earn 240,000 American Airlines miles in a year!

That said there is monthly service fee of $12, but it is well worth it for folks (note: I’m not an investment advisor, so consult yours!) with large deposits of liquid cash who leave the money in other bank accounts.  That’s because you don’t pay tax on the miles (but you do pay tax on interest earned at other banks) and also because the American Airlines miles are worth more than the small amounts of interest which banks pay.

BankDirect Mileage Checking

BankDirect Mileage Checking

According to View from the Wing, BankDirect will make significant changes (PDF File) to their mileage checking accounts, starting June 1, 2013.

You will earn still earn 100 American Airlines miles, per month, per $1,000 deposit.  But only for the first $50,000 in deposits.  After $50,000, you will earn 25 American Airlines miles for every $1,000.

Despite the changes, I still think that earning AAdvantage miles with BankDirect is well worth the opportunity cost if you have money in another bank account (the amount of interest which you would earn if you kept your money elsewhere).

You can earn 75 miles per $1,000 deposit (per month) if you put $50,000 in the mileage checking account (earning 100 miles) and another $50,000 in the money market account which earns 50 miles per $100,000.

Sure, this isn’t as good as it used to be, but something is better than nothing!  And don’t forget that you can deposit money with Fidelity for additional bonuses with Delta, American Airlines, and United.

In addition, it is possible to earn a total of 22,000 miles for opening a new BankDirect account:

  • Earn 1,000 miles opening a new account.
  • Earn an additional 1,000 miles if referred by an existing member
  • 5,000 miles for using their Visa Checkcard
  • Another 5,000 miles for using their bill pay service.
  • And 10,000 miles for 6 consecutive months with at least $2,000 in direct deposits.

2.   Marriott Announces Summer 2013 “Unexpected Bonus” Promotion

Via Loyalty Lobby, Marriott has announced their “Unexpected Bonus” promotion, running between May 15, 2013 and September 2, 2013.

Marriott Unexpected Bonus

This promotion is targeted, so your miles may vary as far as which offer you will receive.  A full list of offers is below, with links to their Terms & Conditions:

  1. Free Category 1-5 Night After Two Stays (Max of 2)
  2. Free Category 1-4 Night After Two Stays (Max of 3)
  3. 25,000 Marriott Points After 15 Nights, Additional 10,000 Points After 20 Nights (Max of 35,000 Points)
  4. 25,000 Marriott Points After 15 Nights, Additional 2,000 Points Each Additional Night (Max of 45,000 Points)
  5. 35,000 Marriott Points After 20 Nights, Plus 10,000 Points After 25 Nights (Max of 45,000 Points)
  6. 35,000 Marriott Points After 20 Nights, Plus 2,000 Points Each Additional Night (Max of 55,000 Points)

Step 1

Sign-in to your Marriott account.

Step 2

Then click the “Promotion Central” drop-down menu at the bottom of the “My Account” tab, which is located on the right side of the homepage.

Marriott Unexpected Bonus

Step 3

Next, click the “New promotions for you” link on the “My Account” tab.

Marriott Unexpected Bonus-3

Step 4

Ccomplete the registration on the following page:

Marriott Unexpected Bonus Summer 2013

You have to register before July 21, 2013 to be eligible.

3.   US Airways 100% Bonus on Purchased Miles

Via One Mile at a Time, through May 31, 2013 US Airways is offering bonuses on all purchases of at least 5,000 miles:

  • Buy or Gift 5,000 – 9,000 Miles, Get a 25% Bonus
  • Buy or Gift 10,000 – 19,000 Miles, Get a 50% Bonus
  • Buy or Gift 20,000 – 29,000 Miles, Get a 75% Bonus
  • Buy or Gift 30,000 – 50,000 Miles, Get a 100% Bonus

While there are a number of different bonuses, the best deal is to purchase at least 30,000 miles and receive a 100% bonus, at a rate of ~1.89 cents each.

US Airways Buy Miles Bonus

A great use of US Airways Dividend miles is to use 90,000 miles to fly in Business Class from the US to Asia, with a stopover in Europe.  You can redeem US Air miles for travel on any of the Star Alliance member airlines.

You would pay $1,700 if you bought 90,000 miles for a Business Class award to North Asia with a stopover in Europe (subject to award availability & taxes and fees, of course).

This isn’t such a great deal for domestic coach travel because you’d pay ~$472 for 25,000 miles which is usually more than what a domestic round-trip ticket costs.  And do the math to see if this makes sense for international coach tickets since it usually doesn’t make sense as well.

If you do plan to get in on this offer, the Terms & Conditions say that your US Airways account must have been open for at least 12 days before purchasing miles.  Also, there is a maximum of 100,000 miles earned through this offer (50,000 purchased, with a bonus of 50,000 miles).

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33 responses to “News You Can Use – Fewer Miles with Bank Direct, 100% US Air Share or Buy Miles Bonus & Marriott Promotion

  1. Would it be possible to buy 50k miles with a bonus of 50k and then a friend will gift me 50k more miles? Or is it limited ?

  2. It is worth the opportunity cost only if you would otherwise have that much capital sitting idle in a bank account which effectively pays no interest these days. Most investors at the level where the value of the miles overcomes the monthly fee don’t do that, though. They invest in a diversified portfolio that might include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, etc. An account like this one could be good for parking short-term cash, but if you expect to do that regularly and in sufficient quantity. It’s no substitute for a well thought out overall investment strategy.

  3. @DaveS: I was going to post a similar thought so I’ll just add a “Like” to yours. Even if one values AA miles at 2 cents each, the current max BankDirect strategy before changes only returns 2.4%. With dividend tax rates only 20% at the highest tax bracket and plenty of opportunities for deferred capital gains taxation, I have a hard time believing someone with 200k in assets cannot construct a portfolio with much better return. Even the conservative low yield bond index funds have been outperforming BankDirect miles yield.

    • @Person – The terms say “The maximum number of Buy and Gift Bonus miles that can be received by one member for this offer is 50,000 bonus miles.” So it won’t be possible to do both.

      @DaveS @The Miles Professor – Yes, it is worth it only if you have the money in another bank account and not if you pull it out from another investment. This is a great account for an emergency fund or to park short-term cash, but it isn’t where you should be investing.

  4. Thanks was targeted for the Cat 1-5 Marriott promo. I have a stay coming up @ the Cosmopolitan in Vegas. I may need to switch off between the other Marriott property now!

  5. TMP, great way of explaining. VERY VERY bad investment advice to “invest” in miles, regardless of valuation method. Fortunately those who have that kind of money laying around, are not dumb enough to get duped into earning BankDirect miles.

  6. Marcus Aurelius

    I am using BankDirect for the full $200k. I generally keep cash for three years ( which for me is a lot more than 200k). This was a great option. Now I will have to trim it to 50 k after June1 and invest the cash in a money market fund typically invested in European bank preferred or Australian / Canadian MBS? The tail risk is much higher in these other options which have to generate 3 percent annually pre tax to beat the original BD product. Jeeze I liked the BankDirect offering! Every persons situation is unique and value is truly different to different investors.

  7. Please share the names of those “conservative low yield bond index funds” that have been outperforming the BD miles deal. Don’t forget to limit the list to those with price stability, quick access to funds and an implied US government guaranty.

  8. Thanks for the heads up on the Marriott promotion! I have a couple of hotel stays coming up that I could easily book with Marriott.

  9. Marriott also had an earlier promotion called “Rewards await your next stay”, which would give you 5K bonus for 2 Fairfield Inn stays 5/1/13-7/31/13. Any guess if it would be possible to get the 5K, plus the one free night, if I do 2 Fairfield Inn stays between 5/15 and 7/31?

  10. Dariuus, I am interested in BDirect account, do they hard pull your credit report? I dont want another inquiry on my credit report.

  11. @Sam wrote “Please share the names of those “conservative low yield bond index funds” that have been outperforming the BD miles deal. Don’t forget to limit the list to those with price stability, quick access to funds and an implied US government guaranty.”

    Miles Professor has no idea what she is talking about…as usual. Don’t expect a response from her, Sam. No such bond exists duing this market.

  12. Hello…I’m new to searching out good deals on miles, spurred on by the absolutely horrific itineraries
    AA makes available for my measly 61,000 miles. I have not seen mentioned here one of the easiest ways to get miles – simply open a Fidelity non-retirement account and fund it or add to an existing account. For a mere transfer of funds from another account, I received 50,000 miles for a new total of 111,000 miles. For $25,000 of new money you receive 15,000 miles, for $50,000 you receive 25,000 miles, and for $100,000 you receive 50,000 miles. You can only do this once a year and must leave the money in the account for at least 6 months. You could then take the money out and then when the year is up, if the program is still active, put it back in. This addresses the issue some stated above that it s silly (maybe, maybe not) to put a large amount of money into an interest bearing account. The Fidelity account is a BROKERAGE account, so invest away! Other company airline miles are also available, but here is the link for American miles: https://scs.fidelity.com/other/offers/registration_aa2.shtml

    Thanks for all the wonderful info…I’m still searching for more miles and hope to use them before American raises the bar again. AARGH!

    • @jorge – I don’t remember a hard pull when I applied, but that was many years ago.

      @Judy – I mentioned the Fidelity option previously, but perhaps it is time for a new post on the Fidelity options!

  13. @Sam, I don’t doubt there are investors who demand price stability, quick access to funds and implied U.S. government guaranty involving sizable amounts of money. I simply said that most people at that level of assets would prefer to invest in a diversified portfolio, and unless you’ll need the money very soon, or are completely risk averse, would be better advised to do so. I don’t feel that the lure of frequent flyer miles should divert us much from a sound overall investment strategy.

  14. Darius,

    Do you have a referral link that you would like us to use for Bank Direct?

    Thanks!

  15. Can you please send me a referral link to this offer as well!

  16. Can you please send me a link for referral for Bank Direct?

  17. Can you please send me a link for referral for Bank Direct, when you hate time…thanks

  18. I meant “have” time =)

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  20. Darius, I am gonna open a BankDirect Account, would you send me a referral link so we could both get 1K more miles?! Thanks!

  21. Darius -Please send me a referral link for the Bank Direct Account ?

    Also anybody who opened recently did they do a hard pull ? Dont need a hard pull on my CR

  22. Pingback: Up to ~78% Discount for Buying Marriott Gift Cards! | Million Mile Secrets

  23. Hi Darius
    Know this thread is old…but any more referral bonuses to share? About to open an account.
    Thanks!

  24. Hi, If you still have a referral left, please send me one as well. Sorry for the lurking.

  25. Please also send me a referral link if you have any left. Thanks.

  26. Just found out about Bank Direct; Please send me a referral link to Bank Direct, thanks

  27. Dear Daraius,

    Please send me a referral link for Bank Direct….thanks for all your great work!