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BankDirect AAdvantage Miles
Most banks pay you interest on your money.
My bank also pays me American Airlines AAdvantage miles!
Update: BankDirect will charge a monthly fee of $12 in 2012.
BankDirect is the online arm of Texas Capital Bank, a bank based in
Wyoming Texas. BankDirect offers a unique “mileage” checking account where you can earn 100 AAdvantage miles for every $1,000 in deposits up to $200,000, and an additional 25 AAdvantage miles for every $1,000 over the first $200,000 (average daily balance) in your account.
Earning AAdvantage miles is in addition to earning 0.05% interest.
Update: Bank Direct is currently paying 0.01% interest, but please check since the rate constantly changes.
Now 0.05% in interest doesn’t sound like a lot, but that is more than what other banks are paying. For example, Chase is paying 0.01% interest on their Chase Premier Platinum Checking account.
Now leaving $5,000 in your Mileage checking account with BankDirect will earn you 500 AAdvantage miles a month or 6,000 AAdvantage miles per year. You’re not going to travel very far with 6,000 AAdvantage miles, but every mile counts!
Up to 22,000 Bonus AAdvantage miles
New account holders also have a shot at earning an additional 22,000 bonus AAdvantage miles.
- Earn 1,000 miles for each new Mileage Checking Account or Mileage Money Market Account opened. This is in addition to 1,000 miles for every $100,000 in initial deposit, up to a $500,000 limit per household.
- Earn 10,000 miles for payroll direct deposit
- Earn 5,000 miles for using their bill pay service
- Earn 5,000 miles for using their Visa Debit Card
- Earn 1,000 miles when you are referred by an existing account holder. The existing account holder also gets an additional 1,000 miles, so please let me know if I can refer you. It’s an extra 1,000 miles for both of us!
When I opened up my BankDirect account a few years ago, the bonus wasn’t quite this lucrative, but it was easier to get the bonus. That’s because you have to jump through a few hoops (described below) to get your BankDirect AAdvantage miles:
Payroll Direct Deposit Miles
- The terms & conditions say that you have to deposit “the FULL amount of your entire payroll direct deposit from EACH and EVERY income source” for 3 consecutive months to get the 10,000 bonus AAdvantage miles.
- There are reports on FlyerTalk of folks being denied the direct deposit bonus, because the amount deposited was not equal to their income declared on their account application form. But this shouldn’t be a problem if you have your entire payroll deposited into your account.
Bill Pay Miles
- Per the terms and conditions, “you must pay at least 3 different merchants each month for 12 consecutive months from a BankDirect Mileage Checking Account” in order to get the 5,000 bonus miles.
- The easiest way to do this is to have automated payments set up via Bill Pay
Debit Card Miles
- The terms and conditions say that “you must use the Visa® CheckCard on 12 transactions per statement cycle for 3 consecutive months” in order to get the 5,000 bonus miles.
- 12 transactions is a LOT of transactions to put on a debit card which doesn’t earn miles, but I suppose, I’d be able to make 36 small transactions over 3 months just for the miles.
- Readers have written in to say that you can’t charge $1 12 times a month and expect to get your miles. Bank Direct expects you to use your debit card just as you would for regular transactions to get the bonus miles.
You Tell Them When You’re Done
- You are responsible for informing BankDirect when you have completed the requirements for the bonus points!
- The terms say “To receive mileage credit, contact BankDirect Client Support to notify us that you have met the minimum qualifications.”
- I find it pretty absurd that you have to notify them in order to get the bonus miles! But I suppose I’ll do it in order to get the extra miles.
You should also be aware of the following fees:
- BankDirect charges a $15 monthly fee if your average balance is below $2,500.
- So it would NOT make sense to open a BankDirect checking account JUST for the miles, if you cannot maintain a $2,500 average balance.
- That’s because the $15 monthly fee is more that the value of the ~250 AAdvantage miles (~$2.5 at 1 cent per mile) you would earn on a monthly balance of $2,500 or less.
Close Out fee:
- BankDirect charges $ 15 for mileage checking accounts which are closed within 90 days.
- Bank Direct has a schedule of other fees as well.
My Experience With BankDirect
I use BankDirect as my primary checking account, even though it is an online bank. I withdraw money from almost any ATM, and BankDirect reimburses me the ATM fees, up to $2.50, per transaction for 4 times a month.
Making a deposit is easy because BankDirect sends you postage-paid envelopes which you use to mail in checks. I don’t receive a lot of checks since I prefer to do most of my banking online, but ocassionally someone will send me a check.
The customer service has been great, and AAdvantage miles have been regularly flowing to my account!
The only downside which I’ve had with BankDirect is that I’ve been unable to use my debit card overseas – even though I call to let them know that I’m traveling internationally!
This is one of the reason why I still haven’t closed my checking account with Chase. The other reason why I haven’t closed my checking account with Chase is so that I can always reference my long history with Chase if I’m initially denied for a credit card.
BankDirect offers a very easy way to regularly earn more AAdvantage miles, since you will get a regular stream of AAdvantage miles once you set up your account.
Granted these aren’t a whole lot of miles, for example 6,000 miles annually on an average balance of $5,000, but if you’ve got to keep money in the bank you may want to consider BankDirect. And the miles do add up!
The 20,000 miles bonus for bill pay, direct deposit, and using their check card is a nice added bonus and is another way to earn more miles to have Big Travel with Small Money.
Disclosure: You should know that BankDirect is my primary bank. However, I don’t get any commission from BankDirect or anyone else for this post or for the links to the BankDirect in this post. I also do not have a direct financial interest in Texas Capital Bank.