Quite a few updates have happened to the program since publishing and the article has been revised accordingly.
BankDirect offers one of the few opportunities to earn airlines miles on a banking product. Teamed with American Airlines, the partnership allows you to earn AAdvantage miles for doing things like maintaining a balance in your checking account, referring a friend, direct deposit, and bill pay all earn the customer valuable miles.
Lets look at the program in more detail. I am only looking at the Mileage Checking Account and Money Market programs, but they also offer miles for their CD products.
1) Earn 1,000 miles for opening a new Mileage Checking Account (or Mileage Money Market Account).
2) 10,000 miles for direct deposit into a checking account (note this bonus is not available on Money Market products)
3) 5,000 miles for using bill pay
4) 5,000 miles for using BankDirect Visa® CheckCard
5) up to 10,000 miles for referring a friend
You used to be able to fund the account with $100,000, and earn 1,000 miles. Max 5,000 miles for $500,000 initial deposit. However, this benefit looks to have been removed.
In addition, earn the following each month.
– 100 miles for each $1,000 on deposit in the mileage checking account up to $50,000, and 25 miles per $1,000 over $50,000.
10,000 bonus miles are earned after performing a minimum $2,000 direct deposit per month for six (6) consecutive months. However, note that this bonus is only valid on the checking account and not on the money market account.
In order to receive the 5,000 bonus miles associated with this activity, you need to make a minimum of three (3) different payees totaling at least $500.00 a month for six (6) consecutive months. Note, again this is only valid on the checking account and not the money market account.
5,000 additional miles are earned after a minimum of twelve (12) transactions per month totaling at least $500.00 and must be performed for a minimum of six (6) consecutive months. Checking account only.
Users can earn up to 10,000 bonus miles at a rate of 1,000 miles per referral.
BankDirect is an internet-only bank (however, per a readers comment, Bankdirect is an online division of Texas Capital Bank, where you can physically visit to make a deposit/withdraw), so you need to be comfortable with this approach to banking. The accounts are FDIC insured, so your money is safe! Second, looking over the bank fee schedule, the AAdvantage account comes with a $15 early closure fee if you close the account within 90 days of opening. In addition, BankDirect charges $7 for a cashier’s check upon closure of the account.
One of the biggest things that has been revised with this program is you no longer need to separately notify BankDirect each time you meet the requirements of the promotion. Miles will automatically be credited within 6-8 weeks after meeting the requirements.
Both the checking account and money market accounts require a minimum of $500 deposit at account opening (previously only $100). However, the real caveat comes with the monthly fee schedule and balance requirements.
The fee and balance requirements are also the major change since we originally ran this offer. The money market account comes with a $10,000 minimum monthly balance to avoid a $10 monthly fee. The checking account used to come with a $2,500 minimum balance requirement, or otherwise there was a $15 monthly fee; however, now there is a flat $12 fee per month on checking accounts.
It now becomes crucial to calculate how many miles you will earn from this program to offset the monthly fee.
Unfortunately, to earn the most miles, you need to fund and use the account for at least six (6) months, netting you 21,000 miles if you meet all the requirements minus the referrals, not including the 100 per $1,000 balance per month. However, you would also have to pay the monthly fee of $12 per month, or $72, at which point you could potentially close the account without paying an early closure fee. You would also be required to pay the $7 cashier check fee.
You would be purchasing miles at a rate of less than $0.004/mile, which is still really good, though I am not 100% convinced it is worth the effort.
Save Money, Travel More!
5/9/11- Originally published