Bask Bank was introduced earlier this year, and it’s what I use as my primary savings account. Rather than earning interest, you can earn valuable American Airlines AAdvantage® miles at a compelling rate.
In no particular order, here are my reasons to consider a Bask Savings Account:
1. Why AAdvantage® miles are worth collecting in general
Understandably travel isn’t a focus for everyone right now, given everything going on in the world. Even so, I think it’s a great time to start collecting miles towards whatever your future travel goals may be. To expand on that a bit:
- The airline industry is starting to show signs of recovery; more people are traveling by the week, airlines are adding more flights to their schedule, and more countries have announced plans to ease border restrictions, meaning your next adventure may not be that far off
- While many people are concerned about the security of their miles due to the financial situation some airlines are in, keep in mind that the AAdvantage® program alone is worth billions of dollars, so there’s probably not much reason to be concerned about survival of the program
And in general, you want to start accruing miles long before you’re ready to plan travel. That way you not only have time to build up a sizable mileage balance that will get you the flights you’re looking for, you can be prepared to book when reward flight availability is at the peak.
2. Ability to redeem for outsized value
One of the things that I love about airline miles is the potential to redeem for incredible rewards, at far below the market rate.
While some programs are purely revenue based (where each mile is worth a certain amount towards a ticket), that’s not the case with AAdvantage® miles, which has a range of mileage prices within and between fixed zones.
This means you can redeem a set number of miles (even for last minute travel that might be much more expensive in cash), or pay a slight premium in miles for a much more premium travel experience in first and business class — including for travel on oneworld® and other partner airlines.
Not only that, but miles become more useful the more you have. In other words, your redemption options may be limited if you have just a few thousand, while when you have tens of thousands, you suddenly have a lot more options.
To give a better sense of that, here are some of the ways I’ve used AAdvantage® miles in the past:
- 5k miles for last-minute Web Special award flights between Tampa and Miami that would have otherwise been a few hundred dollars
- 21k miles for A321T business class between Los Angeles or San Francisco and JFK
- 57,500 miles to book business class for my Mom to go to Europe
- 75k miles each for Qatar Qsuites for my Dad’s 75th birthday safari trip
- 80k miles to fly Qantas business class to Melbourne
- 80k miles for Japan Airlines 777 first class between North America and Japan
As you can see, there’s an incremental value to miles you earn. While even a handful of AAdvantage® miles can save you quite a bit of money, the more miles you have the more you can do with them, giving you outsized value.
3. Interest rates are low, so earning miles offers an excellent alternative
The rewards you earn from a savings account can vary wildly. With most banks, you’re earning cash back, and the rate of return on the account depends on macro-economic trends.
The reality is that at the moment interest rates are extremely low. While there are accounts at some institutions offering higher rates, the national average interest rate on savings accounts has been hovering around 0.06%.
It goes without saying that the value proposition of a savings account will be very different depending on whether you’re earning 0.02% interest or 2.0% interest.
That’s one of the things that makes a Bask Savings Account such a great deal. Even when interest rates are higher a Bask Savings Account can make sense, but that’s even more the case with current interest rates.
4. 1.5 miles per dollar is a good return even without sign-up bonuses
With a Bask Savings Account you earn 1.5 AAdvantage® miles annually per dollar saved. I value AAdvantage® miles at ~1.5 cents each, so to me that’s like a 1.5% rate of return, which is exceptional. You won’t find many savings accounts offering that kind of a return. Even if you do, however, you’ll receive a 1099-INT for that 1.5% in interest. Meanwhile, Bask Bank will issue a 1099-INT based on the fair market value of the miles (which is around 0.42 cents). So even if you don’t value AAdvantage® miles as highly as I do, if you’re redeeming for even 0.5 cents each you’re coming out ahead.
You also don’t have to wait a full year to earn rewards. Rather you’ll earn ~one twelfth of an AAdvantage® mile every month per dollar saved. In other words, if you deposited $12,000 you’d receive 1,500 miles per month.
5. No fees, ever
With Bask Bank there are no fees to keep your account open, regardless of the balance you maintain. That’s quite a contrast to other savings accounts, which may have fees, especially for those who don’t maintain a minimum balance.
6. Opening bonus
Opening a Bask Savings Account can be worth it for the one AAdvantage® mile per dollar saved annually, and if you deposit $5,000 you’ll earn 1,000 AAdvantage® miles. You must maintain a $5,000 balance for at least 90 consecutive days within 120 days of account opening.
7. Keeps AAdvantage® miles active
AAdvantage® miles expire after 18 months of inactivity (if you’re over 21) – but keeping your account active is easy with Bask Bank. By maintaining a balance in your Bask Savings Account your miles will never expire, so this isn’t something you have to worry about. That’s because earned miles will be deposited into your account every month, making sure you always have some activity.
8. Easy to use mobile experience and website
Bask Bank has created a phenomenal user experience, as both the website and app are straightforward and intuitive. You can self-service your account entirely online, from signing up in minutes, to funding your account, to managing it.
I can’t chime in on how their phone customer service is, and that’s a good thing, because I’ve never had to use it. That’s one of the few banks where that has been the case for me.
I use a Bask Savings Account as my primary savings account, and recommend others do as well. There’s so much to like about Bask Bank, from the lack of fees, to the great mobile and web experience, to the ongoing rewards for maintaining a balance.
When you’re ready to travel again, the AAdvantage® miles you earn will come in handy for your next adventure.