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  • Before you accept any offer, be sure to make a copy of the offer and all of its terms and conditions. Mail a copy with the application, along with a note saying that you are accepting that offer. And keep a copy in case anything goes wrong.
  • I have made no investigation of the financial stability or performance history of any of the investment companies I list on this page. You are on your own to do appropriate due diligence before giving these companies any of your assets. (Occasionally I will give you some help on how to do that due diligence.)




It has been a long time since stock brokers offered miles for new accounts. But maybe it begins again.




Click here to see if a U.S. Bank is indeed F.D.I.C. insured. If you are thinking of depositing more than the $250,000 limit of insurance in a F.D.I.C. insured account, Bankrate has a useful service that rates the financial stability of banks.

I do list offers from some banks outside of the U.S. I do not know if these banks are in any way insured by their governments, and have no knowledge of their financial stability, and I don't intend to research this. You are on your own to do due diligence with any investment you make in any bank or financial institution, but especially with foreign banks.

Doctor of Credit maintains a nifty listing of a large number of bank account bonuses - he says all of them are listed. Miles, points, and cash. Nice.


Charles Schwab Checking Account     The Charles Schwab checking account does not earn miles, but I list it first because I think every world traveler should have one.
  • Its debit card charges no fees for ATM withdrawals, foreign or otherwise.
  • There is no minimum for maintenance of the account.
  • Schwab reimburses and fees charged for ATM withdrawals. Usually ATMs are the best way to acquire foreign currency within the foreign country. Almost always these ATMs can be found at airports upon arrival. But caution: Always use a bank ATM. Never use one from Travelex or the like.
  • There is no fee for foreign currency transactions. You get the Visa exchange rate, which is always very close to the interbank rate.
  • There are no monthly fees and as such no direct deposit requirement or account balance requirement to keep the account fee free.
  • Using this link gets you a $100 bonus if you comply with the terms of the offer. Use my referral code REFERZJ6A29HP. I make nothing for this. It involves a minimum deposit. Not clear for how long it must be maintained. Ask. For taxable accounts, the account must be maintained at Schwab for at least one year or Schwab may charge back the Bonus Award. There may be exceptions to this. Ask.
  • The account pays a tiny amount of interest.
  • I maintain this account with a $1 balance when I am not traveling. When traveling I ACH funds to it via the Schwab website. But caution: They put a hold on the money for several days (4, I think, but ask.)
  • You must also have a Schwab investment account to have the checking account. But several years ago I was told you need not have any assets in it. Ask. Not sure if a brokerage account is automatically opened when you open the checking account. Ask.
  • Doctor of Credit provides a good description of this account and offer. I have used it for years and am quite pleased with it.
  • For all questions about this account and offer, call 800-398-8640 and mention the code REFER.


BankDirect and American Airlines     You can earn thousands of American Airlines miles by opening accounts at BankDirect, a well established online bank.

Caution: Effective with the January 2012 monthly statement cycle, all Mileage Checking with Interest Accounts will be charged a monthly service fee of $12.00, regardless of the balance maintained in your account. This means that this account becomes a good deal only with large balances. Do the math.

Caution: The miles offers for these accounts change for the worse on June 1, 2013. I mention the changes in each category below. Just do a word search on "June" in this BankDirect section.

Caution: There has been a lot of publicity about Citibank sending out a 1099 for their value of AA miles given for opening an account (2.5 cents/mile!) The IRS has made at least one statement that this is correct for bank account bonuses (but not credit card bonuses). BankDirect has not send out 1099's for miles in the past, but I fear they may not be able to continue to avoid doing so. I closed my account with them and explained why. They responded that the understood my concern, with no further comment.

How to earn the miles:

  • 100 miles per month for every $1,000.00 maintained in an interest bearing Mileage Checking Account, up to the first $200,000 on deposit. Earn an additional 25 miles per $1,000 for collected balances over $200,000. That $200,000 limit will be reduced to $50,000 on June 1, 2013.
    • Yes, the interest rate on this account is quite low (currently 0.05%). But the highest rate I can find for liquid money (July 26, 2017) is Ally Bank's 1.15%. The 1.15% is taxable. But BankDirect has not sent out 1099's for the miles. Let's take a round number example. I will use 1%. Be sure to adjust this math for the new numbers.
      • A $10,000 deposit in a BankDirect checking account earns 12,000 American Airlines miles per year and $5 taxable interest per year. That same $10,000 in an Ally Bank account earns $100 per year. But remember that the extra $95 is taxable. You would have to do your own math, but at my combined federal and state tax rates I get to keep only $61.90 of that $95. That's an opportunity cost of 61.90/12,000 = a bit over half a cent/mile. A mile is worth way more than that by anyone's calculation.

        Now I would never consider investing a lot of money in a higher but still very low C.D., because that money is not liquid. But when I am between investments, depositing my cash in this BankDirect account seems like a very good deal, so long as interest rates remain very low.

        Of course, for the first year, the other bonuses make this account very worthwhile for a minimum balance of $2,500.

  • 50 miles per month for every $1,000.00 maintained in a Mileage Money Market Account, up to the first $200,000 on deposit. Earn an additional 25 miles per $1,000 for collected balances over $200,000. That $200,000 limit will be reduced to $50,000 on June 1, 2013.
  • Earn 1,000 miles for every $1,000 invested in a two-year Mileage CD purchase up to $200,000. Additionally, earn 25 miles per $1,000 invested over $200,000. That $200,000 limit will be reduced to $50,000 on June 1, 2013.
  • Earn 500 miles for every $1,000 invested in a one-year Mileage CD purchase up to $200,000. Additionally, earn 25 miles per $1,000 invested over $200,000. That $200,000 limit will be reduced to $50,000 on June 1, 2013.
  • Earn 250 miles for every $1,000 invested in a six month Mileage CD purchase up to $200,000. Additionally, earn 25 miles per $1,000 invested over $200,000. That $200,000 limit will be reduced to $50,000 on June 1, 2013.
  • Earn 1,000 miles for each new Mileage Checking Account or Mileage Money Market Account opened. Additionally, earn 1,000 miles for every $100,000 in initial deposit, up to $500,000, per household. This bonus will disappear June 1, 2013.
  • An additional 1,000 miles if you are referred by someone before you open an account. Try asking for a referral on Flyertalk or Milepoint.
  • 1,000 miles for each successful referral you make to the bank. Consider family members, for example.
  • Earn 10,000 miles for establishing full payroll direct deposit from your employer into a Mileage Checking Account. You must deposit your payroll directly in to a BankDirect Mileage Checking Account. If you have more than one employer, you must deposit the entire payroll direct deposit from each income source in order to receive the one-time 10,000 mileage credit. Your direct deposit must be deposited for 3 consecutive months in order to earn the one-time 10,000 mileage credit. (On June 1, 2013, this changes to six consecutive statement cycles, totaling a minimum of $2,000.00 per month.) The one-time 10,000 mileage credit is awarded after you have reached the minimum 3 month consecutive deposit requirement. To receive mileage credit, contact BankDirect Client Support to notify us that you have met the minimum qualifications. qualifications. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for the miles to post to your AAdvantage account.
  • Earn 5,000 miles for using BankDirect's bill pay service for 12 consecutive months from a Mileage Checking Account. In order to receive these miles, you have to pay at least 3 different merchants per month from a BankDirect Mileage Checking Account through its online bill payment system for 12 consecutive months. (On June 1, 2013, this changes to 6 consucutive months.) The 5,000 miles are paid out at the end of the 12-month period. To receive mileage credit, contact BankDirect Client Support to notify them that you have met the minimum qualifications. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for the miles to post to your AAdvantage account.
  • Earn 5,000 miles for Visa® CheckCard usage. Use the Visa® CheckCard on 12 transactions per statement cycle for 3 consecutive months. (After June 1, 2013, the transactions must total at least $500/month.) To receive mileage credit, contact BankDirect Client Support to notify them that you have met the minimum qualifications. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for the miles to post to your AAdvantage account.
  • Limit 2 Mileage transaction accounts per household; one Mileage Checking Account and one Money Market Account.
You can read about or find links to all of the details of these accounts here, and more details here. And here is the the bank's schedule of fees and other disclosures. Note no fee listed for ATM use anywhere in the world. Also note the following:
  • You get a free ATM debit card with your checking account. BankDirect charges no fees for using that card at any ATM anywhere in the world (thought the owner of the ATM might charge a fee). Very nice for foreign travel.
  • They say to wait 6 - 8 weeks for miles to post after you earn them. But it took only 2 days for my initial opening miles to post.
  • There are fees for not maintaining minimum balances on these accounts. For example, the minimum balance to avoid a monthly fee on the mileage checking account is $2,500, and $10,000 for a mileage money market account.

The interest rates and on Mileage CD's are substantially lower that those you can get from regular CD's from BankDirect, and lower still that CD's you can find elsewhere. And the miles received from mileage CD's are lower than those from the checking account. So investing in Mileage C.D's for the purpose of acquiring miles is not particularly attractive.


Chase Bank and Ultimate Rewards points     Chase Sapphire Banking offers 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points for opening an account with $75,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible checking, savings and/or investment accounts, and maintain that balance for at least 90 days. Doctor of Credit describes the best way to access this offer. Or simply try this link, which says the offer expires August 8, 2019. But it keeps getting extended.
  • I suggest this account only for the brokerage part of it, though I am told they have a cash account paying 2%.
  • The T&Cs say "The Ultimate Rewards bonus points transferred to you under the terms of the Program are considered miscellaneous income received from Chase, and may be reportable to you and the IRS on Form 1099-INT (or Form 1042-S, if applicable) for the year in which the points are posted to your account. You are responsible for any tax liability related to participating in the program." They do not mention that value. This is a deal breaker until they tell us what the 1099 will say. They have in the past valued these points at 1¢ each. When brokers were offering miles for accounts years ago, they did not send out 1099's for miles. They did send them out for other bonuses. Citi offered miles for new bank accounts, and did send out 1099s at a ridiculous value of 2.5 cents/mile. I vaguely remember reading something about that being declared illegal, but I am old and my memory is not so good anymore. Please tell me if you have a link to that info. BankDirect does not send out 1099s for its American Airlines bonuses.
  • The new account offer is available online. So is the upgrade account offer.
  • The offer page specifically says you must open a Chase Sapphire checking account. But then it also says that the minimums can be met with transfer of securities. I need someone at Chase to explain this.
  • Customers must have a Chase Sapphire® or Chase Freedom® credit card that is open and not in default at the time of enrollment and at points fulfillment, and be the primary cardmember on the account. If you don't have such a card and are beyond Chase's 5/24 limit on credit cards, I would try to get around this by visiting a Chase branch.
  • One interesting comment on the Doctor of Credit post: "I’m going to put the $75,000 in a 3 month treasury bill with a current rate of 2.26%. The total interest for the 3 months period is $418".
  • Ultimate Rewards points are transferable 1,000:1,000 to many airlines, including United. They can be combined with the points earned from several excellent credit card offers.
Capital One     If you are a Venture cardholder, Capital one offers a bonus of 50,000 Venture miles when you open a 360 Money Market account by July 31, 2019, and meet certain conditions.


Citibank and American Airlines     Citibank offers 40,000 American Airlines miles for opening a checking account by July 31, 2019, and meeting certain conditions.
Caution: There has been a lot of publicity about Citibank sending out a 1099 for their value of AA miles given for opening an account (2.5 cents/mile!) The IRS has made at least one statement that this is correct for bank account bonuses (but not credit card bonuses).


UFB Direct and American Airlines debit card     Caution: There has been a lot of publicity about Citibank sending out a 1099 for their value of AA miles given for opening an account (2.5 cents/mile!) The IRS has made at least one statement that this is correct for bank account bonuses (but not credit card bonuses). I don't know if UFB Direct will send out a 1099, and if they do, how they will value the miles.

UFB Direct offers

  • An Airline Rewards Checking Account with
    • A debit card that earns 1 airline mile/$3 spent on the card. Currently American Airlines is the only airline offered, but that could change.




    SunTrust offers both personal and business debit cards that earn Delta Airlines miles. You may read about them here.


Bank of Hawaii and Hawaiian Airlines


    Bank of Hawaii offers a personal check (debit) card for $3/month each. The Bank of Hawaii website says that HawaiianMiles can be earned on qualified purchases using the "Debit" or "Credit" function, but does not say how many miles. As of October 7, 2018, he Hawaiian Airlines website no longer lists this debit card as an option to earn miles.


    Qudos Bank (Australia) offers Australians Qantas Points for for various bank products.



Home Buying


Home Buying, Home Equity Loans, and Home Mortgages     Many airlines offer miles for using their affiliated realtor to buy or sell a home, and for using their lender to acquire a mortgage, refinance, or acquire a home loan. I have not done a lot of research on this, but I know that mega miles are available.

These miles do cost the lender or broker money. So be sure to compare their rates to those who don't offer miles - the latter may offer better deals. Note also that you may be able to negotiate a lower commission or a lower loan rate by offering to give up the miles.

View from the Wing has a good article on these offers.

Please tell me about any programs you come across. I will add them here after I check them out. You can often find them through the web site of your favorite airline. Look for the partners of its frequent flyer program. Here are the ones I know about:

  • United Airlines

  • Hawaiian Airlines
    • Quicken Loans offers 25,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles when you close a new purchase or refinance loan.

  • Choice Privileges
    • Quicken Loans offers 50,000 Choice Privileges points when you close a new purchase or refinance loan.

  • American Airlines.

  • Qantas



    Other Loans

    It appears that banks are just beginning to experiment with the idea of awarding miles for loans other than those for the home. Please tell me about any other of these types of offers you find. Thanks.


    Loans for Car Buying     Qantas Credit Union offers 1,000 Qantas Points for every $1000 on your loan balance per annum.


    Personal Loans     Up to 50,000 JetBlue points or 50,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles for getting a personal loan from Best Egg. You may have to open this in a private window to see these offers.

    LendingClub offers 1 American Airlines mile per $1 borrowed, up to 40,000 miles. They say "Rates from 5.99% to 35.89%* APR. Best APR is available to borrowers with excellent credit." Not sure if you can borrow for a very short period of time to get the miles. This thread in flyertalk discusses the offer. Note that there may be an up front fee for taking out the loan, making the miles expensive. But if you need the loan and they give you a good rate...

    LendingClub offers 1 United Airlines mile/$1 you loan to others. This is a very interesting program. Please read all of this article and all of my comments on it there.


    Commercial Loans and Real Estate Purchases.     iBank offers 2,500 Hilton HHonors points per $10,000 borrowed on a commercial loan.


    Personal and Margin Loans


        Qantas has arranged for points to be earned from banks for personal and margin loans. Details here.

    If you are looking for a smaller short term loan (less than a year), I may have 0% balance transfer offers listed for certain credit cards. For some, you can get a check for your full credit limit, and then make minimum payments until the 0% offer ends. You can often get another check for that minimum amount you pay once the payment posts. The best way to find these offers is to look on my Free Money page.



    Student Finance

    Here I list miles producing and cash back offers for savings plans and loans for tuition and other student expenses.


    Upromise     Everyone saving for college should thoroughly investigate the Upromise program. It provides cash rebates for use of its Mastercard and for purchases through its online shopping portal. This is an easy way for you, parents, grand parents, and anyone else to contribute to your college education. So spread word, or perhaps get your parents to do so. Most of your questions are found on the Frequently Asked Questions page. However, there are still two questions the answer to which I was unable to find:
    • Minimums for transfer to a 529 are alluded to, but never stated. What are they?
    • Which 529 plans are on your list for eligibility? (And specifically is yours on it?)

    The reader who told me about this program says

    "...most 529 plans have annual fees exceeding average consumer's Upromise earnings, so people should decide if it's worth it for them to participate, based on their shopping habits. It doesn't mean they shouldn't join Upromise, of course. There is a way to request a check from Upromise, not subject to any 529 penalties, and something they obviously do not advertise."


    Fidelity Visa     The 2% cash back on all purchases on your Fidelity Visa credit card can be deposited into your Fidelity-managed 529 College Savings plan. Nice, easy way to fund your college education with your purchases or those of your parents or grandparents.


    SoFi     Earn up to 50,000 JetBlue points or 50,000 Southwest Airlies points or 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles when refinancing your student loans through SoFi. Be sure to compare rates to other offers. You may find that you would be paying too much for the points.




    The A.M. Best Company rates the financial stability of many insurance companies. Before buying insurance it would be very nice to have some idea of the ability of the insurance company to actually pay a claim.

    Most insurance companies accept credit cards (mileage producing, of course) for payment of premiums. Ask.


    MetLife and Amtrak     Earn up to 500 Amtrak Guest Rewards® points by calling MetLife Auto & Home® for a free insurance quote. Call (866) 203-9527, provide your Amtrak Guest Rewards member number,and mention offer code BXW. Points may be available in: : AL, AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MN, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, OR, PA, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WY. Details.


    QANTAS and Insurance     QANTAS offers points for purchase of various types of insurance.



    Investment Advice


    KLM and Investment Advisors     KLM apparently has miles producing arrangement with an investment advisor/manager, depending on in which European country you live. For info, go to KLM's home page, choose your country and language, click on Flying Dutchman in the left menu, then on the read more link in the Partners paragraph on the main page, same again in the Finance and Telecom paragraph, then do the obvious.


    The Wall Street Journal and Other Financial Publications.


        There are a number of ways to earn miles subscribing to the The Wall Street Journal and other financial publications. There are also ways to spend miles to subscribe to these publications. I list the ones I know about on my Shopping page of this web site in the Newspapers and Magazines section.




    This Flyertalk thread discusses miles for and discounts on tax software.


    Tax Preparation   ; 1,000 Southwest Airlines points for using TurboTax. It appears that you must use their online system. I prefer to keep my tax info on my computer, where it is more private.


    Paying your taxes     The IRS lists payment processors through with you may make payments to it via credit or debit card, including 1040, 1040ES and many other types. The credit card fee ranges between 1.88% and 2.35% (expensive miles, but useful for meeting a minimum spend requriement for a credit card bonus). But the debit card fee is a flat fee ranging between $2.99 and $3.95, making this a very good deal for some payments via a debit card that earns miles. You may also make some state and local tax payments at Official Payments Corporation.

    Million Mile Secrets has an excellent article on how to profitably earn miles or cash for paying your taxes. Note that any of the 2% cash back cards I list will give you a small profit.

    Below are some of the offers I know about. Please tell me about others you find. Thanks.

    • The IRS has a nifty page showing numerous methods for obtaining e-filing for free. Most require that your Adjusted Gross Income be $50,000 or less.
    • Often the payment agencies arrange special offers for payment of taxes:
    • Mastercard has a nifty list of which states accept its card, and via which agents. Presumably those states also accept other cards.
    • Redeem American Express Membership Rewards points to credit your Card account for the cost of the convenience fee (200 Membership Rewards points = $1).


    Thanks to BoardingArea for donating the web space for this web site.
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