shadow of a plane above a tropical beach

Bask Bank Has Once Again Raised Its Mileage Earning Rate

In hindsight, Bask Bank either launched at the best or worst time ever: January 2020. On the one hand, debuting an account emphasizing travel just before the world shuts down can’t be good for branding. But, on the other hand, one could argue that the account allowed people to build up their frequent flier accounts with miles for the hopeful day when we’d be able to take to the skies again.

Of course, on the banking side of things, the climate was also less-than-stellar as interest rates plummeted, leaving even “high yield” savings accounts looking pretty pitiful. Through all of this, however, Bask managed to retain its original pitch — and, now that interest rates continue to soar, the unique offering is attempting to keep in line by once again raising its mileage accrual offering.

If you’re not familiar with Bask and have been baffled by my first paragraph, let me explain. With Bask Bank, customers can earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles instead of regular cash interest. Specifically, at the time of its launch, you could earn 1 mile per $1 in your account on an annual basis. So, if you held $5,000 in your account for a year, you’d earn a total of 5,000 miles over the course of that year (in the form of monthly mileage deposits to your AAdvantage account). Now, as of May 2023, Bask has increased that earnings rate to 2.5 miles per $1 in your account on an annual basis. In other words, with that same $5,000 balance, you’ll now earn a total of 12,500 miles in a year’s time.

While the enhanced accrual rate is definitely a win for customers, quantifying the benefit and comparing it to the APYs of other, more traditional accounts remains difficult. That’s mostly because not all American Airlines mileage redemptions are created equal — for better or worse.

As I recently discovered, the miles I’ve earned from Bask along with one trip on American meant that I could actually book a $494 flight for just 9,000 miles. That’s thanks to American’s Web Specials, which occasionally pop up for certain (likely less desirable) flights and itineraries. If other Bask customers are able to take advantage of similar deals, then the value proposition of the account could be huge. Alas, such specials are limited so, even at 2.5 miles per $1, Bask’s rate still might not be the best option for some.

On that note, however, Bask also now offers a regular high-yield savings account as well as CDs. As of this writing, the bank’s Interest Savings account earns 4.75% APY, while CD options go as high as 4.85%. What’s more, these could potentially go even higher in the coming days as the Fed just raised rates another quarter point this week.

Overall, even if it is hard to know how I’ll end up using my American Airlines AAdvantage miles or what sort of value I’ll get from them when I do, I still enjoy using Bask Bank and think it’s a really clever idea. Therefore, I’m really glad they’ve made an effort to remain competitive as rates have risen. Even if they may not be as quick to hike their rate as other accounts are, it’s definitely nice to know that they are monitoring things and are willing to make adjustments. Now, if they could only consider bringing back their more attainable and lucrative sign-up bonus offers…

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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