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Finance

Cautions:

  • 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.)

 

   

Brokers

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

 

 

Banks

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. By using this referral link, you can get a $100 - $500 bonus for opening the account with various deposit amounts. I get nothing for your use of the link.
  • 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.

 

Bask Bank and American Airlines     Bask Bank offers American Airlines miles.
  • 5,000 miles for opening an account by June 30, 2021, with a minimum of $1,000 and maintaining at least that amount for 90 days.
  • 1,000 miles for giving the bank feedback on the program by June 30, 2020. You can find this offer by searching on "Feedback Bonus" in the terms and conditions. Still there December 16, 2020, with the expired date. Maybe.
  • 1 mile/$1 saved and maintained for 1 year. Elsewhere the terms and conditions say miles will be awarded monthly. They have been awarding me 1 mile/month for my $20 deposit. I expect 2 miles occasionally. This automatically keeps my AA account active.
  • 5,000 bonus miles for maintaining a $25,000 balance for 180 days.
  • 10,000 miles for maintaining a $50,000 balance for for 180 days.
  • 20,000 miles for maintaining a $100,000 balance for for 180 days. See the terms and conditions for specifics. Accounts must be opened no later than June 30, 2020, funded no later than 60 days following the account opening, and Balance Tier(s) maintained for 360 consecutive days from date of funding a qualifying balance to be eligible for this Bonus Offer. Yes, this offer seems to be expired, but it is still in the T&C. Ask.
  • Referring a friend might get you 5,000 miles. The T&C says this expired September 30, 2020, but it is still there, and my referral link still works.
  • No dollar amount interest is earned.
  • A 1099 form will be issued for the value of the miles. Last I looked they saie that value is 0.42 cent/mile.
  • Compare to interest rates you can find elsewhere from online banks. For example, currently I am getting 0.5% from PNC Bank, but its full value will be reported on the 1099.
The bank is a subsidiary of Texas Capital Bank, the same bank that runs BankDirect, described next. Strange.

You must electronically link another bank account to the Bask account, but you do not have to provide log in info for the that bank. Just say you will fund later, then use the usually 3 small deposit method to link the accounts.

I found most of the specifics of the miles offers by searching on miles in the terms and conditions

You can email the bank: customersupport@baskbank.com. But once you open an account, there is a well hidden secure message center. (Click on More near the top of the page.)

I deposited $1,000 on December 9, 2019. and did the feedback. The 1,000 miles for the feedback posted on December 11. The 5,000 miles bonus posted on January 8, 2020. 73 miles posted on January 3, 2020, thus showing that they do indeed post miles monthly. So I am keep $20 in the account, generating at least 1 mile/month, thus easily keeping my AA account active. (Last I looked, that account requires at least one activity every 18 months to avoid losing all the miles in it.)

 

Betterment

 

    Earn 12,750 Amex Membership Rewards points (or $127.50) after opening a checking account and depositing just $1. To earn this bonus, you’ll have to click through the Rakuten shopping portal and open a checking account with Betterment. Million Mile Secrets gives us the details.

 

SunTrust

 

    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.

 

 

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

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

  • American Airlines.

  • Qantas

     

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    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?)
    Ask.

    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.

     

     

    Insurance

    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.

     

    United Airlines and California Casualty     California Casualty offers up to 20,000 United Airlines miles for the purchase of an auto insurance policy.

     

    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.

     

     

    Taxes

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

     

    Tax Preparation   ; 500 United Airlines miles or 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.

    1,000 American Airlines miles for using H&R Block's Tax Software.

    All of the major tax preparation software companies are listed with Swagbucks, with good rebates in the form of SBs. Enter Taxes in the search box. You may read about the Swagbucks program here. It is a very easy way to earn a bit of money, and a pretty good shopping portal.

     

    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 1.87% and 2.35% (expensive for miles, but useful for meeting a minimum spend requirement for a credit card bonus, and profitable for using a 2% cash back card). 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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