US challenger Bask Bank launches with AA miles saver scheme
Bask Bank, a challenger which earns American Airlines miles instead of interest, has launched in the US. Created by Texas Capital Bank’s parent company Texas Capital Bancshares (TCBI), the neobank will give customers one ‘AAdvantage’ (AA) mile for every dollar they save.
The neobank believes the model is more lucrative for customers than interest rates. It uses the example of $60,000 in savings, earning what it deems to be “an industry average” of 0.09% in interest. Whereas this rate yields $54 a year, the rate of one mile per dollar gives customers 60,000 air miles which the bank says could take you “a lot further than $54 ever could”.
Although AA miles recently moved to dynamic pricing, making it a lot harder to equate real monetary value to them, their awards charts give you a rough idea of what they can equal in cash. For example, Million Mile Secrets worked out earlier this week that 60,000 AA miles can save you roughly $2,125 on a round trip from Charlotte, US to Zurich, Switzerland in June 2020.
“It’s a bold new platform — a stronger option for savers who aren’t getting much out of a traditional savings account,” says Bask Bank’s president Matthew Quale. “[It] helps you enjoy more of life’s experiences today, while still saving for the future.”
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Quale previously worked at major US insurance company Brighthouse, which he helped spin off from MetLife as chief marketing officer (CMO). Before this, he spent three years at American Express. Chia Hsun Chang, Bask Bank’s head of revenues, also worked in marketing for both these companies at similar times to Quale.
The challenger says it will offer an account opening bonus of 5,000 AA miles to its new customers, as well as “a variety of balance bonuses” which were not specified. “There are no fees, no minimum balance[s], it’s easy to sign up and savers enjoy unlimited potential to earn miles,” the start-up says in a statement.
“This new digital bank is the next step in Texas Capital Bank’s ongoing strategy to meet customer needs,” says Texas Capital Bank’s president and CEO Keith Cargill. “We were one of the first to launch a digital bank over 20 years ago, and Bask Bank will open up new possibilities and rewards to customers across the nation.”