Digital Bank Bask Launches, Offering Airline Miles Instead of Interest
These days there are dozens of digital banks, sometimes referred to as “challenger banks.” While these branch-less offerings often bear benefits that make them more attractive than traditional banks, even the best among them fail to truly break the mold. Now one online saving account is trying something a bit different and looking to appeal to aspirating travelers in the process.
Texas Capital Bank has announced the launch of its digital-only offshoot Bask Bank. Instead of this online savings account paying out interest in fiat currency, it will reward users with airline miles. More specifically customers will earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles in lieu of interest. These miles are accrued daily and will be based on the users’ average monthly balance. In total, Bask says that customers will earn one mile for every dollar they deposit on an annual basis. Put more simply, maintaining a $10,000 balance for a year will result in 10,000 AAdvantage miles.
As part of its launch, Bask Bank is currently offering a bonus to new account holders. Those who deposit at least $1,000 in their account and hold that balance for at least 30 days will earn 5,000 miles. Meanwhile larger deposits will be eligible to earn additional bonuses of up to 40,000 miles. On top of that customers will have the opportunity to take a survey about their experience with Bask Bank in order to earn a 1,000-mile “Feedback Bonus.”
Outside of that novel twist, Bask Bank includes several perks akin to other online offerings. For example their accounts carry no fees and have no minimum balance requirements. Of course savings accounts are also FDIC insured up to $250,000 per account.
Announcing the debut of Bask Bank, the president and CEO of parent company Texas Capital Bank Keith Cargill, said in a statement, “This new digital bank is the next step in Texas Capital Bank’s ongoing strategy to meet customer needs. 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.” Meanwhile the VP of Customer Loyalty and the AAdvantage Program Bridget Blaise-Shamai said of the partnership with Bask, “We take pride in creating opportunities for AAdvantage members to earn miles through their everyday activities. Collaborating with Bask Bank gives our customers a new way to easily earn miles toward their travel dreams while still tracking toward their financial goals.”
Incidentally this isn’t the first time that Texas Capital Bank has taken a stab at making airline miles a banking rewards currency. The company also owns BankDirect, which offers a number of AAdvantage mile-earning account options — although the structure Bask Bank boasts seems more straightforward.
Considering how popular rewards credit cards that yield airline miles are, it only makes sense that saving accounts could follow a similar scheme. That said it remains to be seen whether such a set-up will catch on with customers. If nothing else, Bask Bank and Texas Capital Bank deserve credit for creating something (at least partially) original.