Searching online for a bank that gives you AAdvantage miles so you can take that trip faster somewhere in the US or to Europe? Your best is a bank such as Guaranty Bank which is listed on the AA.com website under mileage partners. When you sign up for their account there are a few things to keep in mind though.
I had already known about their AAdvantage program so I was already sold on the bank. They give you 2,000 points just for opening an account then the points add up from there for how much you keep in your account. You also get an additional 1,000 points for doing direct deposit.
Guaranty scores high compared to the largest retain banks based on a 4th quarter 2008 research study. The Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) ranked them an 85 compared to a 76 from Wachovia, 73 from Chase, 73 from Bank of America, 72 at Wells Fargo, and a 69 at Citigroup. Customer service is hard to come by in some of the bigger banks and that is why local, smaller banks could be a grander choice in checking or savings.
My favorite thing about banking at Guaranty bank is that they have no foreign transaction fees if you use their ATM card in other countries. This applies to their regular checking accounts and not their AAdvantage miles accruing account. This saves you up to four percent in foreign transaction fees that other card issuers charge. The best option may be to open up two accounts with the bank: To earn miles with one; and to get free checking and no foreign transaction fees with the other.
Guaranty also qualifies for our list of no atm fee banks but is not as solid as the no limits fee-free atm transactions you get with E-Trade bank.
I did find some problems at first with the bank. A few months back I got some coupons in the mail that I thought had an expiration date of March 31st where I could get $50 for direct deposit, $50 for using bill pay, $50 for referring a friend, and a host of coupons that added up to $250 for their Grand Opening special. Turns out their marketing department really dragged some fine print on this one on the NEXT PAGE. I thought that coupons were contracts but I guess in this case it did not matter because the real expiration was on another page from 3 of the coupons of $50 each.
Some problems were found in applying online for some reason. The form never went through for me but I am hoping they have fixed that now. It is always less time consuming to do things online than have to deal with going into the bank and sorting through paperwork.
Update – BBVA Compass Bank has taken over Guaranty Bank.
Will I still earn AAdvantage miles now that BBVA Compass has taken over Guaranty Bank?
You will still accrue miles each month until they switch over fully to the new Compass Bank. This shall take place sometime in February 2010. I have already closed out my account since they sent no letter confirming this but when I spoke to the rep she assured me that we would get miles at least until the transfer in February takes place. Let’s hope they continue the relationship with American Airlines AAdvantage program.