My 2017 Bank Account Bonus Results & My Plan for 2018

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My 2017 Bank Account Bonus Results

My 2017 Bank Account Bonus Results

With April 15th quickly approaching my mailbox has been filling up with bank account 1099-INT’s. I thought it would be fun to take a look at how I did last year with bank account bonuses.   I will also take a look at my start to 2018 and tell you which ones I am looking at in the near future.

It seems that I have been doing a lot of reflection lately, with my article about the 5 deals I most regret missing out on, and thinking about starting over from scratch in my clean slate series.  I guess kicking off a new year will have that affect!

2017 Results

I started off 2017 hot and heavy but ended up slowing down the second half of the year.  It seems like I had less time to focus on them, new job and all :).  These figures are for both myself and my wife…we are a combo package!

I will list the bank, the number of bonuses, and the overall total:

  • Bank Of America – 1 – $300
  • MTB – 4 – $700
  • Flagstar – 1 – $250
  • US Bank – 1 – $200
  • Chase – 1 – $150
  • Citizens – 1- $150
  • Huntington – 2 – $400
  • TCF Bank – 1 – $250

The total came to $2400 for 2017. All of the above mentioned bonuses are personal checking account bonuses, except for the Chase bonus. That bonus was a savings account bonus. I still have to pay taxes on those earnings which will lower my total haul some.

My 2017 Bank Account Bonus Results

2018 Gameplan

I have started off 2018 with a bang, earning a $300 checking account bonus from Chase last week.  There should be two more bonuses paying out in February from Fifth Third bank. Those should net me another $500.

There are a few more I am keeping my eye on.  I would like to get a Citizens Bank bonus for myself. Mainly because they allow up to $1,000 in credit card funding. My wife got one towards the end of last year.The PNC checking account bonus is something I am considering but I am not a fan of PNC and their bonuses are more laborious.  My wife will probably open another Chase account when her 6 month wait is up.  I will probably snag one more Huntington bank bonus too, easiest bonus on the market!  Those should account for an additional $8-900 in 2018.

I plan on adding in any local bonuses that come along or something enticing that is available nation wide as well.


Bank account bonuses are a good way to supplement the credit card game.  They also offer you a way to increase spend when the bank allows you to fund the new account with a credit card.

It is something you can do if you are taking a cool off period from credit card applications because of Chase’s 5/24 rule.  Or maybe you have been striking out on credit card approvals and wanted to move onto something different.


How do your numbers look from last year?  Do you plan on going bigger this year?


Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. In a comment I see you mention that sometimes a bank transfer will count like a direct deposit. How do you know if this will count or not? I’m new to all of this but interested in giving it a try. Thanks!

  2. Mark – you said you did TCF. I did too last year, but did NOT receive 1099-INT. And when I login to check the interest, I don’t see statement for int income. Did you report it?

  3. Hi Mark,
    I just want to tell you, me and my husband are doing the same thing for the past 3-4 years. In 2017, we got $2,150 which I’m pretty satisfied already. I’m not sure about 2018 but I definitely keep an eye on the bank offer. Like you mention in the post only soft pull from the bank so I still can sign up bank credit card offers throughout the year. It really doesn’t take that much of time to open/close bank account and I’ve never being turned down by any bank. I work full time and this fun habit definitely worth some of my weekend time to visit different bank from time to time. Love reading your post and thank you for sharing.

  4. I don’t know if Chex shows how many other bank accts you own (maybe just a gauge of no overdrafts, etc?). But if so, have you ever been turned down upon applying for a new checking acct?

    Have you seen banks ever look unfavorably, in any way, on churning bank accounts?

    Gotta say you truly have all your bases covered, Mark. I was surprised how all those seemingly (individual) modest bonuses really add up for a minimal amount of account set-up time. I would think the real time factor is on the back-end with recordkeeping (ensuring account is open long enough; closing it; transferring funds/setting up a new ACH to next new account; receiving & maintaining the 1099s; actual tax filing).

    • I have been denied by one bank but rotating between myself and my wife I haven’t had much of an issue. A lot of people do 8-10 per year without many problems.

      Besides turning you down for too many Chex inquiries not really. I wouldn’t hit up Chase every 6 months because you don’t want to risk souring the relationship. But hitting up a bank once a year or every other shouldn’t be an issue imo.

      Tracking is probably the only somewhat time consuming thing. My wifes payroll is online so it is easy to add a DD quickly if needed which is nice. I would say I spend maybe 30 min total on each bank account. Applying, deposits, tracking, and closing. So a pretty good pay out.

    • Almost all banks do a soft pull and a chex system check. I have done 30 or so bank bonuses over the last 3 years with no hard pulls.

  5. Mark, do you have any guesstimate of the amount of time you spent in 2017 to generate the taxable income? Do you have an estimate of what the overall yield worked out to be based upon the average amount of funds that were required to generate the total bonus returns? Wonderful article. I have lots to learn from you. Thanks for sharing.

    • I would estimate around 6 hours in total time spent. All, except for the chase savings bonus, required $1,000 or less to earn the bonus.

  6. I can second that this is a good way to pick up extra income, like any promotional offer, read the terms. These things are often so easy to fulfill and collect a bonus. Contrarily, if you are in a hurry, and not reading the fine print, you may miss out on small details, where ~10 minutes of time may cost you a few hundred in dollars.

  7. While free money is good, it should be noted that the cash bonuses paid by banks are fully taxable. Depending on your tax bracket, getting points, which I do not think are reported to the IRS, may be a better option. In my tax bracket, I am better off getting 40,000 Citi Thank You points than $400 cash.

    • Very true Barnum and something I mention in the article. Bank bonuses will never replace credit card bonuses but they can help supplement then. Plus there are not a ton of cash bonuses for credit cards so this is a good way to earn some extra cash.

  8. Hi, I would love to know more about your checking account game. Specifically, how long do you keep it open and are you required to set up some form of direct deposit? Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks!!

    • Most of it totally depends on the bank. Some make it so you have to keep the account open 6 months etc (early termination fee) and some let you close it right after. I always keep them open 6 months or more. Some I even keep long term if they are beneficial etc.

      The requirements also depend on the bank. Some want a direct deposit, some just want new funds in the account. Even if they ask for DD a lot of the time a transfer from another bank account will count.

      Hope that helps some.

    • For a while MTB had multiple codes going at the same time and it was possible to get multiples using the same code. They have cracked down on that now but it went on for a good long while.


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