Why I Am Diving Back Into Bank Account Bonuses & Why You Should Too

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Bank Account Bonuses

Why I’m Getting into Bank Account Bonuses Again

I was deep into obtaining bank account bonuses a few years ago.  Maybe too much.  I went after so many that I didn’t stay organized the way I should, perhaps.  I simply missed out on one bonus due to this lack of organization.  At that point, I decided to back off for a bit, and I took almost two years off.  I wasn’t sure I would ever get back into the bank account bonus play.  But a few months ago, I decided to jump back in.  Here are the reasons why!

RELATED: Mark’s Bank Account Bonus Haul In 2019, How Much $$$ Did He Make?

I’m More Organized

When I previously went after bank account bonuses, I was great at keeping up with the main points of offers.  Do A and B, then receive C bonus.  I didn’t focus enough on exactly when I may receive the bonus.  Would I receive the bonus immediately after doing A and B, or did I have to wait an certain timeframe regardless?  Due to my lack of focus on this nuance, I ended up parking not insignificant amounts of money in accounts for unnecessary amounts of time.  I consequently lost out on then-higher interest rates.

Stepping back, I did not appreciate the unique nature of the bank account bonus play.  Perhaps subconsciously, I erroneously applied the general, consistent credit card bonus methodology of that time to bank account bonuses.  I failed to keep track of the esoteric mechanics of each bank account bonus.

Now, my bank account spreadsheet is more in-depth than before.  In addition to requirements, I’m keeping track of bonus timeframes and all email and phone correspondence in the spreadsheet, among other items.

I’m More Selective with Bank Account Bonuses

I’m simply not applying for as many bank accounts as I previously did.  I, admittedly, am not big on multi-tasking, and  I simply spread myself to thin before.  In order to decide if a bank account bonus is worth it, I weigh the requirements against the bonus amount.  Is it worth X amount of time to receive Y bonus amount?  While I previously put more weight on the bonus amount, I’m now putting more focus on the amount of time required.

Many individuals keen on bank account bonuses have a minimum bonus amount that they use to determine if an application is worth it.  If that works for those people, great!  I do not have an exact amount.  For instance, to me, a small $100 bonus is worth it if there is minimal effort involved.  On the flip side,  a $500 offer may not entice me if it involves more time and effort than I care to expend.  After all, I can always make more money, but I can’t make more time!

I also take on fewer bank account bonuses simultaneously.  This may not be as immediately lucrative, but things sure seem to go more smoothly!

Bank Account Bonuses

My Evolving Rewards Philosophy

A few years ago, I refocused my rewards earning philosophy to make cash back my primary rewards goal.  I’ve since started cashing out a variety of credit card rewards currencies, essentially turning most of my rewards from welcome offers and ongoing spending into cash.  Why not add more cash to the pile?  The cash from bank account bonuses neatly complements the credit card rewards cash back.  The compatibility and symmetry has been very satisfying.

Diminishing Alternatives

After many years in this hobby, there are less outsized rewards to go after than when I started.  This is not a groundbreaking statement, but it must be appreciated.  After turning over a ton of rocks, I need to look at some other less prominent rocks to flip.  Most bank account bonuses aren’t as jaw-dropping as some credit card welcome offers, but they can still provide solid value.  Slow, steady bank account bonus earning and a bit of patience can lead to significant amounts of cash back.

Dwindling Interest Rates

When I jumped back into bank account bonuses recently, interest rates were generally well below 2%.  With current events, interest rates are getting closer to 0% by the day.  By putting money into bank accounts to earn bonuses, the opportunity cost for doing so is much less.  Currently, at least, the availability and dollar amount of bank account bonuses are plentiful.  There’s simply less of a reason not to go after bank account bonuses currently.

Bank Account Bonuses

Setting the Table for More Credit Card Rewards

Certain banks require, or at least encourage, holding bank accounts in order to obtain or get maximum value out of their credit card programs.  For example, Wells Fargo requires a banking relationship prior to applying for a credit card.  US Bank requires a pre-existing relationship in order to apply for the US Bank Altitude card.  Bank of America provides elevated benefits to their credit card holders when they are part of their Preferred Rewards program.  When assessing which bonuses to pursue, definitely pay attention to these credit card-related benefits.

Bank Account Bonuses – Final Thoughts

While I’m only focusing on a few bank account bonuses currently, I will be involved in this play indefinitely.  I do value slow, steady cash coming in via bank account bonuses.  And it’s a nice secondary play to supplement the more lucrative rewards obtained through credit card welcome offer bonuses and ongoing spending.

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence. An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their travel goals, Disney-related and otherwise.

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8 COMMENTS

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I do all the bank bonuses that don’t require a direct deposit. I was surprised how much I earned last year for minimal effort.

  2. Oh, I misread Barnum’s comment. Sorry. Yes indeed credit card rewards and cash back via credit cards are not taxable. However, bank rewards ARE taxable. So, I am out of that game.

    • Barnum,

      I agree that another reason credit card rewards are great is because they are not taxable. If I had to choose between the two, I would choose credit card rewards every time. Luckily, it’s not an either/or type of situation. Thanks for reading!

      • Bank bonuses are indeed taxable now and you will get a statement that it was reported to the IRS. Some time ago, they were not taxable…..but they are now. So, I decided to get out of the game. Not worth it to me.

    • John,

      Thanks for reading. Using the word “template” for this spreadsheet is probably giving it more credit than it’s entitled to! But I actually have an upcoming article which dives deeper into my spreadsheets. Please stay tuned!

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