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I recently wrote about an offer to earn up to 50,000 miles on United or American and another 50,000 Delta miles by opening Fidelity Brokerage accounts, but Fidelity is not the only investment firm offering lucrative mileage bonuses.
When the US Airways Grand Slam was going on, I noticed that one of the airline’s partners was TD Ameritrade. Back in September (the deadline was 9/30/2011), TD Ameritrade was offering Dividend Miles members the opportunity to earn up to 25,000 miles by opening and funding a new account. With the minimum opening deposit of $2,500, you’d earn 5,000 miles; you’d get 15,000 miles for a $10,000 deposit, and 25,000 miles for a $50,000 deposit. The major caveat here was that you had to keep the account open through May 14, 2012 in order to keep your miles, otherwise you’d lose all Grand Slam miles. Pretty harsh!
But it turns out that TD Ameritrade offers miles and points bonuses with a number of other partners as well.
For United and Continental (separately), American, Delta, US Airways and Amtrak, the opening dollar amounts and corresponding mileage bonuses are:
$2,500 : 5,000 miles
$10,000 : 15,000 miles
$50,000 : 25,000 miles
SPG is another partner program, and the funding/bonus structure looks like this:
$2,000 : 3,000 points
$10,000 : 10,000 points
$25,000 : 20,000 points
In my opinion Starwood is the best value because Starwood points can be transferred to many airlines with a 25% bonus, including Delta, American and US Airways. So even if you want airline miles, going through Starwood makes the most sense since it requires a lower cash deposit. Note: Starwood’s transfer ratio to United/Continental is 2:1.
It looks like you get half the bonus once your account is funded and then the other half after 9 months. I personally applied for the SPG offer, since I value 20,000 Starwood points at around $600 and I’ll find ways to put my TD Ameritrade money to work for me.
Terms and Conditions
I’ve pasted in the Terms and Conditions from the Delta offer below, but the main points to pull out that this is for new individual or joint accounts only, that there is a limit of one account per client, the account must maintain at least the minimum level of funding for at least 9 months or you might be charged for the miles, and the deadline for opening a new account is 2/29/2012—though they seem to keep pushing this deadline back, so you might actually have more time than this, but you never know.
If you’re married, you might also consider opening two individual accounts rather than a single joint account so you have a chance at twice the miles. For instance, instead of opening a joint account with $50,000 for 25,000 miles, you can open two individual accounts with just $10,000 each (so $20,000 total) and earn 30,000 miles.
So if you’re thinking of opening a new investment account and have the funds to do so, you might as well be earning valuable bonus miles on them! Here are the links to the individual partner pages on TD Ameritrade’s web site for those interested.
†Offer valid for one new Individual or Joint TD Ameritrade account opened and funded by U.S. residents with $2,500 or more by 2/29/12. Not transferable and not valid for IRA or other tax-exempt accounts, internal transfers, current TD Ameritrade clients or with other offers. Limit one offer per client. Offers are not valid for TD Ameritrade Investing accounts using the Amerivest service. Offers are not valid for accounts managed by independent investment advisors and maintained by TD Ameritrade Institutional. Account must remain open with minimum funding required for participating in the offer for 9 months, or TD Ameritrade may charge the account for the cost of the SkyMiles. Allow 6-8 weeks from account funding for the first half of the miles to appear in your SkyMiles account. To qualify for the second half, TD Ameritrade account must remain open with minimum funding required for participating in the offer for 6 months from the first mileage posting date. TD Ameritrade reserves the right to restrict or revoke this offer. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to business. All SkyMiles program rules apply to SkyMiles program membership, miles, offers, mile accrual, mile redemption and travel benefits. To review the rules, please visit delta.com/memberguide. TD Ameritrade and Delta Air Lines are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for one another’s services and policies. Delta and SkyMiles are registered service marks of Delta Corporate Identity, Inc. All rights reserved.