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Sunday, January 26

My Frugal Miser's Bank, Credit Card and Brokerage New Account Bonuses

Something I want to focus on this year is making money (or saving it!) by opening new bank accounts and credit cards.  This is as close to a free lunch as I can think of.  While this creates a little complexity in keeping up with promotions and managing new accounts, I think it is well worth it for all the free money and miles I am earning.

Cold Hard Cash

Last year I made $1,200 from 3 account transactions.  In a conversation with my broker, he offered me a $500 bonus if I transferred new money to my E*Trade account.  All I had to do was keep it there for 60 days.  Similarly, Discover Bank paid me $200 to open a savings account and I received $500 for opening and meeting the minimum spend requirement on the Wells Fargo Propel card.  I was also offered $500 from Wells Fargo for funding a new savings account.  I completed this task late last year and, after 90 days, I'll have the money in the bank.

I've already got some ideas for 2020.  I received two bank offers last week to open a new account.  Fifth Third Bank is offering $550 if I deposit $20,000 into a new checking account.  Suntrust will give me $300 if I meet their requirements.

Travel Perks

I love to travel; therefore I live to travel.  But it can't get expensive if you aren't careful.  Last year I opened a new Marriott Bonvoy card, receiving 100,000 Bonvoy points after I met the minimum spending requirement.

I'm cranking things up in 2020.  At the end of last year I opened two Southwest Airlines credit cards.  I met the minimum spend this month and am working on earning the last points needed for a companion pass which will be valid through the end of 2021.  I have a bit of spend left to get there, and in that time I'll be hunting for the next new card.

Finally, I plan to put more thought into the promotions offered by hotel loyalty programs.  For example, Choice Hotels has two valuable promotions each year.  After two stays, you earn 8,000 points, which is enough for a free night at some lower-end properties.  During the second promotion they discount $50 retailer gift cards to 8,000 points - a free $50 gift card after just two stays - WOW!  All the loyalty programs have promotions.  By being more thoughtful, I think there are times when it makes sense to book a hotel with a specific brand, even if the rate is higher, because the value of the promotion brings down the ultimate cost.

How are you hacking your finances?


  1. While you make valid points, I am trying to make my life less complicated, not more. A couple ideas I might be interested in but adding another credit card if off my radar. Good luck this year.

    1. Balancing my desire to simplify with the opportunity for almost-free money is a slippery slope. I've got a decent system in place to keep track of the bonuses which helps.

  2. I've been chasing these types of bonuses for a long time. I owned a web site that was all about bank bonuses. They are easy money. I am a little pickier on which bonuses I sign up for now. I usually want to get at least a $100 to make signing up worth my time. I just posted about a couple of bonuses on my blog. If you have any good bonuses you can refer me to let me know.

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