sdvan wrote:I have over $900K in individual municipal bonds at Zions Direct. They are changing their systems in a way that I don't like. So, I am motivated to move all of my bonds elsewhere. I was going to add some cash and move $1 million to Fidelity for the $2500 bonus. But, the airline mileage option was so tempting that I started thinking about multiple transfers. If I moved $900K to Fidelity over 5 years (using one account for me and one for my spouse), I'd get 450K miles. So, where to hold the bonds in the interim? That got me searching and I saw this thread.
Tell me if this plan is too crazy (all transfers would be muni bonds and I don't know for sure if everyone would take those):
1. $200K to Fidelity now for 100K miles. I know this will work as I did it last year.
2. $500K to TD Ameritrade in 2 accounts (me and spouse) = $2000
3. $200K to Schwab in 2 accounts (me and spouse) = $1000
Then, over the next 4 years, move $200K per year to Fidelity and get another 350K miles.
It is more work. But, the end result is $3K (more than the $2.5K from fidelity) + 450K miles.
Is this crazy? Will it work?
You actually have a spouse on board with this? Congrats, you married well.
Don't see any reason this won't work. I am always churning bonuses and have my money spread in 3-4 brokerages at a time. The most efficient way to make money is to maximize the bonus $/(investment $ x time invested) at each firm, which means maximizing the numerator and minimizing both components of the denominator.
Here's how I would rate the quality of these bonuses:
Fidelity - if you value AA miles highly (1.7 cents each?), this is outstanding. Main downside is you would have to keep money there for 10-12 months before seeking the next bonus.
TD Ameritrade - this is obviously a large bonus, but TD Ameritrade requires you to keep that money tied up for a year. You can make that money work harder in the course of a year at brokerages (Merrill Edge, E*Trade) with smaller bonuses but substantially shorter holding requirements.
Schwab - this one looks good for the size of the bonus you get for only 100k. Its main downside is the 12 month holding requirement, but the size of the bonus makes up for it.
To sum up, if you don't mind doing the work and churning these, I like doing the fidelity and Schwab bonuses, but I would consider Merrill Edge ($600 bonus) for now instead of TD Ameritrade. Merrill Edge usually only requires you to keep the assets there for 3 months, and then you can move those assets to E*Trade for their $600 6-month bonus. At that point I usually have TD Ameritrade, Capital One, and a few others in the rotation.