Well this is an interesting new travel “cash” idea. There is a startup called Venti that is offering, if you use their new booking service, to allow you to pay for travel with points you earn by depositing cash with them (more in a bit on that).
The way it works is you earn interest on your money not in the form of cash but in the form of points and the current published APY 8%, that is if you, as you see above, parked $10,000 you would earn $770 in travel cash with them. As my post title says if you parked the maximum allowed you would earn $3,850 per year! Just to be clear, I am not a tax expert but if this 8% return is considered points as opposed to cash it might be worth even more to certain individuals and Venti does not make it clear how they’re going to report the points that I can see.
Being a Frequent Floater I love having others pay for my cruises. I use Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to book cruises and stack deals and love it. To have one more option that pays me without having to do anything but park some cash is a nice idea.
They are offering anyone who signs up free VIP status and $10 for joining them (LINK) so IMO it is worth going for this even if you don’t end up parking any funds with them.
You may ask something like “I don’t trust startups like this with my cash” and you would be wise to feel that way. I almost got burned holding USDC (US Dollar Coins) at a startup paying high interest that went belly up. But Venti says they are not the ones holding your cash and it is FDIC insured. Notice below:
“Where exactly are my funds kept? Are my funds FDIC insured?
When you make a deposit onto your Boarding Pass, the funds are stored with a trusted third-party custodian that has accounts with Veridian Credit Union, Evolve Bank & Trust, and Cross River Bank. All three banks are based in the U.S. and are FDIC insured. Venti never has direct access to your funds.” – venti.co
So that looks good so far and even the cash I did have at the crypto startup I already mentioned before had a similar deal and the bank did pay out all the cash held (but it took a few months). Back to Venti. What are the fees?
“What are the fees for this program?
For those that join after our promotional period (ending December 31, 2023), we require a $39.99 a year subscription to maintain a Venti Boarding Pass. This fee can be paid via 40 points if you retain a balance of at least $500 for 12 months.
Deposits and withdrawals from your bank account via ACH are free.
Instant withdrawals from your Boarding Pass to your bank via debit card are subject to a 3% transaction fee not to exceed $50 per transaction and no lesser than $1.” – venti.co
So moving cash in an out via ACH should be simple if I need the cash for something else or something better comes along (or real cash interest rates go up a bunch more).
We will see what happens with this startup and if it turns out to be a brilliant idea or a pain and not worth sticking with. But for now I will take the free cash and VIP status and see what happens. – René
HT to DOC
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