I’ve written about bank account bonuses my wife and I have chased in both 2020 and in 2021, which in both cases expanded to include some brokerage accounts. While not directly related to miles and points, I find these deals to be a complementary part of an outsized-rewards earning strategy.
Brokerage bonuses in general tend to be smaller and/or require large deposits, but Tastyworks is a small brokerage where we both recently opened accounts for decent bonuses given the low requirements. With two different offers available right now, a $2,000 deposit can get you somewhere around $200 in stock (maybe more or maybe less – my wife’s was quite a bit less) or $200 in cryptocurrency. Either way, it’s a quick hit and if you’re doing it with two players it is a nice total bonus with low effort.
Brokerage Tastyworks currently has two different offers going on for new accountholders:
- 100 free stocks or 10 free options: Open and fund a new tastyworks brokerage account with $2,000 (using referral code STOCK_AWARD_21) and choose between getting 10 free options (long calls or puts of liquid equity products) or 100 free shares of stock (These are randomly assigned and can be worth $1-$6 each and you receive 100 shares of the same stock. They claim an average value of about $200, but see more about this below). The funds you deposit plus the initial value of the Stock or Options received (less any losses on the Stock or Options) must remain in your account for a minimum of three months starting the day shares or options are deposited into the account before being withdrawn. See more about this offer here.
- $200 in free crytocurrency: Open a new tastyworks brokerage account (using referral code CRYPTOGIVEAWAY21) and fund with $2,000 and get $200 worth of crypto (or you could fund with $200 to get $50 worth of crypto). The money you deposit plus the initial value of the digital currency received (less any losses on the digital currencies) must stay in the account for a minimum of three months starting the day digital currency is deposited into the account. In other words, you can not withdraw the initial deposit nor the crypto bonus for 3 months (though as I read the terms I believe you could immediately sell the crypto and just hold the proceeds in the account for 3 months). See more about this offer here.
- Both offers valid until 9/30/21
- Each offer is only available to new customers, so you’ll have to choose one or the other (and be sure to enter the referral code when opening and select the reward type you want)
- Crypto offer is not available to residents of New York or Hawaii
- Must be 18 or older and a legal US resident
- See the promotion pages linked above for full terms
My experience & thoughts
I’ll note at the outset here that the referral codes above are not mine — those are essentially the way that Tastyworks prevents people from doubling up with both a friend referral and a new account bonus. Tastyworks also offers a refer-a-friend promo, but as far as I can tell, only the person making a referral benefits from that program (and as much fun as the free Tesla might be, all of the free rides I’d owe everyone I know for signing up doesn’t seem like a worthwhile trade). In other words, I have no personal referral link in this post. It just seems like an interesting deal worth a mention given the relatively easy requirements.
My wife and I signed up for Tastyworks with the stock or options deal and each chose stocks. If we had it to do over again, I’d actually take the crypto deal if I could as I’d feel more optimistic about the chance for that bonus to outgrow its initial value during the 3 month holding period. That said, you don’t need to hold either type of bonus — you can sell after receiving your bonus and just hold the value for the required 3-month waiting period before cashing out. Bonuses post quickly — we received our stock bonuses in our accounts about 1 week after funding (I think the terms state the bonus stocks will post by 4pm on Friday 1 week after funding).
I jumped on the stock deal because I’ve had relatively good luck with free stock from various brokerage bonuses and I saw a number of interesting data points of folks who have made out well with Tastyworks in the comments at Doctor of Credit. It seems that many folks have seen stocks increase in value pretty nicely.
Note that the fine print of the stock deal says:
Stock will be randomly selected by tastyworks from a list of stocks priced between $1 and $6 USD. The list of Stocks is determined by an algorithm and Stock value may change frequently due to market activity and will be adjusted by tastyworks in its sole discretion. The odds of specific stock allocation is implemented as follows: there is a 70% chance of receiving Stock priced under $2.00 per share, and a 30% chance of receiving Stock priced over $2.00 per share. The value of Stock received will average $200-$220 USD based on the price of shares at which the Stock is purchased by tastyworks. All promotional shares of Stock are priced at the market price at time of purchase by tastyworks on Qualified Customer’s behalf not later than the market day after Qualified Customer completes the funding of their account.
In other words, you have a 70% chance of getting something less than $2.00 per share, but there are some people who make out well enough to still bring the “average” value to around $200. Had the crypto bonus been available when I opened my account, I’d have rather done that since it comes in a set dollar value to start (and if I were going to bet $200 on a random stock that I can’t pick or on Bitcoin or Ethereum over the next 3 months, I’d bet on the crypto without hesitation.
As it turns out, the numbers on paper make it look like we did a bit better than $200 each, but we never saw our stocks at that level. In my case, I received 100 shares of WTRH (Waiter Holdings). Tastyworks shows in my account that my 100 shares had an initial value of $206.84. That actually was the market price the day after my initial deposit went in to Tastyworks (about $2.06 per share). Unfortunately, by the time I could actually see shares in my account and choose to sell if I wanted, the price had already decreased to make my bonus worth something in the low $190’s. The price has decreased more since and my shares are now worth $180. Don’t cry too hard for me — WTRH had a 52-week high of more than $5 a share, so I’ll ride this out and root on this delivery app that I hadn’t previously known existed. If I cashed out now at $180, that certainly wouldn’t be a bad return on $2K that has to sit still for just 3 months.
My wife got 100 shares of GERN (Geron Corporation). Tastyworks shows the initial bonus value as having been $208, but the last time that GERN closed above $2.00 per share was back in February. As it turns out, the day after my wife’s initial deposit cleared, GERN went on a tear and hit a daytime high of $2.23 per share before settling at $1.83 to close. It has basically all been downhill since, with her bonus currently at a value of $138 based on the $1.38 closing price on Friday.
All that is to say that there is considerable volatility with these cheap stocks and you have no control over what you’re going to get or when it is purchased and even if you receive “$200” worth of stocks, it might not actually be worth $200 or more by the time the shares become available in your account. Still, if we cashed out at the current values, that would be $318 between the two of us for parking a total of $4K for 3 months — certainly not bad return. We’ll probably gamble for a bit with it and see where it goes since we don’t have an immediate use in mind for the money and it’s kind of fun letting it ride.
Like I said, I would sooner do the crypto bonus if I were opening an account today — though of course I couldn’t really do that even if I didn’t already have a tastyworks account since it is not available to residents of New York or Hawaii.
In terms of risk, it’s worth keeping in mind that money invested, whether in stocks or cryptocurrency, is subject to market losses. Deposits are not FDIC-insured (though they are apparently SIPC-insured). There is obviously some risk in leaving money on deposit. Tastyworks has apparently been open since 2017, but I don’t know much about the company and encourage you to do your own research. I was comfortable enough in leaving my money there for 3 months. After that point, I’ll likely take out my $2K and maybe keep the stocks with them.
Overall, this hit me as a pretty easy win and while not hugely scalable a reasonable return in 2-player mode. Given the ultra-low interest rates on savings right now, I think it’s totally worth hitting up some bonuses like this with money that you’d have otherwise had sitting in an emergency fund earning 1% APY or less.