Bank of America Premium Rewards Card Review: Plenty of Rewards and Travel Benefits
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card
- Earn 2x points on travel and dining; 1.5x points on other purchases
- Points don't expire
- Variety of redemption options
- No limit to how many bonus points you can earn
- Sign-up bonus worth $500
- No foreign transaction fees
- Bank of America and Merrill customers can earn up to 3.5x points
- $95 annual fee
- Earn more on travel and restaurant dining than other spending, which may not be good for those who don't travel
- High interest rate if you don't pay your card off each month
- Must have a Bank of America bank account or Merrill investment account to maximize rewards
The Bank of America Premium Rewards card delivers tremendous value in the crowded space of travel rewards credit cards by offering 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining and 1.5 points for every $1 on other purchases. If you have a Bank of America bank account or Merrill investment account and qualify for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you will gain even more value. You’ll collect 3.5 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining and as much as 2.62 points for every $1 in other purchases.
You can redeem the points for cash back as a statement credit, a direct deposit into your Bank of America checking or savings account, or use it to fund your Merrill investments, including a 529 college savings plan. You can also redeem points for travel or gift cards. A host of other travel benefits and perks round out this Visa Signature card.
What Is the Preferred Rewards Program at Bank of America?
Preferred Rewards is Bank of America’s rewards program for customers who invest their savings with Bank of America or Merrill]. To qualify for preferred rewards, customers must have an average daily balance of at least $20,000. This entitles you to rewards such as a 25% increase on credit card rewards and a 5% interest rate boost on savings. Higher tiers for customers with more savings give even better rewards, with a 75% credit card rewards increase for customers with over $100,000 invested. The Bank of America Rewards Program can be very worth it, especially if you already have money invested with Merrill or Bank of America.
Features of the
Here’s what you need to know about the best features the Bank of America Premium Rewards card has to offer.
Bank of America Premium Rewards offers 50,000 online bonus points (worth $500) if you make at least $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. This is competitive with Citi Premier’s sign-up bonus, which provides 60,000 points (worth $600) when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
The bonus offer exceeds that of the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex cards, which offer a $200 bonus, and the American Express® Blue Cash Everyday card, with a $200 welcome offer. However, you only have to spend $500 in the first three months and $2,000 in the first six months, respectively, to qualify for the bonus offers with these cards.
If you are looking for a travel credit card and don’t intend to use the card much beyond your trips, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card is a solid choice. That’s because you can earn 2 points for every dollar on travel and dining purchases and just 1.5 points on all other purchases. Bank of America or Merrill customers who qualify for Preferred Rewards can earn up to 3.5 points for every dollar on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points on all other purchases.
The program is extremely flexible, allowing you to cash in those points for a statement credit, a direct deposit into your Bank of America account or even credit to your Merrill investment account. You can also trade them in for gift cards or travel through the Bank of America Travel Center. Points never expire, but you must have at least 2,500 points to start redeeming them. When you trade points for cash, they are worth 1 cent per point, so 2,500 points would equal $25 in cash back.
Travel expenditures that earn 2 to 3.5 points include tourist attractions, amusement parks, art galleries, zoos, aquariums and other experiences, as well as transportation and hotels.
In addition to earning up to 3.5 points on travel purchases, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card also offers statement credits of up to $100 per calendar year for incidental airline purchases. These include seating upgrades, ticket change or cancellation fees, checked baggage fees, onboard food and beverages and in-flight entertainment purchases on certain domestic airline carriers. Since virtually every airline today charges for checked bags, these savings can pay off in just one or two flights. And, since the Bank of America Premium Rewards card carries a $95 annual fee, if you use this travel benefit, you know that fee is covered yearly through this perk alone.
Bank of America Premium Rewards also provides travelers with up to $100 in statement credits every four years to pay the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry program application fee. TSA PreCheck costs just $85 every five years, while Global Entry costs $100 every five years, so this is another benefit that’s well worth it for frequent flyers.
The card also provides trip cancellation, delay and interruption insurance, and baggage delay and lost luggage insurance, so you can have the peace of mind of knowing that if something goes wrong, you won’t lose all you invested in the trip.
The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card is a Visa Signature card, which means it comes with a host of benefits exclusive to the Visa Signature line. Visa recently unveiled an array of new benefits, including same-day delivery of many items with Shipt, access to exclusive live music events through Sofar Sounds, access to online classes through Skillshare and access to NortonLifeLock.
Other Visa Signature benefits include rental car and hotel deals, access to exclusive luxury experiences, and a personal concierge to assist with travel planning, event tickets and other assistance whether you are at home or on the road.
What Sets Bank of America Premium Rewards Apart From the Competition?
While the rewards and sign-up bonus are both excellent, the travel benefits, including the exclusive experiences and perks offered to Visa Signature cardholders, set the Bank of America Premium Rewards card apart from others in its class. Here’s a look at how it compares to one of its competitors.
Bank of America Premium Rewards vs.
The Citi Premier and Bank of America Premium Rewards cards carry a $95 annual fee, but that fee will quickly pay for itself with how quickly points can accrue. Citi Premier offers 3x points in several spending categories: air travel and hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. It also offers 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. When deciding which card better matches your needs, you’ll want to consider your spending habits and whether you intend to use your card for everyday purchases and travel.
Whereas the Premium Rewards card offers up to $100 in statement credits for incidental airline purchases each year, the Citi Premier card offers an annual hotel savings benefit that lets you take $100 off an eligible hotel stay of at least $500. If you take advantage of this benefit, you’ll offset the cost of the card’s $95 annual fee.
For frequent travelers, either card could be a good value. The choice might come down to whether or not you are a Bank of America customer or wish to set up an account there to maximize the rewards.
Is the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card Right for You?
If you’re a Bank of America customer who travels a lot, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card should be one to consider. The concierge service and travel benefits make it worthwhile, and the possibility of 3.5x rewards on a broad range of travel expenses means you can put substantial dollars in your pocket with every trip you take.
Good To Know
Keep in mind that the Premium Rewards card has a APR based on your creditworthiness. If you make a late payment, you could incur a penalty of up to $40.
Bank of America Premium Rewards FAQHere are the answers to some commonly asked questions about the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.
- Is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card a top-of-the-line credit card?
- The Bank of America Premium Rewards card is a highly rated card designed for consumers with good to excellent credit. But it is not Bank of America's top-level offering. That honor belongs to the Premium Rewards Elite card, with a $550 annual fee. Although the perks and benefits that come with the Premium Rewards Elite card may have more value, the regular Premium Rewards card delivers excellent rewards and benefits, too.
- What does it mean to be a preferred client with Bank of America?
- Bank of America preferred clients are clients in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. They enjoy perks such as up to 75% higher credit card points and higher interest on their savings.
- How do I qualify for Bank of America Preferred Rewards?
- To qualify for Bank of America Preferred Rewards, you must have at least $20,000 invested with Merril or in a Bank of America savings account.
- Does the Bank of America Premium Rewards card have foreign transaction fees?
- No. One of the many travel benefits of Premium Rewards is that there are no foreign transaction fees, making this a great card to carry abroad.
- Can you transfer points with the Premium Rewards card?
- You cannot transfer points accrued to airline or hotel loyalty programs with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card. However, you can book travel through the Bank of America Travel Center using your points, or redeem points for cash back or statement credits.
Chris Ozarowski contributed to the reporting for this article.
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