Posted by Chuck on August 14, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on August 14th, 2017 | by Chuck

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Bank of America Confirms Key Details about Upcoming Premium Card ($100 Airline Incidental Credit, $95 AF, & More)

Card has now been officially launched, you can read our full review here.

Bank of America will soon release a new premium version of their Travel Rewards card. We’ve written about it before, here’s an update with key details that were confirmed in this WSJ report. [If you don’t have a WSJ subscription, you can see it on Fox Business, though there is a graphic in the original article – pictured below – not shown on Fox. Use Facebook or Twitter to bypass paywall.]

  • $100 airline incidentals credit, including baggage fee and flight drinks (does not include airfare)
  • 50,000 points signup bonus will have $3,000 spend threshold
  • The annual fee will be $95
  • 1.5x everywhere and 2x on travel/dining; Preferred Rewards customers will get up to 2.6 everywhere and 3.5 on travel/dining
  • It will roll out in September
  • It will be a Visa card
  • BofA has told Business Insider that there will also be $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit

We reposted most of this info in a post earlier today, but I missed the $100 airline incidental point which shows in the graphic on WSJ. This credit is a critical component in deciding whether it’s worthwhile to get the card for the bonus. It remains to be seen exactly what will count for the airline incidental credit (gc, MPX, etc).

There’s no mention of a Global Entry credit, and for now I’m assuming it won’t have one.

Analysis

At this point, it seems we have most of the card details confirmed. My feeling is that Bank of America isn’t looking to compete with the other premium cards, they are more looking toward Preferred Rewards customers who keep other money with them. They don’t want existing clients with assets going elsewhere for their credit cards, and they are hoping to attract more clients with assets under the BofA umbrella since 2.6x everywhere and 3.5x on travel/dining are both nice rates, especially for a $95 annual fee card with no foreign transaction fees.

As far as keeping this card long term, it mostly makes sense for Preferred Rewards clients. Without any status, you’ll probably be better off with other cards. For those with top-tier Preferred Rewards card, it’s basically an improved version of the Travel Rewards card which earns an excellent 2.6x everywhere. The improvement here is the 3.5x on travel and dining.

If you value the travel incidental credit at somewhere close to it’s value, there isn’t much question that it’s worth keeping this card instead of using the no-fee Travel Rewards card. If you won’t use the incidental credit, you’re paying $95 for the extra .9x on travel and dining – you’ll have to crunch the numbers to see if that’s worthwhile for you. Bear in mind, travel and dining are heavily bonused categories with other banks, and 3.5x isn’t necessarily better than 3x Ultimate Rewards points on CSR, for example. So for a lot of people the fee won’t be worth it if you don’t value the airline incidental credit.

As far as getting this for the signup bonus, it’s basically worth $405 after discounting the $95 fee – there’s no mention of the fee being waived the first year. [The signup bonus on Travel Rewards does not get compounded the way it does on Cash Rewards cards.]

Depending how you value the $100 incidental credit and how strict they’ll be, you might be able to get an extra $100 value there or close to it. Without the extra $100, I view it as an okay bonus but not amazing. I like getting $500+ value from a new card. Many other people are happy signing up for a card which gives them $200+, and this will be well-worth it.



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Josh
Josh

It’s 3,000 not 3,00

Klad
Klad

After confirmed details if not a Preferred Rewards member then it does not make much sense signing up for ~400-500$. Barclay Arrival+ gives at least 525$ and most of the times have 1% BT for at least 12 months (even after keeping the card for a while).

William Charles

Worth it for the sign up bonus alone

MarcoPolo
MarcoPolo

I’ll sign up for both since both gives me ~ $500 🙂

Klad
Klad

Yeah.. just for the signup bonus I might try this. If somehow I can get the $100 credit then that would be bonus.

calwatch
calwatch

The fair comparison that WSJ should have made, and that DoC should make, is with the competition’s now “middle tier” cards, like CSP/Ink Plus, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Amex Gold. In that space, other than the lack of transfer partners, the BoA premium rewards looks pretty good. The super premium cards like Prestige and Amex Platinum give you lounge access, Global Entry credit, and other features which I don’t see BoA giving at this price point.

JL
JL

agree, bad comparison on WSJ’s part. It should be compared against other $95 annual fee cards, which is more apples to apples. It looks better than average as a cash back card with a flavor of travel.

are there any trip delay, interruption, or baggage delay / lost benefits?

boomX
boomX

Nope, BofA cards AFAIK have very sub-par benefits. That’s the reason to chose Chase CSR/CSP or Citi Prestige/Premier for travel. Even Capital One top tier cards are better for travel benefits. Rest nah…others may correct if stated otherwise.

Mr. Emoji
Mr. Emoji

thumb up! those amateurs from WSJ!!

William Charles

Yeah, the reason that WSJ didn’t make that comparison is that Bank of America are trying to position this as their premium offering and use it to avoid an exodus of funds going to other issuers.

Don
Don

I’m not sure it belongs on that list unless it’s being looked at by a Preferred Rewards Clients. At it’s “base” state, it’s more in line with the PRG/Premier

Looney
Looney

TBH I think the merrill lynch card is much better

-Looney

Jonathan Chien
Jonathan Chien

Great. Currently I have three 2.625% B0A travel between myself and my wife. All I need to do is to cancel two out three 2.625% B0A travel and reapply the new cards later.

thomas
thomas

I have the BOA Travel Rewards with 50k line. I think I’m going to convert it to the Cash Rewards and then sign-up for the new Travel Rewards (hopefully can just split into 2 25k lines)… though I need to see what ‘travel incidentals’ covers as I’m not sure i would hit it…

Johnny

If the travel credit includes delta gift cards like the amex plat travel credit then this card is a no brainer imo as the AF will be offset by something useful for my purposes. Obviously the bonus is nice, along with the earning potential but still doesn’t beat the Chase trifecta combo for earning rewards. Plus, if you want to get the highest points multiplier, you need 100k in BOA earning next to no interest. You’re foregoing at least $1000 in interest per year with the interest rates being offered. Unless keeping assets with BoA means MerrillEdge, then that changes things a tiny bit.

calwatch
calwatch

The $100k can be in Merrill Edge and I suspect most qualify with Merrill assets.

Jeremy
Jeremy

It does

V
V

What is the “twist” mentioned in WSJ and Fox articles?

Also, I’m amused that the Fox Business article calls us “gamers”.

Darvin Ray
Darvin Ray

The value of the this card’s points are only beneficial if you are a Preferred Rewards member. So, this card seems to only target its current BoA clients. It’s not gonna entice any non-BoA customers to transfer over to their team.

Fiby

I don’t see how this would work for MPX. It’s a Visa, and MPX doesn’t work for airline incidental fees for Visas. Only 3rd party Amex cards like WF Propel World Amex

Curtis Leasure
Curtis Leasure

Do we know know if the $100 is per calendar year or anniversary basis? If it’s per calendar you could theoretically get $200 incidentals and only pay 1 annual fee.

William Charles

Don’t think we know yet, I suspect card member.

JT
JT

Is it confirmed that the points can be redeemed for cash at 1c/1p?

duke5150
duke5150

Better combo is:
Chase Sapphire Reserve with Travel and Dining worth 4.5% (3x points and 1.5 when booking travel)
Alliant credit card at 2.5% on everything else.

Problem with this BofA is that you can only use these points as a credit against travel.

Lrdx
Lrdx

To be fair, you don’t get points when you use the CSR points, while you do with travel credits.

With CSR, you get $150 of travel when you pay $150 with the card and receive 450 points, OR you pay 10000 points through their portal (no cashback). So $150 = 10450 points => 1.435406699 c/point => it’s only a 4.3% cashback. Of course, if you transfer to partners, you might get better.

With BofA PTR, you pay $150, get 525 points, redeem it for $5.25 credit. 3.5% flat. And that works for every travel, not just through their travel portal, what can be a worse deal in some cases.

Speaking of the travel portal, the BofA TR card gives an extra 1.5% cashback on the BofA travel portal. It’s not advertized for the personal card, just the business version, but it’s there. That extra does not work with the Preferred bonus. If the PTR also has this feature, that means they give 3.5% + 1.5% = 5% cashback through their portal, making it better than the CSR (again, disregarding transfer).

foobar
foobar

This is getting at an interesting point; a statement credit for past spending is more valuable than a coupon for future spending. Here’s a worked example:

Let’s say you want to buy exactly $10450 worth of travel.

With CSR, you can buy $10000 worth of travel, get $10000 * 3 UR/$ = 30000 UR, and then redeem that for $450 more in the Chase portal.

With the new BofA card with Platinum Honors, you can buy $10450 worth of travel, get $10450 * 3.5 point/$ = 36575 points, and redeem those against some of your travel spending for a $365.75 statement credit. Your total expenses would then be $10084.25.

In the BofA case, you spent $10084.25 for $10450 of travel, or $10084.25 / $10450 = 96.5% of list price. This is a 3.5% discount on your total spending.

In the CSR case, you spent $10000 for $10450 of travel, or $10000 / $10450 = 95.7% of list price. This is a 4.3% discount on your total spending.

Jake
Jake

This seems useless outside of preferred rewards clients. Travel partners are what make Chase and Amex point cards valuable – to the tune of double value. In other words, Chase points and Amex points can easily be worth 2 cents each if not more depending on how they are redeemed. Direct cash back on this BofA card would need to be at least equal to that to be competitive to a larger market.

JB
JB

The nice thing about the BoA Travel Rewards points is that they can be used on a wide range of travel expenses – not just airfare, but hotels / ground transportation / some recreational activities. If they force that $100 credit to be used for airline incidentals, then it is pretty much useless to me, and I’d have to spend about $10.5K a year in travel / dining to cover the $95 AF.

Hopefully BoA reconsiders this one item, because otherwise it sounds like a good card for Platinum Honors clients.

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