Posted by Chuck on December 14, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on December 14th, 2017 | by Chuck

9

Bank of America to Launch Relationship Rewards Program for Business Checking and Credit Card Customers

Business Relationship Rewards

Bank of America has announced a relationship rewards program for business customers coming in 2018, similar to their existing relationship bonus for personal checking and credit card customers. The existing personal program is called Preferred Rewards and the upcoming business program will be called Business Advantage Relationships Rewards. Business Rewards will launch in March 2018 according to a source at Frequentmiler.

Three Relationship Tiers

As with the personal Preferred Rewards program, the business rewards program will also maintain three tiers:

  • Platinum Honors for those who have $100k+ with BofA
  • Platinum for those who have $50k-$99k with BofA
  • Gold for those who have $20k-$49k with BofA

Business checking and savings balances count toward status, as well as investments held with Merrill Edge or Merrill Lynch. The terms indicate that only business investments count toward the tier levels. That being the case, it’ll be difficult for most of us to qualify for meaningful status unless you have a business with high cash reserves.

Your tier level is calculated based on a three-month average of your balances, same as with the personal rewards program.

List of Program Benefits

Here’s the full list of benefits:

  • Rewards bonus on eligible credit cards: 75% for Platinum Honor, 50% for Platinum, and 25% for Gold
  • No fees on select everyday banking services, such as  inbound wires, stop payments and more
  • Cash rewards on BofA Merchant Services processing (I don’t know what this means)
  • Interest rate booster on your business savings account (this will probably be an opportunity to earn like .5% APY instead of .03% APY, nothing to get too excited about)
  • Interest rate discount on certain business loans: .75%/.50%/.25% discount on credit line, term loan, and secured lending; .5%/.35%/.25% discount on auto and commercial real estate loans
  • Monthly discount on full service payroll fee ($20/$15/$10)
  • No fee on ATM transactions anywhere (Platinum Honors is unlimited, Platinum is limited to 12, Gold does not have this benefit)
  • No fee trades (100 per month with Honors, 30 per month with Platinum, Gold does not have this benefit)

Credit Card Bonus

The most interesting thing for us to dissect is the credit card earn rates. Relationship Honors clients get a 75% booster on the credit card rewards, Platinum clients get a 50% booster, and Gold clients get a 25% booster.

The Bank of America site lists clearly 3 business cards that will earn relationship bonus rewards and numerous cards that won’t.

Works:

Any other card not listed in the list of exclusions (below) should work too.

Does not work:

  • Non-rewards credit cards (Bank of America Platinum and Platinum Plus for Business cards)
  • Personal or consumer purpose credit cards
  • Business Advantage Cash Rewards 123 w/50% Bonus
  • Business Advantage Travel Rewards w/50% Bonus
  • Merrill Lynch branded Merrill Rewards for Business Card
  • Alaska Airlines®
  • Asiana Airlines®
  • Spirit Airlines®
  • Business Banking, Global Commercial Banking, Global Corporate Investment Banking or Institutional clients are not eligible to participate in the program

Credit Card Opportunities

We’re familiar with two of the three above-mentioned small business credit card

  • Business Advantage Travel Rewards
    • Earns 1.5x everywhere; with Honors status, card will earn 2.62% everywhere (same as personal Travel Rewards card)
    • Earns 3x with BofA travel bookings which are powered through Orbitz; with Honors status, card will earn 5.25% on these travel purchases
  • Business Advantage Cash Rewards
    • 1% everywhere; with Honors status, card will earn 1.75% everywhere
    • 2% at restaurants; with Honors status, card will earn 3.5%
    • 3% on gas stations and office supply stores; with Honors status, card will earn 5.25%

There’s a lot of overlap on these earning rates with the consumer Preferred Rewards program with cards like the Premium Rewards card which earns up to 2.62% cash back everywhere and 3.5% cash back at the grocery, as well as the Cash Rewards card gets up to 5.25% on gas.

Frequentmiler guesses that we’ll be seeing a new Bank of America business card coming soon. I feel the same. It might not be a real premium product like CSR or Amex Platinum, likely something more similar to the BofA Premium Rewards with some tweaks toward business users (e.g. 2x base points on advertising or gas or office supply stores instead of the 2x base points on restaurants).

Final Thoughts

I think most of us aren’t running businesses which have an average of $100k+ in funds in their checking, savings, and investment accounts, thus few readers will benefit from the program. Someone who does run a business with large cash or investment reserves might consider Bank of America for these stated benefits.

There are various advantages of the business credit cards over the personal, chiefly the fact they don’t report balances to personal credit repots which could help your credit score. It would be nice to have a 2.62% daily driver card without having to worry about it’s negative affect on credit utilization. Another benefit of this program over the personal is for categories not included in the personal cards, such as 5.25% on office supply stores with the business Cash Rewards card; there could also be a future business credit card with useful categories.



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9 Comments on "Bank of America to Launch Relationship Rewards Program for Business Checking and Credit Card Customers"

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Ewejay
Ewejay

Fine print in Overall Program Rules reads “your qualifying Merrill Edge® and/or Merrill Lynch® business investment accounts” so I don’t believe personal accounts will be used. Would be nice though.

Harley
Harley

Has anybody seen or heard anything about the merchant processing cash Rewards? I process with B of A and got a letter last week that they were raising our processing fees by 0.23% This program will likely determine whether or not I cancel their service

Lrdx
Lrdx

Does Merrill Edge have self-employed 401k accounts? That should count as a business investment account..

Lrdx
Lrdx

Well, they do. But seriously, recordkeeping/administration fees are messed up: 0.52%+$20+$3/participant?!? (That’s *over* the funds’ expenses.)

TomTX
TomTX

Oh my goodness. I hadn’t looked since I set up a Simple IRA years ago at Vanguard for something like $20 per account. All in.

SamSimon
SamSimon

I did my research, but cannot find the answer. I’m confused, who can elaborate a bit? How they calculate this “bonus offer” and how much it will be?
“75% for Platinum Honor, 50% for Platinum, and 25% for Gold” based on the amount in the account? every 3 month they will deposit some bonus?
Thanks

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