Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card Review – 50,000 Point Bonus, $100 Annual Travel Credit & More

Update 4/12/20: it might just have been their personalized offer that shows the 4/12 end date.

Update 4/12/20: Today is showing as the last day for this offer. Hat tip to reader Cliftonmcdnl

The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card is now available for applications. With benefits and sign up bonuses as predicted.

Card Basics

  • Annual fee of $95 (not waived first year)
  • $100 Airline Incidental Statement Credit annually for qualifying purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services and airline lounge fees. Only applies to domestic-originated flights on certain U.S. Domestic airline carriers.
  • $100 airport security statement credit towards TSA Pre✓ ® or Global Entry Application fee every four year
  • Sign up bonus of 50,000 points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
  • Card earns at the following rates:
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Eligible for Bank of America Preferred Rewards, meaning you can get an additional 25-75% rewards on all purchases. Makes the card earn at the following rates with top tier status:
    • 3.5x points per $1 spent on travel & dining purchases
    • 2.625x points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Points are worth 1¢ each and can be redeemed for cash back as a statement credit into eligible Bank of America or Merrll Lynch accounts or to purchase travel through the Bank of America travel center or to redeem gift cards

Card Benefits

$100 Travel Incidental Credit

This card gives you a $100 airline incidental statement credit every calendar year. This is big news as it means you can get use the credit twice but only pay the annual fee once (e.g apply now and use for 2017 and then use it again in 2018). To use the credit you just need to use the Premium Rewards card to pay your airline incidentals and then allow 7 days for the statement credit to post to your account. Unfortunately only  the following is eligible:domestic-originated flights on certain U.S.-domestic airline carriers that include: preferred seating upgrades, ticket change/cancellation fees, checked baggage fees, in-flight entertainment, onboard food and beverage charges, and airport lounge fees affiliated with eligible airline carriers.

The following as specifically excluded in the fine print: Airline ticket purchases, mileage point purchases, mileage point transfer fees, gift cards, duty-free purchases, award tickets and fees incurred with airline alliance partners do not qualify. Airline incidental fee transactions must be separate from airline ticket charges. In practice we don’t know what will and won’t work. I’ll keep this section of this post updated with what does and doesn’t work with datapoints as they come in, please share yours in the comments when possible.

They list the following Merchant Category Codes as qualifying: 3000, 3001, 3057, 3058, 3063, 3066, 3132, 3174, 3196 or 3256. You can find datapoints on what does/doesn’t work here.

TSA Pre✓/Global Entry Credit

You’re eligible for one statement credit per account every four years for either TSA Pre✓ ($85) or Global Entry ($100). You might as well get Global Entry as it includes Pre✓ as well. You just need to use your card to pay for application fee.

Emergency Travel Benefits

  • Trip Delay Reimbursement of $500 per ticker purchased for you and your eligible family members for reasonable expenses if a covered trip is delayed for more than 12 hours
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption of up to $5,000 per person per trip for the unused prepaid non-refundable travel expenses including passenger fares, tours, and hotels if you have to cancel due to a covered reason
  • Baggage Delay of up to $100 per day (up to five days) when your bags are delayed or misdirected by a common carrier for more than six hours for essential items including clothing.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement provides coverage for luggage and it’s contents if they are lost or stolen due to theft or misdirection by the common carrier
  • Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance provides coverage against accidental lost of life, limb, or sight while travelling by land, air or sea on a licensed common carrier when tickets have been purchased using this card
  • Travel and Emergency Assistant Services provides help cordinating medical, legal and travel services when you are traveling.
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Coverage if you or a member of your immediate family are injured or become sick during a trip far from home that results in an emergency evacuation you can be covered for eligible medical services and transportation

Purchase Benefits

  • Purchase Security. Repair/replace/reimburse you if an eligible item purchased with the card is stolen or damaged within 90 days of purchase. Up to $10,000 per claim
  • Warranty Manager Service. Doubles the time period of the manufacturers’ warranty up to one additional year for eligible items purchased with card.
  • Return Protection. Provides reimbursement for the cost of an eligible item of personal property if you are dissasitified with the item for any reason within 90 days of the purchase and if the retailer will not accept the return. Limited to $250 per eligible item and up to $1,000 annually. Items must be received by the benefit administrator in like-new/good working condition

Automotive Benefits

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. Provides reimbursement for damage due to collision or theft. Coverage is supplemental to and in excess of other insurance. You must also decline the collission/loss damage waiver offered by the auto rental agency.
  • Roadside Dispatch Program. 24/7 on demand referral dispatch network that poviders emergency roadside assistance, towing and locksmith services.

How Much Are Points Worth?

Points are worth 1¢ each and can be redeemed for cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account (or various Merrill Lynch accounts) or as a statement credit. In addition you can redeem points for travel at the travel center or for gift cards. Minimum redemption is 2,500 ($25) for all options.

Preferred Rewards

Bank of America’s preferred rewards program is where it becomes interesting for ongoing spend. We have discussed this program in detail before here. But basically is if you have assets held in Bank of America accounts (or Merrill Lynch) you’re eligible for a bonus as a Preferred Rewards relationship client. Here are the tiers:

  • Preferred Rewards Gold $20,000 – $50,000:  25% bonus on rewards
    • 2.5x points per $1 spent on travel & dining purchases
    • 1.875x points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Preferred Rewards Platinum $50,000-$100,000: 50% bonus on rewards
    • 3x points per $1 spent on travel & dining purchases
    • 2.25x points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors $100,000+: 75% bonus on rewards
    • 3.5x points per $1 spent on travel & dining purchases
    • 2.625x points per $1 spent on all other purchases

Our Verdict

It’s hard to make a case against signing up for this card, it comes with a sign up bonus worth $500 in cash or statement credit (using for travel/gift cards doesn’t make a lot of sense, just redeem for statement credit and then make those travel/gift card purchases on the card instead) and you can also get $200 in travel incidental credits and only pay a $95 annual fee. The downside is that there is a $3,000 minimum spend requirement but that isn’t excessive given the sign up bonus. I suspect this is only the launch bonus and it will be decreased over time (we saw the same with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and also the Blue Business Plus).

Keeping the card long term would only real make sense if you had Preferred Rewards as otherwise you’d be better off just using a 2%+ cash back card for all purchases (otherwise it’s 1.5% on all purchases and then 2% on travel/restaurants). For those with Preferred Rewards this card would be better option than say the travel rewards card (this card also gives 2.625x on all purchases with the highest Preferred Rewards status but can’t be redeemed for cash back), but that’s only true if the travel credit would offset the annual fee for you (or the convenience of being able to cash out your rewards instead of having to use them for travel).

For most people this will be a card that is at the very least worth signing up for the 50,000 point sign up bonus and the $100 travel incidental credits * 2 that you’ll be able to get. Because of that I’ll be adding it to our list of the best credit card sign up bonuses. I also imagine that this saddly means the Merrill+ is no longer available, but if anybody tries to sign up please let us know. If you have any questions about Bank of America credit cards in general, I’d recommend reading this post. There is also a $100 checking bonus currently available, not sure if that helps get approved or not.

F.A.Q’s

Do you get the Preferred Rewards bonus on the sign up bonus?

Unfortunately I don’t think so. You get this bonus on purchases and not the sign up bonus.

Can I triple dip the travel credit by applying in December?

This might be possible, will likely depend on how quickly the statement credit posts (looks like it should be within 7 days but isn’t entirely clear if this is 7 days of the purchase posting or the statement cycle posting).

Can you product change to this card?

According to this datapoint, you can. Just keep in mind that by product changing you will not get the sign up bonus.

Will Bank of America expedite this card?

  • Yes (for Preferred Rewards customers by calling 888.888.7937): 1

Can you transfer points to this card?

Yes, travel rewards & AAA points can be transferred to this card but cash rewards cannot be transferred. This is useful as this premium card gives you the option of redeeming points for cash back/statement credit.

Does this card have any transfer partners?

No

 

 

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Bran
Bran

Anyone have luck on re-con for this card?
783 Experian / 760 Equifax / 750 Transunion keep getting rejected

Joe
Joe

DP: $100 AA Gift Card purchase via this link: https://giftcards.aa.com/order.jsp?giftcard=Virtual worked for me to trigger statement credit.

Purchased 4/23/21, Airline Incidental Statement Credit Meter filled 4/27/21.

temp
temp

P1: Approved on 6/30. Spent well over $3000 in 2 months. DP for AA gc as travel credit, 12/9/20 AA gc posted > 12/14/20 credit posted, 2/10/21 AA gc posted, 2/16 credit posted. Also received spend $1500 for $100 statement credit in 3 months when calling to retention, completed requirement around 3/31/21, received $100 “PROMO STATEMENT CREDIT” on 4/12/21 (note this is statement credit and not points)

P2: Approved on 12/6. Spent about ~$2800 excluding AA gc in Dec of 2020 and AA gc in Feb of 2020, and 95 AF. I am pretty sure AF don’t count towards spending requirement, but DP that reimbursement of travel credit does not negate the actual spending of the transaction towards spending requirement. Received 50k points on April of 2020 statement.

Blue Ghost

Can the AA gift card be used by family or friends or is it limited to the person whose name is on the gift card (to field)?

temp
temp

I am pretty sure the usage is unassociated with any name or email. It’s like buying electronic gift card on other gift card website, they would ask for name and email, but anyone is free to use the purchased cards.

Simon
Simon

Looking to close my Premium Rewards card as I just got hit with the 2nd AF. What happens to my unredeemed cash back, currently around $19?

Vanson
Vanson

They’re forfeited unless you transfer them to another card (i.e. Travel Rewards) or another Premium Rewards cardholder. You can only transfer points using the desktop website.

There are other BofA cards that can accept points transfers, but those have stopped accepting apps for a long time now. YMMV.

Simon

ritholtz
ritholtz

Is $100 TC for each anniversary or Calendar year? I opened account in Jun, 20. But didn’t utilize TC? Also, what is the best way to redeem points? I am getting 75% bonus with preferred reward status. Are there any better options to redeem for preferred rewards member other than getting credit into account? Thanks

temp
temp

Calendar year

ritholtz
ritholtz

Thanks for the information. I missed using it last year. I have until Dec to use it for this year right? I

Tom
Tom

DP:
4/10 Bought $100 AA GC
4/13 $100 Airline Incidental Statement Credit meter filled
Says allow 7 days for credit to post

Chase
Chase

How easily can you downgrade this card to the no-fee travel card? Seems as if there’s mixed data points

Vanson
Vanson

Shouldn’t be any issues downgrading Premium Rewards to the Travel or Cash Rewards cards. If you get a rep who doesn’t know how or want to process the downgrade, then HUCA.

Chase

tjk144
tjk144

I was thinking about downgrading, but saw a $200 sign up bonus on the Cash Rewards card so I just decided to close the account and apply for the Cash Rewards card.

Jim
Jim

UA Travel Cash Bank 2x$50
Posted on the 29th. Took about 2 business days to move the meter.

Bertrand
Bertrand

My annual fee posted a couple of weeks ago and I just called to see if any offers were available to me to waive the fee and, if not, then to downgrade my account to a no-fee card. The rep said I had no offers and, surprisingly, said I was not able to downgrade the card – my only options are to either pay the fee or close. This was especially surprising because I was told a month ago that I did have downgrade options available, though i held off at that time because I wanted to see if maybe some offers for waiving the fee became available to me once the annual fee posted. Instead it seems like my downgrade option expired. I’m not sure if my case is an anomaly, but I would recommend to other people that if you are sure you want to downgrade, call them prior to your annual fee being posted to do so. Otherwise the downgrade option might not be available.