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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itsa me
itsa me

The terms say: “This card may not be available to you if you currently have or have had the card in the preceding 24 month period. ” but does anyone know if they actually enforce this? Like if I have one that is over 24 months old would I be able to keep it open and also open another one for the bonus?

fearthez
fearthez

Tried calling twice in the last week and was told I have no retention offers available for my card. Wondering if anyone more recent than Matt has gotten a retention offer

Matt
Matt

Close to the one year mark, I called intended to cancel. They convinced me not to cancel by giving me a deal for $175 in statement credit if I spent $1500 within three months. With a $100 annual fee, that’s $75 on $1500 spend, a 5% return rate, plus no new hard pull. Recommend the same to anybody nearing the one year mark – they also gave me a targeted $300 bank bonus on the same phone call.

Terp
Terp

What are the terms for the $300 bank bonus?

KG
KG

$100 in AA GC was credited within 1 week for travel credit.

DK
DK

Good news – applied and was approved. Bad news – have some large purchases coming up and just called to expedite since it says it’s possible for preferred rewards members but was told not for credit cards, only debit cards.

DK
DK

Called the same number again this AM after my account showed up on the app and the gentleman put the request for expediting right away. Said 1-3 business days but estimated tomorrow. Happy with the service! Thank you for letting us know DoC.

Al
Al

This card won’t suit many and in my list is not considered a fantastic card!
If you don’t travel which many of us haven’t during the pandemic then this card definitely is no for you.
If you just getting it for the sake of $500 bonus and cancelling it after, then go ahead and deduct one or two $95 annual fees and you will be left with $310 once you call after one year and uncomfortably ask customer service rep to cancel it for you. Also if you planning a large purchase (which the card bonus requires it anyways) and then planning to pay over longer period of time after one year with Zero percent promo then again this card is not an option for you since does not come with zero percent 15 months or 12 months promo. If you already have a customized cash card and travel once in a while then change your category to travel and you will earn 3% on that card automatically anyways with no annual fees. If you have preferred reward status then get the Unlimited Cash reward that gives you around 2.5% cash reward on everything and stop using your CITI or WF card. The unlimited comes with no annual fees and $200 cash back bonus with much smaller purchase requirement and also 15 months zero percent introductory rate on BT and all Purchases.
Good Luck

Alex
Alex

I have to disagree with you, this is one of the bonuses I churn frequently and I never travel.

For the price of 1 $95 annual fee I get a $500 cash bonus and two $100 American Airlines gift cards which I sell for $80 each on cardcash.com

This is a net of $565

Lou
Lou

Tried to read this post. Got lost after the second sentence.

Al
Al

ADD possibly,

Cancelling first year, 500 – 95 = $405
cancelling second year, 500 – 95 + 95 = $310 remaining in total reward

James
James

Is this card still churnable / more recent DPs?

Ben
Ben

Declined for too many inquiries (10) in past 2 years

LL
LL

Are you able to double dip the $100 travel credit each time you renew the annual fee?

ELo
ELo

United Travel Bank DP: Purchased $50 3/31/22. Credit Posted 4/5/22.