Posted by William Charles on June 21, 2017
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Published on June 21st, 2017 | by William Charles

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Don’t Sleep On The Merrill+ Card ($500 – $1,000 In Value)

The Merrill+ card is one that we’ve talked about often. Here’s a brief list of reasons why:

At worst you get $500 in value, at best you get $1,000 in value. We’ve long listed this as one of the best credit card bonuses to sign up for and part of the reason for that is I don’t think it will be around for ever. It’s generally not a good sign when a card moves to phone only applications. With Bank of America rumored to be launching a new premium credit card in September or October it’s easily possible that this Merrill+ card could be replaced or changed. My recommendation is that if you haven’t already got this card and can meet the minimum spend requirement, sign up sooner rather than later. You can read our full review of this card here.



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irshad
irshad

I was approved for the card few months ago and I got my 50K points.
What will happen to the points if the product is changed or discontinued? will I still be able to use the points?
Or would you recommend converting the points to Alaska credit?

Sami
Sami

you can’t convert them to any other currency. you have to book through the Merril travel porthole.

irshad
irshad

There is an option to convert the points to Alaska credit to maximize value. Book 2 500 dollar Alaska flight via Merrill travel portal 60+ days ahead and cancel it after 24 hours of booking.
The points will then be added to your Alaska account as credit of 1000 USD. You can use them later as regular cash to pay for airline tickets.

Alex Buz
Alex Buz

Note that the credit will expire after 12 months IIRC.

Sami
Sami

interesting. i didn’t know that. thanks.

gabe
gabe

Thanks irshad. Interesting idea. Did anyone try doing the same thing with other miles programs- delta, united, southwest, american?

irshad
irshad

Other programs have cancellation fees which reduce the value significantly. As far as I know, Alaska is the only program which has no cancellation fee after 24 hours.

Michael M.
Michael M.

Funny timing for this post because I JUST booked a trip to Hawaii last night using these points (Business Class out of Toronto), in conjunction with 4 Fairmont nights at Kea Lani Maui. Nice combo from cards opened just in the last 6 months for me and the wife.

Just a PSA for everyone since I had trouble finding reliable information on this…

The site forces you to use all your points in excess of 25,000 points on a flight over $500, which doesn’t help when you want to book two legs over $500 and only have ~50k points (you won’t have enough to book the second leg). What some on other posts suggested was to book a dummy booking (or even a lower level flight for one of the legs, which is what I did – I booked an Economy flight for one of the legs first) under $500, which will use up 25,000 points exactly. You will be left with ~28,000 if you have the original 50k plus 3k from the minimum spend.

Now you can book a flight at or above $500, using your remaining points + cash, if necessary. Next you will need to cancel the original flight. I confirmed via Merrill+ rep before I did it all, but you have until 11 PM EST the day after booking to cancel without fees and to get a points refund. You have to call in to cancel, but the nice thing is that it is all automated (1-800-445-4129). And it was INSTANTANEOUS that the points appeared back in my account. I then booked the other leg of my trip with my remaining 25,000 (with cash for the excess).

I wasn’t quite sure how it was all going to go (especially with flight availability becoming limited), but it was a very smooth process in the end.

MarcoPolo
MarcoPolo

@Michael M

Thanks for the great tips.

Katye
Katye

Nicely Done. Thanks for the details.

mortalwombat
mortalwombat

You can cancel online within the travel center before 11pm the day after. Points are back instantaneous.

Michael M.
Michael M.

Ah, good to know. When I called in, the rep said I ultimately had to call in to cancel. Certainly not the first CSR to be wrong! 😉

Dima
Dima

Great idea! Thank you!

John
John

This is a GREAT tip to maximize the value of 50k points.
Glad to know it works so smoothly.
Thank you for posting the valuable info.

The Engineer
The Engineer

Exactly. Just book – book – cancel and boom, you got your 25k points back.

sam_goh
sam_goh

Something else handy – if you have a companion book both tickets at the same time, and it will let you use 25K X 2 for $1000 in ticket value.

And they just implemented some “fraud” stuff that prevented me from booking any tickets at all. Travel center was clueless kept blaming my credit card even after I tried multiple ones. 3 days later got a fraud call from BoA asking whether I had tried to make a booking. Bleh!

Ryan
Ryan

Very clever. Extremely intuitive way to do this.

sean
sean

Can you reapply for this card if you have already received the bonus and cancelled the card and is there a time restriction?

_here_
_here_

Is it churnable? I couldn’t find any good DP

James B.
James B.

I have the same question. Some blogs report having their 2nd Merrill+ card closed down after being approved (with the 1st card closed months before). It appears that BOA has clamped down a lot on churning this and other BOA cards. In other words, YMMV.

William, do you have any guidelines and recommendations for churning the Merrill+ card?

Ian
Ian

It is 100% churnable, I’ve gotten two cards, 2 months apart. No closures or anything. Got 50k points each time.

Mark O
Mark O

Was this a while ago though – when it first came out. People are getting shut down these days (myself included) with only applying for their first one.

frank
frank

Did you cancel card 1 and how long did you wait to apply for card 2?

Simon
Simon

read the post, will you? He explicitly said “two cards, 2 months apart. No closures or anything”.

David
David

No need for the attitude, Simon. Some people are brand-new to this, so they may not fully understand some of the terminology.

frank
frank

No closure or anything may mean that he didnt have his 2nd card closed. It’s not clear on his post if he cancelled the first card and then applied for the 2nd card. The only thing clear is he didnt have a “closure or anything”.
Have an extra sip of your coffee.

TYRONE
TYRONE

bruh

James B.
James B.

You are 1 of the lucky ones. Many applicants churning this card have been declined or approved then closed down.

Do you have more DPs? How many other cards with BOA? Many recent apps with BOA?

Justin
Justin

Would you be able to provide proof?

J
J

Yeah, because people have nothing better to do with their time than to come on a comment board and lie about it.

Justin
Justin

Sorry J….. dont know if you remember the SPG referral mishap on reddit earlier this year

Chuck
Sami
Sami

i mentioned this in another post but this is a great card when you consider the value of the points, the ease of booking through the merril porthole, and the fact that it has no annual fee.

it’s the kind of card you don’t really see championed elsewhere because it doesn’t have the referral links for the other blogs but it’s a really awesome card.

my wife got it and we used it to book our flights to New Mexico from JFK. would’ve put us out more than $800 but we booked it with the merill points with no fees.

tri n
tri n

Sami – its portal. not porthole. (fyi – not in an aggressive manner or anything).

Sami
Sami

whatever floats your boat, man.

Evil2ndTwin
Evil2ndTwin

Sami, do NOT listen to “tri n”. It’s not “portal” nor “porthole.” It’s actually called “glory hole.” You’re welcome, bud.

David
David

“We all live in a Merrill submarine…”

The Value Traveler
The Value Traveler

hehe good one David.

MarcoPolo
MarcoPolo

@Sami
That’s awesome.
Didn’t know you can book a submarine using Merril points 🙂

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Applied and approved a few months ago. I got the card, activated, and a day or two later (no spend yet) they closed the account without notice. I live in CA but opted not to fight the 30 day thing. Don’t recall the exact reason in the letter but it was something to do with having enough credit already. I have 3 MLB cards, no other BoA relationship.

Mark O
Mark O

I got a call and mine was closed before I even got it in the mail. I would say if you have churned heavily (especially BOA) it is going to be tough to get approved for it these days.

Jack
Jack

Be very careful getting new cards from BOA. They love shutting down accounts. I don’t even bother holding a BOA card anymore. Get your bonus, then cancel your card so that the next time you apply, you have zero cards from them. Also keep hard pulls off of the credit bureau they pull. They’re very sensitive. I’ve been denied at 5 pulls on EX in the past six months.

CJ
CJ

The same thing happened to me in May, but i applied for an Alaska card the same day and was approved for both then a few days after receiving my Merrill card it didnt work anymore.

Jason M
Jason M

I applied for this in early April and was rejected for “too many recent inquiries”. I had just applied for 4 new cards in the preceding month, so it made sense.

I haven’t applied for any cards since then and was wondering when I should try for the merrill again. Anyone know?

James B.
James B.

BOA has increased restrictions on churning all their CCs and even more so with the Merill+.

No one knows the exact rules for optimizing the approval process. Probably common sense applies here: wait a few months or more before applying again.

Harv
Harv

I thoroughly enjoyed simply redeeming the $530 bonus as a statement credit.

David
David

How do you do convert your bonus to cash? I’m considering getting the card and doing the same. I’ve already got tons of miles elsewhere.

Mark O
Mark O

Just call them up

TravellerAtoZ
TravellerAtoZ

Any data points on signing up through the phone and then receiving less than 50k points for the bonus? I remember hearing reports like that a few months ago.

Laura
Laura

If I book tickets through the Merrill portal and have leftover costs in the hundreds, can I pay for the remaining balance with my Barclay card to offset the cost? Or do I have to pay with the Merrill+ for overages?

Bob
Bob

You can use any card to pay for the cash portion.

Rob Arias

Anyone know if its possible to PC an existing BoA card to this? Still under 5/24 so I’d rather not apply for it if possible

Bob
Bob

Even if you can, you won’t get the signup bonus.

Rob Arias

I’m aware, I wanted a no foreign fees card though. They said Travel Rewards wouldn’t be available so I was hoping this would work.

Bob
Bob

My friend PCed to the travel card from the cash card.

Abe
Abe

I’m not sure if I’lll get approved for this card since I have a good credit score but only 10-11 months of credit history.

I have gotten a couple of denials and hard pulls on my credit report a couple of months ago after some attempts to apply and being denied for a second credit card so I don’t want to risk doing more hard pulls without approvals.

fathiss
fathiss

I had been churning the Alaska card for many months. I applied 7 months ago and was finally denied the Alsaka card. 4 months ago and denied again. Now again one month ago and was approved. Applied same day as approved Alaska card for this one and was denied. They said too much credit already extended (with the one card approved that day?!), but when I called and pressed them, they mentioned all the opened and closed accounts I have had with them without saying it was the reason outright. But I am sure that is what was the determing factor.
If you get approved for this, you are either lucky or not churning. (BTW, my credit score is excellent so that did not factor).

Electroman
Electroman

I was approved today, and of course I’m not a churner, except when I make butter. *sly wink*

HoustonRobert
HoustonRobert

Why did you first apply for the Alaska card when the Merrill+ card is clearly superior? It made more sense to get the much-more valuable card before obtaining another from Alaska.

We aren’t lucky, we simply prioritize our churns differently.

James B.
James B.

After reading through various blogs, It appears that the Merrill+ is much more difficult to churn vs. the Alaska card.

Indeed, one is very lucky if he successful in churning the Merrill+.

RB
RB

Can I get this card again if I already have one open?

James B.
James B.

The general consensus is to close the #1 Merrill+ and wait several months before applying again for the #2 Merrill+. Even then it is not easy getting approved again. YMMV. No one, except BOA, knows the exact approval odds.

BOA has drastically tightened their approval process.

The Value Traveler
The Value Traveler

If this card does go away, im betting they will PC it to the Bofa Travel Rewards card.

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