Posted by William Charles on November 18, 2016
Credit Card Review

Published on November 18th, 2016 | by William Charles

193

Merrill Lynch MERRILL+ Visa Signature Credit Card Review

This card has been discontinued and is no longer available. It has been replaced by the Bank of America Premium Travel Rewards card.

You can get 50,000 points by applying via phone. More information here

As I pointed out I didn’t think the MERRILL+ Visa Signature card was getting enough attention, so I thought I’d do a full review that should also answer some questions people have been having as well. This card is actually issued by Bank of America (this is important to note for reasons that will become clear).

You can view our previous posts on this card here:

The Basics

  • Sign up bonus of 50,000 points after $3,000 in spend within 90 days of account opening
  • Card earns 1x points on all purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Spend $50,000 or more a year (gives you Plus Level status) and choose one of the following:
    • $200 travel credit that can be used for travel incidentals or
    • Complimentary Delta Sky Club lounge membership
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to Merrill Lynch Concierge
  • Standard Visa Signature Benefits

merrill-lynch-merill-review

Application Information

Please note we only looked at information from 2013 onwards. This is only based on three data points, so please provide yours in the comments at the end of this article.

What Credit Score Is Required

 Credit BoardsCredit Karma
Lowest approved score732N/A
Average approved score753N/A

Common Reasons For Denial:

  • Too much credit extended. You can sometimes get around this by calling reconsideration and asking to reallocate credit limits from existing Bank of America cards.
  • Too many recent applications. Not avoidable from what I’ve seen.

What Credit Bureau Does Bank of America Pull For the MERRILL+?

This depends on what state you live in, you can find more information regarding this here.

What Credit Limit Will I Receive?

Minimum Credit LimitHighest Reported Credit LimitAverage Credit Limit
$5,000 required for Visa Signature$35,000.00$20,000.00

Card Benefits

Plus Level ($50,000 In Spend)

When you spend $50,000 or more in a calendar year you’re considered Plus Level and you’re able to choose one of the following benefits:

  • $200 Travel Credit. This card be used for airline incidental purchases (e.g.: Seat upgrades, In-flight Wi-Fi, In-flight meals and beverages, airport lounge day passes, baggage fees, flight-change and cancellation fees, expedited check-in fees, Global Entry application fee & more)
  • Delta Sky Club membership. This is a one year executive membership that gives you and accompanying immediate family or any two guests unlimited lounge access. Membership is valid for one year beginning in the month requested or if you have a current membership one year will be added to the expiration date.

Once you’ve reached the $50,000 in spend within a calendar year you need to call 800.419.0000 and say benefits.

Hertz Benefits

To access this benefit you need to book through: www.hertz.com/mloffers

  • Save up to 20% on all rentals
  • $25 off Weekly rentals (include CDP#: 1499506 and PC#104613)
  • $5 Off a day up to $15 off Weekend Rentals (include CDP#: 1499506 and PC#104565)
  • One Free Day on Weekly Rentals (include CDP#: 1499506 and PC#104436)

Merrill Lynch Concierge

To access your concierge call 800-419-0000 and say Concierge. I wasn’t able to find out who provides the concierge service, if anybody knows then please let us know in the comments.

Travel Protection/Benefits

  • Emergency Evacuation up to $100,000
  • Trip cancellation up to $2,500
  • Trip Delay up to $500 (used to be $100 per day for up to 5 days)
  • Travel accident insurance up to $1,000,000
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Secondary car rental insurance

Purchase Protections

  • Double warranties
  • Purchase security will replace, repair or reimburse for items up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per cardholder for items that are damaged or stolen.

Visa Signature Benefits

Card comes with the standard Visa Signature benefits, you can read more about those here.

Rewards Program

Earning Rewards

This card earns a flat 1x point per $1 in spend

Sign Up Bonus

Current Sign Up Bonus
  • 50,000 points after $3,000 in spend
Sign Up Bonus History

Redeeming Your Rewards

Points can be redeemed for the following:

  • Statement credit: 1¢ per point
  • Gift cards: 1¢ per point
  • Travel (other than airfare): 1¢ per point
  • Airfare: Up to 2¢ per point

Everything apart from the Airfare is easy to understand, it’s just a straight 1¢ per point. If you’re doing that, you should always go for the statement credit as the others can be purchased with cash and then you can purchase the rest at a discount or at the very least earn credit card rewards on the purchase.

Anytime, Anywhere Air Rewards

This is how you can get up to 2¢ per point for airfare.

  • You must redeem a minimum of 25,000 points for $500 in airfare (including taxes & fees). If your airfare exceeds $500 then you will pay an additional 1 point per 1¢.
  • Points cannot be used for misc costs imposed by the airline (e.g baggage fees)
  • Anybody can be desginated as the user of your Air Reward

Its not possible to purchase two or more tickets at once (e.g two $250 tickets would cost 50,000 points not 25,000) as far as I know. We discuss how these points are used in more detail and rules regarding their use in this post.

Our Verdict

The main reason people will be interested in this card is for the sign up bonus (worth $500 in cash or up to $1,000 in airfare). I don’t think the card would be worth keeping in your wallet long term, it does have an annual fee of $0 but there are cards that earn a flat 2% cash back on all purchases that would be better options. Theoretically if you could get a perfect 2¢ per point, it might be worth putting $50,000 in purchases on the card to get the Plus Level benefits but realistically you’re never going to get that perfect redemption so I don’t think that’s worth considering.

Still this is one of the best cash sign up bonuses currently being offered, so it’s definitely worth getting just for the sign up bonus.

F.A.Q’s

What is the reconsideration phone number for this card?

866-224-7803

Will Bank of America combine this inquiry with other card applications?

Yes

Can you book two or more tickets that cost $500 for 25,00 points?

My understanding is that you’re restricted to one ticket at a time.

Is this eligible for Preferred Rewards with Bank of America?

No

Can you transfer points from Bank of America to this card?

No

Can you get 10 free Lounge Club visits per year with this card?

Benefit terms don’t mention this, but a comment says you can by asking.

Where can I check the status of my application?

Here.



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bern
bern

DP: Applied yesterday with a ~745 and 9 inquiries on Experian, which they pulled. Went to pending, then denied a few minutes later for too many inquiries. Called recon, they asked me about what kind of assets I have outside of BoA/ML and then sent it back for review, which would take another business day.

On the phone, the rep said something like “We’ll pass this along and see what we can do to get you at least the minimum 5k for the Visa Signature.”

LOL ok so they just called me back as I’m typing this, was approved for a 5K credit line! So there’s a solid DP of the min credit line! I also was able to ask recon to expedite with standard overnight.

Thanks Doc for the heads up on this card.

mark
mark

My wife approved for 15k, 755 fico, went pending then approved an hour later as seen on website application status.
We have checking and savings with BoA.

jason
jason

not automatically approved but already have 50k credit line with boa.

Drew R
Drew R

I don’t suppose anybody has found an expiration date for this offer yet?

K
K

We all know why its not getting enough attention – no affiliate link.

Tom
Tom

DP: Approved 2 days ago with the minimum $5000 credit line (as you had speculated), FICO currently around 760 with 12 Experian inquiries and ~18/24. Initially went pending, and then it appeared on my online account 2 days later without calling recon. I have Platinum Honors status with BOA (with about ~$100,000 in a Merrill Edge account). I assume the reason I didn’t get a higher credit limit is because I already have 7 other BOA card worth about 50% of my income in CL already.

Jay
Jay

” I don’t think the card would be worth keeping in your wallet long term, it does have an annual fee of $0″ I think that alone might be worth keeping it long term… haha.

Tom
Tom

The term “keeping it in your wallet” generally means keeping the card and actually USING it, which I agree, doesn’t make sense long term. It makes sense to keep it and “sock drawer” it after you receive the bonus.

Jay
Jay

Ahhh that makes sense. But on top of that, why doesn’t it make sense to use it? Basically a 2 percent cash back card when you spend 25k. Grant it, not something you can do overnight, but that’s better value than a lot of cards and there is no AF.

Tom
Tom

It is better than a lot of cards out there, but it’s also not the best, so most people would probably end up using other cards.

The theoretical maximum value could be 2cpp + 0.4cpp from the travel credit, but it would be almost impossible to hit this theoretical maximum of 2.4cpp, and it would require exactly $50,000 of spending. A more realistic expectation would be 1.8cpp + 0.4cpp with $50,000 spend…

But the vast majority of normal people probably can’t hit $50,000 spend in a year without resorting to MS, in which case the costs of MS would further eat into that margin. Additionally, most people that do MS would probably rather put that spend on the Chase FU card, or the SPG card instead, since they typically value transferable points currencies much more.

Additionally, for the few people that actually CAN hit $50,000 spend in a year without resorting to MS, there’s a good chance they already have $100,000+ within their ML accounts and qualify for the Platnum Honors tier, in which case this card is much worse than BOA’s own travel rewards card (also no annual fee), which essentially gives you 2.63% cash back if you have Platinum Honors.

Again, it’s not a bad card, but there are better options out there.

Jay
Jay

Makes sense, thanks for explaining that and breaking that down!

Thanks!

Pavel
Pavel

DP: applied yesterday, approved today with $7.5k limit. They pulled Experian where I had 744 score + 7 inquiries.
Btw, their site for checking credit card applications still says “Your application is in review.” but I see the card in my BofA online account.

sirtheta
sirtheta

5k credit limit, 710 Experian. 4 inquiries last 3 mos, 6 inquiries last 6 mos, 10 inquiries last 12 mos.

It’s well worth noting that BOA did not issue a hard pull when I applied for this card. I applied for the MERRILL+ & a 2nd NEA card on 11/5, and BOA approved me for both based on a hard pull from mid-October for my 1st NEA card. (confirmed on my Experian report—only 1 hard pull from BOA that is still on the card).

Steve
Steve

DP: 5k credit limit, 731 Experian, 9 inquiries last 12 months, 0 last 3 months, 4 last 6 months.

online app went pending – approved two days later (11/8/16)

All three of my BoA apps went pending that day. The other two showed denied while this still showed pending on the online app status page. The next day it changed to approved and showed up in my account. I have no Merrill Lynch relationship.

Kelle Files
Kelle Files

My 401k I have what I need but need it like now

Jason
Jason

I posted my DP in the other post. But just to make it easier for others’ reference:

The reconsideration line called me within 2 hours after application submitted, not that I called them. Attempted to pull from my Experian but it’s frozen, so over the phone I asked them to pull from Trans Union, Score 751 via Credit Karma with 8 inquiries, after approval dropped 3 points.

Card shows on BofA account info, 15K credit limit. This is my 9th credit card this year.

Kelle Files
Kelle Files

Give me the number!

Matt B
Matt B

Another data point on minimum credit limit – I was approved last week with $5k credit limit.

Adam D
Adam D

IMPORTANT DATA POINT:

Applied a few days ago, applied for merill lynch first, alaska airlines 2nd, spirit airlines 3rd. all minutes within hours of each other same day. merill went to pending. alaska auto approved 10K limit. spirit pending. called recon today, merill and spirit denied beacuse I already have a boa product (alaska) opened within 90 days even though I applied for merill first.

If you want merill,only apply for merill and call recon before anything else.

sirtheta
sirtheta

I would HUCA. BOA approved me for 3 personal credit cards in <20 days.

Adam D
Adam D

I opened 3 boa business cards 3 weeks ago, but csr didnt mention that. Ill try but in the doc’s reasons for denial too many recent apolications is a mention, even though on other post it recommends applying for more than just merill since combined pull…In retrospext I wouldnt have applied for other boa products same day because I most likely would have been approved with recon.

lingua
lingua

HUCA? not in glossary. thanks.

Jan W
Jan W

Hang Up, Call Back

Kelle Files
Kelle Files

Hang up have no number

Shane
Shane

Wondering if you can stack a ticket for the 25k pts/$500 offer. For example, I do a flight quite regularly say SEA/PDX. Could I book a multicity (sea/pdx/sea/pdx/sea) to hit the $500 effectively taking two trips?

Aaron
Aaron

How is the airfare credit applied? Through a statement credit? And is it automatic? Or do you need to call in?

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