Posted by William Charles on July 27, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on July 27th, 2017 | by William Charles


Bank of America To Enter Premium Credit Card Market [Confirmed]

[Update 7/27/17: Reposting since we heard from a reliable source that BofA will be releasing a premium card. It’ll be a Visa Signature with a minimum credit line of $5,000. Roll out of the card is expected to be some time near the end of 2017. It’s also important to note that at this stage our reliable source has just confirmed a premium card will enter the market and not any of the benefits/fees/points structure listed below.]

Frequent Miler is reporting that Bank of America plans to enter the premium credit card market with a new card in September or October of 2017 to compete directly with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This isn’t the first new card to enter the space with U.S. Bank launching the Altitude Reserve and UBS launching the Visa Infinite (American Express also made significant changes to their Platinum card in response).

Details are sparse regarding the new Bank of America card, but Frequent Miler is reporting the following:

  • $450 annual fee
  • Travel reimbursement (unknown amount)
  • Points are worth 1.5¢ towards travel
  • No transfer partners

To me that reads as a Chase Sapphire Reserve clone rather than a competing product (although significantly worse with no transfer partners). Bonus categories with Bank of America are somewhat interesting due to the preferred rewards program. I assume there will be some additional benefits (e.g lounge access and some kind of airline related benefit as well). Let’s hope for a nice big sign up bonus and travel reimbursement that operates on a calendar year. If you’re going to copy Chase, do it with a bang!

Credit goes to Frequent Miler for this information. As always if you have any additional information or want to leak anything (doesn’t have to be Bank of America) get in touch with me!

112 Responses to Bank of America To Enter Premium Credit Card Market [Confirmed]

  1. Justin says:

    If you’re gonna release a premium CC at least TRY to differentiate it from the CSR. Makes me wonder what the BoA CC execs are doing all day if they just end up releasing a (worse) CSR clone

    • TomTX says:

      Well, they differentiate by having fewer perks for the same annual fee! Crazy appealing!

    • Frank says:

      Look at their current product line and I have no hope they will do a good job in rolling up a premium product on par with CSR. Preferred rewards? That’s a plain loss of at least 1% interest, which nerf every possible benefits it carries. BoA Cash rewards, 2% grocery and 3% gas? No thanks. I have better alternatives. BoA BBR? Who will use it other than putting one charge a month to get the rewards? Another odd thing is, as such a big bank, their CCs don’t even have benefits like price match which is offered by other major banks. They lack the ability to think about their customers and design an truly attractive product. Probably it won’t even good enough to be a “clone” of CSR, but a crappy ghost of it.

      • Bob says:

        If you can get preferred rewards through merrill lynch investments like stocks/mutual funds, it’s not bad since you’ll invest anyway. Checking/savings is a total waste.

        • Frank says:

          Merrill Lynch is expensive. I am an active trader. Trade fee really adds up. That may cost me in thousands $ in exchange to probably no more than a couple hundreds $ in credit card rewards. Not worth it.

          • Fork says:

            Really? You’re trading 100k worth more than 100 times a month?

          • JC says:

            Frank, I totally agree with your thoughts on Merrill Lynch being really expensive. They charge way more than other brokerage firms as a Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors client. The trading fees are so ridiculous and out of line with the likes of other online brokerages that I would never choose them.

            As an active trader myself using the Merrill Edge platform to trade if I trade 100 trades per month I would spend $0.00 with Merrill Edge while Fidelity and Etrade which have some of the lowest costs out there only charge me 4.95 per trade or $495 per month. So I save $495 by using Fidelity or Etrade which annually means I save $5940.

            Some months I complete 200 trades a month which with Merrill Edge costs me $695 at 6.95 per trade while Fidelity and Etrade cost $990.00 which means Fidelity and Etrade save me $295 a month or $3540 a year.

            I usually never hit more than 300 trades a month but even if I did Merrill Edge would cost me a ridiculous $1390.00 with my 100 complimentary trades per month while Fidelity and E-Trade only cost me a reasonable and low cost $1485 so I still save $95.00 per month or $1140.00 per year with E-Trade and Fidelity.

            I agree totally that the Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors Program is worthless with the 75% bonus on points considering they would charge me a minimum of $1140.00 extra annually over E-Trade and Fidelity and it could be as high as $5940.00. And what do I get for all of that extra cost just a few hundred dollars extra in credit card rewards at most annually. Totally worthless.

          • Eric says:


            Your math doesn’t make sense. In each situation the ME total cost is lower but you are saying that Fidelity/Etrade saves you money. Can you clarify?

          • DSP says:

            @ Eric

            I’m no expert but I believe JCs response was sarcasm giving a variety of examples where even very active traders would save money using ME. JC was illustrating that Frank would have to make hundreds if not thousands of trades per year for ME to be more expensive than most brokerages.

            The only thing that I am unsure of is how this would compare to interactive brokers as I have ready in many places that they are the cheapest for high volume traders.

          • DSP says:

            “would have to make hundreds if not thousands of trades per year”

            Scratch that. Make that, per MONTH.

          • Frank says:

            @DSP I am using interactive broker too. It’s fairly cheap (<<<<$6.95). And I also use Robinhood which literally costs nothing. To me, all JC's calculation is wrong and BoA's 100 free trades are worth little, if not zero. Comparing one expensive broker with another doesn't necessarily prove the cheaper one brings you "saving". You can't make a valid comparison if ignoring there are better options out there.

          • Eric says:


            I just read over JC’s first paragraph again and I believe you are right. I would have never imagined that someone would waste so much time like that just to prove a point that it didn’t even cross my mind.

          • Eric says:


            If Robinhood suddenly goes out of business do you know what happens to your investments? I don’t see how their business model of free trades could survive long term.

          • Frank says:

            @Eric That’s why I don’t use Robinhood as my primary and never put more than the limit of SIPC to that account. I think there is not much I should worry about for now. But I agree with your point. I don’t really see how Robinhood can survive in competition long term if they don’t charge any commission. Nonetheless, Robinhood has proved that it costs very little money to process trades as a broker. The main stream brokers charge $4.95,$6.95 or even more for a service that is nearly free to them, which is essentially a steal.

          • calwatch says:

            Merrill’s margin rate, like most mass market brokers, is atrocious. I have my taxable account at IB for that reason, since OptionsHouse ended their sub 4% rate for people borrowing less than a quarter million dollars. However, I have my buy and hold Roth IRA at Merrill and have been completely satisfied. I use the Merrill research to do my IB trades.

          • Tom says:

            Rather than argue over who has 100k+ to invest or who is or isn’t an active trader, I’m going to share a few of my major criticisms over the Merrill Edge trading platform. If you truly are an active trader, these will be major concerns of yours:

            1) Platform uses Java to run in your web browser; there is no standalone executable application like most brokers, thus the performance of the platform is very sluggish and often has a laggy feel to it, even with a high performance machine.
            2) The order entry screen is very slow and cumbersome, in my opinion. There is no level 2 order entry ability, so it makes it difficult for active traders to jump in and out of trades quickly.
            3) MAJOR GRIPE: They do not support “bracket” orders (ie. you cannot set both a stop and a target limit order at the same time, you can only have one OR the other). Most major brokers these days support bracket orders. I assume many people on this site like to automatic and set-and-forget everything, including their investments, but you cannot do this will Merrill Edge… you can use a protective stop or set a target limit sell order, but not both.
            4) Expensive margin interest rates (IB is much, much lower).
            5) Order execution can often be very slow, “costing” you hidden fees in the form of order slippage on market orders or simply not getting filled on limit orders because it processes too slowly.

            That being said, I’ve exclusively used Merrill Edge for over a year, and I still use them today, primarily due to their 100 free trades per month and their very good market research. However, I no longer rely on them exclusively…. I’ve transferred about half my assets to Interactive Brokers for my active short-term trading (IB does not have any of the above problems) and I use Merrill Edge for my long-term buy and hold stocks, where the above factors don’t come into play as much. It is definitely a good broker for long term investments, IRAs, etc…. but for an active trader, you’re going to get very frustrated if you use it exclusively, trust me.

          • atomic says:

            It offers 30 free trades a month if you have 50k in your account. If you trade more than that your an anomaly also most people do not trade on margin. And most people who trade on margin and trade more than 30 times a month are going to go broke in the long run.

            So for vast majority of people Merrill Lynch will be cheaper.

      • shaun says:

        This is a typical example of you not understanding how they want to think. The cash rewards for example gets me 7.25% on gas(5.25% +2% from costco) because I have preferred rewards honors client and that has always been the target market. The travel rewards is 2.65% for all purchases.

        If you actively trade on the stock market like i do, you have 100 free trades per month worth up to almost $700.

        So they actually think about their clients, you are just not who they are thinking about.

        • Frank says:

          Your scheme only makes sense if you meet the mandatory requirement set by BoA. The real question is how many people are there in the group you belong to that have $100k+ sitting in their merrill lynch account (let’s be honest merrill lynch is not the big five brokers in the market) AND play with BoA credit cards that benefit from this preferred rewards. If their target is the main stream customer, this is way too restricted.

          • shaun says:

            BoA is a retail bank and as much as possible try to get retail banking clients and for the most part are very conservative.

            You were shitting on their card portfolio but did not take into consideration the sweet spot for their cards is if you maintain some level of relationship via merrill edge or cash deposits. You referenced the fact that they don’t think about the clients which may actually be the opposite ( not that i care about a big bank) since their credit card products offer extra incentives to clients who want to keep their money with them long term.

            You ask how many people have that kind of money with BoA? I believe it’s quiet substantial and they are trying to get as many of those people as possible by offering them incentives, ie extra earning power on their credit cards, free merrill edge trades etc.

            I personally would not trade with merrill edge without those incentives. I don’t think i would’ve used their credit cards with the basic returns but they offer the best combination for everyday spend in my wallet. Obviously, this will vary from person to person.

          • calwatch says:

            A lot of people have $100k+ in retirement accounts. It’s not that unusual. And rather than having it at Vanguard, I can invest in the same ETFs and funds at Merrill and get all the goodies for no extra fee.

        • rajansv says:

          I think Costco 2% back on Executive membership is not on Gas purchases. Happy to be corrected. 5.25% is only little more value than 5% rotating you may get for Gas or Wholesale club purchases on many cards. I buy costco cards when Freedom would give me 5% on Wholesale clubs and use it for my gas. I can redeem them at 7.5% with CSR.

          2.65% on all (unbonused) purchases is still attractive. 5.25/2.65 will be of more attractive if that can be redeemed with the new *leaked* card at 1.5x. Wishful thinking I guess….

  2. Credit says:

    BofA is not stupid. People are stupid. People will pay the same fee or a worse product and think they are smart. Like People voted for Trump. Stupid people.

    • ihg newbie says:

      no one gives a shit about your political opinion. politics has nothing to do with this discussion so go some where else and troll.

    • Ea says:

      I voted for Trump AND I have two BoA cards. I guess I’m as stupid as they come.

      • TrumpSux says:

        Are you tired of all the “winning” yet? Is everyone mining coal now? Oh wait…what happened in the last job report….Fail Bigly

    • Let’s try to avoid political discussions unless they are actually relevant.

    • Dan says:

      it kinda of surprises me when i come across a liberal on a blog like this. shouldn’t you be busy marching across Washington in your pink p*ssy hat or engaging in other very serious, constructive, and meaningful action like that??

      • Dan, show some respect. Absolutely no need at all for that level of name calling. This applies to everybody, I’m embarrassed by a lot of these comments. GET YOUR POINT ACROSS WITHOUT NAME CALLING.

        • Dan says:

          Hey Will, you might have misread my comment, but I didn’t engage in any name calling. In reaction to an offensive and unfair comment by another reader, I made a sarcastic remark alluding to a very well publicized national protest. No hard feelings though, I’m a long time reader and contributor. All the best

    • WR says:

      You have a very sad obsession with Trump. You can’t make any comment on any travel/credit card blog without bashing him. We get it, you’re a leftist. Move on with your life. Nothing in your day to day life is different than it was 6 months ago. By the way, plenty of stupid people voted for Hillary too, yourself included I’m sure.

  3. Frito Pendejo says:

    As they as they “clone” the 100k bonus then I’m just fine with this

  4. James C. says:

    I’m bored of these cards now, they’re about as “elite” as an iPhone. But if BofA is going to do this, they should make it a metal Merrill Lynch card with a bull engraved into the face.

  5. projectx says:

    Coming soon: more lounges leaving the Priority Pass program.

    • Charlie says:

      This comment worries me. Part of the justification for the $450 annual fee on the high end cards is access to Priority Pass lounges in overseas airports. If Priority Pass implodes, it may take down one or more high end credit cards with it.

  6. Eric says:

    CSR will always be my favorite travel card 🙂

  7. Bob says:

    Was hoping they’d have a card like the sapphire preferred with $100 AF range

  8. MarcoPolo says:

    Read this on FW:
    30 Major banks launching Zelle – A digital payments network

    • Rick says:

      It’s built on clearXchange, which exists for a long time.

      • NinjaX says:

        but this new service is a huge expansion on that infrastructure. it was very limited before. now the list of member banks is huge.

        also, i dont like how in the fine print it says “Zelle and the Zelle logos used herein are trademarks of Early Warning Services, LLC.”

        what? EWS? just great…

  9. DSP says:

    Go big or go home BoA. 100k signup with 1st year waived AF.

  10. Jeff says:

    I saw something like this on reddit a few months ago regarding a survey. Believe it was 1.5 points for all purchases, but 3 points for restaurant and travel. With preferred rewards you can get up to 75% points.

    We’ll see how this will compete against the CSR, but I’ll rather have travel partners than the Preferred Rewards if it’s identical to the CSR.

  11. Dee says:

    Dead on Ariival!

  12. Rob Arias says:

    Really hoping this will partake in Preferred Rewards, specially if it has some sort of bonus categories. That multiplier could really come in handy.

    Side note, I really hope they add the bull in somehow. Definitely one of my favourite things I’ve seen.

  13. Ea says:

    If I had to guess, I’d say this rumor is just a rumor–intentionally leaked to build up hype and brand awareness around BoA’s ho-hum portfolio of credit cards.

    Fall 2017 is also when a lot of CSR cardholders will be coming up on their first anniversary and deciding whether to stay or jump ship. BoA is hoping to capture CSR refugees, but if its premium card flops, it’ll be an epic flop.

  14. Max says:

    “clone rather than a competing product (although significantly worse”

    Doesn’t this describe everything from BoA?

  15. Fred says:

    This post is a great example of why I’m reluctant to rely on any expertise from the comment section.

  16. NinjaX says:

    Doc, i dont think its accurate to say Chase Sapphire Reserve clone. details are still TBD and my very first guess is a USB AR clone. no transfer partners and at 1.5 sounds more like AR to me. CSR benefits will not be around long term anyway.

  17. Lrdx says:

    Reading the Frequent Miler article fantasizing about the value:
    Too rich. What are you even smoking?!

    There is no way you could extract 7.875% return from the card. If Preferred Rewards is applied on this card, it will be probably only applied against base points, like it was on the old AAA card. It would be still a 3.75x return on travel (assuming 3x on travel), what is still 5.625%.

    If it’s just 2x points on travel, Preferred Rewards on base points, it’s 2.75x = 4.125% return. Still good enough, but already under CSR. If Preferred Rewards on all points, 3.5x = 5.25% return.

    Another alternative that this card “replaces” BoA TR, adding 1.5x points value: Total 3.9375% return on everything. Too rich, not gonna happen.

    I bet on 2x on travel, PR on base points only version. This is the only thing that does not sound like a HUGE loss.

  18. Mike says:

    This is the old discussion we had here. It was supposed to be 95 fee and 1.5 on everything. Dining and travel was 2x. I’m sure this card will come with more perks to justify the annual fee. Lol

    • Lrdx says:

      1.5x point value with that point earning structure means 5.25% on travel and dining and **3.9375%** on everything else.

      If that’s true, I don’t need any perk or signup bonus to get this card.

  19. Bryan says:

    Just spoke with a close friend that has worked in the BOA Credit Card Rewards Department for years, he gave me the following details:

    50k point bonus – not 100% sure of spend requirement yet

    $100 yearly travel credit

    $100 Global Entry/TSA Pre credit

    2x points on travel/dining

    1.5x points on everything else

    $95 Annual fee

    Sounds more like a competitor for the CSP than the CSR to me!

  20. Miguel says:

    The travel credit is greater than the annual fee? Did I read that right?

  21. Adam says:

    The question is: will there be points-transfer partners??

  22. Mark says:

    All these cards (UBS, Altitude Reserve, this upcoming BofA card) fall FAR behind the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
    While the CSR is for real because it lets you transfer points on a 1 to 1 basis (!!!) to airlines, plus all the other perks it has, the aforementioned cards don’t even get close to that.
    They want to make people believe that they can compete, but looking at the fine print exposes them to be totally weak compared to the CSR.

    • NinjaX says:

      mark. before making such a bold statement, please just watch first…

    • Emer says:

      They are clearly not wanting to compete for the churning crowd. None of the other banks do. They are watching and modifying. For their own customers and their targeted base, transferring points to an airline likely doesn’t matter. For many people, that is much more work than they are willing to put in.

  23. James S says:

    I kind of hope for this card to have $100 discount air, but look like it is not the case since it is visa signature. Bet it will be metal like others.

  24. Paul says:

    Visa Signature… Premium. Lol.

  25. James says:

    Sooo.. what card will you get instead when your credit line turns out to be $4,999? 🙂

  26. Nick says:

    Too bad no transfer partner’s. Alaska, Asiana, Amtrak and Virgin would have been solid.

  27. Rob says:

    If they really want to differentiate, they should make the card out of wood.

  28. Mike says:

    What’s confirmed with this card? Besides that a premium card is coming. Or is the old rumors confirmed that were discussed here months ago

  29. paul says:

    Will the IT on their website enter 1996?

  30. Mike L says:

    Assuming the earning structure were identical to the CSR (i.e. 3x on dining) and they allowed a 1.5c valuation on ANY travel redemption (i.e. directly through the hotel or with an OTA of your choice) it would be interesting. That’s the one gripe I have about the CSR 1.5c valuation is that you have to book through Chase to get it and they rarely have the best prices.

    • NinjaX says:

      if you think the power of UR is 1.5 cpp and have issues with the chase OTA then i feel sad for u.

      • Mike L says:

        It all depends on what type of travel you’re doing. I value domestic first class and often stay at hotels outside of peak times, so booking with an OTA or “cash” directly with the airline or hotel is the logical thing to do, especially since there is virtually no first saver availability with United. So feel sad all you want, not everyone uses points the same way you do.

  31. PJ says:

    Interesting. I am already at 3 BofA cards and was thinking of going ML. Hope this doesn’t affect the ML bonus offer.

  32. E says:

    There’s way too much duplication in the premium cc market already.

    For existing CSR holders to even blink an eye at this card, it would have to offer everything that CSR doesn’t, i.e. things other than Global Entry credit, Priority Pass Select, etc.

  33. mec says:

    I’m a big fan of the “make your own travel purchase and get a statement” model. The value isn’t there for 2% cards to justify MS or lots of organic spending when compared with points transfer cards potentials but most cards working under that model have a 50-100 dollar fee or no fee.

    If they have a few categories that earn at a higher rate this card could be interesting for some people. Most likely people with the full relationship modifier with BofA.

    However, it could be the categories have caps that limit the potential or are in group like dining end entertainment that don’t lend themselves to serious points accumulation.

    Fingers crossed for a good product.

  34. JL100 says:

    I hope every bank clones the CSR – as long as they don’t have 5/24!

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