If you have a high-dollar Bank of America or Merrill investment account, you can unlock all kinds of savings through the Preferred Rewards program. And if you have a Bank of America rewards credit card, you can boost its earning potential.
Keeping a significant balance with a bank has its perks, but Bank of America takes rewarding loyal customers above and beyond with its Preferred Rewards program.
Through this program, account holders with large sums in Bank of America or Merrill investment accounts can unlock all kinds of savings — including better interest rates, discounts on auto loans and even a higher credit card rewards rate.
If you have a Bank of America credit card or bank with the issuer, understanding the Preferred Rewards program can help you take advantage of all the perks it has to offer.
What is Preferred Rewards?
Preferred Rewards is a program available to Bank of America and Merrill customers with large checking, savings and investment account balances. It’s designed to reward loyal users with discounts on fees, higher rewards rates and more.
Based on how much money you keep in your portfolio of Bank of America checking and savings accounts, or any Merrill investment accounts, you can qualify for different tiers of Preferred Rewards membership and unlock even better benefits.
This program is particularly valuable for Bank of America customers who also have a Bank of America rewards credit card, as they can boost their earning potential. Read on to learn more about Preferred Rewards perks and eligibility requirements.
To qualify for Preferred Rewards, you must have a minimum of $20,000 across Bank of America and Merrill accounts. You have to maintain a daily average of that balance, combined among all your Bank of America or Merrill accounts, for at least three months to qualify.
Once you’ve achieved the required balance, you can simply enroll, and you won’t pay any fees. And depending on your average balance, you’ll automatically qualify for the corresponding status in the program.
You maintain your status for 12 months — even if your average balance dips below the requirements in that period. If you qualify for a higher tier within 12 months, you’ll be automatically upgraded. In case your average balance decreases to that of a lower tier, you’ll have a three-month grace period after the 12 months before you’re automatically moved to a lower tier or no longer qualify for Preferred Rewards.
|Preferred Rewards tier||Balance requirement|
|Gold||$20,000 to $50,000|
|Platinum||$50,000 to $100,000|
Credit card benefits
Preferred Rewards membership comes with a bevy of great perks for Bank of America customers (which we’ll dive into later), but perhaps the most valuable among those are offered to Bank of America Rewards cardholders.
If you qualify for a Preferred Rewards tier and carry a Bank of America credit card, you might be eligible to boost the rewards you earn — up to 75 percent more points or cash back.
|Preferred Rewards tier||Points boost|
Here is how being a Preferred Rewards member could level up your rewards earnings with the eligible credit card.
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card
With valuable customizable rewards categories, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers both simplicity and flexibility. Choose your 3 percent cash back category from six options: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvements and furnishings. You’ll also earn 2 percent cash back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases. However, keep in mind that there is a $2,500 combined spend limit on 2 percent and 3 percent categories each quarter (then it’s 1 percent cash back).
Here’s what your cash back rates could be as a Preferred Rewards member:
|Preferred Rewards tier||Rewards boost||Choice category cash back rate||Grocery store/wholesale club cash back rate||Other|
|Not a Preferred Rewards member||None||3%||2%||1%|
Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card
The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is pretty straightforward card, earning a flat 1.5 percent cash back on all your purchases. You can also earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days — and you won’t pay an annual fee.
It’s true that 1.5 percent cash back cards used to be the industry standard among flat-rate cash back cards, but nowadays it’s more common to score a card that offers up to 2 percent cash back on all your purchases. And Preferred Rewards members can surpass this rate if you have a qualifying account balance with Bank of America.
|Preferred Rewards tier||Rewards boost||Cash back rate|
|Not a Preferred Rewards member||None||1.5%|
Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card
Travel credit cards can be tricky, but the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is wonderfully easy. Cardholders earn an unlimited 1.5X points and can redeem those points for any travel purchase within the last 12 months, allowing you to use your rewards on third-party travel sites. Since you earn points on all purchases, this is a great everyday card for aspirational travelers.
Here are what your earnings could look like as a Preferred Rewards member:
|Preferred Rewards tier||Points boost||Points per $1 spent|
|Not a Preferred Rewards member||None||1.5|
Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card
More frequent travelers may prefer the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card over the Bank of America Travel Rewards card. Though it comes with a $95 annual fee, you’ll earn 2X points on travel and dining purchases, in addition to 1.5X points on general purchases.
Here’s what that rate could look like for Preferred Rewards members:
|Preferred Rewards tier||Points boost||Points per $1 spent on travel and dining||Points per $1 spent on general purchases|
|Not a Preferred Rewards member||None||2||1.5|
Beyond a higher rewards rate, Preferred Rewards customers can enjoy plenty of other benefits as they advance through tiers.
|Preferred Rewards tier||Benefits|
While these perks don’t show as much immediate value as a boost on a credit card rewards rate, benefits like a higher interest rate on your savings account can save you significant money in the long run.
If you have a Bank of America credit card, the Preferred Rewards program offers a unique opportunity to maximize your rewards potential. As you build up your balance in Bank of America or Merrill accounts, you’ll advance through tiers that let you earn even more from your cards. Plus, you’ll enjoy discounts on the bank’s other products, such as mortgages and auto loans.