With a low annual fee, valuable perks and simple rewards, the Bank of America Premium Rewards may seem like a no-brainer – but there’s no card that’s perfect for everyone.
At a modest annual fee of $95 per year, the card earns 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases. Plus, it comes with a few popular perks, such TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credits, airline incidental credits and others.
If you’re considering the Bank of America Premium Rewards, read on to learn when this card can be a good addition to your wallet and when it’s best to look into other options.
When is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card worth it?
The Bank of America Premium Rewards card offers excellent value at a low annual fee and can be a great choice for travelers seeking simple rewards.
The card can be especially valuable in the following scenarios.
You want flexible and simple rewards
Besides the low annual fee, the most appealing aspect of the Bank of America Premium Rewards is its simple and flexible rewards system.
You can redeem your points for travel, gift cards, statement credit or direct deposit. To pay for travel with rewards, you can book it through Bank of America’s Travel Center or get reimbursed for travel you’ve already purchased.
Whichever redemption option you use, your points will be worth 1 cent apiece. This means you won’t have to stress about fluctuating point values when booking award travel or losing value when redeeming rewards outside of travel, which can be the case with many other travel rewards credit cards.
You’re a Preferred Rewards member
If you’re a Preferred Rewards program member, you can get even more value from the Premium Rewards card.
The program offers attractive perks to Bank of America and Merrill customers with large checking, savings and investment account balances ($20,000 in total balances or higher). One such perk is higher rewards rates.
Here’s what you can earn with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card if you’re a Preferred Rewards member, depending on your tier:
|Preferred Rewards tier||Points boost||Points per $1 spent on travel and dining|
Points per dollar on general purchases
|Not a Preferred Rewards member||None||2||1.5|
You want a low-cost travel card with premium perks
It’s not a secret that you can get a longer list of premium travel benefits with a different card.
Without a doubt, generous travel credits, elite hotel status and access to airport lounges sound exciting. However, cards that offer these perks also come with hundreds of dollars in annual fees.
The Bank of America Premium Rewards is a nice compromise. You still get a few popular benefits, including application fee credits for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership and up to $100 in annual credits for incidental airline fees, which can be used on entrance fees for airline-owned airport lounges, in-flight food and more.
When is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card not worth it?
Thanks to statement credit benefits and solid rewards rates, the Bank of America Premium Rewards more than justifies its annual fee.
Still, there’s no card that’s perfect for everyone.
Here’s a scenario where you may want to look into other options.
You want to maximize your rewards value
While simple rewards can be appealing, some cardholders may find its fixed point value restrictive.
Other rewards systems, like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, may require more work to figure out the best use of your points, but they also allow you to stretch rewards value.
For instance, both programs offer to transfer points to their travel partners and potentially get more than 1 cent per point in value. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve also advertise sizeable value boosts when you redeem through the Chase travel portal.
Not to mention, the rewards rates on the Bank of America Premium Rewards aren’t the most impressive. To compare, at the same $95 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers:
- 5 points per dollar on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel
- 3 points per dollar on restaurants, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases
- 1 point per dollar on general purchases
When rewards are easier to earn, and you have options to stretch their worth, your points can go a long way compared to cards with a fixed point value like the Bank of America Premium Rewards.
Should you get the Bank of America Premium Rewards card?
The Bank of America Premium Rewards cards is an excellent option for occasional and frequent travelers who want premium travel perks at a low annual fee.
It’s also a great choice for cardholders who’d rather treat a travel card like a cash back credit card without worrying about not getting the most out of their rewards.
In this situation, the Bank of America Premium Rewards can also serve as an additional card to earn better rewards on general purchases. Cardholders can use it on purchases outside of the bonus categories on their other rewards cards to earn more than 1 point per dollar on all of their spending.
On the other hand, travel card aficionados who don’t mind extra work to ensure they maximize every point may want to look into cards with more complex rewards ecosystems.
The Bank of America Premium Rewards is a mid-tier rewards credit card with plenty to offer. Cardholders who appreciate simple rewards but still want to take advantage of some premium travel perks will benefit most from this card. Travel rewards enthusiasts, however, may find its short list of benefits and fixed-point value underwhelming.