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Guide to Bank of America Preferred Rewards

How to save on auto loans and mortgages and boost your credit card rewards rate

Summary

Bank of America Preferred Rewards comes with many perks, and it is particularly valuable for customers who also have a Bank of America rewards credit card – as they can boost their earning potential.

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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, as well as any Merrill investment accounts, you can advance through 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.

Enrollment requirements

To qualify for Preferred Rewards, you must have a minimum of $20,000 across Bank of America and Merrill accounts. You’ll also have to maintain a daily average of that balance for at least three months to qualify.

Once you’ve achieved the required balance, you’ll automatically earn the corresponding status in the program and maintain your status for 12 months – even if your average balance dips below the requirements in that period.

You can also advance through higher tiers as your balance grows, as detailed below.

Preferred Rewards tierBalance requirement
Gold$20,000 to $49,999
Platinum$50,000 to $99,999
Platinum Honors$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 in this guide), but perhaps the most valuable among these 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 all the rewards you earn – up to 75% more points or cash back.

Preferred Rewards tierPoints boost
Gold25%
Platinum50%
Platinum Honors75%

Here is how being a Preferred Rewards member could level up your rewards earnings with each eligible card.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

With valuable, customizable rewards categories, this card offers both simplicity and flexibility. Choose your 3% cash back category from six options: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvements and furnishings. You’ll also earn 2% cash back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases. Keep in mind that there is a $2,500 combined spend limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter (then it’s 1% cash back).

Here’s what those cash back rates could be for Preferred Rewards members.

Preferred Rewards tierRewards boostChoice category cash back rateGrocery store/wholesale club cash back rateOther
Not a Preferred Rewards memberNone3%2%1%
Gold25%3.75%2.5%1.25%
Platinum50%4.5%3%1.5%
Platinum Honors75%5.25%3.5%1.75%

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card

The newly launched Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is pretty straightforward. You’ll earn a flat 1.5% 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. The card does not charge an annual fee.

It’s true that 1.5% cash back cards used to be the industry standard among flat-rate cards, but nowadays, it is more common to score a card that offers up to 2% cash back on all your purchases. Lucky for Preferred Rewards members, you can bypass this rate if you have a qualifying account balance with Bank of America.

Preferred Rewards tierRewards boostCash back rate
Not a Preferred Rewards memberNone1.5%
Gold25%1.875%
Platinum50%2.25%
Platinum Honors75%2.625%

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Travel rewards programs can be tricky, but the Bank of America Travel Rewards card is simple. Cardholders earn an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent and can redeem those points for any travel purchase made on the card within the last 12 months. 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 tierPoints boostPoints per $1 spent
Not a Preferred Rewards memberNone1.5
Gold25%1.875
Platinum50%2.25
Platinum Honors75%2.625

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

If you’re a more frequent traveler, you might want to consider the Bank of America Premium Rewards over the Travel Rewards. Though it comes with a $95 annual fee, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and 2 points per dollar spent on grocery store purchases (now through Dec. 31, 2021) in addition to 1.5 points per dollar on general purchases.

Here’s what that rate could look like for Preferred Rewards members.

Preferred Rewards tierPoints boostPoints per $1 spent on travel and diningPoints per dollar on general purchases
Not a Preferred Rewards memberNone21.5
Gold25%2.51.875
Platinum50%32.25
Platinum Honors75%3.52.625


Other benefits

Beyond a higher rewards rate for credit cardholders, Preferred Rewards customers can enjoy plenty of other benefits as they advance through tiers.

Preferred Rewards tierBenefits
Gold
  • 5% interest rate boost on eligible savings accounts
  • 0.05% fee discount on Merrill Guided Investing
  • $200 discount on origination fee for mortgages
  • 0.25% discount on auto loan interest rates
Platinum
  • 10% interest rate boost on eligible savings accounts
  • Up to 12 transactions at a non-Bank of America ATM (in the U.S.) for no fee per year
  • 0.1% fee discount on Merrill Guided Investing
  • $400 discount on origination fee for mortgages
  • 0.35% discount on auto loan interest rates
Platinum Honors
  • 20% interest rate boost on eligible savings accounts
  • Unlimited transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs (in the U.S.) for no fee
  • 0.15% fee discount on Merrill Guided Investing
  • $600 discount on origination fee for mortgages
  • 0.5% discount on auto loan interest rates

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-term.

Bottom line

If you are a Bank of America credit cardholder, the Bank of America 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 rewards cards. Plus, you’ll enjoy discounts on other products, like mortgages and auto loans.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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