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Why the Bank of America Premium Rewards and Cash Rewards credit cards are a great combo

Summary

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card and the  Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card make the perfect pair because they offer complementary bonus categories within the same rewards program.

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Cash back cards usually offer either lucrative bonuses for certain types of spending and a low rate of cash back on the rest of your purchases, or a merely average rate of cash back on every purchase. However, there’s a way to get the best of both worlds: Sign up for multiple credit cards with different earning tiers.

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card and the  Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card make the perfect pair because they offer complementary bonus categories within the same rewards program. You can use one card to earn cash back on gas and grocery spending and the other to rack up rewards on other purchases you make.

Having both cards could even help you earn $1,006 your first year. If you’re curious what it would take to achieve that milestone, keep reading.

Maximize bonus categories

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card has a lot going for it when it comes to earning rewards on both bonus category and regular spending. Not only will you earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining, but you’ll earn 1.5 points per dollar on everything else you buy. The card’s points are redeemable for statement credits at a rate of 1 cent per point.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Why apply?

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card offers 2X points on travel and dining and 1.5X points on everything else you buy. The card’s high earning rate plus lucrative sign-up bonus makes signing up a no-brainer.

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  • 2 points per dollar on travel and dining
  • 1.5 points per dollar on other purchases
  • 50,000 points worth $500 if you spend $3,000 in first 90 days
  • $95 annual fee

Making the most of this card is easy. Spend at least $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening to earn the card’s 50,000-point sign-up bonus (worth $500 in statement credits). Then spend $600 per month on regular purchases to earn an additional 900 points per month, worth $9 per month or $108 per year. That’s worth $608 in earnings from a single rewards credit card over 12 months.

You can ratchet up your first-year earnings even more with the Bank of America Cash Rewards card. This card gives you 3 percent cash back in a category of your choosing (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings) and 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 in spending each quarter. You also get 1 percent cash back on all regular purchases.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Why apply?

This choose-your-own-category card offers bonus categories everyone can benefit from, and there’s no annual fee.

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  • 3% back in a category of your choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings)
  • 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 in spending each quarter
  • 1% back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • $200 sign-up bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days

If you pick gas as your choice category to earn 3 percent cash back and spend $600 on groceries and $150 on gas every month, you’ll earn $198 in cash back in a year. You’ll also earn a $200 statement credit after spending at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. Follow this plan and you’ll earn $398 in rewards with this card alone your first year.

With both cards and their earning tiers considered, you can earn $306 in cash back just through regular spending each year – and that doesn’t include sign-up bonuses.

Cash back strategy


Premium Rewards card
Earn $608 in the first year

+


Cash Rewards card
Earn $398 in the first year
Total cash back earned = $1,006

Here’s how:

  • 3% x $150/month on gas = $4.50
  • 2% x $600/month on groceries= $12
  • 1.5% x $600/month on other purchases = $9
  • Total cash back per month = $25.50
  • $25.50 x 12 months = $306
  • $306 + $200 sign-up bonus + $500 sign-up bonus = $1,006

When you add up the rewards and both cards’ welcome bonuses, you can easily earn $1,006 within the first 12 months. That could be enough to pay for a family vacation or your year-end holiday spending.

However, you should note that the Bank of America Premium Rewards card charges a $95 annual fee. If you subtract the annual fee, our estimated earnings for the first year comes to $911 – still more than enough cash back to make signing up for both cards well worth it.

Ratchet up your earnings with Preferred Rewards

If you’re a Bank of America customer with a savings accounts, it’s possible to get a 25 to 75 percent boost on your earnings with the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card and Cash Back cards – up to 3.5 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points per dollar on regular purchases. For Preferred Rewards members in the highest tier, this can amount to hundreds of more dollars in cash back each year with both cards combined.

The chart below highlights how much you need to have on deposit to qualify for each tier:

TierBalance requiredRewards boostEstimated earnings
Non-membersN/A0%$306
Gold$20,000-$49,99925%$383
Platinum$50,000-$99,99950%$459
Platinum Honors$100,000+75%$536

Redeem for flexible rewards

While neither card lets you earn points that transfer to airline or hotel partners, they both offer a variety of ways to redeem your rewards. Both cards let you cash in rewards for statement credits or deposits into a Bank of America checking or savings account. You can also deposit rewards to a Merrill account, including 529 accounts that help you save for college. Keep in mind that redemptions into Merrill investment and 529 accounts start at $25.

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card offers a few more ways to redeem your points, including gift cards or purchases through the Bank of America Travel Center.

Save money on interest for 15 billing cycles

With the Bank of America Cash Rewards card, you can also score a 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening, followed by a variable APR of 16.24 to 26.24 percent. Having 15 billing cycles without interest makes it easy to pay down a large purchase without forking over an arm and a leg in interest payments.

Bottom line

If you’re angling for a way to earn more than $1,000 in statement credits and cash rewards this year, you can easily do so with the Bank of America Premium Rewards and Cash Rewards cards combined. Having both cards allows you to earn to more rewards with less work. And who wouldn’t want that?

See relatedGuide to earning the 3-percent cash back bonus from the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit cardGuide to the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit CardHow to use your rewards to book a trip through the Bank of America Travel Center

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Published: August 14, 2019

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: August 21st, 2019
Business
15.55%
Airline
17.49%
Cash Back
17.63%
Reward
17.49%
Student
17.69%

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