|Rewards Rating:||4.1 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||4.0|
|Issuer Customer Experience||5.0|
In a Nutshell:
The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card combines the features of a cash back card with the features of a premium travel card for a great value.
APR19.99% - 26.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Bank of America Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fees, up to $100 statement credit for airline incidentals annually, up to $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck statement credit every four years, 25%-75% points bonus for preferred customers, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, Visa Signature concierge, purchase protection, return protection, extended warranty, car rental insurance, roadside dispatch
If you’re a frequent traveler looking for straightforward rewards on a card you can use for every purchase, you should find a lot to like about the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card, including top-notch travel insurance benefits, bonus rewards in popular everyday categories and a chance to boost your rewards rate as a loyal Bank of America customer. Indeed, if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member at the Platinum level or higher, this could easily be the most rewarding travel card out there.
If you don’t qualify for that membership level, however, you’ll likely find the card’s relatively low base rewards rate on dining, travel and general purchases hold it back when compared to some of its mid-tier travel rewards card competition.
Why you might want the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card
For a card that costs just $95 a year to own, the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card is unusually generous – especially for the right Bank of America or Merrill account holder.
The card offers up to a $100 annual statement credit that you can use for airline incidental expenses, an application fee credit for TSA Pre-check or Global Entry every four years and a solid points program that rewards a variety of spenders.
What really sets this card apart, though, is its loyalty bonus: If you have a large amount of savings set aside in a qualifying Bank of America deposit account or Merrill investment account, you can be rewarded with up to an additional 75% redemption bonus on all your earnings – making the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card exceptionally rewarding. In addition, this card offers some of the strongest travel insurance benefits you can get on a rewards card at this price level.
Decent rewards for travelers and foodies
Unlike some travel rewards cards, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money on travel to earn a fair number of points with the Premium Rewards Card. You’ll earn 2 points for every dollar you spend on travel and dining, as well as a flat 1.5 points for every dollar you spend in other categories. This allows you to earn a bonus on every single purchase, including those that don’t fall into the typical bonus categories.
Bank of America is also unusually generous in its definition of what counts as a travel or dining purchase. For example, qualifying travel purchases not only include airfare, hotel rooms, car rentals, cruises, ferries, public transportation, parking fees, tolls and taxis, but also amusement parks and other tourist attractions, such as art galleries, aquariums, zoos, circuses, carnivals and more. Meanwhile, qualifying dining purchases include sit-down restaurants, fast-food eateries and bars.
See related: Best credit cards for entertainment
Solid bonus and straightforward redemption
The card also offers a competitive sign-up bonus. If you charge $4,000 to your Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card within 90 days of opening your account, you’ll be awarded 60,000 online bonus points – which, based on a point value of 1 cent per point, is worth up to $600 when redeemed for travel, cash back or gift cards.
No matter how you redeem them, your points will be worth 1 cent each. You have to go through Bank of America’s Travel Center to pay for your travel with rewards points, but if you’ve already purchased travel and want to be reimbursed for it, you can request a statement credit or have Bank of America deposit cash directly in your account.
This feature makes the Bank of American Premium Rewards Card a relatively flexible card for point redemption compared to other offers, since many competing cards require you to sacrifice point value to redeem for cash back or gift cards, only giving you full value when you redeem for travel.
|Redemption options||Minimum redemption||Redemption value|
|Travel||2,500 points||1 cent per point|
|Cash (statement credit or deposit into a checking or eligible savings account)||2,500 points||1 cent per point|
|Gift cards||2,500 points||1 cent per point|
Bonus cash back with Preferred Rewards program
What really sets this card’s rewards program apart from other premium rewards cards is its Preferred Rewards program. Depending on how much money you have saved with Bank of America, you could earn a substantial bonus on all your earnings.
For example, if you have between $20,000 and $49,999 saved, you’ll earn a 25% rewards bonus. If you have between $50,000 and $99,999 stashed away, you’ll earn a 50% bonus, and if you have more than $100,000 tucked away in a Bank of America account, you’ll earn a 75% bonus.
|Tier||Balance required||Rewards boost||Effective earning rate|
|Gold||$20,000-$49,999||25%||1.87 points per dollar on general purchases; 2.5 points per dollar on travel and dining|
|Platinum||$50,000-$99,999||50%||2.25 points per dollar on general purchases; 3 points per dollar on travel and dining|
|Platinum Honors||$100,000+||75%||2.62 points per dollar on general purchases; 3.5 points per dollar on travel and dining|
This membership program could make the Bank of America Premium Rewards card the highest earning card in your wallet. Although you’ll need a pretty substantial amount of consolidated savings to earn the card’s highest rewards rate, it gives the card an even higher earning potential luxury competitors like the American Express® Gold Card.
The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card also advertises an unusually generous suite of travel and purchase benefits, including:
- Trip delay reimbursement
- Trip cancellation or interruption protection
- Baggage delay insurance
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Rental car insurance
- Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage
- Purchase security
- Return Protection
- Up to $100 TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit every 4 years
- Up to $100 Airline Incidental Statement annually
- Extended warranty
- Roadside Dispatch
Make sure to check the terms and conditions for more specific details on these offered benefits.
Why you might want a different travel rewards card
Maybe you don’t have enough savings piled up in a Bank of America or Merrill account to qualify for an elevated rewards rate with the Preferred Rewards, or perhaps you’re looking for a rewarding card that has no annual fee. In that case, there are some drawbacks to the Premium Rewards card that might mean it isn’t the right choice for you.
Limited point value
Again, your points are worth 1 cent apiece when you redeem for travel, gift cards or cash back. So if you earn 10,000 points, you’ll essentially have $100 worth of rewards to spend. While the fact that you can redeem for in a variety of categories without sacrificing point value is a big plus, the flexibility stops there. That’s because unlike popular travel cards from competing issuers like Chase and American Express, the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card doesn’t allow you to transfer your points to airline or hotel travel partners.
Not only does this option give you more flexibility, but it can also help you maximize the value of your points since the best travel cards let you transfer points or miles at a 1:1 ratio to travel partners. This means if the partner’s rewards currency is more valuable, you can stretch your card rewards further by transferring. For example, we value United miles at around 1.5 cents apiece on average – and you could get even more value out of those points if you find the right booking, so transferring points worth 1 cent each to the United loyalty program at a 1:1 transfer rate would boost the value of those points by 50%. With the Premium Rewards card, though, you’re stuck at a 1-cent-per-point value.
Offers little advantage over flat-rate alternatives
While the Premium Rewards card offers a better-than-average base rewards rate of 1.5 points per dollar on general purchases (most flexible rewards cards offer just 1 point per dollar back on general purchases), this is less impressive considering its top rewards rate in dining and travel is just 2 points per dollar. That’s because flat-rate travel cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can offer 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases while charging a comparable annual fee. This gives these cards a clear advantage over the Premium Rewards card if you don’t qualify for bonus points via the Preferred Rewards program.
Preferred Rewards benefits require large savings
Bank of America rewarding customers who have substantial savings is a creative way to get cardholders to open accounts and bank with them, but not everyone has the substantial amount of savings required to make this card a competitive option. The Preferred Rewards program is ideal for customers with high qualifying savings or investment account balances, but if you don’t qualify for at least the second tier of the rewards program (with a three-month average daily balance of $50,000 to $99,999 across your qualifying accounts), another rewards card with either a higher base rewards rate or more rewards in travel and dining will likely be a better fit for you.
How does the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card compare to other travel cards?
Assuming you’re not a Preferred Rewards member, the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card doesn’t offer as many points per dollar on general purchases or in travel and dining as some competitors. And since you can’t transfer to airline or hotel partners, its points are not the most flexible. Here are a few alternatives to consider if you want to maximize your rewards and have a chance to stretch their value further via a smart transfer:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
2 miles per dollar on every purchase
60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
60,000 ThankYou® points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
Bank of America Premium Rewards card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Like the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card sets itself apart by offering some of the most generous travel insurance protections you can get on a card that costs less than $100 a year to own. The Sapphire Preferred has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The card also highly rewards customer loyalty by offering 25% extra point value if you book airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Although you can earn more points on general purchases the Bank of America Premium Rewards card – and potentially more in categories like dining as a Preferred Rewards member, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s transfer options and boosted point value are tough to beat at this price level if travel is your main focus.
Bank of America Premium Rewards card vs. Citi Premier Card
The Citi Premier card and the Bank of America Premium Rewards card share a good amount of overlap in their rewards categories, but the Premier card easily wins out both in terms of variety and earning potential. You’ll not only earn more points per dollar on dining, air travel and hotels with the Citi Premier than you would with the Premium Rewards card (3 points per dollar versus 2 points per dollar, assuming you’re not a Preferred Rewards member), but the card also offers more variety by earning 3 points per dollar on groceries and gas in addition to its dining and travel categories. If those categories line up with your spending habits, the Citi Premier could prove more valuable even though it only offers 1 point per dollar on general purchases (versus 1.5 points per dollar with the Premium Rewards card).
Bank of America Premium Rewards card vs. Capital One Venture
If you compare cards based on rewards alone, the Venture card offers significantly more value than the Premium Rewards credit card. By offering two miles per dollar on all eligible purchases – not just on dining and travel – the Venture card makes it easy to rack up lot of miles quickly. It also offers the same application fee credit for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry as the Premium Rewards. That said, the card doesn’t offer a credit for airline incidentals, and it will fall short if you’re a Bank of America customer who qualifies for the higher tiers of the Preferred Rewards program because you’ll ultimately earn a higher rate depending on which tier you qualify for.
How to use the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card
- Use this card for all of your travel and restaurant purchases as well as any miscellaneous purchases that don’t earn a bigger return with other cards.
- Charge at least $1,334 a month for the card’s first 90 days in order to earn a sign-up bonus.
- If you have a large amount of cash reserves, consider moving those savings to Bank of America to earn more card rewards via the Preferred Rewards program.
- Take advantage of BankAmeriDeals to earn extra rewards on qualifying purchases.
- Pair the Bank of America Premium Rewards card with the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card to earn extra rewards at wholesale clubs and on a category of your choice.
Is the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card right for you?
With such a generous statement credit offer on airline incidentals, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card doesn’t require much of a commitment – as long as you spend enough on incidental purchases, such as baggage fees, to take advantage. Its rewards rate, while not the most impressive on its own, could also prove quite valuable if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member. Meanwhile, its superior travel insurance benefits make it a great card for purchasing travel. Just one severely delayed flight or lost piece of luggage could make you glad you used it.
But unless you’re a Bank of America customer with a ton of savings, you may not earn nearly as much as you would if you charged more of your purchases to a competing card with a higher base rewards rate. Bank of America also doesn’t let you transfer your rewards earnings, so if you’re a frequent flyer looking to strategize and stretch your rewards as far as possible, you’re better off seeking a different card.
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