Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card review

Published: August 20, 2019

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Published: August 20, 2019

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Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.5
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.9
Rewards Flexibility: 4.7
Features: 3.0
Customer Experience 2.1

In a Nutshell:

The new 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.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1.5 points per dollar on other purchases

Welcome Offer
50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in first 90 days

Annual Bonus
$100 credit for  travel incidentals

Annual Fee
$95

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend, 3 year average)
$428

APR
18.24-25.24% (variable)

Pros:

  • Points don’t expire
  • No cap on points
  • No blackout dates
  • Redeem points for any purchase for a value of 1 cent per point
  • Other redemption options include merchandise, gift cards and cash back

Cons:

  • Can’t transfer points

Customer Experience

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fees, $100 credit for travel incidentals, $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit, 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

For a card that costs just $95 a year to own, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is unusually generous – especially if you’re a Bank of America customer.

The card offers a $100 travel credit that you can use for incidental expenses, an application fee credit for TSA Pre-check or Global Entry 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 healthy amount of savings set aside in a Bank of America deposit account, you’ll be rewarded with an additional 25 percent to 75 percent redemption bonus on all your earnings – making the Bank of America Premium Rewards card exceptionally lucrative. In addition, this card offers some of the strongest travel insurance benefits you can get on a similarly priced rewards card.

Sign-up bonus

The Premium Rewards card also offers a competitive sign-up bonus. If you charge $3,000 to your Bank of America Premium Rewards card within 90 days of opening your account, you’ll be awarded 50,000 bonus points – which, for the average cardholder, is worth up to $500 in free travel.

Earning points

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 either. You’ll earn 2 points for every dollar you spend on travel and dining – which is equivalent to what some competitors, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offer. But you’ll also earn a flat 1.5 points for every other dollar you spend, allowing you to earn a bonus on every single purchase, including those that don’t typically earn a rewards bonus.

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. You’ll also get 2 points per dollar spent at 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: Is the Citi Prestige card the best dining rewards card available?

What are points worth?

If you redeem your points for travel, gift cards or cash back, each point is worth 1 cent each. So if you earn 10,000 points, you’ll essentially have $100 worth of rewards to spend.

You’ll also have a fair number of earning opportunities. We estimate that you’ll earn roughly 1.61 points for every dollar that you charge to the Bank of America Premium Rewards card (based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) .

That said, some similarly priced credit cards are even more generous. For example, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers 2 miles per dollar spent. However, it doesn’t offer a $100 travel credit.

When you take into account the Bank of America card’s travel credit, which essentially cancels out the annual fee, some of its fiercest competitors are the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, which offers an estimated 1.78 points for every dollar you spend, and the Citi Double Cash card, which offers up to 2 percent cash back – 1 percent when you make a purchase and 1 percent as you pay for your purchases.

Bank of America Premium Rewards card comparison

Redeeming points

Although the Bank of America Premium Rewards card is marketed as a travel rewards card, you can also redeem your points for gift cards or cash. 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.

Bank of America Premium Rewards card redemption options

Minimum points required Points value (cents)
Travel 2,500 1 cent each
Cash (statement credit or deposit into a checking or eligible savings account) 2,500 1 cent each
Gift cards 2,500 1 cent each

See related: How to use your rewards to book a trip through the Bank of America Travel Center

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 percent rewards bonus. If you have between $50,000 and $99,999 stashed away, you’ll earn a 50 percent bonus, and if you have more than $100,000 tucked away in a Bank of America account, you’ll earn a 75 percent bonus.

Tier Balance required Rewards boost Estimated earning rate
Non-members N/A 0% 1.61%
Gold $20,000-$49,999 25% 2.01%
Platinum $50,000-$99,999 50% 2.40%
Platinum Honors $100,000+ 75% 2.82%

$100 travel credit

The Premium Reward’s $100 travel credit for airline incidental purchases is also unusual for a card that costs just $95 to own. However, the purchases that qualify for the credit are fairly limited. Qualifying incidental purchases include baggage fees, seat upgrades, ticket changes or cancellation fees, in-flight entertainment, food and beverage purchases and airport lounge purchases. So if you’re a frugal traveler who never checks baggage or spends money on airport extras, then you may not have much use for the travel credit.

See related: Make the most of your card’s travel credits

TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit

Bank of America will also reimburse you up to $100 for your application to Global Entry or TSA Precheck, so you can zip through airport security more quickly. (You can reapply, with reimbursement, every four years.) This is also unusually generous for a midtier travel card. Currently, the only other major competitor with a similar fee that offers it is the Capital One Venture card.

See related: TSA Precheck, Global Entry credits now offered on lower-annual-fee cards

Other benefits

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card also advertises an unusually generous suite of travel and purchase benefits, including:

  • Trip delay reimbursement. For every ticket you purchase using the Premium Rewards card, you may be reimbursed for up to $500 worth of expenses if your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours.
  • Trip cancellation or interruption protection. You may also be reimbursed for up to $5,000 worth of travel expenses if you’re forced to cancel or cut short a trip.
  • Baggage delay insurance. If your baggage is delayed by your airline or other common carrier for more than six hours, you’ll be reimbursed up to $100 a day for a maximum of five days.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement. You may be reimbursed for lost belongings if your baggage is permanently lost or stolen.
  • Rental car insurance. Bank of America offers secondary car rental insurance if you use your card to pay for your rental car and decline your car rental company’s coverage.
  • Travel accident insurance. You may also be covered if you’re killed or injured on a trip.
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage. In addition, Bank of America will help you pay for medical services and emergency transportation if you or a loved one falls ill or becomes injured while traveling.
  • Purchase security. You’ll be reimbursed up to $10,000 if a purchase is lost or stolen within 90 days of buying it.
  • Return Protection. Bank of America will also reimburse you up to $250 per item if you buy something that you’re unhappy with and are unable to return it.
  • Extended warranty. Bank of America may extend a manufacturer’s warranty for up to one more year.
  • Roadside Dispatch. Bank of America will also help you find roadside assistance, towing or locksmith services when you’re in a jam.

Approval odds

You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for the Premium Rewards card. We estimate that you’ll need at least a 670 credit score in order to qualify.

Customer experience

If you have questions about a card or need help from customer service, you shouldn’t have any trouble reaching a Bank of America representative. Bank of America offers an easy-to-use chat service on its website so you can get instant answers, without spending a lot of time calling customer service. You can also text questions to Bank of America about your account or monitor your credit card using Bank of America’s highly rated mobile app. J.D. Power ranked Bank of America seventh for customer satisfaction in its Credit Card Satisfaction Study.

How does the Bank of America Premium Rewards card compare to other travel cards?

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card doesn’t offer nearly as many rewards points per dollar spent as some competitors, such as the Capital One Venture card. But it offers significantly more perks than many of its similarly priced competitors, including stronger travel insurance protections.

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Wells Fargo Propel
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Capital One Venture
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Rewards rate

  • 2 points per dollar on travel and dining
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Rewards rate

  • 3 points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Rewards rate

  • 2 miles per dollar on every purchase
Sign-up bonus

60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Sign-up bonus

30,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Sign-up bonus

50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0 (See rates and fees)

Annual fee

$95, $0 first year

Other things to know

  • 25% redemption bonus if you redeem your points for travel using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to a variety of airlines, including United, Southwest and JetBlue
  • Strong travel insurance benefits, including primary car rental coverage
Other things to know

  • Strong suite of insurance benefits for a no annual fee card, including cellphone insurance
Other things to know

  • For a limited time, get 10 miles per dollar on purchases through hotels.com/venture
  • Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check
  • Transfer miles to select airline transfer partners, including JetBlue

Chase Sapphire Preferred card

Like the Bank of America Premium Rewards, 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. In addition, it lets you transfer your points on a one-to-one basis to a variety of travel rewards programs.

But unlike the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, the Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t offer as many rewards opportunities, nor does it offer comparable travel credits. You’ll only receive double points on travel and dining purchases. All other purchases earn just one point per dollar spent.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express card

This no annual fee credit card offers a ton of rewards value for a card of its kind, significantly outperforming the Bank of America Premium Rewards card. You could potentially get triple points on everything from hotel and airfare purchases to public transportation, taxis, restaurant purchases, gas station purchases and even select streaming charges. It also offers unusually strong travel and purchase benefits for a no annual fee card.

Capital One Venture card

If you compare cards based on rewards alone, the Venture card offers significantly more value than the Premium Rewards card. By offering two miles on every dollar you spend, 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, which is a rare benefit for a midtier travel card, and waives its $95 annual fee in the first year. However, it doesn’t offer a travel credit, nor does it advertise nearly as many travel insurance benefits.

Who should apply for the Bank of America Premium Rewards card?

  • You’re a frequent or occasional air traveler who’s looking for a single, straightforward rewards card you can use for all or most of your purchases.
  • You’re looking for strong travel insurance benefits, as well as reliable points on everyday purchases.
  • You’re a Bank of America customer with at least $20,000 tucked away in a Bank of America deposit account.

How to use the Bank of America Premium Rewards 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 $1,000 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.
  • Take advantage of BankAmeriDeals to earn extra rewards on qualified purchases.

Is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card worth it?

With such a generous travel credit, 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 use your travel credit. Its strong rewards rate, especially on general purchases, make it a good everyday credit card. 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 competitor card with a higher rewards rate. Bank of America doesn’t let you transfer your rewards earnings either. So if you’re a frequent flyer looking to boost your travel miles, you’re better off seeking a different card.

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