Details are Out on Bank of America’s Entry into the Premium Rewards Card Space

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Details on Bank of American’s new premium Visa product, the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card, are now out and confirmed. The card will launch next month.

And despite the way the bank is pitching the card, and the Wall Street Journal is covering it, this does not appear to be a competitor to the Platinum Card by American Express or Chase Sapphire Reserve. It’s not in the super premium card space.

Instead it’s a competitor to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. And it isn’t as good unless you have $100,000 or more in assets on deposit with Bank of America.

The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card will offer:

  • Signup bonus: 50,000 points after $3000 spend within 3 months
  • Earning: 2 points per dollar on travel and dining, 1.5x on everything else
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Benefits: $100 travel credit

Put another way, it’s a better signup bonus for the no annual fee Bank of America Travel Rewards card which earns 1.5x on everything.

That hardly compares to the Chase Sapphire Preferred which has a better bonus, a $0 annual fee the first year before becoming $95, and whose points transfer to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs.


You Won’t Likely Be Spending BofA Points for Asiana Business Class…

There’s solid value here for BofA investment clients though. Through Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program earning on the card ramps up based on assets on deposit:

  • $20,000-$49,999: 2.5x on travel and dining, 1.875x on other spend
  • $50,000-$99,999: 3x on travel and dining, 2.25x on other spend
  • $100,000+: 3.5x on travel and dining, 2.625x on other spend

Again, that’s really just a no annual fee Bank of America Travel Rewards card with additional travel and dining earn and a travel credit to offset the annual fee.

The Points Guy says he’s immediately depositing $100,000 at Bank of America to take advantage of this. If that makes sense to do, then it seems like it would have made sense three years ago.

I think Doctor of Credit‘stake is about right — they’re doing something to marginally improve the value proposition for high net worth investment clients hoping those clients don’t desert for better credit card products elsewhere.

Chase’s strategy for years has revolved around branches. The idea was your branch, with your accounts, would be the hub around which they’d generate other business. Of course as customers shift more towards mobile they’re even shuttering some branches. But the strategy remains — one of the bright spots with Sapphire Reserve customers is that they’ve been able to leverage an Ultimate Rewards points offer into new mortgage customers.


Copyright: wolterk / 123RF Stock Photo

I still think that Chase Sapphire Preferred is a much better card than this new BofA effort, and it doesn’t even attempt to compete in the super premium space — without lounge access, hotel or airline elite status, or even it seems a Global Entry or TSA fee credit. Instead it’s a niche product for Bank of America investment customers. A decent enough card but in no way a game changer.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. This is the reason I apply through your affiliate links when possible: “The Points Guy says he’s immediately depositing $100,000 at Bank of America to take advantage of this. If that makes sense to do [now], then it seems like it would have made sense three years ago.”

  2. What does one get for BoA points? Are there transfer partners like with UR and MR? I have been a BoA customer for years but I have never considered their cards a viable option because most of the earning structure didn’t make sense before and I never dove deeper into the redemption options.

  3. I’ve left this comment on similar posts, but it is worthwhile to be clear about how PR works and the associated benefits. While this card is only marginally better than the current BofA Travel card, that card is a very nice 2.625% cash-back everywhere card for clients with 100k at the bank.

    The important detail to be clear about is that PR qualifications are:
    Checking account
    100k in relationship balance

    That is it. That means 100k INVESTED in an IRA counts as your 100k towards PR qualification. It does NOT have to be in cash. Plus you get 100 free trades on their self-directed trading platform every month. Its a crazy good value proposition if you have self directed investment account(s) with the necessary balances. You get free trading, free checking/savings products, free ATM anywhere/anytime, and a 2.625% cash back credit card. Hell, their ML Edge cash sweep is paying more than the savings account, so if you’re going to park balances in CASH you still want to do them at Edge.

  4. Christian:

    Only good use for BofA Travel points is cash back against travel charges, everything else waters down your earnings rate.

    So if you’re top tier:
    Spend 1000, get 1500 base points and 1125 bonus points, that is 2625 which is 26.25 when “credited” against a travel charge. So long as you have travel charges regularly then you can redeem in whatever increments on the site, it appears as a simple cash refund on your credit card statement.

  5. I read the WSJ and TPG article and kept saying to myself “this doesn’t really complete against the CSR and Amex Plat”, its mid-tier (not that there’s anything wrong with that to drop a Seinfeld reference). I’m glad someone pointed out the same.

  6. How hard would it be for me to open a merchant account and get my business categorized as travel? Assuming credit card processing fees = 3% or less, I make .5% cash.
    If I cycle $1,000,000 a month that’s $5,000 a month I make doing absolutely nothing.
    What’s stopping me from doing that?

  7. This is a more expensive alternative to the $59 cap one venture card or the no fee Fidelity card. The only reason to consider it as an opportunity to grab the bonus then move on.

  8. Why would I get the Citi Double Cash if this comes with a 50,000 point signup bonus? Assuming that’s worth $500, wouldn’t it take me a long time to earn that value with the nothing signup bonus on the Citi double cash?

  9. Always good to have a new product from a non-Chase bank! Even though Chase has the best cards, with 5/24 I’m limited to Hyatt, British Air etc.

  10. Am I missing the “how do you redeem” aspect of the card? No transfer partners and only a penny a point? Seems that’s not very competitive to anyone.

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