Bank of America Releasing New Premium Card

Rumor has it that Bank of America is planning on introducing a new premium credit card, following the latest trend from several major credit card issuers.

For a while, the premium credit card discussions centered around only a few credit cards. For the most part, most people talked about the The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Citi Prestige® Card, two cards that were historically stacked with the benefits. There were a few other options out there like co-branded airline credit cards, the Luxury Cards from Barclaycard, and a couple of others, but there was a noticeable absence in the premium credit card market from several other major issuers.

2016 saw that trend take a turn. Last year we saw the introduction of the lucrative Chase Sapphire Reserve, which came in guns blazin’ by blowing away the competition by offering 3X on dining and travel, a $300 statement credit, and an introductory bonus of 100K. Then came the Altitude Reserve from US Bank, a revamping of the Platinum Card from American Express, and we’ve also seen the introduction of other premium cards like the UBS Visa Infinite Card.

Enter Bank of America

Now Bank of America (BankAmericard) is entering the picture. The Frequent Miler wrote about rumors of this new card that’s supposed to come with the following:

  • $450 annual fee
  • Travel credit (no details on the amount yet)
  • Ability to redeem points for 1.5 cents per point
  • No transfer partners

Sign-up bonus?

There’s no word on the bonus categories or sign-up bonus yet. If the industry standard means anything, I’d expect a 50,000 point sign-up bonus worth $750 in travel. I’d really love to see the redeeming scheme simplified since the redemption structure on cards like the UBS Visa Infinite Card are too confusing/limited to many, in my opinion. It’d be great to see BankAmericard allow you to redeem your points for the partial cost of airfare, since some cards require you to cover the cost of the purchase in full.

Bonus spend?

As for bonus spending, I expect something like 3X on some form of travel (likely not as broad as the Chase Sapphire Reserve). It would be really interesting if BankAmericard could innovate with the bonus spend like US Bank did when they decided to offer 3X on mobile wallet purchases.

Other benefits

I expect the card to come with lounge access (likely some version of Priority Pass) and to also come with TSA Pre-Check/Global Entry credits. Again, it would be great to see some form of innovation with these benefits, although I doubt that will be the case.

It won’t surprise me to see the travel credit  be based on anniversary year either since that seems to be a recent trend after the Sapphire Reserve converted to that way and the Altitude Reserve came out that as well.

Preferred Rewards Program

Bank of America has a Preferred Rewards Program where they offer bonus earning rates when you have assets in Bank of America. To maximize this perk, you need upwards of $100K with them but the bonus earning rates can be as high as 75%. In the link above, The Frequent Miler discusses how lucrative these opportunities can be, although it’s not clear how this program will work with the new card.

As others have pointed out, outside of a potentially ultra-lucrative return on spend with the Preferred Rewards Program, this card already looks like another inferior version of the Sapphire Reserve. It’s interesting to me that many of the new premium cards do not come with the ability to transfer to travel partners, since this is a major draw to travel cards. I understand the layers of complexity with negotiating those deals, but it’s almost as if issuers are completely comfortable not trying to even enter that realm of competition. 

This card is expected to roll out around October 2017. When it comes around, be sure to do your math to make sure this card would be worth it. Now that the market is starting to get saturated with premium cards, it makes a lot more sense to be more picky when choosing which card to go with and you don’t want to get caught up in the game to where you’re over-pursuing these cards that come with such high annual fees.