Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card Review [2020]

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card doesn’t get as much love as some other top travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Amex Platinum and others, but it’s still a pretty good card. 

In this article, I’ll break down the rewards of the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card and talk about some of the other lesser-known perks (that are fantastic) you might not be focused on when it comes to this card. 

Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card

  • 50,000 point bonus after making $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • 2X on travel purchases
  • 2X on dining purchases
  • 1.5 points on all other purchases
  • $100 travel credit
  • $100 Global Entry credit
  • Solid travel protections 
  • Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection
  • $95 annual fee

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Welcome bonus

  • 50,000 point bonus after making $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

This 50,000 points sign-up bonus is worth $500 of cash back which is very nice since it can apply to just about anything (more on that below). I think it’s always smart to get an all-purpose card to cover random travel expenses and this is perfect for that. 

There aren’t many cards offering such a high amount for a cash back welcome bonus so this card is offering some great value that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Bank of America application rules

Bank of America just switched up their application rules and now you you’ll have to deal with more complicated rules. Below are the rules you need to consider. 

You can’t get approved for more than: 

  • Two new BOA cards in a 30 day period
  • Three new BOA cards in a 12 month period
  • Four new BOA cards in a 24 month period

Here are the new rules: 

  • Applicants with a BOA deposit account will not be approved if they have opened seven or more credit cards in the past 12 months.
  • Applicants without a BOA deposit account will not be approved if they have opened three or more credit cards  in the past 12 months

You can read more about the rules here. 

Credit card strategy

Before jumping on travel cash back cards like this you’ll probably want to consider some Chase cards. I would first go for the Chase Ink Business Preferred with its high 80,000 bonus after spending $5,000 in the first three months. That’s because I don’t believe it would count towards the rules above and would also not count towards your Chase 5/24 status. 

The same logic applies with certain other business cards like the AA cards.

Also, the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve might be better options to go with first if you want better bonus earnings on dining and general travel expenses and are interested in points you can transfer to travel partners. 

Bonus categories

  • 2X on travel purchases
  • 2X on dining purchases
  • 1.5X on all other purchases

The bonus categories for this card are pretty average at first glance but I’ll show you below why they quickly go to well above average in some cases. 

2x on travel

Just like other cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the travel category for this card is very broad. 

Travel includes:

airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, trailer parks, motor home and recreational vehicle rentals, campgrounds, car rental agencies, truck and trailer rental, cruise lines, travel agencies, tour operators and real estate agents, operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, boat rentals, parking lots and garages, tolls and bridge fees, tourist attractions and exhibits like art galleries, amusement parks, carnivals, circuses, aquariums, zoos and the like. 

I thought it was pretty interesting that it includes some “entertainment-like” categories like museums, amusement parks, aquariums, etc.  

2x on Dining

Dining includes:

Restaurants, including Fast Food, and Drinking Establishments, such as Bars or Taverns

1.5X on other purchases

Earning 1.5X on all other purchases is nice since it’s on par with a card like the Freedom Unlimited but nothing that special. 

Earn bonus points on taxi rides.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program

This card really shines when you can get higher earning rates with the Bank of America Preferred Rewards ProgramThat’s because the bonus earning on this card is tiered and increases based on the size of your assets with Bank of America/Merrill.

If you have assets that qualify for a certain tier and you sign up for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program, you’ll be able to earn the following bonuses: 

  • Preferred Rewards Gold: 25%
  • Preferred Rewards Platinum: 50%
  • Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors: 75%

I’ll show you the requirements for the tiers and corresponding earning rates below. Keep in mind the balances are determined based on a three-month average combined balance. 

Bonus earning for those without a Bank of America account or less than $20,000 in assets

  • 2X on dining and travel
  • 1.5X on everything else

Preferred Rewards Gold

For those with $20,000 to $50,000 in assets: Gold 25% bonus

  • 2.5X on dining and travel
  • 1.87X on everything else

Preferred Rewards Platinum

For those with $50,000 to $100,000 in assets: Platinum Preferred 50% bonus 

  • 3X on dining and travel
  • 2.25X on everything else

Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors

For those with over $100,000 in assets: Platinum Honors 75% bonus

  • 3.5X on dining and travel
  • 2.62X on everything else

So if you’re just an average Joe with no assets or assets under $20,000 with Bank of America, you’re looking at a bonus structure of 2X on dining and travel and 1.5X on everything else. This is not an amazing earning rate considering that no annual fee cards like the Citi Double Cash Card earn 2X on ALL purchases. 

However, if you’re in the upper tier and earning 3.5X on dining and travel and 2.62X on everything else, those are truly fantastic earning rates. 

Redeeming your points

Some cards like this limit you to only travel purchases but with these rewards you can redeem your points for: 

  • Deposit into Bank of America checking or savings accounts
  • Credit to eligible Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch accounts including 529 accounts
  • Statement credit to your credit card
  • Gift cards
  • Purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center

That’s a lot of cash back flexibility which makes the rewards more valuable. Note that you cannot currently transfer your points out to travel partners. 

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

$100 travel credit

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card comes with a $100 travel credit issued each calendar year but the downside is that this is one of the more restrictive travel credits. Check out the key terms and conditions below:

Qualifying transactions are those purchases made on domestic-originated flights on certain U.S.-domestic airline carriers that include: preferred seating upgrades, ticket change/cancellation fees, checked baggage fees, in-flight entertainment, onboard food and beverage charges, and airport lounge fees affiliated with eligible airline carriers.

Airline ticket purchases, mileage point purchases, mileage point transfer fees, gift cards, duty-free purchases, award tickets and fees incurred with airline alliance partners do not qualify. Airline incidental fee transactions must be separate from airline ticket charges.

Airlines where the credit should apply include: 

  • Alaska
  • American
  • Delta
  • Frontier
  • Hawaiian
  • Jet Blue
  • Southwest
  • United

Spirit Airlines and Sun Country may not work with this credit. 

The key here is to examine if you would normally make $100 worth of such purchases in a calendar year. If the answer is yes then this is essentially a no annual fee cash back card that allows you to earn a small profit each year with the credit alone. 

Upgrades to preferred seating can be reimbursed.

Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check

The card also offers $100 in credit for Global Entry or an $85 credit for TSA Pre-Check.

Global Entry will allow you to breeze through Customs and Immigration when entering back into the US. Meanwhile, TSA Pre-Check is a program that costs $85 to join and allows approved passengers to go through a separate security screening process that is less demanding than the security screening open to the public.

Of course, I always recommend that you go with the $100 Global Entry credit since it includes TSA Pre-Check. 

“Museums on Us” Program

The Bank of America “Museums on Us Program” is a special program that allows Bank of America customers to visit museums all around the US free of charge on a select weekend each month. Find out more about it here. 

Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection

The Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection consists of over 900 hotels around the world and offers you special privileges when you use the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection portal to book your hotel stay. Here are some of the perks you can get: 

  • Best available rate guarantee
  • Automatic room upgrade when available
  • Complementary in room Wi-Fi when available
  • Complementary breakfast for two
  • $25 food and beverage credit
  • VIP guest status
  • Late checkout upon request when available

Travel & Purchase protections

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card offers some very solid travel and purchase protections, especially for a card with only a $95 annual fee. Here are some of those protections: 

Trip Delay

Provides up to $500 per ticket purchased for you and your eligible family members for reasonable expenses if a covered trip is delayed (due to a covered hazard) for more than 12 hours. Some other cards like the Sapphire Reserve will cover you for trip delays starting at six hours (for the same amount) so you can do better. 

Trip cancellation

Provides reimbursement of up to $5,000 per person, per trip, for the unused prepaid non-refundable travel expenses including passenger fares, tours, and hotels if you have to cancel due to a covered reason. $5,000 is a decent amount but you can find premium cards offering $10,000 for trip cancellation. 

Baggage delay

Baggage delay will provide you with reimbursement of up to $100 per day (up to five days) on essential purchases like clothing when your bags are delayed or misdirected by a common carrier for more than six hours. The six hour limit is solid and it’s nice to get coverage up to a full five days.  

Lost luggage

Provides you coverage for luggage and its contents if they are lost or stolen due to theft or misdirection by the common carrier (airline, bus, train, cruise ship).

Purchase protection

If an item purchased with your card is stolen or damaged within 90 days of purchase, you can get reimbursed for up to $10,000 per claim. That $10,000 limit per claim is high for a card with a lower annual fee and is a great perk for this card. 

Roadside protection

This benefit will provide you with a 24/7 on-demand referral dispatch network that provides emergency roadside assistance, towing, and locksmith services. 

Annual fee

  • $95 annual fee (not waived)

Considering how you get a $100 travel credit, it’s very doable to offset the entire annual fee each year and essentially turn this into a no-annual fee card (and earn a $5 profit). If you’re using the  Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program and earning 2.62% back on all purchases, that’s pretty amazing. 

Final word

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card is a solid travel rewards card. I”m not too crazy about the earning structure but it can be extremely lucrative for those with a lot in assets. The $100 travel credit is also nice for a $95 annual fee card but it is quite restrictive. It also helps that this card has some solid travel and purchase protections that are on-par with the best premium cards.   

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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