Looking for the best rewards credit card for your money? Here’s our review of Bank of America’s top rewards card and how you can make the annual fee worth it.
As an incentive to reward its best customers, as well as give people a card they can use for everyday purchases, Bank of America has introduced the Premium Rewards card with a shiny new 50,000 point sign-up bonus. This equates to $500 in earnings off the bat if you make $3,000 in purchases within 90 days.
But is there anything more to this card than an incredible sign-up bonus? Read our full review below to find out.
About the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card is one of Bank of America’s best cards for rewards. It’s also one of the most flexible..
First off, you’ll get 50,000 bonus points for opening a new account and spend at least $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. This equates to $500 in rewards.
Beyond that, you’ll earn unlimited 2 points per $1 dollar spent on dining and travel and 1.5 points per $1 for all other purchases.
You can boost your rewards, too, if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, meaning you have at least $20,000 in assets with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch. Depending on how much you have with them, you can boost your earnings rate up to 75%.
What’s also great about this card is the flexibility in how you redeem your rewards. You can do any of the following redemptions:
- Statement credit
- Deposit into your eligible Bank of America or Merrill Lynch accounts (includes checking, savings, and 529 accounts)
- Purchase travel (air, car, or hotel) through the Bank of America Travel Center
- Redeem for gift cards
There are no foreign transaction fees with this account, but there is an annual fee of $95. It comes with some extra perks too:
Features and Benefits of the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
The perks and benefits of the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is where I think you get much of the value. The card adds several key features that aren’t available on all credit cards:
As I stated above, the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card comes with a 50,000 point bonus once you’re approved and spend at least $3,000 in the first three months. That equates to $500 in a statement credit, direct deposit, travel purchases, or gift cards. A pretty great deal if you ask me.
Travel Statement Credits
You’ll receive up to $100 in credits annually for qualifying travel purchases including seat upgrades, in-flight services such as TV or Wi-Fi, airline lounge fees, and baggage fees. This is automatically applied as a credit to your account.
Trip Delay Reimbursement
The Trip Delay Reimbursement feature will give you up to $500 per ticket purchased on the card (for both you and your eligible family members) if a covered trip is delayed due to a hazard that is covered under their policy for more than 12 hours.
If you have to cancel your trip due to a reason that’s covered under the policy, you can get reimbursed up to $5,000 per person, per trip for any unused, prepaid travel expenses like hotels and tours.
Baggage delay coverage is supplementary, and comes secondary, to the coverage provided by your carrier, but it’s still a great perk. You’ll get reimbursed up to $100 per day for up to five days to cover essential items (including clothes) if the carrier loses or misdirects your baggage for more than six hours.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement
If your luggage is misdirected by the carrier, lost, or stolen, you’ll have coverage for the luggage and contents inside.
Travel Accident Insurance
While it’s not pleasant to think about this, it’s nice to know you have coverage against “accidental loss of life, limb, or sight while traveling by land, air, or sea on a licensed common carrier” when you use your Bank of America Premium Rewards card to purchase your tickets.
Emergency Assistance Services
This is more of a supportive perk because the costs are on you, but you can get assistance in coordinating any medical, legal, or travel services when you’re traveling.
Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Coverage
If you or a family member get sick or injured while traveling and it results if what is considered an emergency evacuation, you are eligible for coverage of any medical and transportation expenses.
If you purchase an eligible item with your card and it’s damaged within 90 days, you’re eligible for repair or replacement of the item. If the item is stolen, you’re eligible for reimbursement up to $10,000 per claim.
When you purchase an eligible item using your card, you’ll get the manufacturers’ warranty doubled, for up to an additional year. You can also register your receipt and warranty information to be kept on file for items purchased that have warranties for three years or less.
If you’re not happy with something you’ve purchased within 90 days and the retailer you bought the item from will not take it back, you can return the item through Return Protection. You’re eligible to receive up to $250 per item and $1,000 annually in reimbursements.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
If you rent a car and the car is damaged due to a collision or stolen, you’ll be covered through this waiver, supplemental to your existing auto insurance (and assuming you decline coverage from the car rental company).
Call the number on your card and you can get roadside dispatch, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service will connect you to things like emergency roadside assistance, towing, and locksmiths when you’re in need.
Visa Signature® Luxury Hotel Collection
You’ll get premium benefits when using your Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card to book hotels through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection. The benefits include:
- Best available rate guarantee
- Automatic room upgrade upon arrival (when available)
- Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi (when available)
- Complimentary breakfast for two
- $25 food and beverage credit
- VIP Guest status
- Late check-out, upon request (when available)
Visa Signature Concierge Service
Your card will come with Visa Signature concierge services, which I can personally attest to as being amazing. You simply call the concierge number on the back of your card and someone will help you do things like make reservations (I’ve gotten reservations at places that didn’t have any availability), travel planning, recommendations of things to do in town, and much more.
In addition to these extras, you’ll get the standard benefits that come with all Bank of America cards:
- Fraud protection
- Online shopping security (create temporary account numbers)
- Chip cards
- Optional overdraft protection
- Optional paperless statements
- Digital Wallet accessibility
- Online and mobile banking
- Custom account alerts
- Text banking
- Optional FICO score
How to Sign Up for the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Signing up for the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card is pretty straightforward. To start, you need to be at least 18 and have both a U.S. mailing address and a Social Security number.
You can do the application online or via phone and you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Home address
- Total annual income (non-taxable annual income is optional)
- Your income source – employed, self-employed, unemployed, retired, military, business owner, or other)
Once your application is done, you can get a decision in as little as 30 seconds. If Bank of America needs more information before determining your approval, it may take a little longer, but you’ll be notified that they need more information or more time to process your application. In most cases, however, you’ll know within about 30 seconds.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card Pricing
Annual Fee: $95
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 18.24% to 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness when you open your account. After that, your APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Balance Transfer Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Cash Advance Fee: Direct Deposit and Check Cash Advances: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. ATM, Over-the-Counter, Same-Day Online and Cash Equivalent Cash Advances: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
Returned Payment Fee: Up to $28
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card Pros and Cons
- The sign-up bonus of 50,000 points ($500 equivalent) is excellent; even considering you need to spend $3,000 in the first 90 days
- The additional perks such as extended warranty and purchase protection can make it useful for an everyday card
- Access to discounts and perks on travel, as well as no foreign transaction fee, make it a viable, less expensive travel rewards card
- If you have assets with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch, you can significantly boost your earning power (up to a 75% increase)
- No introductory promotional offer – on either balances or purchases
- Earning rate for purchases outside of restaurants and travel aren’t very competitive
- The annual fee is high for the points you get
Should You Sign Up for the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card?
This is a really interesting card. There are many pros and cons so I think it all comes down to how you want to use the card. I wouldn’t suggest using it as a strategic card (i.e. only using it for specific purchases) because the rewards structure is pretty flat (and unflattering). Where the card shines, though, is through the additional perks you get (like return protection and no transaction fees).
If you decide to get this card, I would make it your everyday card for all purchases, to make the annual fee of $95 worth it. Also, if you have at least $20,000 with (or willing to deposit with) Bank of America, it almost makes this card a no-brainer, because they’ll pump your earnings rate up big time.
This can make a huge difference. For example, if you have $100,000 with Bank of America, your earnings rate goes up 75%. So instead of 2% back on dining and travel, you’d get 3.5% back. Something to think about.
Do you have the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card? If so, how do you use it? Share in the comments below!Topics: Credit Cards • Reviews