On episode 15 of the Pursuing Points podcast I went ahead and signed up for the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card. At the time of signing up the card had just been released into the marketplace and I figured it was worth a spot in my wallet. Generally I like to stick with cards that earn points and/or miles which I can use on experiences or travel that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to access. Think luxury suite at MSG or first class on something like Singapore suites. This card however was a straight cash back play as meeting the minimum spend would net me no less than $540 in cash back. Because I felt secure in my point balances, and wasn’t sure how long the signup bonus would last, I pulled the trigger. Today we’ll talk about life after the signup bonus, and my plans for the card in 2018 and beyond.
Bank of America Premium Rewards Benefits
- 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in first 90 days
- 2 points per $1 on travel and dining purchases
- 1.5 points per $1 on all other purchases
- Points are redeemable for cash back, deposit into eligible account, or to purchase travel through the Bank of America travel center.
- $100 Airline Incidental Statement credit annually for qualifying purchases
- $100 Airport Security Statement credit towards TSA Precheck or Global Entry
- No foreign transaction fees
- Preferred Rewards
Bank of America Preferred Rewards
BoA has a lucrative preferred rewards program wherein users can earn credit card bonuses as well as a slew of other perks for meeting certain requirements. The full list of requirements and benefits can be found here. Simply put, if you’ve got greater than $20,000, on average over a 3 month period, in a qualifying Bank of America banking account and/or Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment account, you’re eligible for preferred rewards. As it pertains to this credit card, the Gold level of rewards gets you a 25% rewards bonus, Platinum 50%, and Platinum Honors will net you a 75% rewards bonus. Here is how that affects your earning potential with this card.
As you can see, if you’re able to get up into the Platinum and/or Platinum Honors level, this card can quickly become the top cash back card in your wallet.
Airline Incidental Statement Credit
One of the benefits that I really like about this card is the $100 yearly airline incidental statement credit. From the Bank of America website:
Get up to a $100 Airline Incidental Statement Credit annually for qualifying purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services, and airline lounge fees – automatically applied to your card statement
For those of you doing the math at home $95 annual fee minus $100 credit means that BoA is actually going to pay you $5 per year to keep this card in your wallet. I managed to use this credit in one fell swoop after purchasing a seat upgrade on Delta earlier this year. The credit was applied automatically within 7-10 days. It is important to note that this credit is applied every calendar year not statement year. This means that you could potentially earn two credits for your first annual fee payment. In my case I signed up in October of 2017 and got my first credit in November of 2017. I should have one more credit available to me in 2018 before the annual fee becomes due.
Life after Sign-up Bonus
Now that the sign-up bonus has been earned and redeemed (for statement credit), the question becomes whether or not this card has a continued place in my wallet. As far as points earning goes I do not foresee any kind of daily spend on the card. Why? Well its spending bonuses just aren’t that good compared to some of the other cards in my wallet. The Chase Freedom Unlimited nets me 1.5 points on all purchases which I can transfer to my Sapphire Reserve and redeem for a 50% bonus when going through the rewards portal. Speaking of the Reserve, I stand to earn 3 points per dollar on travel and dining for that card as well. The card offers some perks such as the TSA/Global Entry credit, and no foreign transaction fees, but I already have cards that offer both of those as well.
If you’re eligible for preferred rewards and have a cachet of points that you’re having trouble spending, then I think this card makes a lot of sense. At the highest level you’re earning 2.625 – 3.5 points per $1 spent which is the highest cash back you’re going to find outside of rotating categories at 5 points per $1 on something like the Chase Freedom.
My plan for this card is to take advantage of the $100 airline credit in 2018, and then call for a retention offer as my annual fee due date draws near. If no such offer is available I will most likely cancel the card in hopes of signing up again at some point down the road for an additional signup bonus.