Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card Complete Guide

Card Summary

  • Standard signup bonus: 50K points (worth $500) after $3K spend within 90 days
  • Annual Fee: $95, not waived first year
  • Authorized User Fee: $0
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earns 2X on travel and dining; 1.5X everywhere else
  • Earn up to 3.5X travel & dining; 2.625X everywhere else with Preferred Rewards (details in a separate section)
  • Points are worth 1 cent each regardless of whether they are used to get cash back, travel, etc.
  • Issued as Visa Signature
  • Key benefits:
    • $100 annual reimbursement for airline incidentals
    • $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck reimbursement every 4 years
    • Travel Insurance protections (including emergency evacuation)
    • Purchase protections:
    • Visa Signature luxury hotel collection
    • Visa Signature Concierge

Preferred Rewards

Those who bank with Bank of America or have Merrill Lynch or Merrill Edge investment accounts may qualify for credit card bonus points and other benefits.  Benefits vary depending upon the total amount of money you have on deposit and/or invested, as follows:

  • Gold ($20K on deposit): 25% bonus = 2.5X travel & dining; 1.875X everywhere else
  • Platinum ($50K on deposit): 50% bonus = 3X travel & dining; 2.25X everywhere else
  • Platinum Honors ($100K on deposit): 75% bonus = 3.5X travel & dining; 2.625X everywhere else

More about Bank of America Preferred Rewards can be found here.

Getting approved and getting the bonus

Bank of America is known to be sensitive to the number of personal credit cards you have open with Bank of America.  In my experience, they will not approve any new cards if you already have 5 open cards. If you need to cancel cards, wait a month or two after cancelling to apply for a new card.  Also, you may have better luck with new applications by first lowering the credit limit on existing Bank of America cards (you do not need to wait after doing so).

Getting approved:

  • Make sure you have fewer than 5 personal Bank of America cards before applying
  • Consider first lowering the credit limit on existing Bank of America cards
  • Check your application status online: www.bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/application-status-center/
  • If denied, call reconsideration. Up to date recon numbers can be found on our Best Offers Page.
  • If you apply for additional Bank of America cards within 30 days, Bank of America usually will not issue another hard credit inquiry (that’s good).  Other good Bank of America offers can be found on our Best Offers Page.

Getting the signup bonus:

  • You must spend $3,000 within 3 months in order to earn the signup bonus.
  • The card’s $95 annual fee does not count towards the required $3,000 spend.
  • “3 months” is based upon 3 billing cycles.  In other words, make sure to complete the spend requirement before your third billing period closes.
  • Cash advances and fees do not count towards this total.

$100 Airline Incidental Reimbursements

Bank of America automatically reimburses up to $100 of airline incidental purchases each calendar year.  For those who do not plan to keep the card long-term, this means that it is possible to sign up mid-year and earn $100 back this year and $100 back next year before the second annual fee is charged.  For those who do plan to keep the card, the reimbursements can fully make up for the card’s $95 annual fee if you make full use of the reimbursements.

Which airlines are included?

The terms for the reimbursement say only that you will be reimbursed for incidental charges with “certain U.S.-domestic airline carriers“.  Which “certain” carriers are included?  We don’t yet know!  We will update this section once more is known.

Charges that are officially reimbursed:

Qualifying transactions are purchases made on domestic-originated flights on certain U.S.-domestic airline carriers that include (all of these must be charged separately from airline ticket charges):

  • Preferred seating upgrades
  • Ticket change/cancellation fees
  • Checked baggage fees
  • In-flight entertainment
  • Onboard food and beverage charges
  • Airport lounge fees

Charges that are supposedly not reimbursed:

  • Airline ticket purchases
  • Mileage point purchases
  • Mileage point transfer fees
  • Gift cards
  • Duty-free purchases
  • Award tickets
  • Fees incurred with airline alliance partners

Charges that are reimbursed even though they aren’t supposed to:

With other cards, it is often possible to get reimbursed for things that are technically not covered (such as airline gift cards and award fees).  We do not yet know what works and what doesn’t with this card.  To see what works with similar Amex reimbursements, please see: Amex Platinum and PRG Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?

As we learn more, this section will be updated.  Please comment below if you have experience with this!

Official Terms:

You are eligible for a statement credit of up to $100 each calendar year if you make qualifying airline incidental transactions. To qualify, you must use your Premium Rewards® credit card to pay all airline incidental transactions. Allow 7 days from qualifying for the statement credit to post to your account. You are responsible for payment of all charges until the statement credit posts to your account. Your account must be open and not in default at the time of statement credit fulfillment. 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.

$100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Reimbursement

Once every 4 years, cardholders can get reimbursed for using their card to pay for enrollment in Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85).  Since Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck, I recommend applying for Global Entry if you have access to a Global Entry enrollment center.

If you already have Global Entry, this benefit can be used for someone else if you’re willing to let them use your card to pay for enrollment.

Official Terms:

Airport Security Statement Credit. You are entitled to one statement credit per account every four years, in connection with either the TSA Pre✓® ($85) or Global Entry ($100) program. To qualify, you must use your Premium Rewards® credit card to pay the application fee. A statement credit will post to your account within 7 days after the application fee is charged to your card. You are responsible for payment of all charges until the statement credit posts to your account. If you apply for both programs, only one credit will be applied, to the fee that posts to the account first. Your account must be open and not in default at the time of statement credit fulfillment. TSA Pre✓® is a U.S. Government program, operated by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Global Entry is a U.S. Government program, operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Bank of America has no control over either program including, but not limited to, applications, approval process or enrollment, or fees charged by CBP or TSA, and no liability regarding the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® programs. For complete details on the TSA Pre✓® program, go to tsa.gov. For complete details on the Global Entry program, go to globalentry.gov. The TSA Pre✓® trademark is used with the permission of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Travel Insurance

Overall, this card offers middle-of-the-road travel insurance protections.  One positive exception is that it does offer emergency evacuation and transportation insurance.  That is usually only provided by ultra-premium cards.

Here are the basics of the card’s travel insurance coverage:

  • Secondary rental car auto collision damage waiver
  • Trip Delay (12 hour delay): Up to $500 per ticket
  • Baggage Delay: Up to $100 per day for up to 5 days
  • Lost Luggage
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation

Purchase Protection

This card covers the following:

  • Theft or damage reimbursement: Within 90 days of purchase
  • Double warranty: Up to 1 extra year
  • Return protection: Return items within 90 days of purchase, up to $250 per item

Comments

  1. Great guide! Any data points if Airline gift cards will trigger the Airline incidentals statement credits as has historically worked on some other credit cards such as Amex?

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