BOA Platinum Honors: (now only until 5/1/19) Different treatment for Cash Rewards vs Cash Rewards for Business

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UPDATE 4/10/2019: Bank of America has updated the terms of the Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program. Now, like with personal cards, the relationship bonus will be applied the the card’s entire earnings. For example, if you earn 3% cash back and have Platinum Honors, you’ll get 3% x 1.75 = 5.25% back.  For existing Cash Rewards for Business customers, this new approach starts with purchases made as of May 1 2019.  For new cardholders, this new approach is already in effect.  Hat Tip: Doctor of Credit.

Bank of America offers a loyalty program of sorts where the amount of money you have on deposit with BOA and Merrill determines your elite level.  To achieve top tier Platinum Honors with either the consumer loyalty program (Preferred Rewards) or the business loyalty program (Relationship Rewards) you need to have $100K on deposit.

We’ve covered these programs before:

The most interesting benefit of top tier status in these programs is the ability to earn 75% more rewards via certain BOA credit cards.  With either the consumer Travel Rewards card or the Business Travel Rewards card, this means that you can earn 2.63% back (towards travel) on all spend:

Bank of America Travel Rewards (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards)

Annual Fee: $0

Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
2.625X
(2.63%)
Travel
5.25X
(5.25%)

Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program, this card earns: 2.625X points for all spend (and 5.25X for travel purchased through BOA's travel center)

BOA Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards for Business)

Annual Fee: $0

Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
2.625X
(2.63%)
Travel
5.25X
(5.25%)

Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program, this card earns: 2.625X points for all spend (and 5.25X for travel purchased through BOA's travel center)

But when we look at the Cash Rewards cards instead of the Travel Rewards cards, we see a different picture.  Here, the consumer card generously applies the 75% bonus after category bonuses are applied, but the business card applies the bonus before category bonuses are applied.  This makes the business Cash Rewards card much less interesting than it could have been (especially since the business card, unlike the consumer card, has very large caps on bonus spend):

Bank of America Cash Rewards (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards)

Annual Fee: $0

Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
1.75%
Travel
5.25%
Dine
5.25%
Gas
5.25%
Grocery
3.5%
Shop
5.25%
Other
5.25%

Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program, earn: 3.5% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 5.25% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter

Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards for Business)

Annual Fee: $0

Card Type: Mastercard

Base
1.75%
Travel
5.25%
Dine
3.5%
Gas
5.25%
Phone
5.25%
Office
5.25%
Biz
5.25%

Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program, this card earns: 3.5% on dining plus 5.25% on 1 choice from: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services (for the first $50,000 in combined choice/dining purchases each calendar year, 1.75% thereafter) and 1.75% everywhere else.

I find it surprising that BOA would handle this so differently between their consumer and business products, but there’s nothing new about this finding.  I long ago updated my post about BOA’s Business Advantage program to indicate the the Business Cash Rewards card’s bonuses were applied to the base earnings only.  However, until today, our credit card database had the wrong info about this.  This post is intended to get the word out in case anyone was misled by the previously inaccurate business card information.  If you were misled, please accept our deepest apologies.

New: Please see update at the top of this post!  Bank of America is now treating the personal and business Cash Rewards cards in the same way.

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