(EXPIRED) Merrill Edge increased new account bonuses up to $900

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As noted in this morning’s post about my retirement planning mistakes, Merrill Edge currently has increased new account bonuses for those who become “Preferred Rewards” members (which requires a minimum of $20K on deposit with Bank of America / Merrill Edge). These bonuses add 50% to the standard bonuses and are available for those who open accounts by July 15, 2020. As noted in this morning’s post, these may also create somewhat of a fast track to Preferred Rewards status.

The Deal

  • Bank of America
    • Deposit $20K, get $100 $150 bonus
    • Deposit $50K, get $150 $225 bonus
    • Deposit $100K, get $250 $375 bonus
    • Deposit $200K, get $600 $900 bonus
  • Link to this promotion

Key Terms

  • 1 Offer valid for new and existing individual Merrill Edge IRAs or Cash Management Accounts (CMA) opened before July 15, 2020. Cash bonus offers, in the aggregate, are limited to one CMA and one IRA per accountholder. Eligible Merrill Edge IRAs limited to Rollover, Traditional, Roth and owner-only SEP IRA. The Merrill Edge IRA or CMA may be a Merrill Edge Self-Directed account, Merrill Edge Advisory Account or Merrill Edge Guided Investing account. You may be eligible for a different or better offer. Please contact us for more information.
  • Offer Limitations: This offer does not apply to business/corporate accounts, investment club accounts, partnership accounts and certain fiduciary accounts held with Merrill, or to any types of accounts (including IRAs or CMAs) held with other business units of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S). Merrill reserves the right to change or cancel this offer at any time, without notice. This offer may not be used as an inducement to sell any kind of insurance, including annuities.How it Works:
    1. You must enroll by entering the offer code in the online application during account opening or by providing it when speaking with a Merrill Financial Solutions Advisor at 888.637.3343 or at select Bank of America&174; financial centers. You are solely responsible for enrolling or asking to be enrolled in the offer.
    2. Fund your account with at least $20,000 in qualifying net new assets within 45 days of account opening. Assets transferred from other accounts at Bank of America, MLPF&S, Bank of America Private Bank, or 401(k) accounts administered by MLPF&S do not count towards qualifying net new assets.
    3. You must be enrolled in Preferred Rewards as of 90 days from meeting the funding criteria described in Step 2.
    4. After 90 days from meeting the funding criteria described in Step 2, your cash reward will be determined by the qualifying net new assets in your account (irrespective of any losses or gains due to trading or market volatility) as follows:
      Qualifying net new asset balance:
      1. $20K, get $100 $150 bonus
      2. $50K, get $150 $225 bonus
      3. $100K, get $250 $375 bonus
      4. $200K, get $600 $900 bonus
    5. For purposes of this offer, qualifying net new assets are calculated by adding total incoming assets or transfers (including cash, securities and/or margin debit balance transfers) from external accounts, and subtracting assets withdrawn or transferred out of the account within the preceding 52 weeks.
    6. Your one-time cash reward will be credited to your IRA or CMA within two weeks following the end of the 90 day period. If your account is enrolled in an investment advisory program, such as Merrill Edge Advisory Account, Merrill Guided Investing or Merrill Guided Investing with an advisor, any cash reward deposited into your account will be subject to the program fee and other terms of the investment advisory program.

Crucially, for those not currently enrolled in Preferred Rewards:

  1. Customers not enrolled in Preferred Rewards as of 90 days after funding will receive the cash reward without the 50% bonus: assets of $20,000 to $49,999 in cash and/or securities receive $100; for $50,000-$99,999, receive $150; for $100,000-$199,999, receive $250; for $200,000 or more, receive $600.
  2. Promotional Early Enrollment in Preferred Rewards: Until July 15, 2020, when you enroll in the 50% More offer, you consent to early enrollment in the Preferred Rewards Program. Once you satisfy the funding requirement for the offer, you will be enrolled in Preferred Rewards within 45 days based on your current balances at that time rather than the usual requirement of three month average combined balances. You also must have or open an eligible Bank of America personal checking Advantage Banking account to be enrolled in Preferred Rewards. All Preferred Rewards benefits available in the tier associated with your combined balance level will be active within 30 days of enrollment. You are eligible to enroll in the Preferred Rewards program if you have an active, eligible Bank of America&174; personal checking or Bank of America Advantage Banking account and maintain a three-month average combined balance in your qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or your qualifying Merrill investment accounts of at least $20,000 for the Gold tier, $50,000 for the Platinum tier, or $100,000 for the Platinum Honors tier. The combined balance is calculated based on your average daily balance for a three calendar month period. Certain benefits are also available without enrolling in Preferred Rewards if you satisfy balance and other requirements. Your benefits become effective within one month of your enrollment, or for new accounts within one month of account opening, unless we indicate otherwise. For details on employee qualification requirements, please call Employee Financial Services or visit the Bank of America intranet site. Merrill Wealth Management clients with greater than $250,000 in assets with Bank of America and Merrill are eligible for additional banking benefits. Please speak with your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor for details.

Quick Thoughts

Surely this is the type of deal that comes around now and then, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned if you’re not yet ready to make this kind of move.

On the other hand, the bonuses here are pretty good for investment accounts or particularly good for those like me who have money in a Roth IRA that can be moved in-kind entirely (i.e. without selling any shares / no tax consequences — check your situation before you make any decisions as YMMV). For me, there is virtually no downside and a couple hundred bucks of upside (in addition to the fact that I already wanted to make changes to my IRA that fit well with Merrill Edge).

Furthermore, as noted in the key terms above, this particular bonus puts you on a fast track of sorts to Preferred Rewards assuming that you are not currently enrolled. Greg has written a lot about the Preferred Rewards program before (See: Bank of America credit cards: awesome if you have $100K lying around). As you’ll see in term #2 above under the last section (“Customers not enrolled in Preferred Rewards”), funding your account with this offer means that you’ll be evaluated within 45 days of meeting the funding criteria and receive Preferred Rewards status based on your deposits at that time. Usually, Preferred Rewards status is determined by average monthly balance for a 3 month period. Essentially, this means you should be able to snag Preferred Rewards status a little sooner than usual.

Keep in mind that to enroll in Preferred Rewards and therefore be eligible for the increased bonuses above, you’ll also need a Bank of America checking account. You could likely open that later if you do not yet have one – but keep in mind that if you don’t enroll in Preferred Rewards within 45 days, you’ll only qualify for the lower bonuses (the ones that are crossed out in the screen shot above).

Overall, these bonuses could be a decent incentive to open an account, but the time frame is tight since the terms indicate that your account must be open before July 15th.

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