Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card Review

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Bank of America customers holding a big deposit balance will benefit the most from the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card, but even for non-customers, this card can hold its own. You’ll get some great travel benefits and decent rewards on travel, dining, and everyday purchases.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

overall rating
4.4
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.8
for Fees
2.3
for Rewards
4.2
for Credit
2.2
Current Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker

If you have good credit and don’t want to be aligned with a particular airline or hotel chain, the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card is a solid option among general travel rewards credit cards. A consistent redemption value means no guesswork when using your points, and the rewards rates and travel benefits are competitive.

If you’re a Bank of America customer with at least $20,000 in an eligible Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account (or have the funds available to transfer), even better. You’ll get a significant boost in points, in some cases yielding very compelling rewards rates.

Pros
  • Decent rewards rates

  • Rewards bonus for customers with big account balances

  • Valuable travel benefits

Cons
  • No opportunity to transfer points to travel partners

Pros Explained

  • Decent rewards rates: While the bonus rate on travel and dining is relatively standard on this card (some competitors pay more) the base rewards rate is unusually high—1.5 points rather than 1 point per $1. That said, the Capital One Venture Rewards card charges the same annual fee and pays 2 points per $1 on all purchases, so dollar for dollar, you’d earn more points on that card. (Although the Capital One points are only as valuable if you redeem them for travel.)
  • Rewards bonus for customers with big account balances: Cardholders with eligible Bank of America checking or savings accounts, or with eligible Merrill Lynch investment accounts, can earn 25% to 75% more in rewards if they have a big enough balance. That translates to a base rate of as much as 2.62 points per $1 and up to 3.5 points per $1 on travel and dining—a pretty compelling offer. (More on this in the Earning Points & Rewards section below.)
  • Valuable travel benefits: The perks on this card are pretty good, especially considering some competitors with similar annual fees have recently eliminated various forms of travel insurance. Not only will you be covered for hassles like cancelled trips and lost luggage, but your statement will be credited for eligible travel-related expenses, including up to $100 a calendar year in qualifying incidentals with select U.S. airlines. 

Cons Explained

  • No opportunity to transfer points to travel partners: When it comes time to use your rewards, you’re limited to Bank of America’s options. Unlike flexible card issuers such as Chase and American Express, Bank of America doesn’t offer any opportunity to transfer your points to airline and hotel loyalty programs. 

Bonus for New Cardholders 

You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points worth $500 if you spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening your account. This may not be the biggest welcome offer valuewise—some cards offer bonuses worth up to $750—but it’s one of the easier offers to earn, given the relatively low spending requirement.

The minimum credit limit on this card is $1,500. If you’re not approved for a higher one, make sure to pay off your balance in full each month so you have enough room to meet the spending requirement. You’ll want to do this to avoid costly interest charges anyway.

Earning Points & Rewards

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card pays 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining, and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on everything else. This isn’t the best combination of rates, nor is it the worst. Some competitors with similar annual fees offer as good or higher rates on travel and dining, but not as good a base rate. Still others, like the Capital One Venture, offer double points across the board.

This card’s definition of travel purchases is expansive, covering things you would expect like airfare and hotel nights, but also parking, tolls, and even amusement park tickets.

Having a banking relationship with Bank of America may qualify you for the Preferred Rewards program where you can earn up to 75% more on each purchase. You’re eligible to enroll if you have an active Bank of America personal checking or Advantage Banking account and maintain a combined balance in a qualifying Bank of America deposit account or Merrill investment account.

The balance requirements are based on three-month averages. Here’s how the bonuses break out:

  • Earn 25% bonus rewards at the Gold tier: at least $20,000 in combined balances
  • Earn 50% bonus rewards at the Platinum tier: at least $50,000 in combined balances
  • Earn 75% bonus rewards at the Platinum Honors tier: at least $100,000 combined balances

You could earn 2.25 points to 3.5 points for every $1 you spend on travel and dining and 1.87 to 2.62 points for every $1 you spend on other purchases. At the higher end, these are impressive rates that would be hard to beat.

Redeeming Rewards

Points are always worth 1 cent apiece, which means you don’t have to figure out the best way to maximize the value of your rewards. (And this gives this card a competitive edge over competition like the Capital One Venture card, which won’t give you full value if you redeem for cash back.)

You can redeem points for cash back via a deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account, credit to eligible Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch accounts including 529 accounts, as a statement credit to your credit card, or for gift cards and other purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center.

There are no blackout dates or restrictions and your points don’t expire.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

While having a relationship with Bank of America is the best way to maximize the card’s rewards, the balance requirements are pretty hefty and may be unrealistic for many consumers. Besides using your card for everyday purchases—and of course, travel and dining—make sure to take advantage of travel benefits like reimbursement on the application fee for eligible airport clearance programs. That alone can recoup the cost of the annual fee.

When you apply, Bank of America may consider any other credit card accounts you have with the bank. If you have a Bank of America credit card with a lower interest rate than your new card, the bank may transfer your old credit card balance to the new, higher-APR account, without raising your credit limit.

Excellent Perks 

Credit cards come with a variety of benefits, but editors at The Balance have determined some have an exceptional value. Several on this card make that cut:

  • Airline fee reimbursement: Get a statement credit of up to $100 per calendar year for qualifying purchases with eligible U.S. airlines. These include seat upgrades, baggage fees, airport lounge fees, and in-flight services. 
  • Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: Get a statement credit every four years to cover the application cost for one of these airport security shortcuts: $85 for TSA Precheck and $100 for Global Entry.
  • Insurance coverage for lost or delayed luggage: If your luggage is lost or stolen, you can be reimbursed for the value of the bag and its contents. If your baggage is delayed six hours or more, you’ll be reimbursed for the cost of replacing essentials up to $100 per day, for up to five days.
  • Insurance coverage for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay: If a trip is delayed 12 or more hours, you can be reimbursed for your costs, up to $500 per ticket. For canceled trips you will be reimbursed up to $5,000 per traveler. 
  • Emergency medical and evacuation benefits: This benefit applies if you or a family member become sick or injured while traveling and require emergency medical transportation and services.

For these benefits to kick in, you’ll need to have used your card for the original purchase. Also, check your benefits guide for additional benefit terms and coverage details.

Other Features 

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Extended warranties
  • Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
  • Travel and emergency hotline
  • Roadside assistance hotline
  • Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services

Customer Experience

Bank of America ranked seventh in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, getting about average marks in all categories: overall satisfaction, interaction, credit card terms, communication, benefits and service, rewards, and key moments. The bank’s mobile app, however, got a “better than most” rating in a comparable J.D. Power survey.

It should also be noted that primary cardholders can opt-in to access their FICO score at no additional cost. The score is updated each month and available within the app or online. Customer service options include online chat and the ability to schedule an appointment for a telephone call to avoid waiting on hold for a customer service representative.

Security Features 

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card offers standard security features like chip technology.

Fees

Fees on this card are in line with industry standards for travel rewards credit cards, though it’s worth noting that not all travel cards charge an annual fee. Like most in the category, however, there are no fees on foreign transactions.

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
overall rating
4.4
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Bank of America. "Preferred Rewards." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  2. Bank of America. "Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  3. Bank of America. "Terms and Conditions for Bank of America Premium Rewards." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  4. Bank of America. "Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card Benefits." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  5. J.D. Power "Credit Card Rewards War Reaches Inflection Point as Competition Grows, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  6. J.D. Power. "Feature Overload Strains Customer Satisfaction with Online Banking and Mobile Apps, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed May 14, 2020.