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Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card Review

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This article was last updated Jun 12, 2018, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card targets those who like to travel and dine out regularly.  The reward is pretty simple — 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases, 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

The card comes with a $95 annual fee. And new cardmembers get 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Where this card stands out in its category

Despite a $95 annual fee, the benefits of the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card more than cover it. You get up to a $100 yearly airline credit — automatically applied to your card statement — to cover things like seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services and airline lounge fees. That alone covers the card’s annual fee.

But on top of that, you get up to $100 to cover enrollment fees for TSA Precheck or Global Entry every four years, which means you actually come out ahead with the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card’s $95 annual fee.

Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards clients can also boost their points rewards, earning between a 25% to 75% bonus on every purchase. This translates up to 3.5 points per $1 on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points per $1 on all other purchases. And you can get your FICO® Review score, updated monthly, for free.

You also get flexibility with how you redeem your points. It can be cash back as a statement credit or deposited into your eligible Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch® accounts, including checking, savings and 529 college savings plans. You can also use the cash back to buy travel, including air, car rentals and hotels, through the Bank of America Travel Center or redeem it for gift cards.

Boost your bonus points even more by using Bank of America’s Travel Center website. When booking travel through the site, earn 3 points — 1.5 bonus points and 1.5 base points — for every $1 spent, with no limits on bonus points earned. And your points don’t expire.

Where this card falls short in its category

The $95 annual fee isn’t waived during the first year. You must have a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America® accounts and/or Merrill Edge® and Merrill Lynch® investment accounts for gold status, $50,000 for platinum status and $100,000 for platinum honors status in order to get the 25%, 50% and 75% bonus points, respectively, through the bank’s Preferred Rewards program.

You can’t transfer your points to airline or hotel loyalty programs. Instead, you’re moved to the Bank of America’s Travel Center website for purchases, although you do get bonus points for booking on the site.

Additional card benefits

  • Trip Delay Reimbursement. Get up to $500 per ticket purchased for you and eligible family members for reasonable expenses if a covered trip is delayed (due to a covered hazard) for more than 12 hours.
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption. Provides reimbursement of up to $5,000 per person, per trip, for unused prepaid non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours and hotels, if you have to cancel due to a covered reason.
  • Baggage Delay. Reimbursement of up to $100 per day for up to five days when your bags are delayed or misdirected for more than six hours, covering essential items, such as clothing.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement. Covers your luggage and its contents if they are lost or stolen due to theft or misdirection by an airline, bus, train or cruise ship.
  • Travel Accident Insurance. Covers you against accidental loss of life, limb or sight while traveling by land, air, or sea on a licensed common carrier when you buy tickets with your card.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services. Helps coordinate medical, legal and travel services when you are traveling. But the actual cost of any goods or services is your responsibility.
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Coverage. If you or a member of your immediate family are injured or become sick during a trip that results in an emergency evacuation, you can be covered for eligible medical services and transportation.
  • Visa Signature® Luxury Hotel Collection. Book hotel stays with your card through the collection and receive premium benefits including best-available room rates, automatic room upgrades when available, free in-room Wi-Fi where available, free breakfast for two, a $25 food/beverage credit, VIP guest status and late checkout when available.
  • Visa Signature® Concierge Service. Access to concierges who can help with travel planning, restaurant recommendations and event reservations.
  • Purchase Security. Can repair, replace or reimburse you if an eligible item bought with the card is stolen or damaged within 90 days of purchase, for up to $10,000 per claim.
  • Warranty Manager Service. Doubles the time period of a manufacturer’s warranty, up to another year for eligible items bought with your card.
  • Return Protection. You can be reimbursed for the cost of an eligible item of personal property if you are dissatisfied with the item for any reason within 90 days of the purchase, and if the retailer will not accept the return. Coverage is limited to $250 per eligible item and up to $1,000 a year.
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. Reimburses for damage due to collision or theft after you decline the collision/loss damage waiver offered by a car rental agency.
  • Roadside Dispatch Program. You get 24/7 on-demand referral dispatch network that provides emergency roadside assistance, towing and locksmith services when you’re on the road.
  • Free FICO® Score. After signing up, you can get your score, updated monthly, for free, within the mobile banking app or online banking.

How to use it most effectively

The best way to get the most out of your Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is not only to use it to pay for your travel and dining, but to take advantage of all the ways you can earn bonus points. That includes enrolling in Premium Rewards, if you have the Bank of America account balances required. Finally, use the $100 yearly airline credit and the $100 for TSA Precheck or Global Entry enrollment fees to cover the card’s $95 annual fee.

Compare it with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has an annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, which is a better deal than the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card. The One-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel is the same as the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card. You earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which is better than the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card — but only if you don’t take advantage of the latter’s different ways of earning bonus points.  You can also earn 10 miles per $1 spent on hotels when you use the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card at hotels.com/venture to pay for your rooms.

Both cards allow you to use your points to fly any airline or stay at any hotel with no blackout dates. Your miles won’t expire for the life of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card account and there’s no limit to how many you can earn. And neither card charges foreign exchange fees. Like the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card allows cardmembers to see their credit scores for free, via CreditWise®.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers auto rental collision damage waivers when you rent a car with your credit card. It also offers travel accident insurance, Visa Concierge service, extended warranty protection on eligible items purchased with your card. But it doesn’t offer Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card benefits like reimbursement for trip delay/cancellation/interruption, baggage delay, access to the Visa Signature® Luxury Hotel Collection and return protection when you’re dissatisfied with an item bought with the card.

 

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Annual Fee $95 $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular Purchase APR 17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Rewards 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases, 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
Sign-Up Bonus 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. One-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
Foreign Transaction Fee None None

Bottom Line

The trick to getting the best bang for the buck from the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is to use it on travel and dining to get 2 points for $1 spent. Leverage those points further by doing things such as enrolling in Premium Rewards to get between 25% and 75% points bonus.

Use the Bank of America Travel Center website to book your travel to get 3 points for every $1 spent. And take full advantage of the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card’s $100 yearly airline credit and the $100 credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry enrollment fees, either of which can cover the card’s $95 annual fee.

If that fee bothers you, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card — with its annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that — could be a better option, although its benefits aren’t as robust as what’s offered by the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card. Make sure the spending required to get the card’s sign-up bonus points is worth it to you.

 

 


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