Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards review

&

Last updated:  

Get paid for keeping money in your checking and investment accounts with this loyalty program.

If you’ve stashed at least $20,000 with Bank of America, it may be worth it to enroll in the Preferred Rewards loyalty program. It has three tiers — Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors — and opens up opportunities to invest and earn rewards on your everyday banking. But while the perks are solid, you could find better interest rates elsewhere.

0.04%

APY

$0

Fee

Details

APY0.04%
Fee$0
Minimum balance to earn interest$20,000
Interest compoundingDaily

Expert review

Cassidy Horton

Review by


Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and investments. She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. Cassidy enjoys educating people about financial services, exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.

Expert review

If you meet the requirements, you could enroll and reap the wide-ranging rewards of the Preferred Rewards program. The program is most lucrative for high-balance customers who can qualify for Platinum Honors and score the 20% savings boost and 75% bonus on credit card earnings.

However, not all cards qualify, and you may find the eligibility criteria to be too stringent to get in. You may also be able to find better interest rates with other institutions, though the additional features might not be quite as extensive.

How does the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program work?

The Preferred Rewards program offers attractive perks to existing BOA and Merrill Edge customers with at least $20,000 in combined account balances. If you qualify, you can immediately enroll and start taking advantage of its benefits. Plus, the more you save, the more perks you unlock.

TierRequired balanceBenefits
Gold$20,000
  • 5% boost on savings account interest
  • 25% credit card rewards bonus
  • 0.05% fee discount with Merrill Guided Investing
  • $200 off mortgage origination fee
  • 0.25% auto loan discount
Platinum$50,000
  • 10% boost on savings account interest
  • 50% credit card rewards bonus
  • 0.10% fee discount with Merrill Guided Investing
  • $400 off mortgage origination fee
  • 0.35% auto loan discount
  • 12 no-fee transactions at non-network ATMs
Platinum Honors$100,000
  • 20% boost on savings account interest
  • 75% credit card rewards bonus
  • 0.15% fee discount with Merrill Guided Investing
  • $600 off mortgage origination fee
  • 0.50% auto loan discount
  • Unlimited no-fee transactions at non-network ATMs

What are the benefits of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program?

The loyalty program boasts these benefits:

  • Free to join. There are no fees to join or participate in Preferred Rewards.
  • Combined accounts. Rather than being hinged on one account, your tier is based on the combined balances in your Bank of America, Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch accounts.
  • Waived fees. BOA waives monthly maintenance fees for up to four checking and four savings accounts. Platinum and Platinum Honors customers can access free international wire transfers and a small safe deposit box.
  • Grace period. Once you reach a rewards tier, you’ll receive all the benefits of that tier for 12 months. If you no longer meet the requirements at the one-year mark, there’s a three-month grace period.

What should I look out for?

The Preferred Rewards program does have a few drawbacks:

  • Low interest rates. As a traditional bank, Bank of America‘s interest rates are much lower than online-only banks.
  • Strict eligibility requirements. To qualify, you’ll need a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 (Gold tier), $50,000 (Platinum) or $100,000 (Platinum Honors).
  • Not all credit cards qualify. The bank’s secured cards, business credit cards and nonreward cards — such as the BankAmericard® Credit Card — don’t qualify for Preferred Rewards.
  • Associated fees. With Merrill Edge, sales are subject to a transaction fee of $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal, and some fees apply to owning ETFs.

If you’re not interested in the Preferred Rewards Program or simply want to see what else is available, compare rewards checking accounts to find the best fit for your financial situation.

Case study: Sarah’s experience – May 2019

profile pic

Sarah George
Writer

The benefits I get with this account depend on whether I’m a Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors member.

First, I enjoy a 25% rewards bonus on my credit card, which is 15% more than the standard bonus. I love using my card for regular purchases, and I’ve received hundreds in cash back because of it. Second is the no-fees benefit, which means I don’t get charged for card replacement, check orders or cashier’s checks.

A few downsides, though: the maintenance fee waiver doesn’t really benefit members, because they have enough money to cover account requirements anyway. I haven’t needed the auto loan or home equity discounts yet. Without doing much research, these discounts seem small.

I also get an increased savings account APY, but Bank of America‘s is below average for that. So the best features for me are the cashback bonus and fee waivers, plus you get a priority customer service phone number.

Read up on the Bank of America Keep the Change Savings Program

How do I enroll?

If you have $20,000 or more in your Bank of America checking or Merrill Lynch or Merrill Edge investment accounts, you can enroll online. These are the steps:

  1. Sign into online banking
  2. Navigate to Savings
  3. Follow the prompts to Enroll in Preferred Rewards

Eligibility

To qualify for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you’ll need:

  • A Bank of America personal checking account
  • $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America accounts, which include Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts
  • A Bank of America Rewards Savings account to get the interest rate booster
  • An eligible Bank of America credit card to receive the credit card bonuses

What Bank of America accounts work with Preferred Rewards?

Preferred Rewards is linked to your personal checking account with these options:

  • Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking
  • Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking
  • Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking
Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking
$100
16,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$5
Customize your account to fit your needs and experience a wide array of services from a Big Four bank.
Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking
$100
Over 16,000 ATMs
$2.50
Everyday banking with more ways to waive the monthly fee.
Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking
$25
16,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$2.50
Customize your account to fit your needs and experience our full scope of services
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Which Bank of America credit cards work with Preferred Rewards?

Only rewards-branded cards qualify. These include:

  • Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
$200 after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
3% cash back on a chosen category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 each quarter combined, then 1% after that and on everything else
$0
Earn $200 after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days form account opening.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
1.5x points on all purchases
$0
Earn 25,000 online bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days from account opening.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
2x points on travel and dining and 1.5x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn 2x points on travel and dining and 1.5x points on all other purchases.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See terms
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

How can I get in touch with Bank of America?

To chat with a specialist, call 888-888-7937, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Frequently asked questions

Ask an expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our finder.com Terms of Use and Privacy and Cookies Policy.
Go to site