Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card review | finder.com

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card review – March 2019

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Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Earn strong travel benefits without a high annual fee with this premium big-bank card.

finder.com’s rating: 4.3 / 5.0

★★★★★

30-second take

  • Get this card if you like rewards and travel perks or are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client.
  • Pick something else if you don’t want to pay an annual fee.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
Product NameBank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Card TypeVisa
Annual Fee$95
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases18.24% to 25.24% variable
Introductory Purchase APR

N/A

Balance Transfer APR18.24% to 25.24% variable
Introductory Balance Transfer APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Fee$10 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash Advance Rate21.24% to 27.24% variable
Foreign Transaction FeeNone
Cash Advance Fee$10 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Interest Free PeriodUp to 25 days
Late Payment Fee$38
Returned Payment Fee$27
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age
Welcome OfferEarn 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening
RewardsEarn 2x points on travel and dining and 1.5x points on all other purchases
Base Rewards1.5x points
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

The basics

A solid points earnings rate of 1.5x points on purchases and 2x points for travel and dining is further sweetened by premium travel benefits that potentially outweigh the $95 annual fee.

First, you get up to $200 in statement credit when you spend on such travel incidentals as seat upgrades, checked baggage fees and security programs, including TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.

Next up: Travel protection, including up to $500 per ticket for delayed flights and up to $5,500 per person for canceled trips. Also included is access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection and Visa Signature Concierge.

The card’s benefits aren’t as extensive as The Platinum Card® from American Express, for example. But it features a relatively low $95 annual fee. Compare that with the $550 annual fee required for The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Finally, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card does just that: rewards loyal Bank of America customers with premiums on earnings. Members of Bank of America® Preferred Rewards can see rewards bonuses that range from 25% to 75% — that on top of an already solid earnings rate. Carry an average balance of $20,000 or more with Bank of America and associated accounts to earn yet stronger rewards.

The perks

  • Signup bonus of up to 50,000 points.

    Enjoy a signup bonus of 50,000 points — worth $500 — when you spend a minimum of $3,000 on purchases within 90 days of opening your account.

  • Get up to $200 credited back for travel incidentals in your first year.

    The card offers $100 annually for use toward seat upgrades, ticket changes, airline lounge access and other travel perks. Transactions are automatically credited to your statement for multiple charges up to the annual maximum. You also get a $100 in statement credit for TSA PreCheck and the Global Entry program. Available every four years, the credit is automatically applied after a transaction through either program.

  • Earn 1.5x points or more on all purchases with no limit.

    The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card awards you a baseline 1.5 points for every dollar spent and 2x points on travel and dining purchases. Things get more interesting for Preferred Rewards members: Gold-tier members earn a 25% bonus, which means that $1,000 in travel and dining purchases can fetch you 2,500 points — an extra 500 compared with other members’ earning power. Clients at the Platinum Honors tier enjoy 75% more points.

Is the annual fee worth it?

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card has a $95 annual fee. Depending on how you spend and travel, that could be well worth paying.

Rewards breakdown

According to Bank of America, points are worth 1 cent each. That means you’ll break even on the annual fee when you earn 9,500 points.

That’s $4,750 spent on travel and dining, or $6,334 spent on other purchases.

Signup bonus

You can find $500 of value from 50,000 points, according to Bank of America. This can pay for your annual fee several times over.

Regular travel benefits

The card includes benefits that deliver consistent value:

Benefit Estimated annual value
Airline Incidental Statement Credit $100
Credit for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Application fee $25

These two benefits alone come out to $125 in annual value.

Tougher to value, but still lucrative, are perks you’ll receive per booking in the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection. These include space-available room upgrades, complimentary breakfast for two, food and beverage credits, late checkout when available and more.

And remember to leverage the card’s extensive travel and purchase protections, which can save you money when the unexpected happens.

You’ll also like

  • Travel protection.

    Get peace of mind with coverage of up to $500 per ticket if your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours. You’ll also get $5,000 in reimbursement toward nonrefundable travel expenses if your trip is canceled.

  • Easily redeem your points.

    No need to work out the best use of your points. Simply redeem them toward a statement credit, gift cards or a cash deposit into a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account. Or use your points to pay for bookings through the Bank of America Travel Center. Each point is worth 1 cent, which makes 50,000 in points worth $500 in rewards.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

    Using your Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card overseas? You won’t pay foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside of the US.

  • Premium services.

    Access concierge services and the Visa Signature Hotel Collection for yet more convenient travel.

What does Bank of America travel protection cover?

What to watch out for

  • High potential APR.

    You won’t find a low-APR intro period with this card. Depending on your creditworthiness, purchases could attract a variable APR as high as 25.24% from the start.

  • Annual fee.

    While lower than similar cards, a $95 annual fee isn’t nothing. You’ll find many credit cards with no annual fee on the market.

  • Limited benefits.

    This product offers relatively few lifestyle and travel benefits when compared with more exclusive cards from competitors. If you travel frequently or like luxury travel, you may want to consider an alternative credit card with stronger benefits.

How does credit card interest work?

Consider other cards if …

  • Travel perks matter.

    This card offers a fair number of travel perks but not the comprehensive package offered by competitors. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® includes airport lounge access and $300 in travel credit among its benefits, while The Platinum Card® from American Express gains you lounge access, tier status with hotel programs and a monthly Uber credit. Both cards, however, require high annual fees.

  • You want a market-leading intro APR.
    Look into the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, which offers 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on balance transfers and 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases. After the promotional period ends for each, you’ll have an ongoing APR between 14.74% to 25.74% variable .
  • Annual fees are not for you.

    Many people prefer the affordable simplicity of a credit card with no annual fee. Bank of America itself offers the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card at no annual fee with no fees on foreign transactions and 1.5x points on all purchases.

  • You want a low APR.

    From the start, you’ll pay this card’s full APR on any purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. If you’re looking to consolidate or simplify your debt, look into cards offering a 0% intro APR. Like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express that offers 0% APR on purchases for 15 months (and then 15.24% to 26.24% variable ), or the Citi Simplicity® Card offering 0% APR on balance transfers for a long 21 months (then 16.24% to 26.24% variable ).

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on travel and dining. 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit. 1x points on all other purchases
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
60,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus $100 after making a Delta purchase in the same time
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles for all other purchases
$195
Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months. Plus $100 after making a Delta purchase in the same time. Rates & Fees
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Compare Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card vs PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card

What to know before you apply

To successfully apply for the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, you must meet specific criteria and submit personal and financial details.

Eligibility criteria

  • You must be at least 18 years old (or 21 years old, if you’re a permanent resident of Puerto Rico).

Required documents and information

  • Your full name, address and residential status
  • Contact details that include your phone number and email address
  • Your employment status and income
  • Your Social Security number and date of birth

What credit score do I need?

Each bank applies unique scoring criteria when deciding on approval. But you may have a better chance at approval for the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card if you apply with good to excellent credit.
What’s a good credit score?

What do customers say about the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card?

On Bank of America’s own website, customers score this card a 4.4 out of 5 — which is about average among other Bank of America cards. Customers say they like the simplicity of the rewards scheme, but some criticize the card for not offering enough perks and benefits when compared with other cards at similar annual fees. Still others suggest waiving the annual fee for BofA customers.

Bank of America itself is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, earning a B+ based on internal scoring that considers a bank’s longevity, financials and more. The bank also earns a composite score of 3.05 out of 5 based on customer reviews as of this writing. Customers complain about typical banking frustrations, like fees and charges and misunderstandings around credit limits.

How to apply for the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card?

  1. Go to the Bank of America website and find the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card. Click Apply Now.
  2. Complete the form with your contact, financial and employment details.
  3. Carefully review your application for accuracy and submit it.

How long will it take to be approved?

Bank of America offers automated conditional approval, so you may get a first decision in minutes. If your application requires further consideration, it could take weeks to see approval.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Avoid interest within the grace period. Pay your full balance within the 25-day grace period to avoid unnecessary interest on your purchases. Rewards and benefits can quickly disappear after you factor in interest on balances.
  • Pay on time. Pay at least your statement’s minimum on time avoid high penalty fees and rates. Consider setting up autopay to ensure you don’t miss a due date.
  • Enjoy $100 toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Claim your statement credit by using your card to sign up with either airline security program. The credit is available every four years.
  • Pay for airline incidentals. Receive up to $100 for use toward airline incidentals when you use your card to pay for ticket changes, seat upgrades, extra luggage or inflight food and drinks.
  • Maximize rewards. Pay for as many travel and dining expenses with your Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card to take full advantage of the higher point value.
  • Hold a large balance in your participating bank account. Earn rewards at higher rates by holding an average three-month balance of $20,000 across Bank of America, Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch accounts.
  • Get in touch. Get help at 800-732-9194. You can also email support using the secure online form or connect on Twitter or Facebook @BankofAmerica.

How do I redeem points from the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card?

To redeem points, log in to your Bank of America account and head to the Rewards tab.

There are three redemption options:

  • Travel. Redeem points for statement credit on flights, hotels, cruises, rental cars, vacation packages, baggage fees and more.
  • Cash. Receive an electronic deposit to a bank account.
  • Gift cards. There are options for restaurants, retailers and more.

For all redemptions, you’ll receive a 1-cent-per-point value according to Bank of America. This is a standard rate across the credit card industry.

Bottom line

More than just a rewards card, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card extends many travel benefits you’d typically associate with cards requiring higher annual fees. Perks include travel protections, point multiples on travel and dining and up to $200 in statement credit when you pay for specific incidentals.

The card really comes into its own if you carry a large deposit with Bank of America, with big earnings bonuses for existing customers that are tough to match with other providers.

There’s a fleet of credit cards designed for all different types of travelers if this card didn’t float your boat.
Keep comparing travel credit cards

Frequently asked questions

Images: BankofAmerica.com

Travel card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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