BANK OF AMERICA PREMIUM REWARDS CREDIT CARD REVIEW [UPDATED 2019]
If you value flexibility with travel rewards then you’re sure to love the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card – one of the most open and flexible travel rewards cards on the market.
What separates the Bank of America Premium Rewards from other travel rewards credit cards is the degree of flexibility that it gives to cardholders.
- Earn two points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases
- No limit on the amount of rewards you can earn, and rewards never expire
- You can redeem rewards points for cash back, travel, gift cards, etc.
- There’s an annual fee of $95
- The APR range is on the high side at 18.24% to 25.24% variable
- There’s a 3% balance transfer fee applied on each of those transactions
With the Bank of America Premium Rewards card you earn an unlimited amount of two points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases, as well as 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
There’s no limit to the amount of points you can earn and your points never expire; and you have the flexibility to choose how you redeem your points:
- Cash back as a statement credit
- Deposit into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill Lynch bank account such as a chequing, savings, or 529
- Purchase travel (air, rental car, and hotel) through the Bank of America Travel Center
- Redeem for a wide variety of gift cards
Few other travel reward cards offer this degree of flexibility.
Another nice thing about the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card is that it comes with a sweet signup bonus.
You can earn 50,000 bonus reward points – equal to $500 cash – if you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of opening the account. That’s a hefty signup bonus that will set you up nicely to collect a copious amount of rewards points moving forward.
Plus, there’s an additional annual bonus of up to $100 in Airline Incidental Statement Credit that can be used for seat upgrades on airlines, to pay baggage fees, and purchase in-flight services such as food, drinks, and entertainment.
And, if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, you get a 25% to 75% rewards bonus on every single purchase you make. That means you can earn up to 3.5 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases, and up to 2.62 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Taken together, these are impressive incentives not seen on similar travel rewards-based credit cards.
ANNUAL AND TRANSACTION FEES
Now for the bad news. All this flexibility and bonus rewards come at a price in terms of fees. There’s an annual fee with this credit card of $95 and it applies the first year that you own the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.
However, that fee is comparatively small considering the benefits that come with this card. Some rewards cards focused on cash back and travel charge as much as $400 in annual fees. While no annual fee is preferred, $95 is on the lower end of the credit card fee spectrum.
Another fee to be aware of with this credit card is a 3% balance transfer fee on each transaction. So you may want to think twice about moving money from other credit cards and loans over to the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.
On the positive front, there are no foreign transaction fees charged on purchases made outside the United States. That means that this is a great credit card to use when traveling abroad and dealing in foreign currencies.
As for the annual percentage rate (APR), or interest charged on the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card, it ranges from 18.24% to 25.24% depending on your credit worthiness.
A positive credit score will earn you the lower interest rate whereas a poor credit report will saddle you with the higher APR. There’s no introductory APR with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card. This interest rate is a little on the high side as the average interest rate charged on credit cards in the United States is 16%. Other travel rewards credit cards have APR that ranges from 14.74% to 24.74%.
Also, keep in mind that the interest charged on this credit card is variable, which means that it could change at Bank of America’s discretion or with movements in the prime lending rate.
The additional features provided with the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card focus on travel perks and making globetrotting as luxurious as possible.
Cardholders get access to insurance protections designed to assist with trip delays, flight cancellations, lost baggage and emergency transportation.
With this card, you’ll also get access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection that provides you with access to high-end hotels around the world.
And you can take advantage of the Visa Signature Concierge service that assists with travel planning, restaurant recommendations, and reservations for concerts and other live events.
WHO SHOULD NOT GET THIS CARD
People who are all about low interest rates and no fees will not enjoy the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card.
It’s not a cheap credit card to have in your wallet. But for people who travel a lot and enjoy it, and who want flexibility when it comes to their reward redemptions, then this is a credit card worth owning. Just remember there are costs associated with it.
ALTERNATIVE CARD: THE CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED CREDIT CARD
A credit card worth comparing to the Bank of America Premium Rewards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It too is focused on travel rewards and offers the ability to earn two times reward points on travel and dining – from airfare and hotels to restaurants and cafés.
The Chase Sapphire also has an impressive signup bonus, giving cardholders 50,000 bonus points after they spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months from account opening.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee of $95 but it is waived for the first year and the APR of 17.99% to 24.99% is identical to that on the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.
Also, like the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, there’s no fee on foreign transactions with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card stands out for its flexible redemption options and the unlimited amount of points people can earn and save. People looking for a travel rewards card should give serious consideration to the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card.
While there is an annual fee attached to the card and the interest rate is on the high side, these complaints are negligible when compared to the benefits offered to cardholders.