Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card

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An outstanding cash-back card for Bank of America or Merrill account holders.

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our excellent credit category page.

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Bank of America’s newest credit card gives top-notch rewards to cardholders who show some loyalty to the bank. In a nutshell, the more money you have deposited with Bank of America, the greater your earnings potential with the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card.

Review

On the surface, the goodies offered by the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card are similar to other mid-level cards. Premium Rewards offers enhanced travel benefits and cash-back benefits. But customers enrolled in the bank’s Preferred Rewards program will receive enhanced credit card reward benefits in one of three tier levels based on the combined sum held in their Bank of America accounts.

How the rewards tiers work

Deposit balance Rewards rate Rewards value
No deposit account 2% dining and travel, 1.5% all else $5,000 spend on dining and travel = $100 in rewards
3-month average combined daily balance of $20,000 to $50,000 2.5%; about 1.9% $5,000 spend on dining and travel = $125 in rewards
3-month average combined daily balance of $50,000 to $100,000 3%; 2.25% $5,000 spend on dining and travel = $150 in rewards
3-month average combined daily balance of $100,000+ 3.5%; 2.65% $5,000 spend on dining and travel = $175 in rewards

Those at the highest tier though will get a best-in-class rewards rate on all their spending.
If you only qualify for the lowest rewards rate of 2% on dining and travel and 1.5% on all other spending, you’re probably going to do better with a card offering different cash-back rewards opportunities.

There’s a nice sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus points, worth $500, if you spend $3,000 on the card within the first 90 days of opening the account. The card also offers an annual $100 airline incidental credit and a $100 application fee reimbursement every four years for a Global Entry fee application or TSA Precheck.

Who should get this card

If you’re already doing your banking with Bank of America or you have a qualifying Merrill Lynch or Edge account, the rewards benefits potential of this card could be amazing — especially if you qualify for the highest tier.

Advantages
  • If you qualify for one of the higher rewards rates, it's one of the best in the field.
  • There’s no cap on rewards and they never expire.
  • There’s multiple redemption options, all worth the same.
  • The annual fee of $95 is low given there’s an annual airline incidental credit worth up to $100.
Disadvantages
  • There’s no introductory APR offer.
  • The highest rewards rates go to those who have the most money in a qualifying account, a feat that may not be attainable for some.
  • There’s no airport lounge access.

Fees and APR

  • Annual fee is $95.
  • You’ll pay a variable APR of 16.99% to 23.99% on purchases and balance transfers based on creditworthiness.
  • Penalty APR is a variable 29.99% that may apply indefinitely if you pay late or miss a payment, plus a late fee of up to $38.
  • Balance transfer fee is $10 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greater.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fee for purchases made outside the U.S.

Extras, perks and using points

Cardholders get Visa Signature perks including travel and auto insurance and protections, as well as benefits and discounts at hotels that are part of the Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.

You can redeem your points, starting at 2,500 points, through the Bank of America website or over the phone. Points can be redeemed for booking travel, buying gift cards, as a statement credit or deposited into your qualifying Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account.

How this card compares

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Card Details
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 15 months

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid, straightforward cash-back rewards card that’s ideal for cardholders who just don’t have the time or energy to track spending categories. It ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards we track.

There are other cards that offer better rewards, but the Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash back on everything is an excellent reward coming from a no-annual-fee credit card.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Card Details
  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • No annual fee.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 24.99%.
  • Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 13.99%-24.99% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months

Depending on your spending habits, the no-annual-fee Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express may ultimately give you better cash-back earnings with a rate of 3% at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in annual spending, then 1%), 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% on all other eligible spending.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Card Details
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99% - 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s hefty sign-up bonus, boosted redemption value when using the Chase portal, and a generous rewards program make this card a stand-out among travel rewards cards offering big value for minimal cost. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used for everything from flights to lodging to cruises, this also makes it one of the most flexible redemption programs among travel cards.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our excellent credit category page.

Card Details
  • Earn 3% cash back in year one & 2.5% cash back after.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 10.74% to 23.74% based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Annual Fee $59, waived for the first year
Balance Transfers Intro APR

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card pays 3% back during the first year of card ownership, then 2.5% thereafter. You have to be a credit union member to be eligible for the card.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.