Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

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

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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. For Preferred Rewards clients, this card is a no-brainer.

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 Earn an additional 25% rewards bonus $5,000 spend on dining and travel = $125 in rewards
3-month average combined daily balance of $50,000 to $100,000 Earn an additional 50% rewards bonus $5,000 spend on dining and travel = $150 in rewards
3-month average combined daily balance of $100,000+ Earn an additional 75% rewards bonus $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.
  • 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.
  • This card comes with a variable APR of 17.74% to 24.74%

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 Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • 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®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 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/Good

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 Intro for 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.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • 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
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed

Excellent/Good

Regular APR

16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 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.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card
  • Earn 3% cash back in year one & 2.5% cash back after.

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

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.