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Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card review: Great rewards for Preferred members

This card is ideal for Bank of America customers with established savings accounts.

 /  15 min
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Snapshot

4.3

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5

Bottom line

What makes the Bank of America Premium Rewards card stand out is the potential for boosted rewards rates when you qualify for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards® program. If accessing Preferred Rewards earning rates isn’t your goal, you may get more out of a different travel card.
Best for savers
  • Rewards value
    Rating: 2.9 stars out of 5
    2.9 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 2 stars out of 5
    2 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

60,000 points

Intro offer

Info

$600

Offer valuation

Info

1.5X - 2X

Rewards rate

Info

$95

Annual fee

21.24% - 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Regular APR

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card overview

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Card is a mid-level travel card that earns modest rewards, charges a relatively low annual fee and offers new cardholders a moderate sign-up bonus. It’s not a groundbreaking card, but it has enhanced rewards tiers for Bank of America or Merrill account holders in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards member program who meet minimum account balances. This feature makes the Premium Rewards card ideal for Bank of America’s more financially established customers.

However, if your savings account balance doesn’t meet at least the Platinum tier requirements in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards® program (a $50,000 minimum three-month average balance across accounts), you’ll earn rewards at a relatively low rate compared to higher-earning options at the same price point like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the flat-rate Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • Unlimited 2X points on travel and dining purchases
    • Unlimited 1.5X points on all other purchases

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • 60,000 online bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 90 days

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • APR: 21.24 percent to 29.24 percent
    • Annual fee: $95
    • Late payment fee: Up to $40
    • Cash advance fee: 4 percent of each transaction
    • Balance transfer fee: 4 percent of each transaction
    • Foreign translation fee: None

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Preferred Rewards Program
    • Travel statement credit
    • Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Preferred Rewards members earn substantial rewards rates — an up to 75 percent boost with Platinum Honors status.

  • Checkmark

    Solid travel perks for a low annual fee, including complimentary Visa Signature® Concierge service and extensive travel insurance.

  • Checkmark

    Perks like the up to $100 of statement credits for airline incidentals and the up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck® application fee credit easily offset the annual fee.

Cons

  • Its rewards rates aren’t competitive without $50,000 across qualifying Bank of America or Merril accounts.

  • It has a 2,500-point minimum redemption requirement for travel or cash back, and a 3,125-point minimum for gift cards.

  • The travel benefits aren’t on par with some other premium cards, and the travel credit only covers airline incidentals, such as seat upgrade charges, instead of airfare.

Why you might want the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Any current or potential Bank of America customer should have this card on their radar because it offers boosted rewards for purchases in two popular spending categories, a competitive welcome offer and valuable perks to offset the annual fee.

Welcome offer: Competitive value for initial spending

Bank of America currently offers new cardholders 60,000 online bonus points for spending $4,000 on new purchases in the first 90 days of opening their card account. According to our valuations, this bonus is worth around $600, or 1.0 cents per point — which is decent considering the card’s low annual fee, but less valuable than what competing cards offer.

You’ll need to spend an average of $1,340 a month for the first 90 days to receive the Premium Rewards card bonus, a modest spending requirement for a welcome bonus of this size. This welcome offer is comparable to other cards. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 75,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months — a value of over $900 when redeemed through Chase Travel.

Preferred Rewards: Boosted rewards rates for loyalty

The Preferred Rewards Program is the only unique feature available on Bank of America rewards cards that makes them worth considering. If you don’t qualify for boosted rewards rates, this card is easy to pass up.

However, eligible Preferred Rewards members have the chance to earn rewards at the highest flat rate available on any credit card: up to 2.62X points for all purchases outside of travel and dining, which can earn up to 3.5X points.

Depending on your Preferred Rewards status, the Premium Rewards card offers the following rewards rates:

  • Preferred Rewards Gold (at least a $20,000 balance): 25 percent boost for 2.5X points on travel and dining with 1.87X points on all other purchases
  • Preferred Rewards Platinum (at least a $50,000 balance): 50 percent boost for 3X points on travel and dining with 2.25X points on all other purchases
  • Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors (at least a $100,000 balance): 75 percent boost for 3.5X points on travel and dining with 2.62X points on all other purchases

Even at its lowest tier, the Preferred Rewards program helps this card compete with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which cardholders often want for its 25 percent redemption boost in the Chase Travel portal. A 25 percent boost to your rate isn’t much different than a 25 percent boost upon redemption. But the Premium Rewards card has more potential. You can boost your rates by up to 75 percent, which is even better than the 50 percent redemption bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card in the Chase Travel portal.

Perks: Provides annual value with statement credits

Bank of America cardholders receive access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection and all its perks (when available), including automatic room upgrades, late checkout, complimentary Wi-Fi and breakfast, VIP Guest status and a $25 food and beverage credit. If you’re interested in this card it’s likely because you want a way to earn travel rewards, and hotels are a major expense when traveling.

Cardholders also receive up to $100 in yearly statement credits for incidental airline expenses to cover eligible costs like seating upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight entertainment and ticket cancellation fees. This perk is suitable for occasional flyers who aren’t worried about frills like airport lounges or seat upgrades, but still want to cover some extra expenses.

The Premium Rewards card also comes with an up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every four years, amounting to a yearly value of $25.

Why you might want a different rewards card

You may want to consider other cards unless you qualify for at least the Platinum tier in the Preferred Rewards Program. This card’s rewards rate is disappointing considering its modest annual fee, and it doesn’t have an intro APR to help manage interest payments in your first year.

Intro APR: Not a good choice for carrying debt

If you’re hoping to stall interest payments for your first year or more with your next credit card this one can’t help you. The Premium Rewards card charges interest on balances you carry from day one of opening your account, so it won’t be one of the best cards for balance transfers or for accruing a new balance you can’t immediately pay off.

Many top rewards cards come with introductory APR offers for both purchases and balance transfers, making them much better choices for cardholders who want to manage current or new debt. Interest payments can quickly limit any rewards you earn, so if you’re anticipating carrying a balance you should consider a low-interest card or a balance transfer card instead.

Rewards: Low rates outside of Preferred Rewards

The card’s rewards rates make the Premium Rewards card feel underwhelming if you’re not a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member. Although they’re not the lowest rates you’ll find, you should expect more from a card with a $95 annual fee.

Eligible Bank of America or Merrill account holders can boost rewards rates by 25 percent to 75 percent (based on their three-month average combined daily account balance), but not everyone qualifies for the tiers in Bank of America’s loyalty program.

There’s also no opportunity to boost the value of your rewards upon redemption. The lack of travel partners and boosted rewards value make the Premium Rewards card a little disappointing compared to other cards in the travel rewards landscape. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card provides a point value boost when redeeming for travel through the issuer’s portal, and many competing cards allow the opportunity to transfer your rewards to travel transfer partners for potentially more value — an option the Premium Rewards card doesn’t offer.

Annual fee: Unjustifiable cost for non-members

The Premium Rewards card costs as much as some of the best travel cards from issuers like Capital One, Citi and Chase, but it doesn’t offer as much rewards value. Unless you qualify for the Preferred Rewards program you may struggle to offset this card’s annual fee with your rewards earnings. However, it does come with a travel statement credit valued at $100, which can help offset the annual fee. Though, you’ll find statement credits of comparable value on other options, too.

We tried it: Here’s what our experts say

Bankrate credit cards writer Ryan Flanigan uses the Bank of America Premium Rewards card to reap significant rewards in the Preferred Rewards program.

This card is my preferred way to earn cash back since I have top-level Preferred Rewards status — I get 3.5X points on travel and 2.625X points on general purchases. This card is valuable and a no-brainer for me. And the airline credit helps pay for the annual fee. It’s nice to see extra perks like this from a bank as a thanks for keeping your money with them.

— Ryan Flanigan, Writer, Credit Cards

First-year vs. ongoing value

The minimum amount you need to spend to make the Bank of America Premium Rewards card worth your while is about $396 per month, or $4,750 each year in your travel or dining category (excluding Preferred Rewards boosts). Spending this much will offset the card’s annual fee, but you can also take advantage of the up to $100 of yearly incidental airline credits and the up to $100 application fee credit for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry you get every four years. Combined, these two perks can provide up to $125 in yearly value and more than make up for the fee without relying on rewards spending.

If you qualify for enhanced rewards rates with the Preferred Rewards program, you can spend less to offset the annual fee. For instance, the $4,750 you’d spend to offset the annual fee earns roughly 9,500 points at the base 2X travel and dining rate (a $95 value). With Platinum Preferred Rewards status, an annual spend of $4,750 in your travel and dining categories nets 14,250 points redeemable for $142.50. Reaching Platinum Honors status will earn you even more per year.

As long as you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 90 days to earn the card’s welcome bonus; you’ll get 60,000 bonus points you can redeem for $600 in value. Depending on how you look at it, that $600 offsets six years' worth of annual fees.

The card’s ongoing value is a little lackluster without the boosted Preferred Rewards rates. If you don’t qualify for an increased rewards rate, you might be better off with another travel card or a no-annual-fee card like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. However, if you have high balances in your savings account and qualify for Preferred Rewards status, justifying the annual fee will be a breeze by comparison.

Benefits and Costs First-year value Ongoing value (no welcome offers)
Yearly rewards* +$256 +$256
Welcome offers +$600 (60,000 online bonus points after spending $4,000 during the first 90 days)
Perks (of monetary value) +$100 (annual airline incidentals credits) +$25 (up to $100 application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every four years) +$25 (food or beverage credit per eligible visit booked though Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection properties) +$100 (annual airline incidentals credits) +$25 (up to $100 application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every four years) +$25 (food or beverage credit per eligible visit booked through Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection properties)
Annual fee -$95 -$95
Total value $911 $311

*Based on our formula used to calculate each card’s average rewards rates and average ongoing rewards value, using Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data and an assumed $48,000 yearly spend over three years ($1,325 per month).

How the Bank of America Premium Rewards card compares to other travel cards

If you're not a qualifying Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, the 1.5X rewards rate is below the standard flat rewards rate currently available on other cards. However, the card has the potential to earn higher than 2 percent back on average with the Preferred Rewards program, making it a great option for Bank of America customers torn between flat-rate rewards and a card that specializes in travel and dining categories.

Image of Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Bank of America's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1.5X - 2X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

75,000 bonus points
Info

Rewards rate

1x - 5x
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Bank of America's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

25,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1.5X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best cards to pair with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card

To cover all your bases, we suggest pairing the Bank of America Premium Rewards card with a no-annual-fee card that rewards your primary spending categories.

Who is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card right for?

You’ll want to pass on this card unless you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member with qualifying account balances. You’ll ideally qualify for the Platinum tier to make this card’s rewards rate outpace the flat rate available on competing cards.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card worth it?

If you have the savings with Bank of America to qualify for a higher rewards rate in the Preferred Rewards program, the Premium Rewards card is absolutely worth it.

If you aren’t interested in Preferred Rewards status or can’t qualify for at least the Platinum tier (a $50,000 average balance), you may want to consider a no-annual-fee card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The Sapphire Preferred has the same annual fee, but comes with a better rewards structure for the average cardholder, a better welcome bonus and extraordinary perks, making it a more rewarding option.

How we rated this card

Document
150+
cards rated
Congrats
50+
rewards programs valued
Location
1800
data points analyzed
Credit Card Reviews
40
perks evaluated

We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest). 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Brendan Dyer
Associate Editor, Credit Cards

Brendan Dyer holds a Master of Fine Arts in Journalism from Western Connecticut State University and worked previously as a content editor for Regional News Network, a hyper-local TV news station contracted by Verizon FiOS1 News. As a national service volunteer, Brendan exercised a passion for helping underserved communities and demographics through direct, community service. He constantly seeks to apply his expertise as a journalist to the field of personal finance with the goal of helping people navigate the complexities of the credit card industry.

Edited by Former Editor, Credit cards
Reviewed by Former Editor, credit cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.