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- The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is available to select banking customers with at least $20,000 in an eligible Bank of America account
- With five different tiers, program members receive various perks, such as credit card rewards bonuses and interest rate discounts
- There are a handful of Bank of America credit cards that qualify for a rewards boost, ranging from 25 percent to 75 percent more rewards
While Bank of America rewards credit cards aren’t the most popular on the market today, there’s a backdoor move you can make to boost your rewards haul by 25 to 75 percent. We’re talking about the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, which lets bank customers with a certain amount of assets earn more credit card rewards for each dollar they spend.
You will need to have at least $20,000 in an eligible account with Bank of America to be invited to join the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, but the added value could be the impetus for using the bank to store your emergency savings. Also be aware that, through the program, Bank of America offers customers the opportunity to earn more interest on deposits, lower rates on loans and bonuses on their Bank of America credit card rewards.
If your money isn’t helping you unlock better bonuses, it may be time to consider Bank of America Preferred Rewards. This guide will give you a look into the program and help you decide whether or not it makes sense for your lifestyle.
What is Bank of America Preferred Rewards?
Bank of America Preferred Rewards is free to join, but you will only be invited to the program if you have enough on deposit with the bank to qualify for one of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards tiers.
Qualifying accounts for Bank of America Preferred Rewards
To qualify, customers must own or co-own an active and eligible Bank of America checking account and hold a minimum three-month combined average daily balance of $20,000 or more. The cash can be held across several Bank of America account types, including:
- Bank of America Advantage Banking, savings, money market savings, CDs and IRAs
- Merrill investment accounts, including IRAs and the Cash Management Account
- Merrill 529 college savings accounts on your banking statement
- Revocable grantor trust accounts
Disqualified accounts for Bank of America Preferred Rewards
All accounts must be personal accounts — business accounts or commercial accounts do not qualify for the Preferred Rewards program. Other disqualified account types include:
- Employee benefit plans, including 401(k) accounts, and annuities managed by Bank of America or Merrill
- Irrevocable trust accounts
- Uniform Transfers to Minors Acts and Uniform Gifts to Minors Act accounts
What are the Bank of America Preferred Rewards tiers?
Based on your balance across accounts on a rolling three-month average, there are five tiers you can qualify for in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. Earning Gold status requires a minimum of $20,000, while higher tiers are unlocked as your balances grow.
|Preferred Rewards Gold||Preferred Rewards Platinum||Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors||Preferred Rewards Diamond||Preferred Rewards Diamond Honors|
|Minimum three-month average balance||$20,000 to $49,999||$50,000 to $99,999||$100,000 to $999,999||$1 million to $9.99 million||$10 million and up|
|Savings interest rate boost||5%||10%||20%||20%||20%|
|Credit card rewards bonus||25%||50%||75%||75%||75%|
|No-fee ATM transaction allowance||0||1 per statement cycle
12 per year
|Unlimited (U.S. only)||Unlimited (U.S. and abroad)||Unlimited (U.S. and abroad)|
|Merrill Guided Investing fee discount||0.05%||0.10%||0.15%||0.15%||0.15%|
|Mortgage origination fee discount||$200||$400||$600||0.250% interest rate reduction (PayPlan must be established)||0.375% interest rate reduction (PayPlan must be established)|
|Home equity line of credit interest rate discount||0.125%||0.250%||0.375%||0.625%||0.750%|
|Auto loan interest rate discount||0.25%||0.35%||0.50%||0.50%||0.50%|
|Select banking services||No fees||No fees||No fees||No fees||No fees|
Gold tier benefits
Individuals and families who have at least $20,000 saved across eligible Bank of America accounts qualify for Gold’s lowest tier. This level offers an entry point into the program, with the incentive to save even more over time.
The biggest bonus in this tier comes with qualifying Bank of America credit cards and the reduction in mortgage origination fees. Gold members get an additional 25 percent rewards bonus when spending on eligible cards, including the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card.
This means that, with the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card (that offers an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases), Bank of America Preferred Rewards Gold members would actually earn 1.87 percent back in rewards.
If you decide to purchase a new home or refinance your current mortgage, your Gold status will also help you save money. Low-tier members get a $200 reduction on the origination fee of a new purchase or refinance mortgage, which can help you reduce closing costs and save even more on your monthly home payment.
Other benefits from the Gold tier include a 5 percent interest rate boost on a Bank of America Advantage Savings account and a 0.05 percent program fee discount on a Merrill Guided Investing account. Those who hold an auto loan with Bank of America will get a 0.25 percent interest rate discount, while families with a home equity line of credit get a 0.125 percent interest rate discount.
Platinum tier benefits
Those who hold a three-month average of $50,000 or more across Bank of America accounts will qualify for the Platinum tier. Members don’t have to request an upgrade from the bank — once you hit the savings minimum, you will automatically qualify for an upgrade.
At this tier, members get a 50 percent rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards, as well as one no-fee transaction at non-Bank of America ATMs per month, for a total of 12 per year. The no-fee transaction means you will not be charged the Bank of America fee for withdrawing money, requesting a balance inquiry or making a balance transfer. The ATM bonus is good only at ATMs in the United States and U.S. territories, meaning you may still be charged fees for services at a non-network terminal outside the country.
The 50 percent boost in rewards can be pretty substantial, especially with Bank of America’s higher tier rewards credit cards. For example, cardholders with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card normally earn 2X points on travel and dining purchases and 1.5X points on other spending. With Platinum tier status, however, they would earn 3X points on travel and dining and 2.25X points on other purchases.
This tier also sees increased bonuses and discounts for other accounts. Those with a Bank of America Advantage Savings account get a 10 percent interest rate boost, as well as additional discounts on Merrill Guided Investing program fees, home equity lines of credit interest rates and auto loan interest rates. Those who are planning on a new home purchase or current home refinance with Bank of America can get a $400 reduction in origination fees.
Platinum Honors tier benefits
The next tier of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is Platinum Honors. Customers are placed at this level by having a three-month average balance of $100,000 or more in their qualifying accounts.
With Platinum Honors, members get a 75 percent rewards bonus on their eligible Bank of America credit cards. This means cardholders with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card would earn 3.5X points on travel and dining purchases and 2.62X points on all other spending. You also get unlimited no-fee transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs across the U.S. and in U.S. territories. You’ll still need to visit an international ATM partner when abroad to take advantage of no-fee transactions.
Balances in a Bank of America Advantage savings account will get a 20 percent interest rate boost while getting discounted interest rates on home equity lines of credit and auto loans. New purchase or home refinance mortgages by Bank of America will get a $600 reduction in origination fees, while Merrill Guided Investing program fees are discounted by 0.15 percent.
Diamond tier benefits
The fourth tier in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is the Diamond tier. You’re eligible for this level if you have a three-month average balance across accounts of at least $1,000,000.
Cardholders in the Diamond tier receive a 75 percent rewards bonus on eligible credit cards and have access to unlimited no-fee transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs across the U.S. and in U.S. territories. Additionally, customers gain a 20 percent interest rate boost on their Bank of America savings account balance.
At the Diamond rewards level, you also receive a 0.625 percent interest rate discount on a home equity line of credit, along with a mortgage origination interest rate reduction of 0.250 percent (if a PayPlan is established). The auto-loan interest rate discount at this tier is 0.50 percent, and Merrill Guided Investing program fees are discounted by 0.15 percent.
Diamond Honors tier benefits
The highest tier in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is known as Diamond Honors. To be eligible for Diamond Honors, you need a combined three-month average balance of $10 million.
Like the Diamond tier, cardholders in the Diamond Honors tier also receive a 75 percent rewards bonus on eligible credit cards and have access to unlimited no-fee transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs across the U.S. and in U.S. territories. A 20 percent interest rate boost on Bank of America savings account balances is also available to Diamond Honors tier members.
At the Diamond Honors reward level, enjoy a 0.750 percent interest rate discount on a home equity line of credit, as well as a mortgage origination interest rate reduction of 0.375 percent (if a PayPlan is established). The auto-loan interest rate discount at this tier is also 0.50 percent.
How to enroll in Bank of America Preferred Rewards
So, how do you become a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member? Based on your rolling three-month combined average daily balance, the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program allows enrollment on an invite-only basis. That means new customers depositing a minimum of $20,000 across Bank of America accounts will have to wait at least three months to take advantage of the Preferred Rewards program.
Once qualified, account holders will be invited to join the free program through online banking. The online system will take a regular count of your three-month average daily balance, so you will be automatically upgraded to the next tier when you qualify. There’s also no need to worry about losing status due to market fluctuation or withdrawals — your benefits are good for one year, giving you plenty of time to stay qualified for the program.
As noted above, this program determines eligibility based on how much you hold over a rolling three-month period. If your average daily balance is at one of the five Bank of America Preferred Rewards tiers, you will be invited to join at that status through online banking.
For example, say your average daily balance is $20,000 in qualifying accounts in month one. In month two, market changes reduce your average daily balance to $15,000. By month three, strategy changes and additional deposits grow your average daily balance to $35,000. Over that three-month period, your average daily balance would be $23,333, which would qualify for an invitation to join with Gold status.
If by month four your average daily balance was $50,000, you wouldn’t immediately jump to Platinum status because your three-month average would be $33,333. If your average daily balance across accounts grew to $65,000 by month five, however, your three-month average would be $50,000, which would qualify you for an upgrade to Platinum status.
Bank of America credit cards in the Preferred Rewards program
There are several popular Bank of America credit cards, including student cards, that can earn bonuses through the Preferred Rewards program. Depending on your goals, the bonus multiplier from your rewards tier could turn into best-in-class bonuses every time you use your card. Here’s a look at four of the best Bank of America credit cards for 2023:
Bank of America Premium Rewards: Best for overall rewards
- Rewards rate: 2X points on travel and dining purchases; 1.5X points on all other purchases
- Welcome bonus: 60,000 online bonus points after spending $,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- Annual fee: $95
Even at the Gold tier, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card’s 25 percent bonus on the 2X and 1.5X categories will help your rewards balance add up quickly. In addition to the flexible redemption options at the same rate (ranging from travel rewards to cash back), the card comes with up to $100 in annual airline incidental credits and up to a $100 fee reimbursement every four years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, giving you incredible value for a reasonable $95 annual fee.
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards: Best for cash back rewards
- Rewards rate: 3 percent cash back on category purchases of choice, including gas & EV charging stations, online shopping (including Cable, Streaming, Internet and Phone services), dining, travel, drugstore or home improvement; 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 of combined 3 and 2 percent category purchases each quarter, then 1 percent); 1 percent on all other purchases
- Welcome bonus: $200 online cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening
- Annual fee: $0
Combined with Preferred Rewards, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card gives you the most control over how you earn rewards. The 3 percent cash back in your category of choice (on the first $2,500 in combined 3 and 2 percent category purchases each quarter, then 1 percent) would increase to between 3.75 percent and 5.25 percent depending on the Bank of America Preferred Rewards tier you qualified for. Further, the 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs would jump to between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent, depending on your status tier — all with no annual fee.
Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards: Best for unlimited cash back rewards
- Rewards rate: Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases
- Welcome bonus: $200 online bonus cash rewards after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days
- Annual fee: $0
The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card allows you to earn 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases made with the card. Like the Customized Cash, there’s no annual fee, and Preferred Rewards members can get boosted earnings depending on the tier.
This flat-rate cash back card can be especially convenient for those who don’t want to track bonus cash back categories or who don’t spend too heavily in specific categories.
Bank of America Travel Rewards: Best for easy-to-use travel rewards
- Rewards rate: Unlimited 1.5X points on all purchases; 3X points on Bank of America Travel Center purchases
- Welcome bonus: 25,000 bonus points if you make $1,000 in purchases within 90 days account opening
- Annual fee: $0
Travel rewards can be difficult to understand, which is why the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is great for Preferred Rewards members who want decent travel rewards with points that are easy to use.
Status-holding account holders can earn between 1.875X and 2.625X points with every purchase — with no rewards limit. You can then use those points for statement credits on travel purchases at around 1 cent per point. Note, though, you can’t transfer rewards for heightened value like with other travel credit cards, as Bank of America doesn’t offer airline or hotel partners.
The bottom line
For the simple act of saving money and building wealth, Bank of America account holders can unlock valuable bonuses across categories, leading to more savings and rewards. If your rewards strategy is primarily built around cash back, you will be hard-pressed to find a more beneficial program than Bank of America Preferred Rewards.
The information about the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card was last updated on June 5, 2023
The information about the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card was last updated on August 22, 2023.