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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.
 /  12 min
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Snapshot

4.1

Bankrate rating
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Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5

Bottom line

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card can be an average-earning rewards card that doesn’t stand out in a competitive market. Or, if you have a large enough savings account, it can be one that earns at a substantially high rate when compared to other $95 annual fee cards. It all depends on which tier you qualify for in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program.
Image of Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Apply now Lock
On Bank of America's secure site

Rewards rate

1.5X - 2X
Info

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

50,000 points
Info

Regular APR

20.24% - 27.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card Overview

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Card is, on the surface, a mid-level rewards card that earns modest rewards, comes with an annual fee and offers new cardholders a moderate sign-up bonus. It’s not exactly a groundbreaking card, but it does offer enhanced rewards tiers for Bank of America or Merrill account holders in the Preferred Rewards Membership program who meet a minimum required account balance. 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 align with 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 when you compare the card 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.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Substantial rewards rate for Preferred Rewards clients — an up to 75 percent boost with Platinum Honors status

  • Checkmark

    Earns unlimited, boosted points on travel, dining and all other purchases

  • Checkmark

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

  • Checkmark

    Accessible $500-value sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days

  • Checkmark

    Annual fee can be covered by the up to $100 of statement credits for airline incidentals and the up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck® application fee credit

Cons

  • The card’s $95 annual fee eats into your potential rewards earnings

  • The highest Preferred Rewards category rates are reserved for members with large savings — rewards rates aren’t very competitive without $50,000 in the bank with the issuer

  • 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

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 2X points on travel and dining purchases, plus 1.5X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 50,000 online bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 20.24 to 27.24 Variable APR

Current welcome offer

Bank of America is currently offering new cardholders 50,000 online bonus points for spending $3,000 on new purchases in the first 90 days of opening their card account. This bonus is valued at $500, or 1 cent per point — which is decent considering the card’s low annual fee, but a bit less valuable than what competing cards offer.

You’ll need to spend an average of $1,000 per month for the first 90 days to receive the Premium Rewards card bonus. This is a modest spending requirement to receive a welcome bonus of this size. It compares nicely to other cards. However, there are better options available if you can spend around $1,000 more in total. For instance, the Capital One Venture card offers 75,000 bonus miles in exchange for spending $4,000 in the first three months — an up to $750 value.

In fact, you might find that several cards have more rewarding offers for spending just a bit more in a similar timeframe. Both the Citi Premier® Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred come with $4,000 spending requirements in the first three months. Cardholders with those respective cards could receive either 60,000 Citi ThankYou points with the Citi Premier (an $600 value toward travel) or 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Sapphire Preferred (a $750 value toward Chase travel, thanks to its 25 percent redemption value boost).

The amount you plan to spend in the opening quarter will determine which bonus is right for you, but remember not to inflate your spending to chase a slightly higher sign-up bonus.

Rewards rate

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card earns modest rewards with enhanced rates available for eligible Preferred Rewards members. However, the average cardholder who has not amassed a bulk of savings may struggle to make the Premium Rewards card the best card available to them.

How you earn

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card earns 2X points on travel and dining and 1.5X points on all other purchases. Points don’t expire and there is no limit to how many you can earn.

This comparison makes the Premium Rewards card feel a little underwhelming if you’re earning at the card’s non-Preferred Rewards member rate. However, eligible Bank of America or Merrill account holders can qualify (based on their three-month average combined daily account balance) for enhanced rewards rates of 25 percent to 75 percent on all purchases. With boosted rewards rates, the Premium Rewards card has more rewards potential (based on spending habits) than the Sapphire Preferred card and others in its class.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards status tiers

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

How to redeem

Cardholders can redeem their Premium Rewards points for travel booked through the Bank of America Travel Center, gift cards or cash back in the form of a statement credit or a deposit into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account.

Point redemption is straightforward because you can get your rewards as cash back or use them for travel redemptions without losing any value — as long as you have the minimum 2,500 points (a $25 value) to redeem. Gift cards have a 3,125-point minimum redemption requirement.

However, because there is no added value or benefit to redeem for travel, the Premium Rewards card is a little disappointing compared to other cards in the travel rewards landscape. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred 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.

The good thing is that your points never expire, so there’s no rush to redeem.

How much are the rewards worth?

Points earned with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card have a value of 1 cent per point no matter how you redeem them, according to Bankrate’s valuations. For instance, the card’s 50,000-point welcome offer is equal to $500.

This is a little different than some other issuers’ points that have a variable value depending on how you redeem them. With other issuers’ rewards structures, there can be more incentive to redeem rewards for travel instead of cash back because you might get more value out of your points. In the case of the Premium Rewards card, your points are worth 1 cent no matter what.

Other cardholder perks

While the perks available on the Bank of America Premium Rewards card aren’t on the same level as a luxury travel rewards card, they are still decent for a card with a $95 annual fee. If utilized, the perks on this card more than make up for the annual fee and are sufficient for a card in this category and price range.

Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection

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 as well as a $25 food and beverage credit.

$100 incidental airline credit

Cardholders 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 is suitable for occasional flyers who aren’t worried about frills like airport lounges or traveling beyond coach, especially since they may find it difficult to maximize their credits for these types of perks.

$100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®

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.

This feature really comes in handy if the security screening is a major speed bump (or stressor) in your travels.

Rates and fees

The $95 annual fee is standard for a card of this caliber and is the same as that of its rivals, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Citi Premier and Capital One Venture cards.

Along with the card’s 20.24 percent to 27.24 percent variable APR rate, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card poses a 3 percent balance transfer fee ($10 minimum). This is a little lower than the 5 percent ($5 minimum) transfer fee that the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Premier carry, putting the Premium Rewards card at a slight advantage, but only for transfers over $333. However, the Premium Rewards card doesn’t offer an intro APR period for balance transfers, so we wouldn’t recommend it for paying down debt you want to transfer to your next card.

There is also no foreign transaction fee if you plan to earn rewards on purchases abroad.

First-year vs. ongoing value

The minimum amount you’ll need to spend to make the Bank of America Premium Rewards card worth it is about $396 per month, or $4,750 each year in your travel or dining category (excluding Preferred Rewards boosts). This will recoup the card’s annual fee, but keep in mind 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 you 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 you 14,250 points redeemable for $142.50. Obtaining Platinum Honors status will net you even more per year.

Keep in mind, at any rewards rate you qualify for, as long as you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days to earn the card’s welcome bonus, you’ll get 50,000 bonus points redeemable for a $500 value. Depending on how you look at it, that $500 covers the annual fee for roughly five years of carrying the card.

Benefits and Costs First-year value Ongoing value (no welcome offers)
Yearly rewards* +$256 +$256
Welcome offers +$500 (50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 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 at 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 at Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection properties)
Annual fee -$95 -$95
Total value $811 $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).

Overall, the card’s ongoing value is a little lackluster without the boosted Preferred Rewards rates. You might be better off with another travel card or a no-annual-fee card like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card if you don’t qualify for an increased rewards rate. 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.

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

If you don’t qualify for Preferred Rewards membership, the 1X rewards is below the standard 2-point/percent flat rewards rate currently available on other cards like the Capital One Venture. 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 their top categories, like travel and dining.

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

50,000 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

60,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

2x - 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

Bank of America Premium Rewards card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a travel rewards card perfect for beginners who want a low annual fee and a generous rewards rate without worrying about banking with the issuer. Chase offers new cardholders a 60,000-point welcome bonus valued at $750 (if redeemed for Chase travel) for spending $4,000 in the first three months, which comes in at a higher value than the offer on the Premium Rewards card.

The Sapphire Preferred earns rewards at a rate of 3X points on dining, streaming services and online grocery store purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs). Plus, you’ll get 5X points per dollar on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft rides (Lyft offer through March 2025), along with 2X points on other travel and 1X points on all other purchases. Furthermore, points earned with the Sapphire Preferred are worth 25 percent more than points earned with the Premium Rewards card when they’re redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Although the flat rate on all other purchases is worth essentially a quarter-cent less than the earning rate on the Bank of America Premium Rewards card if you account for Chase’s travel redemption boost, we estimate the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s average annual rewards potential* is about $434 — a significant degree higher than the Premium Rewards card’s average yearly value of $256.

Keep in mind that if you qualify for the higher-earning tiers in the Preferred Rewards program, your Premium Rewards card will earn you a better average annual rewards value than you’d earn with the Sapphire Preferred on the same budget. For instance, the Platinum Honors tier’s 75 percent enhanced earning rate will balloon your annual average rewards value to about $447. Still, that narrow margin even with the Preferred Rewards program’s steep requirements will likely make the Sapphire Preferred a more valuable travel card for most cardholders. That’s especially true when you consider the Sapphire Preferred’s roster of transfer partners, its pairing capabilities with other Chase cards and its hard-to-beat benefits.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Card vs. Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card

The Bank of America Travel Rewards card is the Premium Rewards card’s no annual fee sibling that earns 1.5X points on all purchases and comes with a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (made in the first 60 days) for 18 billing cycles (then 18.24% to 28.24% variable APR). A 3 percent fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers. It also comes with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points (a $250 value) for spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. This is a generous sign-up bonus relative to the amount you need to spend — coming in at a 25 percent return.

This is an ideal alternative for new cardholders who don’t use their credit card often and can secure the sign-up bonus without stretching their spending habits. It’s also great for travelers because it comes with a flexible travel credit redemption process, essentially offering statement credits that cover travel-related purchases that aren’t typically covered in that category, such as admission to eligible museums, galleries, aquariums and other tourist attractions.

If you don’t think you’ll meet the $3,000 spending requirement in the first 90 days for the sign-up bonus on the Premium Rewards card or achieve Preferred Rewards status and want to avoid a $95 annual fee, the Travel Rewards card is a great option.

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

You’re best off pairing the Bank of America Premium Rewards card with a no annual fee card that rewards your primary spending categories. A great option is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card. This card gives you the flexibility to choose one of six categories each month to earn 3 percent cash back within. Your choice categories include gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores and home improvement/furnishing purchases — only two of which are covered by the Premium Rewards card.

Plus, you’ll also earn a fixed 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, up to $2,500 per quarter in combined purchases across your 2 percent and 3 percent categories (then 1 percent back). The Customized Cash card’s versatile bonus categories will allow you to earn a higher rate on everyday categories while all other purchases, and those outside your Customized Cash card’s spending cap, earn 1.5X points thanks to the Premium Rewards card.

Bankrate’s Take: Is the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit 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. The Premium Rewards card can potentially earn one of the highest rates on general purchases for cardholders who qualify for at least the Platinum Honors tier of the Preferred Rewards program (a three-month average balance of $100,000 with Bank of America).

If you aren’t interested in a Preferred Rewards status or can’t qualify for at least the Platinum tier (a $50,000 average balance), you may want to consider going with 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 offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Written by
Brendan Dyer
Credit Cards Editor

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 Credit Card Reviews Writer
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* 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.