The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card technically falls under the travel category, but cardholders also have the option of redeeming their points for cash back or gift cards—with the same redemption value for travel rewards. While this card may not have notoriety in the travel card world like other options, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, it may still be an option worth considering.
With travel restrictions constantly changing in the last two years, the flexibility in redemption offered by the Bank of America Premium Rewards card has become one of its greatest attractions.
Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card details
Before we get into the reasons why this travel rewards card works so well despite all the uncertainty surrounding actual travel these days, we should highlight the major offerings of this card:
- Rewards rate: 2X points on travel and dining purchases, plus 1.5X points on all other purchases
- Welcome bonus: 50,000 online bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
- Annual fee: $95
- Regular APR: 18.24 percent to 25.24 percent (variable)
Reasons why the Bank of America Premium Rewards card is a standout
We searched for an everyday user of the Bank of America Premium Rewards card and found attorney Stewart Guss, who loves using his card for two main reasons: the redemption flexibility and low annual fee. Here’s how Guss maximizes the card’s value and makes it work for his lifestyle.
Flexible redemption options
While you earn 2X points for travel and dining purchases, and 1.5X points on everything else, you can redeem your points in several ways. Cardholders can redeem their points for travel booked through the Bank of America Travel Center, gift cards or cash back in the form of a statement credit or deposit into qualifying accounts. What makes this ideal is that each redemption option has the same value—1 cent per point.
Some travel credit cards boost your rewards when you redeem your points through a card’s travel portal. This card doesn’t offer that point-boosting perk, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good rewards card option for some.
“I used some [points] for cash back around Christmastime to have more flexibility with gifts,” says Guss. “Since the start of 2022, I’ve just been accumulating the points… If we have a more open world, or at least a COVID-safe U.S. in the summertime, I’ll be glad I have those points.”
The welcome offer
The card’s current welcome offer is 50,000 online bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days (worth about $500).
Guss was able to take advantage of the welcome offer with his card, noting that “you have to focus your spending a bit to hit that bonus, forgoing cash or other credit cards where you might have otherwise used them,” but in the end it worked out for him, and he earned the bonus.
Mid-sized annual fee
You’ll see annual fees up to $695 with other travel rewards cards, which makes the $95 annual fee with this card worth highlighting. Guss used this exact point when comparing the fees of other travel cards.
Since he knew he wasn’t traveling as much as he normally does to take advantage of perks other cards may offer, the $95 annual fee was more reasonable—and he could choose to redeem for cash back instead.
Ability to boost rewards
Bank of America offers the Preferred Rewards program, which is currently available by invitation-only for those with at least a $20,000 average rolling balance within a qualifying Bank of America or Merrill account.
One of the perks of the program is a boost in rewards points for qualifying Bank of America credit cards, and your points can earn up to a 75 percent boost in value as a program member.
Although Guss is not a Preferred Rewards member, he wants to learn more about it so he can take advantage of this substantial bonus.
Other travel perks
In addition to the card’s rewards and potential cash back, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card includes other convenient travel benefits. As a cardholder, you can enjoy up to $100 in statement credits for airline incidentals, up to $100 in credits toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and various travel coverages—such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement.
Further, the card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which is a big perk if you find yourself traveling overseas. Overall, if a cardholder is able to take advantage of these multiple benefits, it more than makes up for the $95 annual fee.
The bottom line
At first glance, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card may seem a little lackluster considering the redemption value of each point is the same whether you use it for travel or cash back. However, considering the volatility of the travel industry over the past two years, it can work to the cardholder’s advantage; you don’t have to feel pressured to use your rewards based on what has the highest redemption value—you can simply choose if you want to redeem for travel, cash back or gift cards.
Information about the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card was last updated on 8/1/2022.