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Despite its name, the new Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card isn't exactly on the level of premium cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which come laden with extra perks but also carry annual fees in the hundreds of dollars. Its closest competitors are on the next tier down. And the best-known of those competitors is the venerable Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Deciding between two rewards credit cards often is just a matter of comparing the rewards you'll earn on each. But the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are similar enough that perks and features beyond rewards rates could tip the scales. Want points you can transfer? Want your checked-bag fees covered? Your answers to such questions will guide your decision.
That said, if you have significant balances in checking, saving or investment accounts at Bank of America® and Merrill, your choice gets a whole lot easier, since the Bank of America® card offers generous bonuses.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards credit card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Full details and application link
Point transfer partners
11 airlines and hotel chains.
Members of the Bank of America® Preferred Rewards program can earn points bonuses of 25% to 75%.
Receive 50,000 online bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Airline and fees credit
Up to $100 airline credit per year (ending Dec. 31, 2021).
Up to $50 statement credit each year on hotel stays booked through Chase.
It costs the same to carry either of these cards. However, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card gives you travel credit that, if you use it, more than makes up for the fee every year. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does offer a $50 credit each year on hotel stays booked through Chase plus a 10% anniversary bonus, which can help to make up the annual fee.
If you spent the same amount on each card, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card would give you a higher number of points because you get an extra half-point for every dollar spent on something besides travel and dining. Plus, you can earn 2 points for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases through Dec. 31, 2021.
However, points on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are worth 1.25 cents apiece when you redeem them for travel booked through Chase, while points on the Bank of America® card are worth 1 cent apiece regardless of how you redeem. Assuming you redeem at 1.25 cents a point, the effective rewards rates for the Chase card are 2.5% on travel and dining and 1.25% on everything else.
If you're a member of Bank of America® Preferred Rewards, however, everything changes. More on that in a bit.
Chase allows you to transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to a variety of airline loyalty programs including Air France/KLM, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United and Virgin Atlantic and hotel programs like Hyatt, IHG and Marriott.
The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card offers no such transfers.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a much richer bonus, assuming you redeem the points for travel booked through Chase.
The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card gives you up to $100 in statement credit for incidental airline fees such as checked bags, seat upgrades, in-flight food and beverages, and lounge passes. Earn the full credit — which you could do on a single round trip with two people each checking a bag each way — and the card effectively pays you $5 a year after the annual fee. The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card also reimburses you up to $100 every four years for the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry program.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does not offer these benefits, however it does offer free DashPass food delivery benefits on eligible orders for at least 12 months (and a maximum of 24 months) after activation.
Preferred Rewards program makes big difference
The secret weapon of any Bank of America® credit card is the bank's Preferred Rewards program. If you are a Bank of America® customer with at least $20,000 in combined balances in checking, savings or investment accounts with Bank of America® or eligible Merrill accounts, you earn bonus rewards:
$20,000 to $49,999
$50,000 to $99,999
$100,000 or more
If you're not a Preferred Rewards member, your effective rewards rates on the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card are the standard 2% for travel/dining and 1.5% for everything else. At Preferred Rewards' Gold level, those rates rise to 2.5% and 1.875%, respectively. At Platinum, they're 3% and 2.25%. At Platinum Honors, they're 3.5% and 2.625%.
Bottom line: If you're a Preferred Rewards member, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is your winner.
Making the choice
These are two excellent cards, so there's no "bad" choice. Cardholders who travel regularly should get plenty of value with either one. If you're a Bank of America® Preferred Rewards customer, you can't beat the rewards you'll earn with this card — at least, not for an annual fee of $95. For everyone else, it boils down to the rewards math and which features matter most.