Bank of America® offers competitive rewards credit cards to the general public. But if you’re a banking or investment customer, the cards can become outstanding choices through the bank's Preferred Rewards program.
That’s because the bank offers accelerated points and cash back from its rewards credit cards — along with other banking goodies — as part of its loyalty program, which can be especially lucrative for high-balance customers. Credit cards that qualify for a rewards boost of 25% to 75% include:
Granted, you’ll need to keep tens of thousands of banking and investment dollars with Bank of America® to qualify for what it calls a “relationship bonus.” And credit card rewards probably aren’t the foremost factor when deciding on a financial institution for your household wealth.
Still, if Bank of America® financial products appeal to you, consider its Preferred Rewards program and the accompanying boost to credit card rewards.
What is the Preferred Rewards program?
With the Preferred Rewards program, Bank of America® customers get a bigger bump in credit card rewards if they stash mounds of cash at the bank or its Merrill-branded investment arms.
To qualify for the Bank of America® Preferred Rewards program, you need:
A Bank of America® personal checking account
$20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America® accounts, which include eligible Merrill investment accounts (calculated as a three-month average of combined balances)
Preferred Rewards tiers are labeled Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors. Your combined balances determine which tier you're in, and the tier determines how much of boost. you get in your credit card rewards.
$20,000 to $49,999
$50,000 to $99,999
$100,000 or more
Once you reach a rewards tier, you can keep the program benefits for a total of 15 months if your balances drop below the thresholds.
Preferred Rewards offers more than extra credit card rewards. You can also get interest-rate boosts on money market accounts, no-fee ATM transactions, reduced mortgage origination fees and loan rate discounts, among other perks. For more information, see the Bank of America® website.
How card rewards add up
Rewards credit cards under the Bank of America brand qualify for Preferred Rewards. Excluded are business credit cards and such non-rewards cards as the BankAmericard® credit card, the bank’s secured cards and its non-rewards student card.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card gives you 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases.
Here’s how the annual rewards rack up for a consumer charging $1,000 per month on the card.
Preferred Rewards level
Points per $1 spent
Annual points ($12,000 in spending)
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card pays 3% cash back in a spending category of your choice and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, on up to $2,500 in combined spending per quarter; all other spending earns 1%. Choices for the 3% category include gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, or home improvement/furnishings. You can update your category for future purchases once each calendar month; do nothing, and it stays the same.
Here's how those rates translate when you take Preferred Rewards into account:
Peferred Rewards level
Choice category rewards
Grocery/ wholesale rewards
Gold (25% boost)
Platinum (50% boost)
Platinum Honors (75% boost)
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card earns unlimited 2 points per dollar spend on travel and dining and 1.5 points per dollar on other purchases. With Preferred Rewards:
Preferred Rewards level
Points per dollar on dining/travel
Points per dollar on other spending
Why you might avoid Preferred Rewards
Compare Bank of America® account offerings for banking and investing with other choices. Higher fees and expenses on some financial products — or lower savings rates — could reduce or wipe out bonus earnings from credit card rewards.
NerdWallet rates Bank of America® banking offerings as fair overall, although the bank excels at some aspects and not others.
Credit card rewards shouldn’t drive your decision on where to do banking and investing. But if your relationship with Bank of America® qualifies you for preferred status, be sure to reap your Preferred Rewards.
» MORE: How to choose a bank