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% are the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card and the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card.
Granted, you’ll need to house 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?
Bank of America® customers get a 10% bump to earnings on their credit card rewards, but the Preferred Rewards program offers a bigger bump if you stash mounds of cash at the bank or its Merrill Lynch-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 Merrill Edge® and Merrill Lynch® investment accounts (calculated as a three-month average of combined balances)
Preferred Rewards tiers are labeled Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors, based on balances. The tiers determine the credit card rewards boost.
Gold Platinum Platinum Honors
Required balance $20,000-$50,000 $50,000-$100,000 More than $100,000
Relationship bonus 25% 50% 75%
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.
Cards that qualify
Rewards credit cards under the BankAmericard 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.
20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card offers rewards of 1.5 points on every dollar spent. With Preferred Rewards, the earnings will be 25% to 75% higher on every purchase.
Here’s how the annual rewards rack up for a consumer charging $1,000 per month on the card.
Relationship level Points per $1 spent Annual points ($12,000 in spending)
None 1.5 18,000
Banking customer 1.65 19,800
Gold 1.875 22,500
Platinum 2.25 27,000
Platinum Honors 2.625 31,500
NEW OFFER: $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
The BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card pays 3% cash back on gas purchases and 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, for up to $2,500 in combined gas, grocery store and wholesale club purchases per quarter. It pays 1% back on all other purchases.
Assuming you max out your bonus rewards each quarter in a ratio of $1,000 on gas to $1,500 at grocery stores (and $500 on other purchases), here’s the annual rewards breakdown for a person spending $12,000 per year.
Relationship level Gas/grocery/other rewards rates Annual cash rewards
None 3%, 2%, 1% $260
Banking customer 3.3%, 2.2%, 1.1% $286
Gold 3.75%, 2.5%, 1.25% $325
Platinum 4.5%, 3%, 1.5% $390
Platinum Honors 5.25%, 3.5%, 1.75% $455
With the boost from Preferred Rewards, the Bank of America® cards compete well with NerdWallet’s best rewards cards.
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.