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 Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and the Bank of America® 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?
With the Preferred Rewards program, Bank of America® customers get a bigger bump 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, based on balances. The tiers determine the credit card rewards boost.
|Required balance||$20,000-$49,999||$50,000-$99,999||More than $100,000|
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 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.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers rewards of 1.5 points on every dollar spent. With Preferred Rewards, cardholders can get a 25% to 75% rewards boost on points earned.
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)|
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card has revamped its cash back offerings. It pays 3% cash back in your choice of spending category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 combined spending, and unlimited 1% on all other purchases. Category spending choices include gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. You can update your choice category for future purchases once each calendar month, or do nothing and it stays the same.
Assuming you max out your bonus rewards each quarter in a ratio of $1,000 on the category of your choice 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||Category/grocery/other rewards rates||Annual cash rewards|
|None||3%, 2%, 1%||$260|
|Gold||3.75%, 2.5%, 1.25%||$325|
|Platinum||4.5%, 3%, 1.5%||$390|
|Platinum Honors||5.25%, 3.5%, 1.75%||$455|
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.
» MORE: How to choose a bank
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.