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Bank of America Preferred Rewards: More Rewards With Every Swipe

Aug. 13, 2019
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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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.

 GoldPlatinumPlatinum Honors
Required balance$20,000-$49,999$50,000-$99,999More than $100,000
Relationship bonus25%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 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

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Apply Now on Bank of America's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
    • Generous flat rewards rate on all purchases
    • Flexibility to book travel how you want
    • Rewards accelerator if you bank with Bank of America or invest with Merrill

    Cons

    • More restrictive than a straight cash back card
    • If you're a big spender with excellent credit and willing to pay an annual fee, there are cards with higher rewards

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR
    • Cash Advance APR: See Terms

    Bonus Offers

    25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles
  • Additional Information
    • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
    • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
    • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
    • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
    • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
    • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR will apply
    • If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase

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 levelPoints per $1 spentAnnual points ($12,000 in spending)
None1.518,000
Gold1.87522,500
Platinum2.2527,000
Platinum Honors 2.62531,500

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Apply Now on Bank of America's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Cash bonus offer
    • Cash rewards

    Cons

    • If you're a big spender with excellent credit and willing to pay an annual fee, there are cards with higher rewards

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR

    Bonus Offers

    $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
  • Additional Information
    • No annual fee
    • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
    • Earn 3% cash back on gas or your choice of one of five other popular categories, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
    • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
    • No expiration on rewards
    • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase

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 levelCategory/grocery/other rewards ratesAnnual cash rewards
None3%, 2%, 1%$260
Gold3.75%, 2.5%, 1.25%$325
Platinum4.5%, 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.

Gregory Karp is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: gkarp@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @spendingsmart.