5 reasons to get the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card

Nov 28, 2020

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Part of the fun of award travel is learning how to maximize your points and miles. You can get outsized value by booking through airline and hotel loyalty programs, but there’s something to be said for the simplicity of cash-back rewards. With that in mind, here are five reasons to add the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card to your wallet.

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1. Diversify your rewards

Transferable points are the royalty of the award travel world, but a well-rounded portfolio should also include points or miles that function like cash. The Premium Rewards card allows you to redeem points at a rate of 1 cent apiece as a statement credit toward any purchase. That gives you the flexibility to wipe away miscellaneous travel expenses including taxis, train tickets and parking fees that would otherwise be paid for out of pocket.

Of course, you can also use these points to cover conventional travel purchases such as airfare and hotels. When prices are high, you’ll be better off booking awards through airline and hotel loyalty programs. But when prices are low, you may get better value from cash-back rewards. Having both options available will help you maximize your return for each redemption.

Related: Not traveling for now? How to maximize your rewards points on other redemptions

2. Redeem valuable travel credits

The Premium Rewards card has a $95 annual fee, but you can more than offset that cost with the card’s annual up to $100 airline incidental statement credit. While this credit can’t be used to purchase airfare, you can apply it to pay for a range of incidentals including baggage fees, in-flight entertainment and seat upgrades. The benefit is offered each calendar year, so you can likely get up to a total of $200 in credits during your first year as a cardmember.

The card also offers a credit of up to $100 every four years to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. This might seem inconsequential if you’ve already enrolled in an expedited security program, or if you still have a similar credit available on another card. However, keep in mind that this benefit works for any Global Entry or TSA Precheck application — it doesn’t have to be your own. You can use your card to pay the fee for a friend or family member, and it will be reimbursed just the same.

Related: Top credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

Sign encouraging passengers to register for the time-saving TSA Prec Check program in the United Airlines (UA) terminal at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD). (Photo by Shutterstock.com)
The card also offers a credit of up to $100 every four years to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. (Photo by Shutterstock.com)

3. Score a large sign-up bonus

The Premium Rewards card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. With a base earning rate of 1.5 points per dollar, you’ll have at least 54,500 points after you meet the spending requirement — that’s worth $545 in statement credits. And if some of your spending is on travel or dining, you’ll end up with a bit more, since you earn 2x points per dollar on those purchases. Plus, earn 2x points for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases- now through 12/31/21.

You can find more lucrative bonuses among the current top travel rewards credit cards, but this is a strong offer for a cash-back product. Competitors such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card come with fewer or less flexible points, or both. Those cards also lack some of the more compelling perks (like the up to $100 annual airline incidental credit) that set the Premium Rewards card apart.

4. Get an impressive return on everyday spending

(Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

The standard earning rates on the Premium Rewards card are 1.5 points per dollar for most purchases, and 2 points per dollar on travel and dining. Those numbers are unexceptional, and you’ll come out ahead (or at least even) by using a card that earns 2% cash back or one that earns more valuable rewards.

However, you can boost your return by as much as 75% through Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. To participate, you’ll need an eligible Bank of America checking account and an average daily balance of at least $20,000 in qualifying deposit or investment accounts. The largest bonus is available to customers with a balance of $100,000 or more — at that level, you’ll earn 3.5 points per dollar on dining and travel, and an impressive 2.62 points per dollar on non-bonus spending.

If you already have high-value accounts with Bank of America, then getting this card is a no-brainer. If not, establishing a new banking relationship — like TPG himself did last year — may be a profitable move.

Related: Stop ignoring Bank of America Preferred Rewards

5. Spread out your applications

In terms of rewards credit cards, Bank of America has historically been overshadowed by Amex, Chase and Citi. Those three issuers have a track record of offering supersized sign-up bonuses and high-end benefits, but they also limit how many accounts you can have and how often you can open new ones. Focusing too much on any single card issuer makes it harder to take advantage of future opportunities, so the Premium Rewards card is a good option if you’re looking to diversify your portfolio.

Unfortunately, your application will still count against you when it comes to Chase’s infamous 5/24 rule, which pertains to the number of accounts you’ve opened across all card issuers. Bank of America also has its own set of application restrictions, so you should wait to apply if you’ve already reached the limit.

Related: The best Bank of America credit cards of 2020

Bottom line

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card doesn’t come with flashy travel perks like lounge access or elite status. Instead, it offers cash-back rewards that are flexible and easy to redeem, and the opportunity to earn a solid return on everyday spending. The sign-up bonus provides a lot of extra value up front, and the card effectively pays for itself through the annual airline credit. So if you’re looking to earn points outside of airline and hotel loyalty programs, this card is a good place to start.

For more information on the card, check out the following posts:

Additional reporting by Peter Rothbart

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.

Updated on 5/3/21.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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