How to maximize your earning with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card

Oct 15, 2021

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The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is a trusty travel rewards card with a $95 annual fee.

Often overshadowed by competing cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card shouldn’t be ignored if you’re looking for simplicity in earning and redeeming rewards.

There’s even more value to be found with the card if you’re an existing Bank of America customer and qualify for the Preferred Rewards program. In order to do so, you need a Bank of America checking account and to have $20,000 or more of assets in a Bank of America deposit and/or Merrill Investment account for at least three months to qualify. At that point, you will eligible to receive a whole range of benefits — including up to a 75% rewards bonus on your eligible credit card.

The Preferred Rewards program provides undeniable value for those who qualify, and can make the your Premium Rewards card the frontrunner in your wallet.

If you already carry this card — or were thinking about applying for it — here’s a rundown of how to maximize your earning potential with the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card.

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In This Post

Overview of the Bank of America Premium Rewards card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

First, we’ll go over all of the benefits and perks you’ll find on the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, which charges a $95 annual fee:

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 online bonus points (a $500 value) after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Rewards rate: Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases, plus 2 points for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases until 12/31/2021. Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Up to $100 in annual airline statement credit: Eligible for incidental or ancillary airline purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight food and drink, airline lounge fees and more.
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck: You’ll receive reimbursement for your application to Global Entry or TSA Precheck every four years.
  • Travel protections: When you pay for travel with your card, you’ll receive complimentary coverages such as trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay and lost luggage reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance services, emergency evacuation and transportation protection, secondary rental car insurance and roadside dispatch program.
  • Shopping protections: You’ll receive purchase protection, extended warranty, and return protection when you buy eligible items with your card.
  • Premium benefits: You’ll have access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection and a concierge service.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Strategies for maximizing the Bank of America Premium Rewards card

Beyond the 50,000-point sign-up bonus, you’ll want to know when to use the Bank of America Premium Rewards card for maximum impact. Here are our suggestions:

See if you qualify for the Preferred Rewards program

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program provides immense value for its banking customers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

As mentioned above, Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program is an exceptional way to find even more value from this card. There are three levels of the program: Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Honors.

Gold Platinum Platinum Honors
Required balance $20,000 to $49,999 $50,000 to $99,000 $100,000 or greater
Credit card bonus 25% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America Card
  • 2.5x on grocery store purchases (until Dec. 31, 2021), travel and dining purchases
  • 1.875x on all other eligible purchases.
50% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America Card
  • 3x on grocery store purchases (until Dec. 31, 2021), travel and dining purchases
  • 2.25x on all other eligible purchases
75% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America Card
  • 3.5x on grocery store purchases (until Dec. 31, 2021), travel and dining purchases
  • 2.625x on all other eligible purchases

These are some solid earning rates, especially as you move up the ranks of the Preferred Rewards program. For instance, the Platinum Honors level offers you a whopping 2.625x on all other purchases, which is an earning rate that simply can’t be beaten for non-bonus purchases. For context, cards like the Capital One Venture offer 2 miles per dollar on all purchases and the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% cash back (1.5 points per dollar) on non-bonus categories.

Then, use your Premium Rewards card to pay for travel, dining and even non-bonus purchases

Whether you qualify for Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors, the Premium Rewards is unmatched for travel (2.5-3.5x) and non-bonus purchases (1.875-2.625x).

Many rewards credit cards restrict you to earning bonus points on flights and hotels only. But with the Premium Rewards card, you have a broad travel category that includes — but isn’t limited to — car rentals, motor home and recreational vehicle rentals, travel agencies and tours, boat rentals, tolls and parking fees and tourist attractions such as art galleries, amusement parks, zoos and more.

Similarly, the non-bonus multiplier is enormous with the Premium Rewards card. While it’s nice to have cards in your wallet that offer bonus categories, there can be many exclusions.

For example, most cards that offer bonus points on grocery stores will exclude purchases from Walmart, Target or warehouse clubs like Costco, including the Premium Rewards with its temporary bonus category. If you’re a frequent shopper of any of these stores, that can be a huge chunk of your monthly budget that only earns 1x on most credit cards.

However, even on non-bonus category spending, the Premium Rewards card 1.5 points per dollar spent, and even more if you’re a Preferred Rewards banking customer with the bank (1.875 to 2.625x, depending on your tier), so there’s not be much of an opportunity cost to using these cards for day-to-day purchases..

When not to use the Bank of America Premium Rewards card

That said, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card isn’t for everyone. Here are some scenarios where you’ll want to avoid using this card.

Don’t use the Premium Rewards card if you want access to airline and hotel transfer partners

With transfer partners, you can book unbelievable business and first class seats. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Although a travel rewards card, Bank of America doesn’t have any transfer partners — at least yet. Instead, your points are worth 1 cent each, and you can get cash back deposited into Bank of America checking or savings account or eligible Merrill investment account, receive a statement credit, or redeem for gift cards or purchases through the Bank of America Travel center.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This card is a much-needed breath of fresh air for those who want to maximize their purchases but don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of airline and hotel transfer programs.

Points and miles can be a bad long-term investment, and those who prefer having cash back that can be put toward an infinite number of possibilities will enjoy this flexibility. Plus, many travel expenses can’t traditionally be redeemed with points, such as ski lessons or museum tickets.

Don’t use the Premium Rewards card for dining purchases

This one isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, as the Premium Rewards still offers a great return on all dining purchases. However, I can name a few cards off the top of my head that I’d consider much more rewarding, such as the American Express® Gold Card that offers 4x at restaurants (8% return based on TPG’s valuations) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred with 3x (6% return).

But there certainly comes a point in life where maximizing every purchase to its full potential loses its luster. While you could open the aforementioned cards for better earning rates on dining, that means another card (and annual fee) to keep up with. Thanks to its strong earning rates — and especially if you’re eligible for Preferred Rewards program bonuses — the Bank of America Premium Rewards card is still a good enough option for dining.

Bottom line

Whether or not you qualify for the Preferred Rewards program, there’s tons of value to be found with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card. The up-to-$100 in an airline incidental statement credit each year alone makes up for the $95 annual fee, but the rewards rate is what keeps the card a strong contender.

Official application link: Bank of America Premium Rewards card.

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.