Your guide to the Bank of America Premium Rewards card airline fee credit

Dec 17, 2019

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The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card continues to fly under the radar, despite having the potential to offer the highest base cash-back rate of any rewards credit card. If you hold $100,000 or more in assets with Bank of America and/or Merrill, you qualify for Platinum Honors in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. This gives you a 75% bonus on all rewards, equating to a minimum of 2.625x points on all purchases and 3.5x points on all dining and travel purchases. The card is currently offering 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on the card in the first 90 days of account opening, and it carries a $95 annual fee.

How the Bank of America airline fee credit works

Bank of America’s airline fee credit (up to $100 statement credit each calendar year) works a little differently from the airline incidental fee statement credit you get with Amex cards such as the  The Platinum Card® from American Express. Rather than have to designate an airline at the beginning of the year, Bank of America allows you to earn the credit across any eligible airline throughout the year. Enrollment required for select benefits. 

For example, you could use your Bank of America airline fee credit for checked bags on Delta one month and then inflight drinks on American the next. This gives you more flexibility to use your credit where you need it, rather than forcing you to guess which single airline you’ll be able to use it on.

It can potentially take anywhere from two to three weeks for your credit to post to your card account. While there are plenty of instances where we’ve seen that take less, don’t be alarmed if it does take the full time frame.

Another feature that Bank of America offers is the ability to check how much of your $100 airline credit you have used.


Which airlines qualify for the credit?

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-300 landing at Athens International Airport AIA , LGAV / ATH Eleftherios Venizelos, with registration N806NW, a former Northwest Airlines Airplane. The aircraft has 2x PW4000 engines. Delta Airlines DAL DL connects seasonal Athens to New York JFK airport in the US. The airline has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Delta is a member of SkyTeam airline alliance. Delta has the second largest fleet size with 918 airplanes. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Delta is one of many airlines that will trigger the Bank of America airline fee credit. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Bank of America does not have an official list published that outlines which airlines qualify for the incidental fee credit, though the terms and conditions do specify that only select U.S. carriers qualify. According to some readers and these FlyerTalk data points, Spirit and Sun Country are excluded. The following airlines are known to work:

  • Alaska
  • American
  • Delta
  • Frontier
  • Hawaiian
  • Jet Blue
  • Southwest
  • United

That list is very similar to Amex’s list of qualifying airlines (with the exception of Spirit Airlines, which the Amex fee does cover).

What purchases trigger the credit?

According to the Premium Rewards Card terms and conditions, the following purchases will trigger your Bank of America airline fee credit:

  • Preferred seating upgrades
  • Ticket change/cancellation fees
  • Checked baggage fees
  • Inflight entertainment
  • Onboard food and drink charges
  • Airport lounge fees affiliated with eligible airline carriers
(Photo by wundervisuals/Getty Images)
If you don’t have elite status or a cobranded credit card that provides free checked bags, the Bank of America airline fee credit it will cover it. (Photo by wundervisuals/Getty Images)

The purchases have to be paid in full with your Bank of America Premium Rewards card, and they must be made on a flight originating from a domestic airport on a qualifying U.S. airline carrier.

The terms and conditions do explicitly state that the following purchases will not qualify for the credit:

  • Airline tickets
  • Mileage point purchases
  • Mileage point transfer fees
  • Gift cards
  • Duty-free purchases
  • Award tickets and fees incurred with airline alliance partners

Also keep in mind that inflight Wi-Fi access processed through a third party like Gogo likely will not qualify.

Of course, there are sometimes exceptions to this rule. There have been data points presented by readers and in other online forums where charges outside the official list have counted. Occasionally award booking taxes, first-class upgrades and other fees will end up coding as an eligible purchase for the credit. However, we don’t suggest counting on credit for fees that the credit isn’t intended to cover — it’s hit-or-miss at best and easier to just use the perk as intended. In the past, you could get away with buying gift cards on certain airlines with the credit, but issuers have cracked down recently to close that loophole.

Bottom Line

Airlines can change the merchant category code of a certain transaction, Bank of America could update what merchant codes and charges count, and airlines can change whether or not something is processed by a third party. This means what counts toward the credit will be a living list year by year based on what’s currently working.

If you’ve charged what you believe to be a qualifying airline fee and it’s not automatically reimbursed, you can call Bank of America and ask for the credit.

If you hold the Premium Rewards credit card, we’d love you to share your own experiences in the comments below so we can keep the list up to date.

Additional reporting by Richard Kerr. 

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.