This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card burst onto the scene last year, plunging itself into a crowded field of other travel rewards credit cards. Although its points aren’t transferrable like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, it did get high marks for industry-leading returns in terms of cash back.
As soon as I found out about the card, I deposited enough cash in a Bank of America account to qualify for Platinum Honors status in its Preferred Rewards banking program. To qualify for one of the three tier’s of status, you’ll need a three month average combined balance of $20,000 to $100,000 in qualifying Bank of America banking accounts and/or Merrill Edge/Merrill Lynch investment accounts.
Platinum Honors members get a host of benefits like waived ATM fees and discounted auto loans, but my favorite perks is the credit card rewards bonus. Once you get status in the program, you can earn a 25% to 75% bonus on credit card rewards with eligible products.
That means that while the Bank of America Premium Rewards card usually earns 2 points per dollar on travel and dining and 1.5 points on all other spend, in conjunction with the 75% bonus from Platinum Honors status, I earn a much improved 3.5x points on travel and dining purchases and an industry-leading 2.62x points on all other purchases, which is why the card has earned a place in my regular rotation.
As a business owner that employs more than 30 people, I have a lot of expenses here at TPG, from office supplies to all the travel purchases you can think of and more. Normally I put business spend on my business cards like my American Express® Business Gold Card or my Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. However, these cards come with caps on how many bonus points you can earn — you only get 4x bonus points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases from 2 select categories of your choice for the Amex Business Gold, and $150,000 across all bonus categories for the Ink Preferred. I max out these categories pretty quickly, so I have to look for other options.
I use my Chase Sapphire Reserve for dining since it earns 3x points without any cap, and our paid airfare ends up on The Platinum Card® from American Express, earning 5x points on all our flights. I’ve had to look for other ways to maximize everyday, non-bonus spending purchases, many of which now go on my Chase Freedom Unlimited which earns 1.5x points (only if it’s linked with Ultimate Rewards earning card) on all purchases. But at a certain point, we have enough Amex, Chase, Citi and Marriott points, and those points can only go so far for what the business and I need.
That’s why I’ve shifted a lot of my business spend to the Bank of America Premium Rewards, so I earn points that can be redeemed for just about any form of cash back. If you have Platinum Honors status (which requires $100,000+ deposited across Bank of America accounts), it really is the best cash back card you can have.
Over the last year, I’ve spent $903,928 on the card. I know that sounds like a lot, but 90% of it is business spend that I can write off. Here’s the breakdown over the last 12 months:
- Business advertising (earns 2.62x): $832,270 (mostly Facebook)
- Business and personal travel (earns 3.5x): $59,461
- Other (earns 2.62x): $12,197
While that seems like a whole lot to spend on advertising, for many mid-sized businesses, this is quite common. Since I quickly max out the advertising category bonuses on other business cards, I put the rest of our advertising spend on this card. Why? Because it earns an amazing 2.62x points on all spend. So on that $832,270 in spend, I earned 2,184,708 points, equivalent to over $21,000 in cash back.
I also spent nearly $60,000 on travel which includes about $20,000 in flights on BLADE helicopters and seaplanes (I know that sounds indulgent, but I’ll explain in a moment) on which I earned 3.5x points or 208,113 points. Finally I put another $12,000 in miscellaneous charges on my card, earning 2.62x points for 32,017 points earned. In total, I earned a whopping 2,425,469 points in total on around $903,000 in spend, getting about $24,000 in value in return.
While Premium Rewards points aren’t the most valuable in the points and miles world, they still have a unique purpose. They’re worth 1 cent each and can be redeemed toward travel, for gift cards, as a deposit into your Bank of America banking account or as a statement credit to cover the cost of any purchases made on the card.
Back to all those helicopter and seaplane flights I take — yes, they’re incredibly beautiful, but they’re also a huge time saver. They allow me to get to our office in Manhattan’s Flatiron district much faster than if I were to drive. And although these trips can get pretty pricey, I’m really not paying that much thanks to my Premium Rewards points.
I’ve redeemed most of my points from Premium Rewards as statement credits against those $20,000 in purchases with BLADE and other private aviation companies. So really, it’s almost like I’m getting all of those experiences for free. If you’re not yet a member of BLADE, you can receive $100 off your first flight when you sign up with the code: BRIANF&F.
You could theoretically redeem Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou points for these experiences, but just as a statement credit against the cost — meaning you wouldn’t be maximizing them. With the Premium Rewards card, the points are worth 1 cent no matter how I redeem them.
So far, I’ve redeemed 2,258,400 points for $22,584 in statement credits. That includes the 50,000-point bonus I received when I signed up for the card — that bonus is still available for those who get the card and spend $3,000 in the first three months of card membership.
After a year of swiping, charging and redeeming with the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card, I can say it’s one of the most used cards in my inventory. It’s also only a $95 annual fee with a host of benefits like a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit (which I gift to friends, family and employees), a $100 airline credit, trip delay/cancellation insurance, baggage loss/delay insurance and no foreign transaction fees.
At the end of the day, the real strength of this card is that you can earn a whole lot of points quite easily, even on everyday spend. My favorite part is that I can redeem for things I normally wouldn’t be able to with other points programs — and I don’t have to worry about getting maximum value out of each point. Even advanced points and miles experts have found real value in combining Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program with the Premium Rewards card, and I know I plan on keeping mine in heavy use in the next year to come.
Featured image by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
This card from Bank of America gets really interesting if you have a BofA checking, savings or investment account. Depending on the value of your combined accounts you can potentially get as much as 3.5x points on travel/dining and 2.625x points on other purchases making it the richest consumer banking bonus out there.
- Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
- No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
- Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
- Get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Low $95 annual fee