Who Should Get (and Who Shouldn’t) the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card?
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There are hundreds of different credit cards on the market today, and not every card is right for everyone. The trick is knowing which one is right for you. Which sign-up bonus will give you the greatest value? Which card fits your spending patterns? Which set of benefits will… well, benefit you the most?
We’ve written quite a bit about the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card since it was introduced in September, especially since TPG himself feels it’s the best mid-tier card he’s seen on the market in quite a while. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right card for everyone. So let’s take a look at exactly who should be getting this card and why, but also who shouldn’t be getting it as well.
Who Should Get It
If any of the below apply to you, then you should at least consider whether the Bank of America Premium Rewards card might be a good choice:
Focus on Cash Back — While the Premium Rewards card technically isn’t a cash-back card, you’re earning fixed-value points that are best used for cash-type redemptions, such as a statement credit or a deposit into a Bank of America account. So if you prefer not to deal with the complexity of points and miles — or simply don’t travel that often — this is a card you should consider, especially since the earning rate of the card for top-tier customers is 2.625% on everyday purchases, which is the highest cash-type rewards return available for general spend on any credit card.
$100,000 in Deposits — You’ll maximize the Premium Rewards card if you can qualify for the Platinum Honors tier of Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards banking program by having $100,000 on deposit with the bank or its Merrill Lynch sibling. That’s a lot of money, and for some folks it’s not even in the realm of possibility, but keep in mind that it’s not your balance in just one account that counts, but the combined balances across all your accounts at the two institutions. That means investment accounts, retirement accounts and even 529 plans all count toward qualifying for your Preferred Rewards tier.
Heavy Travel and/or Dining Expenses — While the rewards you can earn on everyday spend are excellent with this card, it really shines when it comes to the earning rates on travel and dining purchases. While you’ll get 2.5x on travel and dining at the lowest Gold tier of Preferred Rewards, if you can make it all the way to Platinum Honors, you’re earning 3.5 points per dollar spent on every travel and dining transaction. That’s better than any other cash-back card on the market when it comes to travel, and it even compares favorably with some high-end points and miles cards.
Who Shouldn’t Get It
Even if you don’t fit into any of the above categories, you might still be considering whether the Bank of America Premium Rewards card is a good choice. So as part of your calculations, ask yourself if any of these apply to you…
$50,000 or less in investable assets — OK, so this one is obvious. You shouldn’t get this card if you can’t put at least $50,000 on deposit with Bank of America and/or Merrill Lynch. While having Platinum Honors status in the Preferred Rewards banking program is ideal to maximize this card, you’ll still earn a decent return with just Platinum status, which you get when you have between $50,000 and $99,999 on deposit. But with anything less than that, you’ll do better with another card.
Focus on Premium Overseas Travel — If you like to use credit card rewards toward high-end international travel that you couldn’t afford otherwise, then this may not be the right card for you. The Premium Rewards’ system is simple — points are worth 1 cent each regardless of how you redeem them. But the downside of that is it would take millions of points to make up for the cost of an international first or business-class ticket, or a high-end hotel. Not everyone cares about that type of travel, but if you do, it’s probably a good idea to look elsewhere.
Transfer Partners — Again, the Premium Rewards card has a simple points system, but that also means you can’t transfer points to any airline or hotel partners. That’s fine for some folks who aren’t interested in scrounging for limited award space or don’t want to chase the latest chart devaluation, but others prefer to try and maximize their points by not having them tied to a fixed value. So if you enjoy finding high-value redemptions via transfer partners, then this card isn’t for you.
Just because a new card seems exciting or popular doesn’t automatically make it a good fit for your lifestyle. But on the flip side, you want to make sure you’re getting the highest possible return with the credit cards in your wallet. So think about what you want out of a credit card when you’re considering the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, and then decide if it’s right for you.
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