Banks offer perks to entice wealthy individuals to do business with them. Because the wealthy account holders add more to a bank's assets under management (AUM) than non-wealthy ones, banks have a strong incentive to create rewards programs.
Chase, Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. have niche programs that provide a host of rewards to account holders with balances above a minimum threshold.
Chase Private Client
While Chase reserves its ultimate services for those account holders with over $10 million in assets, individuals with $250,000 in assets can take advantage of the services offered through Chase Private Client.
Fees and debit cards: These high net worth individuals (HNWIs) do not pay regular banking fees, such as wire transfer fees or fees usually charged for using ATMs abroad. They have access to additional debit cards with set limits for their family and caregivers.
Credit cards: HNWIs can enjoy the perks associated with specialty credit cards at Chase, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Considered one of the premiere cards for traveling, the Sapphire Reserve gives $300 in credits for travel expenses every year and three times the rewards points for international travel. It waives foreign transaction fees charges by other credit cards when used abroad and provides access to VIP travel lounges in airports worldwide.
Citigold provides the following perks and rewards for customers with more than $200,000 in their checking, savings, retirement and investment accounts with Citigroup.
Waived monthly service fees: Citigold customers enjoy no monthly service fees on their checking accounts as long as they maintain minimum balances across their deposit, retirement and investment accounts. Customers must maintain a combined average monthly balance of $200,000 to remain eligible for the Citigold program.
Rewards points: Citigold customers earn rewards points, known as ThankYou Points, for direct deposits or enrollment in online bill pay from a Citigold account. Customers can redeem these points for travel discounts, gift cards and even cash.
Additional fee waivers: Overdraft protection transfer fees, checkbook order fees, stop payment fees, incoming wire transfer fees, out-of-network ATM fees, and money order fees are not charged to Citigold customers.
Loan discounts: Mortgage customers enrolled in Citigold can choose between reduced closing costs or a 0.25% interest rate reduction. Citigold customers can apply for a home equity line of credit (HELOCs) or personal loan at reduced rates based on the prime rate. Numerous restrictions apply, with good credit being the most important.
Bank of America
Bank of America's Preferred Rewards Gold program is available for customers with total balances above $20,000 between their Bank of America banking account and Merrill Lynch investment accounts. Customers with balances above $50,000 or $100,000 can join the Preferred Rewards Platinum or Platinum Honors programs, respectively.
Interest rate boosters: Rewards customers receive a percentage increase in money market account yield for gold, platinum and platinum honors status, respectively. However, this does not mean platinum honors account holder earns 20% interest on his money market account. Rather, it means if the account is paying 1%, he earns 1.2%.
Credit card rewards: Members receive a 25, 50 or 75% boost in credit card rewards, based on their tiers.
No-fee ATM transactions: Platinum members can make up to 12 yearly withdrawals from out-of-network ATMs for no fee, while platinum honors members receive unlimited no-fee withdrawals.
Mortgage, HELOC and auto loan discounts: Mortgage origination fees are reduced by $200, $400 or $600, depending on the member's tier. The interest rate discount on auto loans is 0.25 to 0.5%. Credit approval is still required for all loans.
Free trades: Platinum and platinum honors members receive 30 or 100 free stock or exchange-traded fund (ETF) trades from their online investment accounts each month. This benefit is also available to gold members who make at least 15 self-directed trades per month.
Each of the three banks offers different rewards, so wealthy individuals should take into consideration which perks they value most before selecting a credit card. Travelers may do best with Chase Preferred Client, frequent ATM users might benefit most from Citigold and those with a lower amount of assets may want to at least start with Bank of America.