Bank of America has launched its own premium credit card to compete with the likes of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum Card, and Capital One Venture X. The new Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite credit card offers a handful of travel and lifestyle benefits but doesn't pack as much of a punch in the rewards department as its competitors.
- The Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite credit card is the first premium credit card offered by its card issuer.
- The card offers a suite of luxury benefits to go with its $550 annual fee.
- However, the card doesn't quite measure up compared to other premium cards when it comes to rewards unless you're a high-net-worth Bank of America or Merrill Lynch customer.
Details for the New Bank of America Premium Credit Card
After being dominated by the Platinum Card from American Express for a few decades, the premium credit card market has heated up in recent years. Now, many of the major credit card companies offer one, with Bank of America being the latest in line.
The Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite credit card offers some impressive benefits, but some omissions make it less interesting than its competitors unless you're a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.
Here's a quick breakdown of what the new card offers.
When you first get the card, you'll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. You'll also get unlimited 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per dollar on everything else.
If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you could get up to 75% more points on your purchases. To qualify, you need a three-month combined average balance of at least $20,000 in qualifying Bank of America and Merrill Lynch accounts. If you have $20,000 or more, you'll earn 25% more points with the card, $50,000 will get you 50% more and you'll get 75% more points with $100,000 or more in assets.
You can use your points to get 20% off airfare when you book through the Bank of America Travel Center or the concierge. Alternatively, you can use your rewards to book car rentals and hotels, get cash back, buy gift cards or book experiences or event tickets through the bank's concierge.
One glaring omission here compared to other premium credit cards is the lack of transfer partners. With American Express, Chase, Citi and Capital One, you can get far more value by transferring your points to an airline or hotel rewards program than by redeeming them directly with the card issuer.
Like other top-tier credit cards, the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite credit card really shines with its card benefits:
- Get up to $300 in airline incidental fee credits to use on preferred seating upgrades, ticket change or cancellation fees, checked baggage fees, in-flight entertainment, onboard food and beverage charges, and airport lounge fees affiliated with eligible airline carriers.
- Receive up to $150 in annual statement credits toward qualifying rideshare, food delivery, streaming service and fitness purchases.
- Get complimentary access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges.
- Get a credit of up to $100 toward an application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
These perks are similar to what some other premium cards offer, but the airline incidental fee credit isn't nearly as flexible as the $300 travel credit offered by the Sapphire Reserve. However, the $150 lifestyle credit should be easy to maximize.
Keep in mind, though, that the card has a $550 annual fee, so you'll need to get that much value or more every year to make it worth your while.
Is the New Bank of America Card Worth It?
In general, the new Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite credit card fails to stack up well against other premium credit cards. It'd be difficult for cardholders to make up for the card's yearly cost from its perks alone. And if you aren't a high-net-worth Bank of America or Merrill Lynch, the rewards program is a bit underwhelming, even with the 20% discount on flights booked with points. The lack of transfer partners is the most glaring deficiency.
However, if you are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, you could potentially get up to 3.5% back on travel and dining and up to 2.62% back on everything else, which is impressive and, in conjunction with the 20% discount on airfare, could be worth the annual fee.
Before you consider the card, though, be sure to compare it with other premium travel credit cards to determine which will provide you with the most value based on your spending and travel habits.