Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Credit Card
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 75,000 online bonus points after you make at least $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
- 2x Points: Travel and dining
- 1.5x Points: All other purchases
- Redeem For: Cash back, a statement credit, travel, distinctive experiences, or gift cards
- Annual Fee: $550
- Credit Needed: Excellent
The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card is the top-of-the-line travel rewards card from one of the largest credit card issuers in the U.S. It goes toe-to-toe with perennial favorites like the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and the American Express Platinum Card. But is it right for you?
Read on to find out.
What Is the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Credit Card?
The Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite credit card is a premium credit card that offers several potentially lucrative perks, as well as a strong sign-up bonus and the ability to earn rewards at an accelerated pace.
Let’s start with the sign-up bonus for new applicants: Earn 75,000 online bonus points after you make at least $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
It gets even better from there. This card offers two points for every dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, there’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn and these points don’t expire.
Got a preexisting relationship with Bank of America? Preferred Rewards program members earn 25% to 75% more points on every purchase. This means that you can earn 2.5 to 3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and 1.87 to 2.62 points on all other purchases, depending on your loyalty tier.
Other cardmember benefits include a statement credit of up to $150 annually for lifestyle conveniences, travel insurance, up to four complimentary Priority Pass Select memberships for the cardholder and designated associates, and up to $100 in statement credits for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
Other benefits include up to $300 in annual airline incidental statement credits for qualifying purchases and access to your FICO scores. All told, these benefits compare favorably to similar travel rewards credit cards.
The annual fee for this card is $550. There’s no foreign transaction fee.
What Sets the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Credit Card Apart?
This card has several features that help it distinguish itself from other credit cards in its category.
- Generous travel benefits. This card offers several travel benefits including travel insurance, a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, credits towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and an annual airline incidental statement credits.
- Unusually broad lifestyle expense credit. One of the greatest hidden values of this card: You can earn up to $150 annually for lifestyle conveniences including food delivery, video streaming services, fitness subscriptions, and rideshare services. This is a pretty broad category of purchases that qualify when compared to similar cards.
- Solid statement credit for frequent flyers. You also get up to $300 in annual airline incidental statement credits for qualifying purchases including seat upgrades, baggage fees, airline lounge fees and in-flight services. This is better than most competing cards, if not as expansive.
- Fantastic sign-up bonus. The sign-up bonus just shy of a truly exceptional value. It’s definitely worth pursuing and easy enough for this card’s target audience to achieve.
- Overdraft protection for Bank of America deposit account holders. This card offers an optional service to help prevent overdrafts. However, you have to link your credit card to a Bank of America checking account, so it only makes sense if you have (or are willing to get) an account with Bank of America.
- FICO Score access. This card gives you access to your FICO scores for no extra charge. This is an increasingly common credit card perk these days but not yet universal.
Key Features of the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Credit Card
The Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite credit card offers a sign-up bonus, the ability to earn rewards, and several additional travel benefits.
Sign-Up BonusEarn 75,000 online bonus points after you make at least $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
This card earns two points for every dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases. There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn and points don’t expire.
Preferred Rewards members have it even better. They earn 25% to 75% more points on every purchase, or 2.5 to 3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points on all other purchases.
You can redeem your rewards for cash back, a statement credit, travel, distinctive experiences, or gift cards.
Cash back can be in the form of a direct deposit into your Bank of America checking or savings account, as a card statement credit, or as credit into your eligible Merrill accounts, including 529 accounts.
You can redeem your points for an extra 20% value towards airfare paid with points through the Bank of America Travel Center or the card’s concierge. Or you can use points to book car rentals or hotel accommodations.
The annual fee of this card is $550. There are no foreign transaction fees.
Overdraft Protection (Balance Connect)
Bank of America’s optional Balance Connect program allows you to cover overdrafts on a linked Bank of America deposit account. Cash advance fees and interest charges may apply.
This card offers several additional benefits, including:
- Up to $150 annually for lifestyle conveniences including food delivery, video streaming services, fitness subscriptions and rideshare services
- Up to $300 in annual airline incidental statement credits for qualifying purchases including seat upgrades, baggage fees, airline lounge fees and in-flight services
- Up to four complimentary Priority Pass Select memberships, which confer free or discounted airport lounge access at more than 1,000 locations worldwide
- Up to $100 in statement credits for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years
- Basic travel insurance coverages
- Member-exclusive benefits within the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and Visa Infinite Car Rental network
- 24/7 full-service concierge to book travel, dinner reservations, event tickets and more
- Complimentary FICO scores on demand
This card requires excellent credit to qualify. If your FICO score is much below 720 to 740, then you may have trouble being approved. For better or worse, this is pretty standard for premium credit cards.
Pros & Cons
The Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Credit Card offers a few strong advantages and a couple of notable drawbacks too.
- Multiplier effect for Preferred Rewards members
- Strong new account bonus
- Points worth more when redeemed for travel
- Multiple statement credit options
- Points aren't transferable
- Modest bonus rewards categories
- Few truly unique benefits
Use it wisely and you can get quite a bit out of this credit card.
- Preferred Rewards multiplier. If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards customer, then this can be an extremely valuable card. For example, a top-tier member earns 3.5 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, worth 4.2% of their purchase towards airfare booked through Bank of America. Few cards offer that kind of return.
- Points worth more when redeemed for eligible travel. You can extract an extra 20% value from your points when you redeem them for eligible airfare booked through Bank of America or the card concierge. That’s not life-changing, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either.
- Strong new account bonus. This card has one of the better new account bonuses in the premium rewards card universe, which is saying something..
- Lots of statement credits. This card offers $550 in automatic statement credits, equal to its annual fee. What a coincidence!
For all its benefits, there are a few areas where the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite card falls short.
- No transferable points. For award travel enthusiasts that want to fly in business class, there’s no substitute for the ability to transfer rewards to airline miles, like Amex, Chase, Capital One and Citi allow.
- Modest bonus categories. This card only offers 2x points on travel and dining, while other premium rewards cards frequently offer 3x to 5x points for these categories.
- Missing unique benefits. Other ultra-premium rewards cards in this price range feature some exclusive benefits, such as elite status with travel providers, or access to a proprietary airport lounge network (rather than the Priority Pass network, which this card does work with). This card’s benefits seem a bit ordinary and not very exciting in comparison.
How the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Credit Card Stacks Up
The card’s closest competitor is probably the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. Here’s how the two cards compare.
|Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
|Sign-Up Bonus||Excellent||Very good|
|Rewards Rate||Up to 2x points||Up to 10x points|
|0% Intro APR||None||None|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None||None|
Bank of America’s offering has a slightly better sign-up bonus but falls way short on its rewards rate. Truth be told, its value-added perks aren’t quite up to snuff either.
There was a time when there were only one or two ultra-premium travel rewards cards on the market at any given time. But now, most major card issuers have at least one card with an annual fee over $500.
To compete in this field a card has to stand out, which the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Credit Card really struggles to do. If you’re a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, then this card may still be worth considering. Otherwise, better options abound.
Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Credit Card
The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card is an attempt to compete in a growing field of ultra-premium travel rewards cards. But unlike many of its competitors, you can’t transfer these rewards to airline and hotel programs. What you’re left with is a card with a high annual fee that’s offset by numerous statement credits.