New Bank of America Premium Rewards card – what we know

Ever since Chase launched its Sapphire Reserve product last year, various issuers have launched products (or tweaked existing products) to compete on the travel-rewards field. In most cases, that’s meant releasing high-annual fee luxury cards to compete head-to-head.

But Bank of America is doing something a little different with its Premium Rewards card (due out in September).

Full details haven’t been released yet, but here’s what we know based on information collected from various sources and forums.

What we know about the fees

The card will have a $95 annual fee, according to the Wall Street Journal. No news on whether there will be foreign transaction fees, but, considering this card is marketed at travelers (and Bank of America already waives foreign transaction fees on its no-annual-fee travel card), it’s likely they’ll be waived on this product.

What we know about the rewards

This card will offer a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after $3,000 in spending in the first three months, the WSJ confirmed.

On purchases made with the card, you’ll earn:

  • 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining
  • 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases

No details about how, exactly, rewards can be redeemed have been released. It remains to be seen if this card will have a flexible program like, say, Chase Ultimate Rewards, where points can be transferred to partners, used in a travel portal or redeemed for cash back. It’s also possible the redemption options could mimic that on the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card – namely, redeeming statement credits against travel purchases.

Via Dr. of Credit, this card will work with the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. Preferred Rewards makes your rewards worth more if you have an existing banking relationship with Bank of America AND redeem your rewards into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account. You get the following boosts, depending on your combined balances across your BofA and Merill Lynch accounts:

Bank of America Preferred Rewards: Credit card rewards boost
Preferred rewards tierRewards boost
Gold ($20,000 combined balance)25%
Platinum ($50,000 combined balance)50%
Platinum Honors ($100,000 combined balance)75%

Assuming you’re in the highest tier, you can get 2.625 points per dollar on all purchases with this new card and up to 3.5 percent on travel and at restaurants.

What we know about the perks

This card will offer a $100 airline-fee credit (which covers incidentals like baggage fees and in-flight food and beverages).

This card will also be offered at the Visa Signature level, meaning it will likely include the standard Visa Signature suite of benefits (like travel protections and extended warranty).

What we don’t know (as of Aug. 9, 2017)

Rumors suggest this card will include a Global Entry credit, which would be a unique perk for a card with an annual fee of under $100.

It’s also not been confirmed if cardholders will be able to transfer points directly to airline and hotel programs, a la the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Starwood Preferred Guest program.

Should this card be on your radar?

That depends largely on your existing relationship with Bank of America. If you are in the Preferred Rewards program, the ability to get up to 3.5X rewards on dining and travel (and more than 2.6X on regular spending) is compelling.

If you’re not in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program, you can consider this card a mash-up of other similar cards. It has the annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Preferred with a better rewards return on all purchases but, possibly, no transfer program. It has the $100 airline-fee credit of the Premier Rewards Gold card from American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner) for a much lower annual fee.

Whether you should go for the new Premium Rewards Card from Bank of America will depend largely on how points can be redeemed. So stay tuned.

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