Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Here at Upgraded Points, there’s a ton of emphasis on transferable rewards, also known as flexible rewards points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards.
While these are incredibly useful for making those international first and business class trips possible, those points don’t make your entire vacation free — they just make the airfare and hotels free, for the most part.
The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is unique in that it showcases a lot of potential for a cash-back rewards strategy. Simply put, you can maximize your cash-back potential by combining your banking, credit cards, and even investment accounts with Bank of America.
There are 5 main tiers of Preferred Rewards:
Each of these has different benefits and qualification criteria, for which you’ll find all the in-depth information below.
The short of it is: Bank of America rewards customers depending on their investment and deposit balances. To consider your balances, it sums up your qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment balances.
There are no fees to participate in the program, and if your balances cross a certain threshold, you’ll be automatically upgraded after the qualifying month. Status maintenance is contingent on your 3-month average combined balance in qualifying accounts.
Also, there’s a bit of fine print regarding tier status downgrades:
If you aren’t opening a new account with Bank of America and want to enroll in Preferred Rewards, you’ll need 2 things:
Hot Tip: Small business accounts can enroll in the similarly structured Preferred Rewards for Business program to receive bonus rewards, lending discounts, and much more. Check out our guide for full details.
As mentioned above, there are 5 distinct tiers of Preferred Rewards status. Here are the main benefits of Preferred Rewards, regardless of status:
Monthly maintenance fees are waived on up to 4 eligible checking and 4 savings accounts from Bank of America. There are also no fees for ATM or debit card replacement, including rush replacement, standard check orders, cashier’s checks, check image service, check copies, stop payments, and incoming domestic wire transfers.
Furthermore, you receive overdraft protection transfer fees waived from your linked savings accounts, secondary checking accounts, or from a home equity line of credit (HELOC).
Lastly, there are no fees for incoming international wire transfers and a small safe deposit box.
If you finance or refinance an automotive, you’ll eligible for this discount provided that the car is wholly or jointly in your name.
This is simply a reduction in fees/costs when you take out a mortgage with Bank of America.
Receive priority customer service through the Preferred Rewards Center — a dedicated team of specialists available to handle product and service needs.
No commissions are charged for online stock (equity) and ETF trades. These are waived for individually- or jointly-owned personal investment accounts.
Non-Bank of America ATM fees in the U.S. are eligible for a refund for withdrawals, balance inquiries, and balance transfers.
You’ll earn the bonus when you redeem your earnings to a checking account or at the time of purchase with a points-earning card.
Most Bank of America-branded credit cards are eligible to receive the Preferred Rewards bonus. This is the most useful aspect of Preferred Rewards for points and travel enthusiasts.
Some examples of eligible cards are the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, and the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card.
Hot Tip: See our guide on the best travel rewards credit cards for more options to maximize your rewards, bonuses, and benefits.
This increases the interest rate of a Rewards Money Market Savings account.
Here’s a look at each of the tiers and benefits, starting with the highest, Diamond Honors.
Diamond Honors is the highest tier available; in order to qualify, you need to have a 3-month average combined balance of $10,000,000 or more. If you meet this threshold, you’ll receive a variety of fee-free banking services, plus other discounts.
One of the biggest benefits of Diamond Honors is that you’ll get a mortgage origination fee reduction of 0.375% on new purchases or refinances. Also, you can receive a HELOC interest rate discount of 0.75%, a 0.50% interest rate discount on auto loans, plus the highest-tier client service available.
With Diamond Honors (as well as Diamond), you’ll get exclusive luxury benefits and lifestyle experiences, including customized and unique events from premium brands like Louis Vuitton, NetJets, and Broadspire.
Diamond Honors (and Diamond) members receive a rewards bonus of 75% on all eligible Bank of America credit cards and also get access to the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card, which offers incidental travel credits and much more.
Lastly, you’ll receive a 20% interest rate booster on a Rewards Savings account. This makes a 1.00% interest rate catapult up to a 1.20% interest rate.
If you have between $1,000,000 and $9,999,999 in average combined balances, you fall under the Bank of America Diamond tier.
This tier affords a 0.25% interest rate reduction in mortgage purchases or refinances, as well as a HELOC rate discount of 0.625%.
Incrementally, that means Diamond members enjoy a slightly smaller mortgage purchase, refinance, and HELOC interest rate discount than Diamond Honors members do. But everything else is virtually the same!
To qualify for Platinum Honors, you must have a 3-month average combined balance of $100,000 to $999,999. Once you meet this criterion, you’ll receive fee-free banking services for checking and savings accounts. The exact breakdown of fee-free banking services is in the above section.
You’ll also receive an interest rate discount on auto loans of 0.50%, or 50 basis points, as well as a $600 reduction in mortgage origination fees on a new purchase or refinance. Platinum Honors members will receive priority-level client service.
If you use Merrill Edge for online investing, you’ll enjoy up to 100 fee-free stock and ETF trades per month. You will also have unlimited no-fee ATM transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs in the U.S. with a Bank of America debit/ATM card.
As a perk of Platinum Honors, you’ll also receive a rewards bonus of 75% on all eligible Bank of America credit cards. As it stands, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card earns 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. If you couple your credit card spending with a Platinum Honors account, you’ll receive a 75% bonus on all of this spending, which brings up your earnings to 3.5 points per $1 spent on travel and 2.625 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Lastly, the 20% interest rate booster stays the same.
The qualification balance for the Platinum tier is $50,000 to $99,999 on a 3-month average for all combined, eligible accounts. As is the case with Platinum Honors, clients will receive no-fee services.
Platinum clients will receive a 0.35% interest rate discount on auto loans and a $400 reduction in mortgage origination fees.
You’ll also receive priority client service. Instead of receiving 100 fee-free stock and ETF trades with Platinum Honors, Platinum members will only receive 30 fee-free stock and ETF trades with Merrill Edge. You receive 1 no-fee transaction at non-Bank of America ATMs in the U.S. per statement cycle for a maximum of 12 per year.
Your credit card rewards bonus is 50%, bringing your earnings on the Bank of America Premium Rewards card to 3 points per $1 on travel and dining and 2.25 points per $1 on all other purchases.
You’ll receive a 10% interest rate booster on a Rewards Savings account. This makes a 1.00% interest rate result in a 1.10% interest rate.
The last and lowest tier of Preferred Rewards is Gold. Your fee-free banking services are included with all tiers of Preferred Rewards, including Gold. The main benefit of Platinum and Platinum Honors over Gold is that there are no fees for incoming international wire transfers and a small safe deposit box.
To qualify for Gold status, you need to have a balance of $20,000 to $49,999.
With Gold status, you’ll have to pay for these fees. Nonetheless, you’ll enjoy a 0.25% discount on auto loan interest rates. You’ll also receive a discount of $200 on mortgage origination fees. Also, you are still entitled to priority client service.
You do not get access to fee-free stock and ETF trades with Merrill Edge Online Investing. You are also not eligible for no-fee ATM transactions.
You’ll receive a 25% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards. If you have the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, you’ll end up earning 2.5 points per dollar on travel and dining and 1.875 points per dollar on everything else.
Last, but not least, you’ll get a 5% interest rate booster on a Rewards Savings account. This will make a 1.00% interest rate increase to a 1.05% interest rate.
As discussed above, the main selling point is the bonus on credit card earnings. It can be summed up below:
|Spending Categories||No Preferred Rewards Status||Gold ($20,000 to $49,999)||Platinum ($50,000 to $99,999)||Platinum Honors ($100,000 to $999,999)||Diamond ($1,000,000 to $9,999,999)||Diamond Honors ($10,000,000+)|
|Travel and Dining||2x points||2.5x points||3x points||3.5x points||3.5x points||3.5x points|
|All Other Spend||1.5x points||1.875x points||2.25x points||2.625x points||2.625x points||2.625x points|
With top-tier Diamond Honors status (as well as Diamond and Platinum Honors), you can earn up to 3.5% return on spending, which is great for those hungry for cash-back.
Here’s a summary of the Preferred Rewards benefits for quick reference (personal):
|Benefits||Gold||Platinum||Platinum Honors||Diamond||Diamond Honors|
|No-fee Banking Services||Included||Included, plus waived fees for incoming international wire transfers and a small safe deposit box||Included, plus waived fees for incoming international wire transfers and a small safe deposit box||Same as Platinum Honors||Same as Platinum Honors|
|Interest Rate Discounts on Auto Loans||0.25%||0.35%||0.50%||Same as Platinum Honors||Same as Platinum Honors|
|Mortgage Reduction in Origination Fee||$200||$400||$600||0.25% interest rate reduction on mortgages and refinances (no origination fee discount)||0.375% interest rate reduction on mortgages and refinances (no origination fee discount)|
|Interest Rate Reduction for HELOCs||0.125%||0.250%||0.375%||0.625%||0.750%|
|Client Service||Priority||Priority||Priority||Highest priority||Highest priority|
|Fee-free Stock and ETF Trades||0||Up to 30 per month||Up to 100 per month||Same as Platinum Honors||Same as Platinum Honors|
|Fee-free ATM Transactions at U.S. Non-Bank of America ATMs||0||12 per year (1 per statement)||Unlimited||Same as Platinum Honors||Same as Platinum Honors|
|Credit Card Rewards Bonus||25%||50%||75%||Same as Platinum Honors||Same as Platinum Honors|
|Rewards Savings Interest Rate Booster||5%||10%||20%||Same as Platinum Honors||Same as Platinum Honors|
All in all, using Bank of America Preferred Rewards is best for those who desire cash-back.
You can accelerate your earnings tremendously by combining your credit card and banking providers. Though it’s most worth it when you’re in the Platinum Honors tier, it could still be worth considering when at the lower tiers, too.
You can only use these points for cash-back, travel purchases, and gift cards, but it’s a solid 1 cent per point for cash-back.
For more cash-back options, check out this guide on the best cash-back cards to have in your wallet.
The information regarding the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is the name of the program from Bank of America to solicit customers to merge everyday banking, credit card spending, and even investments into 1 institution. The more assets you hold with them, the larger your benefits.
You can redeem your Bank of America Preferred Rewards points very easily towards a travel statement credit at a rate of 1 point per cent. Other options include gift cards and cash, though the rate is typically unattractive. As a result, the maximum value attained will be for travel statement credits.
Preferred Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point when used to cover travel purchases. They are worth 0.8 cents per point when redeemed towards gift cards and 0.6 cents per point when redeemed as cash directly.
You can qualify for Bank of America Preferred Rewards by having a checking account and maintaining a balance of at least $20,000 for the lowest tier (Gold). If you don’t have a checking account, you can also qualify through Merrill Edge/Merrill Lynch investment accounts.
There is no expiration on Bank of America Preferred Rewards points.
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This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.