How Does ValuePenguin Get Paid?

Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program Guide: Maximizing Your Banking Relationship and Credit Card Spending

Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program Guide: Maximizing Your Banking Relationship and Credit Card Spending

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Citi is an advertising partner.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards is an incentive program that encourages customers to do more of their business with Bank of America. Preferred Rewards members earn higher cash back on BofA credit card spending, and you can qualify for special discounts on financial products, such as mortgages and auto loans. These discounts increase in value as your investments grow with Bank of America.

Is BOA Preferred Rewards worth it?

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is an outstanding way to maximize your banking relationship if your financial activity is more involved than a simple checking or savings account. The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program incentivizes customers to use Bank of America as a one-stop shop for financial products. This is much different than programs like American Express Membership Rewards® or Chase Ultimate Rewards®, as these programs focus on earning transferable points for travel based on credit card spending.

While the discounts on mortgage fees, home equity interest rates and other products this program offers can be valuable, its real advantage comes with the bonus value of the credit card rewards. The Preferred Rewards program allows you to increase your credit card rewards value by up to 75%. Names like American Express and Chase tend to dominate the credit cards rewards space, but Bank of America Preferred Rewards is worth considering if you have a Bank of America rewards credit card.

How to sign up for Bank of America Preferred Rewards

There are two requirements to enroll in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program:

  • You must have an active, eligible Bank of America checking account.
  • You must have a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more in either qualifying Bank of America banking accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts.

Once you meet these requirements, you can enroll in the program through your Online Banking portal. You won’t automatically be enrolled once you've met the above criteria, so be sure to login to your account for the initial setup.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards tiers and benefits

Like many things in life, the more you put into the Preferred Rewards program, the more you get out of it. The program has a tiered structure, giving consumers more benefits the more they invest in their banking relationship with Bank of America. And while each tier has the same benefits, the value of these benefits increases significantly with each Bank of America Preferred Rewards tier.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards tiers

Tier
Gold
Platinum
Platinum Honors
Required minimum balance$20,000$50,000$100,000+
Savings account interest rate boost5%10%20%
Credit card rewards bonus25%50%75%
No fee ATM transactions0Up to 12 per yearUnlimited
Merrill Guided Investing fee discount0.05%0.10%0.15%
Mortgage origination fee reduction$200$400$600
Auto loan interest rate discount0.25%0.35%0.50%
Home equity interest rate discount0.125%0.250%0.375%
Select banking servicesNo feesNo feesNo fees

Bank of America Preferred Rewards benefits

While your benefits will increase with growing account balances, remember to keep your financial needs and goals in mind. For example, the mortgage origination fee reduction isn’t beneficial if you don’t plan on purchasing a home. So before diving in, evaluate which benefits you can utilize and if they’re competitive to those of other banks. Here's what you can expect with each of these benefits.

Preferred Rewards members receive a 5% to 20% increase on their savings account interest rates. But while the numbers sound impressive, you should consider that Bank of America savings accounts interest rates are nearly at 0%, and the increase in interest from the Preferred Rewards program is only several hundredths of a percent at best.

For a savings account with a much higher interest rate, check out our best savings accounts page.

Members can get a 25% to 75% boost on rewards earned with a Bank of America credit card. This is a lofty benefit of the program, which we'll detail below.

Platinum status holders can receive up to 12 free ATM transactions from a non-Bank of America ATM in the U.S. per year, while Platinum Honors status holders can receive unlimited transactions. Eligible ATM transactions include withdrawals, balance inquiries and balance transfers. If you fall into the Platinum category, be sure to keep track of how many transactions you make to avoid being charged.

Merrill Guided Investing partners with Bank of America to meet the investing needs of its customers. These services start at $1,000 for Merrill Guided Investing and $20,000 for an advisor. As a member of the Preferred Rewards program, those fees can be reduced up to 0.15%.

Mortgage origination fees can range in price, but will typically cost 0.5% to 1% of the closing costs. The Preferred Rewards program can help reduce that cost by up to $600 if you use Bank of America for your mortgage.

Preferred Rewards members can receive a discount on auto loan interest rates from Bank of America. If you make an auto purchase or refinance a loan through BofA, your rates can be reduced up to 0.50%.

Members of the Preferred Rewards program will be eligible for a discount of up to 0.375% on a home equity line of credit. The discount amount will be based on your account balances or tier at the time of application.

Regardless of your Preferred Rewards tier, you won't have to worry about paying fees for select banking services, including monthly maintenance fees, ATM or debit card replacement fees and more. Restrictions apply.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards credit cards

If you want to make the most of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you should consider signing up for one of the bank’s credit cards. Preferred Rewards members receive between a 25% to 75% bonus on the rewards that they earn with these cards:

Card
Sign-up bonus
Earning rate
Annual fee
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account openingunlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire$0
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases$0
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card50,000 online bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases$95
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card50,000 online bonus points — a $500 value — after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account openingunlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases, and unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases$550
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening1.5% cash back on all purchases$0
Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit CardLimited Time Offer: 25,000 bonus points after you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening3 WorldPoints® points for every $1 spent on Norwegian purchases, 2 WorldPoints points per $1 spent on eligible air and hotel purchases 1 WorldPoint point per $1 spent on all other purchases$0

In addition, the Student and Secured versions of the Travel Rewards, Customized Cash and Unlimited Cash Rewards cards are eligible, as is the Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa® credit card from Bank of America.

How to maximize your Bank of America Preferred Rewards credit card

If you have over $100,000 in cash between your checking account and Merrill Guided Investing account, you’ll reach Platinum Honors status. If you can pair this with one or more of the Bank of America's credit cards, you can achieve outstanding returns on your spending.

Here is a sample of the category bonuses that a Platinum Honors member can earn on Bank of America cards with the 75% bonus figured in:

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Travel/Dining2.62%1.75%3.5%
Groceries/Wholesale Clubs2.62%3.5% ($2,500/quarter)2.62%
Gas2.62%5.25% ($2,500/quarter, if gas is your choice category)2.62%
All other purchases2.62%1.75%2.62%

Should you join the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program?

Though the financial discounts and credit card bonus rates are excellent, it's always vital to analyze your spending and pick the best credit cards and loyalty programs for your needs. Nearly all cards and programs have unique benefits and incentives to draw in new customers, but they won’t all work for you.

To determine if the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is worth it, identify your financial needs and see if the program benefits match them. If they do, the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program may be worth your investment. If not, the wide range of transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards® or American Express may be a better fit instead.

Frequently asked questions

To qualify for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you must have an open Bank of America checking account, as well as a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more either in qualifying Bank of America banking accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts.

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is Bank of America's way of rewarding clients who bank with them by offering discounts on financial products and bonus points on BofA credit card spending.

Bank of America points are typically worth 1 cent each.

The information related to Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card, Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card and Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).