New Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card with $500 Signup Bonus ($95 Annual Fee)

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Key Benefits

  • 50,000 points (worth $500) after $3,000 spend in 90 days
  • $95 annual fee (not waived the first year)
  • $100 airline incidental statement credit (baggage fees, etc.)
  • $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ credit every four years
  • 2% back on travel and 1.5% back elsewhere
  • No foreign transaction fees

My Take

The signup bonus is good, clearly, but subtracting the annual fee leaves you with a net $405. On the other hand, depending on how easy the $100 airline incidental credit is to redeem, this might bump the card back up to near $505 in value.

2% back on travel and 1.5% back everywhere is only interesting if you have $50,000+ on deposit with Bank of America or Merrill Edge. I’ve covered this on this blog before, but with that much in assets, you can qualify for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards Tiers (link), boosting your credit card rewards by 50% (for $50,000 to $99,999) or 75% (for $100,000+). This would bring your total cash back to:

  • Platinum ($50,000 to $99,999 in assets): 3% cash back on travel and 2.25% cash back everywhere else
  • Platinum Honors ($100,000+ in assets): 3.5% cash back on travel and 2.625% cash back everywhere else

There is a no annual fee version of this card (link). The main differences are:

  • Smaller ($200) signup bonus
  • No $100 airline incidental credit
  • No bonus earnings on travel purchases (1.5% cash back everywhere, boosted to 2.25% or 2.625% with Platinum or Platinum Honors)
  • Points redeemed only as statement credit against travel expenses (not that difficult, but still an extra step)

Lots of cards have Global Entry credits and no foreign transaction fees nowadays, so I don’t care about those.

Overall, this card is worth getting for the bonus. It’s worth keeping if you have $50,000+ on deposit with Merrill Edge or Bank of America and the $100 airline incidental credit is easy for you to redeem. If you have $50,000+ on deposit but have trouble redeeming the airline incidental credit, you can consider downgrading to the no annual fee version of this card when your annual fee comes due. Anyone else should cancel.

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