Bank of America Preferred Rewards: What it is and why it’s so rewarding

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Fancy yourself a miles and points enthusiast? Then you’re looking for all the unique — even peripheral and obscure — ways to earn as many points as possible with the least amount of effort.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bank of America points, you’ll want to read our post on that first. Then read this post to learn how you can supercharge your points earning with Bank of America Preferred Rewards. You’ll want to use a Bank of America rewards credit card on a regular basis to get the full benefit from this program.

Access is privileged to those with quite a few assets in the bank, so it could be harder for young people. But I’ll show you why it’s much easier to enroll than you might first think!

Bank of America Preferred Rewards can be a powerful tool that delivers your next free adventure. (Photo by Antwon McMullen/Shutterstock)

What is Preferred Rewards with Bank of America?

Bank of America offers a very unique program for its banking customers. You’ll get extra Bank of America points or cash back for spending on certain Bank of America cards, depending on how much money you’re keeping with Bank of America.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards comes with many fantastic benefits, such as ATM fee reimbursement and discounts on auto loans. But the perk that’ll probably interest you the most is its credit card spending bonus!

If you meet the requirements as a customer, you can earn up to a 75% bonus on your cash back or points when spending on most Bank of America consumer credit cards. In other words, if you were to earn 5,000 Bank of America points, you’d actually get 8,750 points. I’ll explain why that’s so good.

How to qualify for Preferred Rewards

Preferred Rewards are organized into three tiers: Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Honors. The minimum amount you must have with Bank of America to benefit from this program is $20,000, which puts you in the Gold tier. This includes not just your balances in your banking account, but also any Merrill investment accounts. Here are some screenshots to illustrate the perks.

Gold

You need at least $20,000 with Bank of America to earn Gold status.

Platinum

You need at least $50,000 with Bank of America to earn Platinum status.

Platinum Honors

And finally, you’ll need at least $100,000 with Bank of America to earn top-tier Platinum Honors status.

You’ll retain the highest tier you achieve for 15 months, even if you withdraw an amount of money that will no longer qualify you for that tier. For example, if you reached $20,000 in savings, you’d become a Gold member. If you withdraw $5,000 from your account, you’ll still get the perks of Gold status for 15 months.

Which cards benefit from Preferred Rewards?

Per Bank of America, most of their consumer cards, including:

The only stipulation is that your card account is open and in good standing. Also, any 10% customer bonus that comes with your card will be replaced by whatever Preferred Rewards bonus you qualify for.

Here is a list of cards that are not eligible for the Preferred Rewards bonus:

  • Non-rewards credit cards
  • Business purpose credit cards
  • BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards®
  • Merrill Lynch branded (including MERRILL+®, Merrill Lynch® Octave®, American Express® and Private Banking and Investment Group Octave® American Express®)
  • U.S. Trust® Octave® American Express®
  • AAA® Gas Rebate
  • Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®
  • Alaska Airlines®
  • Allegiant World MasterCard®
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards®
  • Amway™
  • Asiana Airlines®
  • Celebrity Cruises®
  • Royal Caribbean International®
  • Sonesta World MasterCard®
  • Spirit Airlines®
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways®

The above list can change at any time, so check the Bank of America Preferred Rewards page if you’re interested in this program.

Why is Preferred Rewards worth it?

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program can be a game-changer for anyone earning Bank of America points, as the percentage boost can greatly accelerate your earning. And because the combined balances requirement can be met with retirement or investment accounts as well, they might be within reach for you or your family. So if you’re interested in the program, it could be worth rolling over your 401k or IRA to a Bank of America or Merrill retirement account.

Let’s look at an example of what you can earn with a combination of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program and the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card. For starters, the card comes with $200 cash back after spending just $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

As for the card’s ongoing spending, you can choose one category (and can change it every month) that offers 3% cash back on up to $2,500 in purchases per quarter:

  • Gas
  • Online shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • Drug stores
  • Home improvement/furnishings

3% cash back is a decent return. But here’s what you can earn if you’re also a Preferred Rewards member:

  • Gold – 3.75% cash back
  • Platinum – 4.5% cash back
  • Platinum Honors – 5.25% cash back

If you spend a lot in online shopping, getting 5.25% cash back ALWAYS is a heck of a deal. But again, you’ll need some serious assets in the bank to achieve Platinum Honors status. For more, check out our review of the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card.

The Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ credit card is another card that greatly benefits from the Preferred Rewards program. It normally earns 2x points on travel and dining purchases and 1.5x points on everything else. But with Preferred Rewards, your earn rate would be much higher:

  • Gold – 2.5x on travel and dining, 1.875x on everything else
  • Platinum – 3x on travel and dining, 2.25x on everything else
  • Platinum Honors – 3.5x on travel and dining, 2.625x on everything else.

If you have Platinum Honors status, earning 2.625x points (which is essentially 2.625% cash back) on all non-bonused spend is amazing and one of the best returns for everyday spend on any credit card. For more on the card’s benefits and perks, read our review of the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card.

Remember that most Bank of America cards are part of the BankAmeriDeals program, which offers special, card-linked discounts at many popular retailers around the country like Starbucks and Airbnb. You can stack these deals with the bonus points and cash back you’d earn through Preferred Rewards.

Bottom line

If you’re able to achieve at least $20,000 worth of bank balances and Merrill investment accounts, the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is worth a hard look. You could earn tons of extra points or cash back with Bank of America consumer cards such as:

Let us know if you’re enrolled — or if the program interests you. And subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and tricks to get the biggest return on each credit card swipe.

Featured image by Wyatt Smith.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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