Card Showdown: Bank of America Premium Rewards Vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

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Card Showdown: Bank of America Premium Rewards Vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Million Mile SecretsCard Showdown: Bank of America Premium Rewards Vs. Chase Sapphire PreferredMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Bank of America recently launched the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.  And folks are wondering if it’s worth adding to their wallet.

Bank Of America Premium Rewards Card Comparison
The Bank of America Premium Rewards Card Sounds Similar to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. But There Are Key Differences to Understand

On the surface, it looks to be a direct competitor to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  Because they share similar perks, like a 50,000-point sign-up bonus and 2X points on travel and dining.  And the annual fee on both cards is $95 (waived the first year for the Sapphire Preferred).

But each card has differences that are deciding factors for your situation!

About the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

Link:   Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card

The new Bank of America Premium Rewards card comes with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.  It also comes with:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases
  • 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $100 airline incidental credit (per calendar year)
  • $100 Global Entry / TSA PreCheck credit
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee, NOT waived the first year

Even though the annual fee isn’t waived, you can use the $100 airline incidental credit right away.  So if you make the most of it, it completely covers the annual fee every year!  This card is better for folks who want a way to offset the annual fee through a card’s built-in perks.

Here’s my full review of the card.  Emily and I don’t earn a commission if you apply, but we’ll always help you get the best deals!

But Wait…How Does It Compare to Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Link:  Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

When you open the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

This card also earns 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining.  But it only earns 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else.  The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95.  And there are also NO foreign transaction fees.

There aren’t any airline or Global Entry credits with this card.  But Chase Ultimate Rewards points are my favorite kind of points because of their flexibility.  Here’s what to consider if you’re torn between the 2 cards.

1.   If You’re Over “5/24”

Chase will NOT approve you for most cards if you’ve opened 5+ cards in the last 24 months (except Chase business cards and certain other business cards) according to their 5/24 rule.  If you’re new to miles & points, I recommend starting with Chase cards.  Because they have some of the best travel rewards cards around!

And after you get the Chase cards you want, you can always apply for the the Bank of America Premium Rewards card later. 😉

But if you’re over the 5/24 limit, you might consider picking up the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.  A 50,000 point sign-up bonus is a good deal!

2.   Do You Redeem Your Points for Cash?

The sign-up bonus on both cards is worth $500 when you redeem for a statement credit.  Because points are worth 1 cent each when you redeem them this way.

If you like to earn cash in hand, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card earns more points overall.  Because you’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining.  And 1.5 points per $1 spent everywhere else.  That’s 50% more than you’ll earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred on everyday spending.

Bank Of America Premium Rewards Card Comparison
The Bonus on Both Cards Is Worth $500 When Redeemed for Cash. But You’ll Earn More Points Overall With the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

Say you spend $10,000 in non-bonused purchases on both cards.  You’d earn:

And when you consider the other perks, you get $605 with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card after you pay the annual fee ($500 sign-up bonus + $100 airline incidental credit in 2017 + $100 airline incidental credit in 2018 – $95 annual fee).  So it’s the better choice between the 2 if you just want cash back!

3.   If You Prefer to Use Points for Travel

Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred are worth 1.25 cents each when you book travel through Chase.  But with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, they’re still worth 1 cent each.  Let’s take that same $10,000 in everyday spending again.

With both cards, you won’t have to worry about blackout dates.  And you still come out ahead with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.  However, there’s one HUGE difference to consider with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

4.   Do You Want a Flexible Points Program?

Link:   The Trick to Travel Flexibility: Transferable Points

I love collecting flexible points like those earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  They’re my favorite kind of points because you can transfer them to valuable airline and hotel partners.

Bank Of America Premium Rewards Card Comparison
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Give You Flexibility! You Can Transfer Points Directly to Hyatt, Southwest, and Other Travel Partners

Usually, when you transfer points, they’re worth well over 1 cent each.  And with Southwest and Hyatt, there aren’t any blackout dates!  As long as a ticket or standard room is for sale, you can book with points.  In my opinion, having flexibility adds value because you can use them for all kinds of travel.  And each travel partner has their own sweet spots.  Here are ideas on how to use the sign-up bonus for Big Travel.

By comparison, the points you earn with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card will always be worth 1 cent each, no matter how you redeem them.  So folks looking to get the most value from their points program should consider the advantages of a program with more flexibility!

What Else Should You Consider?

There are a couple of other things to think about for folks who want to make the most of other benefits.

1.   Do You Rent Cars Often?

Link:   13 Credit Cards That Offer Primary Rental Car Insurance

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you get primary rental car insurance when you use the card to pay for the cost of the rental.  That means if you have to make a claim, you won’t have to involve your personal insurance company.  Instead, you can file a claim directly through Chase.

Bank Of America Premium Rewards Card Comparison
Better Safe Than Sorry! The Chase Sapphire Preferred Comes With Primary Rental Car Coverage

The coverage on the Bank of America Premium Rewards card is secondary.  Team member Harlan always uses a card with primary rental insurance to pay for rentals.  It’s something to consider if you frequently rent cars for travel or business.

2.   If You Have an Investment Relationship with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

If you’re a part of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program, you’ll enjoy a higher earning rate with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.  Based on the amount of money you have in your Bank of America account, or invested with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch, you’ll earn:

  • Bank of America checking accounts up to $19,999 –  10% bonus
  • Preferred Rewards Gold members with $20,000 to $50,000 in assets – 25% bonus
  • Preferred Rewards Platinum members with $50,000  to $100,000 – 50% bonus
  • Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors members with $100,000 or more – 75% bonus
Bank Of America Premium Rewards Card Comparison
If You Have $100,000 to Stash in a Bank of America Account, You’ll Earn a LOT More Points

So you could earn 3.5 points per $1 on travel and dining, and 2.625 points per $1 on everything else (1.5 points for regular spending X 75% bonus for being Preferred Rewards Platinum member) – if you have $100,000+ to put in a Bank of America account.

This won’t apply to most folks.  But it’s a great earning rate if you can get it!

If You Just Want to Book Travel, Skip Both Cards!

Link:   Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 

Link:   My Review of the Capital One Venture Card

The Capital One Venture card offers 40,000 Venture miles (worth $400 in travel) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.  And Capital One Venture miles are straightforward to earn and redeem for LOTS of different travel purchases – without blackout dates!

The sign-up bonus is NOT as much.  But, you’ll get:

  • Venture miles per $1 you spend on all purchases
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • $59 annual fee, waived the first year
Bank Of America Premium Rewards Card Comparison
If You Want a Straightforward Rewards Program to Book Travel Without Blackout Dates, the Capital One Venture Is Worth a Look

So instead of 1.5 points per $1 spent on non-bonused with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, or 1 point per $1 spent with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent everywhere.  And the annual fee is only $59 compared to $95 on the other cards.

Here’s my review.

And if you just want to earn cash back, consider one of these cards with NO annual fees.

Bottom Line

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card and Chase Sapphire Preferred card have a lot in common.  They both have a sign-up bonus worth $500 in cash back, earn 2X points on travel and dining, and a $95 annual fee.

But consider:

Depending on your goals and how you plan to use the points you’ll earn, either (or even both!) cards could make sense.  However, if you only want to book travel without blackout dates, consider the Capital One Venture card instead, with a sign-up bonus worth $400 toward travel!

And check out these cards if you prefer to only earn cash back without annual fees.

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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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Waiting for Chase to raise that signup bonus then I’m in…

Yes the cash option is nice, but for the best deal, bar none, the option to transfer miles to airlines for tickets is the real deal. 40K or 50K air miles will get you RT ticket East Coast to Europe, usually priced at between $800 and $1000, Even much better deals on Business class. Do the math my friends. and my question, why do these articles always skirt around this issue when discussing Bank of America and Capital one?

Really? The CSP is the best deal, bar none? As mentioned in the article, if you have $100k+ invested in any sort of brokerage or retirement account with BOA/Merrill (you’d be surprised about the number of readers that do) then you will be earning 3.5% on ALL travel, bar none. With the CSP, you’d need to consistently redeem points at 1.75 cpp or better in order to achieve better value, which is certainly possible, but many people prefer the simplicity of cash back. Plus, when redeeming for cash back, you can then earn more points back on your purchase when you book the tickets in cash, vs. 0 points earned when redeeming them with UR points on the CSR. Furthermore, the CSP is a $95 annual fee card, while the BOA card has a net annual fee of $0 (so there’s literally no reason not to get it, at a very minimum just for the signup bonus). The REAL debate is whether you should have the CSP or CSR, and in almost every instance, you will come out ahead with the CSR. Anyone who chooses to waste a valuable chase slot on the CSP now (especially after the one-sapphire-card-per-person rule) rather than the CSR is foolish. Anyone that neglects to get the new BOA card at least for the signup bonus is even more foolish, bar none.

I agree but wait until the bonus on CSR increase to 80K or 100K, the current 50k is not worth the annual fee of $450. And the $300 travel credit doesn’t apply until you have your anniversary of owning it as far as I understand.