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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
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?
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.
Say you spend $10,000 in non-bonused purchases on both cards. You’d earn:
- 15,000 points with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, worth $150 as a statement credit
- 10,000 points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, worth $100 as a statement credit
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.
- 15,000 points with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card are still worth $150 toward travel
- 10,000 points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card are worth $125 toward travel
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?
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?
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.
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:
- 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
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!
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:
- 2 Venture miles per $1 you spend on all purchases
- NO foreign transaction fees
- $59 annual fee, waived the first year
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.
And if you just want to earn cash back, consider one of these cards with NO annual fees.
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.
- Starting with Chase cards if you’re new to miles & points
- Whether or not you meet the Chase 5/24 rule
- How you want to use your points
- If you’d prefer collecting flexible points
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.