Bank of America Premium Rewards card benefits guide

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is a mid-tier travel credit card. At $95 per year, it earns 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases.

The card also offers a few desirable perks, which can make it a solid choice for frequent travelers who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars in annual fees on premium rewards cards. The benefits include TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credits, airline incidental credits, travel protections and more.

In this benefits guide, you’ll learn what the Bank of America Premium Rewards card has to offer and how you can use the card to maximize its value.

Bank of America Premium Rewards card benefits

For a credit card with a comparatively modest annual fee, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card has a few exciting things going on.

TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credits

Credits to reimburse the cost of a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership are a popular credit card perk among travelers. However, it’s typically associated with more expensive credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

See related: Best credit cards for expedited airport security screening

If like most travelers, you like the idea of expedited airport security screening, you can get up to $100 in statement credits for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry once every four years with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card. Considering that offsets the card’s fee, that’s an excellent deal.

Annual credits for airline incidentals

Another premium-level benefit on the Premium Rewards is statement credits for airline incidentals, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments. Once again, this is a perk typically reserved for the most expensive travel card offerings.

The Amex Platinum, for instance, offers up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year on airline incidental charges. But Amex makes it somewhat complicated to use this benefit: You need to pick an eligible airline in January and stick to it throughout the year.

With the Bank of America Premium Rewards, on the other hand, you’ll get up to $100 in annual credit for airline incidentals which you’ll be able to use with any airline.

Not too bad for a mid-tier rewards card, especially considering the difference in annual fees – the Amex Platinum is a whopping $600 more expensive.

Travel protections

The Bank of America Premium Rewards also comes with some valuable travel protections, including:

  • Trip delay reimbursement, which allows a cardholder and their family members to receive coverage for delays in eligible cases.
  • Trip cancellation or interruption protection, which provides coverage for eligible prepaid travel expenses for canceled trips due to a covered reason.
  • Baggage delay insurance, which covers essential items when bags are delayed.
  • Lost baggage reimbursement, which covers luggage and its contents stolen or lost due to misdirection by an airline.
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage, which covers eligible medical services and transportation if a cardholder or their family member is injured or sick while traveling.
  • Roadside dispatch program, which provides emergency roadside assistance.
  • Rental car insurance, which kicks in when you decline the collision damage waiver offered by the car rental agency.

Better rewards for Preferred Rewards program members

The Preferred Rewards program is available to Bank of America and Merrill customers with large checking, savings and investment account balances. The program offers appealing benefits like discounts on fees, higher rewards rates and interest rates on savings and more.

There are three tiers in the Preferred Rewards program, based on combined qualifying balances:

  • Gold – $20,000 to $49,999
  • Platinum – $50,000 to $99,999
  • Platinum Honors – $100,000

If your combined balances meet any of these thresholds, here are what your rewards rates on the Premium Rewards card may look like:

Preferred Rewards tier Points boost Points per $1 spent on travel and dining Points per dollar on general purchases
Not a Preferred Rewards member None 2 1.5
Gold 25% 2.5 1.875
Platinum 50% 3 2.25
Platinum Honors 75% 3.5 2.625

Simple rewards redemption

Speaking of rewards, the Premium Rewards card makes redeeming your points easy. You don’t have to worry about the point value – whichever redemption option you choose, you’ll get 1 cent per point.

You can redeem for travel, gift cards, statement credit or direct deposit. To pay for travel with points, you can use Bank of America’s Travel Center. Alternatively, you can get reimbursement for travel you’ve already purchased.

Unfortunately, Bank of America doesn’t have transfer partners, limiting your ability to maximize the point value. If you’re interested in transferring points, look into another mid-tier travel card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. At the same $95 per year, it offers outstanding perks and allows access to Chase Ultimate Rewards and the program’s excellent transfer partners.

No foreign transaction fees

The Bank of America Premium Rewards is also a good card to take with you abroad. Since it’s on the Visa network, it’s widely accepted internationally – and you won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees.

Maximizing the Bank of America Premium Rewards card

Now that you know everything the Bank of America Premium Rewards card has to offer, you can get the most out of it.

Here are some tips to help you maximize the card’s potential:

  • Use the Premium Rewards on dining and travel – unless you have another card that earns more in these categories.
  • Use the card on general purchases outside of the bonus categories on your other cards to earn more than 1 point per dollar.
  • Read through terms and conditions to understand all travel protections available to you, as they sometimes can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
  • Sign up for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and make sure to use the Premium Rewards to pay for the membership.
  • Have the card handy when you travel to pay for airline incidentals and take advantage of the annual $100 credit.

Bottom line

For an affordable travel card, the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card has plenty to offer, from popular perks like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credits to less flashy but valuable benefits like rental car insurance.

If you already have the card, it’s a good idea to keep these benefits in mind so you can use it to its full potential. If you’re still shopping around, make sure to consider your options and see what kind of perks other similar cards provide.


Here’s What You Need For Your Next Affordable Adventure

As spring turns into summer, many people are looking to hit the road for the traditional summer vacation. The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to increased travel this summer. As restrictions have eased and locations have opened up, “revenge travel” is opening up as people look to go on all the trips they’ve missed over the past year or so. With many budgets still tight, here are a few things to consider as you hit the road for your next vacation.

Choosing affordable adventure

The first thing to keep in mind is why it might make sense to choose an affordable adventure. For many people, money is still tight as we recover from any economic impacts from COVID-19. And after all, who likes spending more money than they have to! So if you are in a situation where you’re looking for an affordable adventure, here are some great ways to save money on your next trip.

In most cases, your travel and lodging costs are the highest components of any trip or vacation. There are a variety of different ways that you can save in these two categories. One way is to consider using credit card rewards to help offset your hotel and airline costs. Just signing up for one or two credit cards can potentially give you enough points to offset a good chunk of your airfare and/or hotel costs.

Pro-tip: Use our free travel budget calculator to help plan your next trip!

Look at day trips and staycations

Another way to reduce the amount of money that you spend on travel and lodging is to look at day trips and staycations. With a staycation, you typically explore your hometown as a tourist and sleep in your own bed each night. A day trip can work the same way, where you travel by car to a nearby destination, spend the day and then return home at night. You will spend some money on gas but nowhere near the cost of a hotel room.

Another idea for an affordable adventure is to take more of an extended day trip. By combining a couple of day trip ideas into a longer road trip, you still save money on your transportation. Especially if you have a larger household, being able to road trip all in one car saves a lot of money compared to having to buy everyone their own ticket. Road trips are a popular vacation idea this summer, and will likely put you in contact with fewer people than traveling by airplane if that’s something that’s important to you.

Consider a National Parks pass

Besides your travel and lodging, another big factor towards the total cost of your vacation are your entertainment costs. If you have Yellowstone, Yosemite, or any of the over 2,000 National Parks and Federal Lands on your bucket list, consider buying an America the Beautiful pass. Available for $80, this pass is good for a year and allows the pass owner plus three adults (or the entire car where the entrance is charged per car) entry into more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.

You’ll also want to research what the conditions are before you get to your park, rather than just showing up and hoping for the best. Different National Parks have reopened in different ways, with some parks still completely closed, while others only have certain areas or programs open. Due to the increase in popularity of outdoor destinations this summer, many National Parks are extremely busy, especially those that are still limiting the total number of visitors per day. It’s a smart idea to research your destinations ahead of time so that you can know what to expect.

Affordable travel gear

The MOST inexpensive way that you can travel is to use things that you already have, rather than spending money on gear that you won’t use or won’t use often. Still, you want to make sure that you are putting yourself in a position to have a great trip. If you’re planning on hiking or being outdoors, you’ll want to make sure that you have comfortable shoes and a great backpack. If you’re traveling by airplane, look into a neck pillow or a similar gadget to make your flight more enjoyable. And investing in a quality suitcase will likely pay off over time.

The Bottom Line

The cost of travel and lodging are two of the biggest factors in determining how affordable your next trip will be. Just like any other expense, creating a budget or a sinking fund can help you have fun without going into debt. Make a plan and you’ll be well on your way to having an amazing time and making outstanding memories.

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