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The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card launched in November 2021, marking Bank of America's entry into the premium travel credit card space. With a $550 annual fee, the card is priced similarly to popular premium cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Let's walk through the card's earning rates, welcome offer, and other benefits to see if it's worth it for you.
- 2 points for every dollar spent on travel and dining purchases
- 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases
Earning Structure: 2X on Travel & Dining, 1.5X on Everything Else
The earning rates of the new Bank of America Premium Elite Card are very straightforward:
- Earn unlimited 2 points for every dollar spent on travel and dining purchases
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases
Points don't expire as long as your account is open.
The one thing that might redeem these lackluster earning rates is the bonus for Bank of America Preferred Rewards members. Depending on your Preferred Rewards tier, you can earn 25-75% more points on purchases. If you qualify for the Platinum Honors tier (the highest tier), you'll earn 3.5X points on travel and dining and 2.625X points on all other purchases.
Redeeming Bank of America Premium Elite Card Points
For most uses, the points are worth just 1 cent. Redemption options include travel, cash back, statement credit, distinctive experiences booked through a concierge, or gift cards.
This low value puts the low earning rates into an even more jarring perspective. Not only do other credit cards offer much better earning rates, but their points are also worth much more.
Take the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, for example. It earns 3X points on travel and dining, but AwardWallet users get an average value of 2.43 cents per point. This puts the real return at over 7%. This is a stark contrast to the 2% return for most users with the Bank of America Premium Elite Card.
The only additional value that you can get with the points from the Bank of America Premium Elite Card is when you redeem for airfare. Cardholders get 20% savings on airfare paid for with points through the Bank of America Travel Center or the Concierge. This is an effective redemption value of 1.25 cents per point.
That means Bank of America Platinum Honors members receive a real return of 4.375% when redeeming points for airfare (1.25 cents per point x 2 points per dollar on travel purchases x 75% bonus earning rate).
Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 Points Worth $500+
With the new Bank of America Premium Elite Card, you can earn 75,000 bonus points after you make at least $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. If you redeem for anything except airfare, this bonus is worth $500. That's because points are worth 1 cent for all other redemptions.
When redeemed for airfare with the 20% discount, you'll get a total of $625 in value out of the welcome offer. This is the best redemption option in our opinion, as it is the only option that does better than 1 cent per point.
Statement Credits that Help Offset the Annual Fee
With a $550 annual fee, you'd expect a card like the Bank of America Premium Elite Card to come with a slew of perks that justify its cost. While it doesn't have quite the number and variety of credits that premium American Express cards possess, the Bank of America card can provide approximately $475 in annual value. That makes up most of its annual fee. Statement credits include:
- $300 annual airline incidental credit — Use your card to pay for airline incidentals like preferred seating upgrades, ticket change/cancellation fees, checked baggage fees, in-flight entertainment, onboard food and beverage charges, and airport lounge fees. Reimbursement can take 2-3 weeks. Note that this perk is not available for Allegiant Air, Spirit Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines.
- $150 annual lifestyle credit — Pay for qualifying rideshare, food delivery, streaming service, and fitness transactions with your card and be reimbursed up to $150 per year. These are not monthly credits like many offered by American Express; thus, they are easier to use. Reimbursement can take 2-3 weeks.
- Up to $100 Trusted Traveler Program credit — Use your card to pay the enrollment fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and be reimbursed up to $100. This credit is good once every four years (an annual value of $25).
Other Bank of America Premium Elite Card Benefits
Like many other premium travel cards, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card includes a Priority Pass Select membership that grants access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide. Depending on how often you travel, lounge access can be well worth it. Note that Bank of America only allows for one member to be enrolled. This can be an authorized user, but it cannot be both an authorized user and the primary card member.
The Bank of America Premium Elite Card offers the following additional perks:
- Full-Service Concierge — A concierge available 24/7 can help you make restaurant reservations, get tickets to sporting or entertainment events, and even book travel for you.
- Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection Benefits — Benefits, when booked through Visa Infinite, include late checkout, free daily breakfast for two, and room upgrades.
- Visa Infinite Car Rental Benefits — Enjoy elite status with multiple car rental companies and access to Visa Infinite discount codes.
- Travel Insurance Protections — Benefits include trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay and lost luggage reimbursement, and travel accident insurance.
- No foreign transaction fees
The trip delay reimbursement is among the best available, with coverage kicking in after a delay of just 6 hours or one that requires an overnight stay. This provides a lot of peace of mind when traveling.
Bank of America Application Rules and Restrictions
If you're wondering whether you should apply for the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card, you'll want to be aware of Bank of America's credit card application rules.
First, most cardholders are allowed no more than four Bank of America cards at any given time. Second, Bank of America has a 2/3/4 rule that applies to new applications. You can be approved for a maximum of 2 new cards in any 2-month period, 3 new cards in any 12-month period, or 4 new cards in any 24-month period.
The good news is that you can receive a new cardmember bonus more than once on Bank of America cards. You just typically need to wait 24 months after canceling a card.
Moreover, applications are reviewed differently depending on whether you have a banking relationship with Bank of America. If you have a banking relationship, your credit card application will be denied if you have more than seven new credit cards in the past year showing on your credit report. For those without a banking relationship, this limit drops to three new credit cards in the past year.
If you're interested in application rules for other card issuers, check out our comprehensive rundown on rules and restrictions.
All things considered, the Bank of America Premium Elite Card falls short of the competition. The welcome offer is compelling: $625 in value when redeemed for airfare. But, with its lackluster earning rates, the ongoing return just doesn't cut it.
There are so many other cards that offer a better return, including many that have a much lower (or no) annual fee. The annual credits and other benefits help offset the $550 annual fee, but the card just doesn't offer enough value to justify its annual fee.
There are several other premium travel credit cards, so check out other options before making a decision. If you're a high-tier Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, the Bank of America Premium Elite Card may be an excellent fit. For most others, you can likely do better.
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