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Considering BofA Premium Rewards

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Super Contributor

Considering BofA Premium Rewards

As I look forward 12 months, I find I have a lot of what I'll call "perishable travel":

 

- Marriott's $300 credit and annual night will renew in 6 months

- Hyatt's annual night will renew in about a month

- IHG's annual night will expire in 9 months

- Delta's companion pass will arrive in 9 months

- CSR's $300 travel credit renews in 9 months

- Schwab Platinum's "airfare extras" credit will renew in 3 months

 

I don't think I'll have trouble using these, so there's not really a need to close any of them.

 

But when I think in terms of:

 

Total travel

(less) certificates and credits

(less) travel at independent places, or with no reasonably-priced award availability

(equals) travel with points

 

With various accumulated miles/points and lots of MRs/URs available for transfer, it seems like it will be a while before the MRs and URs I earn today actually translate to award flights and hotel stays. So even though I have gotten a bunch of award redemptions at good cpp point values, I think I may get a BofA Premium Rewards card in the next few months.

 

I opened a Merrill Edge account yesterday which will give me a $600 bonus (moving shares, not cash which I know will yield next to nothing at BofA), and a Premium Rewards card would give me another $500 and give 2.625% cash back. So even if I go back to earning MRs and URs, I'll still have nice cash bonus.

 

I would not necessarily close any of my AF travel cards. They have given me a good value. I'd still want them for perks and credits, and my revenue flights/hotels and Uber spend would keep CSR worthwhile. I'd just move my Costco spend and off-category spend to a Premium Rewards card.

 

It's possible that by earning more cash back and fewer MRs/URs I'll lack the miles needed for some exotic premium redemption, but when dealing with other people, so much travel ends up getting booked at the last minute (when award availability can be limited). At present, I feel like I'd rather have cash I can spend or invest rather than points that I may not actually get around to using for a while, the value of which can always change. It's not that I dislike miles at all...it's that I'm uneasy with earning more miles when I already have all I will likely use in the near future...and cash is such a readily available alternative for much of my spend.

 

Can anyone see a flaw in my thinking?

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, CFF+CF, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC
Upgrade/downgrade games: BCE, EDP
SUB: JetBlue, Amex Platinum
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 1 of 53
52 REPLIES 52
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Moderator

Re: Considering BofA Premium Rewards

I don't see any flaws; would you be moving any of the current 3X dining and travel spend away from CSR in order to get the 3.5% cash back with Premium Rewards and Platinum Honors?  Only advice I might give is wait until the 3 months have passed and you officially get Platinum Honors prior to applying?  I'm sure I don't need to tell you that many others with otherwise exceptional profiles have had difficulty obtaining the card.

Message 2 of 53
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Moderator

Re: Considering BofA Premium Rewards

Did you apply yet? 😁
Message 3 of 53
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Super Contributor

Re: Considering BofA Premium Rewards


@K-in-Boston wrote:

I don't see any flaws; would you be moving any of the current 3X dining and travel spend away from CSR in order to get the 3.5% cash back with Premium Rewards and Platinum Honors?  Only advice I might give is wait until the 3 months have passed and you officially get Platinum Honors prior to applying?  I'm sure I don't need to tell you that many others with otherwise exceptional profiles have had difficulty obtaining the card.


I'm likely to close Savor unless a perk to replace Postmates is good. Losing one issuer and adding another keeps me at about the same level of card complexity.

 

I'd likely keep most dining and travel on CSR, since the guaranteed "book with Chase" travel value is 4.5% and I will have some travel. Even if I book with Chase, CSR beats BofA...and I do like the travel protections. It's on the off-category spend that there's a difference...CFU only beats BofA PR if I can find transfer partner award space (which can be the tricky bit).

 

I actually moved enough (about $430k) that one month should be enough to bring my 3-month account average to over $100k. Or maybe it doesn't work that way, or the first month won't fully count as the shares may need another week or so to arrive and settle. But I will make sure Platinum Honors has gone into effect and wait at least a month or two to apply for Premium Rewards.

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, CFF+CF, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC
Upgrade/downgrade games: BCE, EDP
SUB: JetBlue, Amex Platinum
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 4 of 53
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Super Contributor

Re: Considering BofA Premium Rewards

If you are not going to do travel/dining spend on the PR card, you may want to consider the no AF Travel Rewards instead? No fee to deal with and you have plenty of travel you can redeem towards. The only real advantage of the PR above the Travel card is the extra points for dining/travel and if you aren't really going to use it for those things anyway, may as well go no fee.

Message 5 of 53
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Super Contributor

Re: Considering BofA Premium Rewards


@kdm31091 wrote:

If you are not going to do travel/dining spend on the PR card, you may want to consider the no AF Travel Rewards instead? No fee to deal with and you have plenty of travel you can redeem towards. The only real advantage of the PR above the Travel card is the extra points for dining/travel and if you aren't really going to use it for those things anyway, may as well go no fee.


The Premium Rewards bonus is bigger ($500 vs. $250) and will beat the Travel Rewards for a few years even if I only use part of the airfare extras credit.

 

Plus, PR I can redeem for cash deposits in my new brokerage account...and not just travel as with TR.

 

*Does BofA allow downgrades from PR to TR, though?

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, CFF+CF, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC
Upgrade/downgrade games: BCE, EDP
SUB: JetBlue, Amex Platinum
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 6 of 53
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Moderator

Re: Considering BofA Premium Rewards

Redemption options for PR are far more flexible valuable than TR.  With the TR card you must redeem them against travel purchases for maximum value.  If you use the $100 airline credit each year, the AF is -$5 so it's still cheaper than TR since they pay you to keep it.  While having that amount of deposits for only one month would theoretically achieve the 3 month balance requirement for Platinum Honors, I'm pretty sure that their system is automated and it is granted after 3 months of maintaining combined deposits of $100,000 or more.  You may find some value in the 100 free monthly trades as well.

 

I've not read any instances of people downgrading the Premium Rewards card.  It should be theoretically possible, and I'm hoping the reverse is true as I'd like to one day close my own card but PC my significantly older (former MBNA card) Travel Rewards into Premium Rewards.

Message 7 of 53
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Super Contributor

Re: Considering BofA Premium Rewards


@K-in-Boston wrote:

Redemption options for PR are far more flexible valuable than TR.  With the TR card you must redeem them against travel purchases for maximum value.  If you use the $100 airline credit each year, the AF is -$5 so it's still cheaper than TR since they pay you to keep it.  While having that amount of deposits for only one month would theoretically achieve the 3 month balance requirement for Platinum Honors, I'm pretty sure that their system is automated and it is granted after 3 months of maintaining combined deposits of $100,000 or more.  You may find some value in the 100 free monthly trades as well.

 

I've not read any instances of people downgrading the Premium Rewards card.  It should be theoretically possible, and I'm hoping the reverse is true as I'd like to one day close my own card but PC my significantly older (former MBNA card) Travel Rewards into Premium Rewards.


I'll probably use the BofA $100 credit in full.  I suppose the bigger question is what I should do with the Schwab airline extras credit once 2020 rolls around, given that I now have the Delta Platinum (free bags) and the no-gift-card enforcement had tightened last I checked. Maybe I can get another "partial flight payment" credit. Schwab has several other benefits, though, so I'm not likely to cancel that anytime soon.

 

The free trades were the main factor in getting the BofA account. My portfolio consists of:

1. Low-basis stocks I'm not selling anytime soon and am afraid another brokerage might accidentally sell if I moved it (Fidelity)

2. Higher-basis liquid stocks I write options on (Fidelity and Schwab)

3. Higher-basis, less-liquid (or very illiquid) stocks where I can trade opportunistically around volatility and sometimes only get a partial execution, so free trades are nice (BofA).

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, CFF+CF, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC
Upgrade/downgrade games: BCE, EDP
SUB: JetBlue, Amex Platinum
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 8 of 53
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Moderator

Re: Considering BofA Premium Rewards

For Delta, the credit still seems to cover the remainder of payment when a gift card has been used. So grab a $50 gift card at Target, Staples, or Best Buy, and then charge the rest. It also works for paying the $29 fee for guests at SkyClub, and if you needed to *gasp* fly Main Cabin, it’ll pay for food and drinks. Also taxes on award fares!
Message 9 of 53
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Valued Contributor

Re: Considering BofA Premium Rewards

No, it sounds completely reasonable and well-thought out. 

 

I'm a much more simple traveler and only got the CSR last year but I have also considered diversifying with the Premium Rewards card. I just got over $130K in credit lines with Chase in the past year so I've filled out that part of my plan.  Bank of America is right behind Chase in terms of size and it's also a bank I have long ties with over 20 years.  So solidfying that relationship will also be helpful to my credit file.  I like being diversifed with different lenders but also having redemption options open with different programs, as long as I don't overextend my spending.

 

It's interesting that you don't hear more about the Premium Rewards card. For such an apparently exclusive card, it's very low-key.  I think a lot of the denials on the forum, though, were from people who cold-apped and didn't understand that the target market is narrowly focused at relationship clients and underwriting is strict in that regard.  I definitely see that now, so if I apply it will be after I reestablish some basic banking and move assets into Merrill to fortify my position with them. 

 

I noticed something when I got my approval letter recently from BofA for my credit line request on my Cash Rewards.  I had gone up to $50K a few months ago and some My Fico members told me I hadn't asked for enough, even though I wasn't using anywhere close to that amount.  This time, I asked for $100K and they countered with $70K.  In the approval letter, they stated why they didn't approve me for the higher requested limit.  It included "We also considered your relationship with us ... "  That is probably the first time I remember that I've ever see a bank specifically mention relationship as a partial reason for not granting a higher limit.  So relationship matters.

 

Let us know how the app turns out and good luck!



Updated 10/08/2020
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AAoA = 8+ years; AoYA = less than 1 year (Aug 2020)
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