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rated:
I recently learned of a trial program that Bank of America is running called Preferred Rewards.  Essentially, it's similar to their Platinum Privileges program but with more tiers and better incentives to move money to BofA / Merrill Edge.  At the moment, the program is only available to people in the following states: KS, MO, NV, SC and WA but I'm told that it will roll out nationally around Q3 of this yr.  Can anyone participating in the program comment on it?  It seems it could be lucrative if you are in the top tier and get the 75% credit card bonus.  Combining that with the Travel Rewards card, you could get a 2.625% Cash Back credit card.

https://www.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/

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No, I've been called and asked but never forced to upgraded.

Gergles, I think your situation wasn't normal and you shoul... (more)

sparviero (Nov. 07, 2016 @ 11:21a) |

I would also like to add that there are service tiers at Merrill EDGE as well.
When you get to $250,000 you enter "Merril... (more)

sparviero (Nov. 10, 2016 @ 1:46p) |

I spoke with a rep from BofA who said the monthly fee on their HSA is waived for Preferred Rewards members. It wasn't c... (more)

DerekZoolander (Nov. 18, 2016 @ 11:21a) |

  Qualifying Amount Reward Bonus Free ATM Withdrawals Free Trades Per Month Mortgage Credit MM Interest Boost
Gold $20,000 25% None None $200 5%
Platinum $50,000 50% 12 per year (US Only) 30 per month $400 10%
Platinum Honors $100,000 75% Unlimited (US Only) 100 per month $600 20%

 
Assets that count are anything that shows up in the single login page when you open up bankofamerica.com, including assets held in a Merrill Edge account. Merrill Edge offers a bonus for moving money there, in addition to letting you hold Vanguard funds and ETFs. 

The "MM interest boost" is a % increase on the APR. So if the APR is .01%, a 20% boost is only to .012%. The boost is phrased as it will be "at least" the boost amount. The current rates are significantly higher than the boosted ones, although still pathetically low compared to an Internet-only bank.

"You qualify for benefits in the Preferred Rewards program if you enroll in the program, have an active Bank of America personal checking account and maintain a three month average combined balance in your qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or your qualifying Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts of at least $20,000 for the Gold tier, $50,000 for the Platinum tier, or $100,000 for the Platinum Honors tier. For details on Employee qualification requirements, please visit the Employee Banking & Investments website. . . . .. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management clients with greater than $250,000 in assets with Bank of America and Merrill Lynch are eligible for additional banking benefits. Please speak with your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor for details." http://www.merrilledge.com/pricing  

If one decides to join the program and are bringing money in to qualify, the optimal strategy is to get the Cash Rewards card early, but not to redeem the points earned until you qualify for the bonus rates. Thus, you can start benefiting from the high rates of return (as high as 5.25% on gasoline) earlier while waiting for your three month average to reach the qualifying levels.

The Travel Rewards card combined with the highest tier provides the highest unbonused spend of any generally-available card, and has no AF and no FTF to boot. If you have the Platinum Honors tier, the TR card becomes a 2.625% card on every purchase.

The AAA cobranded card only provides the bonus on the base spending of 1 ppd, but it still does get you to 3.75/2.75/1.75, with the 3.75 on travel, making that a lucrative choice if you are OK with the risk that redemption value for AAA points may change.

They are advertising $100 bonus on the Cash Rewards card after you spend $500. However, if you qualify for the preferred status, the bonus percentage is applied to this amount. If you get Platinum Honors status, the actual bonus is $175 for spending the first $500.
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rated:
I have the platinum privilege card I did not sign up for this yet as I get the annual fee waived because of the program I am in.  It states in the conditions that the platinum privaleges would be discontinued if sigining up for this which would mean I would be charged the annual fee.  Not worth it.  The one benefit this has that platinum privileges dosent have is atm fee refunds.   the credit card bonus excludes a lot of cards.  this is from their site.Most Bank of America® branded consumer credit cards (such as the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card and the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card) are eligible to receive the credit card rewards bonus.  Listed below are the card types and programs that are not eligible to receive the credit card rewards bonus. To receive the credit card rewards bonus, your eligible card account must be open and in good standing, as defined by the account Reward Program Rules.

  • Non-rewards credit cards
  • Business purpose credit cards
  • BankAmericard Privileges® (including those with cash rewards and travel rewards)
  • Bank of America Accolades® (including U.S. Trust branded)
  • BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards™
  • Merrill Lynch Wealth Management branded (including Merrill Accolades®, Merrill+®, Total Merrill® Cash Back, and Total Merrill Match®)


  • Alaska Airlines®
  • Amway™
  • Asiana Airlines®
  • Bass Pro Shops®
  • Elite Rewards®
  • AAA®Gas Rebate
  • Hawaiian Airlines®
  • Melaleuca®
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Perks Advantage®
  • Royal Caribbean International®
  • Spirit Airlines
  • US Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways

 This list is subject to change without prior notice.

rated:
The terms and conditions of the Privileges Travel Rewards credit card states that the annual fee is waived as long as you meet the following conditions:

"$0 Introductory Fee for the first year. After that, the $75 Annual Fee will be waived each year if: (1) you have a combined balance of $50,000 or more of average daily balances for the month, or month-end balances in deposit accounts and/or eligible investment balances (excluding 401(k) or other employer sponsored plans, and 529 plans) with Bank of America or its affiliates; or, (2) you are a U.S. Trust® client at the time we review your account."

It doesn't state you have to be a Platinum Privileges member.

rated:
from preferred rewards enrollment section

Enrolling in Preferred Rewards will discontinue your participation in the Platinum Privileges® or Banking Privileges for Wealth Management programs. In some cases, Preferred Rewards benefits differ from Platinum Privileges and Banking Privileges for Wealth Management benefits, so be sure you understand the affect on your benefits before enrolling.

rated:
Preferred Rewards is being offered in Washington State.  I recently deposited a decent-sized lump sum of money into a "Rewards Money Market Savings" at BofA but it takes about 3 months before you become eligible (they look for 3 months' average combined balances of $20k or more for the "Gold" tier). BofA is not our main FI but we've had decent experiences with them over the years.

At the Gold Tier ($20k to $50k combined), your cash-back rewards get an additional 25% boost.  There is some increase in interest rate on Rewards MM Savings, and some other perks.  The higher-level Platinum offers a 50% boost on cash-back rewards, the highest Platinum Honors offers a 75% boost on cash-back.

rated:
A couple of weeks ago, BOA invited me to enroll in Preferred Rewards at their "Gold" membership level.  We keep a fairly large chunk of savings there since we just sold a piece of real estate and have not yet decided where to bank the money for a higher yield.  (Worth noting: one really neat feature of BOA's Advantage Checking is that they waive the fee for incoming wire transfers, which is among the cost savings that are more than sufficient to offset BOA's low savings APYs).

Preferred Rewards is a fairly interesting incentive program.  Gold-level PR enrollees can receive a 25% "boost" on cash-back payments from their purchases made with the Rewards VISA CC.  Other PR benefits are nice but the "boosted" Cash Back rewards may be the most useful.  BOA's CC Cash Back "boost" is even higher for the Platinum and Platinum Honors levels, but I doubt most FW'ers wish to tie up over $50k (Platinum) or $100k (Platinum Honors) in in low-yield bank deposit accounts at BOA, given that higher-APY options exist at some online banks.

Has anyone else here enrolled in the program?
 

rated:
I keep getting re-directed to the Platinum Privileges relationship banking site - so I can't even go view the Preferred Rewards site. I also tried with a fresh browser which starts with a "Select your state" page, but even selecting WA or KS I still get redirected. Maybe they're using IP location to hide this program from the rest of the country (I'm in MA).

Just thought others would benefit from knowing this if you're clicking the link and thinking "wtf is OP talking about".

rated:
If you click on the link, change the state to one the preliminary test states, close the tab, and then click on the link again, it will take you to the preferred rewards page.

You can put the money in a MerrillEdge brokerage so as to not tie up money in a low yielding account.

rated:
SeattleNative said:   A couple of weeks ago, BOA invited me to enroll in Preferred Rewards at their "Gold" membership level.  We keep a fairly large chunk of savings there since we just sold a piece of real estate and have not yet decided where to bank the money for a higher yield.  (Worth noting: one really neat feature of BOA's Advantage Checking is that they waive the fee for incoming wire transfers, which is among the cost savings that are more than sufficient to offset BOA's low savings APYs).

Preferred Rewards is a fairly interesting incentive program.  Gold-level PR enrollees can receive a 25% "boost" on cash-back payments from their purchases made with the Rewards VISA CC.  Other PR benefits are nice but the "boosted" Cash Back rewards may be the most useful.  BOA's CC Cash Back "boost" is even higher for the Platinum and Platinum Honors levels, but I doubt most FW'ers wish to tie up over $50k (Platinum) or $100k (Platinum Honors) in in low-yield bank deposit accounts at BOA, given that higher-APY options exist at some online banks.

Has anyone else here enrolled in the program?

  Account balances in Merrill Edge accounts count towards the total as well.  For example my Roth currently gets me Platinum Privileges.  Merrill carries Vanguard funds among some other good ones, so no need to tie up cash if you have an investment account you can move there (plus they're currently offering cash bonuses for doing so).

The current 50% bonus on CB is pretty good...75% would be great!

The Rewards Money Market Rates don't look like anything to write home about.

rated:
New TOS on the Platinum Privileges below indicate to me that they're transitioning everywhere to Preferred Rewards:

We will no longer enroll customers into the Platinum Privileges program under the following schedule: as of June 30, 2013 in the states of KS, MO, NV, SC and WA; as of May 31, 2014 in the states of AR, IA, MA, ME, NH, NM, OK, RI,TX, AZ, CA, ID and OR; as of July 26, 2014 for all other states.


Question: I'm not quite sure what the differences are. If I qualify now do I get to be grandfathered in Platinum Privileges? Would I even care?
Edit: Looks like the Platinum level of the new program is pretty much equivalent to Platinum Privileges. It might be missing a free safe-deposit box or something.  

I have a 2% + 25% rewards bonus card now (2.5% effective). I wonder if I went platinum honor's if it would become 2% + 75% bonus = 3.5% on everything card. 

rated:
Which card is 2% + 25%?

rated:
DerekZoolander said:   Which card is 2% + 25%?
  
It was invitation only or something. BankAmericard Cash Rewards in 2010. It's 2% on everything. You get a 25% bonus if you claim over $300 in rewards to a BoA account.

rated:
How about the travel rewards card? I think someone said you get two percent for all purchases but you can transfer the points to fidelity for cash. Can anybody confirm?

rated:
johnm4 said:   
DerekZoolander said:   Which card is 2% + 25%?
  
It was invitation only or something. BankAmericard Cash Rewards in 2010. It's 2% on everything. You get a 25% bonus if you claim over $300 in rewards to a BoA account.

  
That's a nice card.  All the literature I've seen on the program is that your Preferred Rewards status bonus overrides any existing bonus you have.  So as long as it's not on the exclusion list, it's very likely you will have a 3.5% cc.

The Platinum Privileges cards are excluded from the extra bonus so the best you can do today appears to be the normal Travel Rewards card at 1.5% which points can be transferred to the Fidelity AMEX.

rated:
So let me get this straight....

People who qualify for Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards who were previously in Platinum Privileges and had a Privileges Cash Rewards card have to convert to a new generic card to go from a 50% bonus on redemption of rewards to a 75% bonus on redemption of rewards? Seems silly to make your nearly-top-tier customers go through that.

And what is this Banking Rewards for Wealth Management of which it speaks for people with large balances that would be blown away by this? (I assume you have to have an ML financial advisor to get into having someone manage your wealth out of your own accounts and into theirs.)

rated:
i chatted with Bofa and they said they i can keep my 2% Travel rewards privilege card (with the 10% annual bonus), but the 50-75% bonus will not apply to that card.

rated:
Actually, I take that back, the new card will be a slightly better deal than the old one if you are platinum honors

for the travel rewards card:
Old: 2% Cash Back, with 10% bonus = 2.1%
New: 1.5% Cash Back with 75% bonus with platinum honors = 2.25%

I'm not sure if i'll bother signing up for a new card for the 0.15%... though I do use this card alot so maybe in the long run it will be worth it!

rated:
Not sure why you have red, should I enroll now and get the old cards?

rated:
Added to Quick Summary:


  Qualifying Amount Reward Bonus Free ATM Withdrawals Free Trades Per Month
Gold $20,000 25% None None
Platinum $50,000 50% 12 per year 30 per month
Platinum Honors  $100,000 75% Unlimited 100 per month

 
Dates "Preferred Rewards" available in your state
 
June 30, 2013   KS, MO, NV, SC and WA
May 31, 2014   AR, IA, MA, ME, NH, NM, OK, RI,TX, AZ, CA, ID and OR
July 26, 2014 All other states



rated:
Do we or can we perform product changes to these new cards?

Can someone explain how the travel rewards card works and how we transfer the points to fidelity? Do we just need a fidelity cash management acct or do we need the fidelity amex? Will the fidelity visa work?

rated:
i'd like to knwo that too

rated:
You qualify for benefits in the Preferred Rewards program if you enroll in the program, have an active Bank of America personal checking account and maintain a three month average combined balance in your qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or your qualifying Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts of at least $20,000 for the Gold tier, $50,000 for the Platinum tier, or $100,000 for the Platinum Honors tier. For details on Employee qualification requirements, please visit the Employee Banking & Investments website. Customers will be able to enroll in Preferred Rewards under the following schedule: beginning September 2013 in the states of KS, MO, NV, SC and WA; beginning June 23, 2014 in the states of AR, IA, MA, ME, NH, NM, OK, RI and TX; beginning June 28, 2014 in the states of AZ, CA, ID and OR; beginning September 8, 2014 in the states of MI, IL, IN, TN, NC, GA, FL; and all other states beginning September 29, 2014. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management clients with greater than $250,000 in assets with Bank of America and Merrill Lynch are eligible for additional banking benefits. Please speak with your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor for details.
http://www.merrilledge.com/pricing

rated:
I signed up for this program at the Gold level and had been receiving the 25% bonus for the past 2 weeks. However, the bonus stopped posting for the past two days (04/08/2014 and onwards) when I look under the "Rewards" tab. Anyone else in the same boat?

rated:
Did you meet the gold-level requirements (have $50K in your account) on 3/31/14?

rated:
brawa said:   Did you meet the gold-level requirements (have $50K in your account) on 3/31/14?
  Gold level only requires 20K, and yes, I did and have met that. Do you see the bonus rewards posting for your account (especially starting 04/08/2014)?

rated:
I'm in the Platinum Privileges program still, but did redeem points at the bonus rate on 4/8. That probably isn't very useful information for the new program though, sorry.

rated:
So the Cash Rewards card will notably give 3.5% on groceries, 5.25% on gas and the Travel Rewards will give 2.625% on everything and 5.25% on BOA travel? Combine that with my 5% category spend cards and I'll be laughing at those peasants and their 1% cards.

That's the best thing about being rich, all the free stuff you get.
— Charles Barkley

rated:
Aren't the gas and groceries capped at 1500 per qtr? I thought someone above said travel card gives you 2.25%. How do you convert this to cash?

rated:
bbmattt said:   Actually, I take that back, the new card will be a slightly better deal than the old one if you are platinum honors

for the travel rewards card:
Old: 2% Cash Back, with 10% bonus = 2.1%
New: 1.5% Cash Back with 75% bonus with platinum honors = 2.25%

I'm not sure if i'll bother signing up for a new card for the 0.15%... though I do use this card alot so maybe in the long run it will be worth it!

  No, no you're doing the math wrong. These reward bonuses are taken as a percent of the rewards. The 2% card gives 2*1.1= 2.2% back. A 1.5% card with a 75% bonus gives 2.625% back. At least that's how the current 10% bonus is applied on the cash rewards card.

rated:
gyhhhy said:   Aren't the gas and groceries capped at 1500 per qtr? I thought someone above said travel card gives you 2.25%. How do you convert this to cash?
  They are capped, but $1500 will cover most of single people's expenses.

The travel card would give you 2.625%, not 2.25%. The terms say "the bonus earn[ed is] based on their monthly base rewards earned". So these reward bonus is multiplied by base earnings, not added to it. With a base reward of 1.5%, you'd get 1.5*1.75= 2.625%, NOT 1.5+.75= 2.25%. A 75% rewards bonus is NOT an additional 0.75% rewards on every dollar spent for the travel card. This is the way the current 10% customer bonus is calculated, speaking from experience with the Cash Rewards card.

I'm not exactly sure how it's converted to cash. It appears they're paid out in worldpoints, which convert at 1 cent - dollar when redeemed for $250 or more at once for cash. Looks like you can do better redeeming them for flights or reimbursing your travel expenses.

 

rated:
The website says you can redeem for cash but you need an account to see the redemption amounts. Are the travel rewards points a 1:1 conversion to cash?

rated:
So what is the correct strategy here?

1. Open Merrill Edge Cash Management account with $100,000 (or more) and receive $250 bonus.
2. Buy Vanguard ETF(s).
3. Wait 3 months so that the average 3 month balance is > $100,000.
4. Enroll in Preferred Rewards program when it is available for your state. Should be at Platinum Honors tier at that point.
5. Apply for BankAmericard Travel Rewards and receive 10,000 points after $500 in purchases
6. Use the credit card and earn 2.625% CB in WorldPoints that can be transferred to Fidelity Amex card.
7. ???
8. Profit

Does that sound right?

rated:
For step 6 can you transfer to fidelity visa or only amex? Or can you transfer directly to fidelity?

rated:
why do u need a vanguard etf

rated:
MyCatIsEvil said:   why do u need a vanguard etf
  You don't, but Vanguard offer a number of low-fee index funds that most prudent investors would be putting their money in anyway. Point is, no opportunity cost here having money sitting in subpar funds.

rated:
Powza said:   So what is the correct strategy here?

1. Open Merrill Edge Cash Management account with $100,000 (or more) and receive $250 bonus
2. Buy Vanguard ETF(s).
3. Wait 3 months so that the average 3 month balance is > $100,000.
4. Enroll in Preferred Rewards program when it is available for your state. Should be at Platinum Honors tier at that point.
5. Apply for BankAmericard Travel Rewards and receive 10,000 points after $500 in purchases
6. Use the credit card and earn 2.625% CB in WorldPoints that can be transferred to Fidelity Amex card.
7. ???
8. Profit

Does that sound right?

  Just about. I'd be sure also to open one of their fancy checking accounts, which will have no monthly fees at $100k with free ATM withdrawals and take advantage of the free small safe deposit box. Man, they sure drive a hard bargain.

EDIT: It appears PR will NOT have access to a free safe deposit box unless individuals also have open a Bank of America Advantage with Tiered Interest Checking account, which seems to be no longer taking applications. Seems to be phasing out for the Bank of America Interest Checking.  Platinum Privileges itself does come with a free small safe deposit box. Not sure on their grandfathering policies, but it may make sense to get enrolled in Platinum Privileges before the deadline and see what happens when that rolls over to PR. 

rated:
It seems there has been a change in the roll out date for Preferred Rewards. I received the below message from a Merrill Edge CSR:

Platinum Privileges is being discontinued and we have launched a new rewards program called Bank of America Preferred Rewards for clients in AR, IA, KS, MA, ME, MO, NH, NM, NV, OR, RI, SC, TX, WA. Clients in AZ, CA, ID, and OR are no longer able to be enrolled in Platinum Privileges and will be eligible for Preferred Rewards starting 07/28/2014. New enrollments in Platinum Privileges for all other states will be discontinued on 07/26/2014.

Preferred Rewards is a three-tiered rewards program based upon a three month average balance between a Bank of America personal checking account and Merrill Edge accounts or between a Bank of America personal checking account, Merrill Edge accounts, and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management accounts. Please note that US Trust accounts do not count towards the balance requirement. All tiers qualify for up to four checking and four savings accounts with no monthly maintenance fee, as well as select banking services through Bank of America.

Clients with a three month average balance of $20,000 - $49,999 will qualify for Gold status, which includes a 25% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards and a 5% rate booster on Rewards money market accounts. Clients with a three month average balance of $50,000 - $99,999 will qualify for Platinum status, which includes up to 30 $0 trades per month and access to Merrill Edge Market Pro in their Merrill Edge accounts, as well as a 50% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards, a 10% rate booster on Rewards money market accounts, and one no-fee ATM withdrawal per statement cycle at non-Bank of America ATMs. Clients with a three month average balance of more than $100,000 will qualify for Platinum Honors, which includes up to 100 $0 trades per month and access to Merrill Edge Market Pro in their Merrill Edge accounts, as well as a 75% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards, a 20% rate booster on Rewards money market accounts, and unlimited no-fee ATM withdrawals at non-Bank of America ATMs. Please note that the rate booster is a percentage of your current interest rate; for example, a Platinum account with 1% interest would be boosted to 1.2% interest.

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management clients with assets greater than $250,000 are not eligible for Preferred Rewards and will be enrolled in a Wealth Management Banking Rewards Program. However, the standard $0 trade program still applies if you have Merrill Edge self-directed accounts and meet the $25,000 cash balance in either your Merrill Edge self-directed accounts or your Bank of America deposit accounts.
To enroll in Preferred Rewards, please click on the following link:
http://www.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards

rated:
I enrolled last week.  Things seem to be working as advertised.  Pretty sweet.

rated:
bbmattt said:   i chatted with Bofa and they said they i can keep my 2% Travel rewards privilege card (with the 10% annual bonus), but the 50-75% bonus will not apply to that card.
But how about 1.5 % Travel Rewards  card (with the 10% annual bonus) - will it stack with this new program ?

10% is still shows on the site, so one might hope ...

Skipping 529 Messages...
rated:
I spoke with a rep from BofA who said the monthly fee on their HSA is waived for Preferred Rewards members. It wasn't clear to me which level. Can someone confirm this is true and if your HSA balance counts towards your overall PR tier level?

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