Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.
Bank of America has released yet another credit card into the wild, this time a high-end premium travel card, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite credit card*. The card is a souped-up version of the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, with a near-identical rewards structure but a $550 annual fee. The Premium Rewards Elite is also a Visa Infinite card and comes with several plush perks, making it the highest-end card available in the Bank of America consumer card lineup.
The main attributes of the new Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Card are as follows:
- Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 online bonus points after making at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of opening an account.
- The card will earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases.
- Priority Pass Select lounge membership upon enrollment for the cardholder and authorized users.
- Up to $300 in annual statement credits for qualifying airline incidental fees which includes seat upgrades, checked baggage fees in-flight entertainment, onboard food and beverage charges, and eligible airport lounge fees.
- A $100 TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee credit every four years.
- An annual $150 “lifestyle” credit good towards the purchases of qualifying rideshare, food delivery, streaming service and fitness transactions at select merchants.
- A 20% discount off of airfare when booking with points through the Bank of America Travel Rewards Center.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Visa Infinite benefits including trip insurances and protections and access to Visa’s concierge service.
Cardholders who are part of Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program can earn even greater rewards of 25% to 75% more. At the highest level, this would make the card earn up to 3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points on all other purchases for every dollar spent. But, the rewards rate, welcome bonus and $100 TSA Precheck/Global Entry application fee credit are exactly the same as what’s being offered on the $95-annual fee Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card which makes you wonder why someone would pay $455 more to get the additional benefits of this card.
The new card was launched to coincide with changes to the bank’s Preferred Rewards program, the customer loyalty program with several tiers of benefits like increased credit card rewards based on the total amount of deposits you have across your Bank of America banking and/or Merrill investment accounts. The Preferred Rewards program is adding two new levels for its highest net worth clients, Diamond and Diamond Honors. These new tiers offer the same 75% points boost as the Platinum tier, and offer benefits not related to any of the bank’s credit cards.
Is this card a good deal?
For those at the highest tiers of the Preferred Rewards program, the card outearns most other premium travel cards. But for those who don’t qualify for a higher earning rate via Preferred Rewards, the card’s value is greatly diminished. For those not in that ecosystem, you’d have to really work at it to get your extra $455’s worth out of the Premium Rewards Elite version of this card vs. the less expensive version of the card. Adding the $150 lifestyle credit and the up to $300 airline incidental fee credits may make it seem like the Priority Pass Select lounge access and 20% airline discount when booking with points are the valuable extras, but keep in mind you have to use the credits for them to actually be worth anything. Using up to $300 worth of airline incidental charges every year might be a challenge and the lifestyle credits are only good for someone who frequently spends in these categories.
Adding another card to the market that makes you jump through hoops to get the full value is a bit of a disappointment. We’d recommend that all but the most elite Preferred Rewards clients taking a pass on this card and either choosing the non-”Elite” version, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card or choosing a different travel card that packs more perk potential.
Find the Best Travel Credit Cards For 2021
Find the best travel credit card for your travel needs.