Review of the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card

Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina | Reviews

Nov 07, 2018 | Updated Nov 12, 2018

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Traveling can be stressful. But if you’re vacationing without a travel rewards credit card, you’re making it more stressful than it needs to be.

A good travel card can help you earn points for your trips and other purchases, and provide you with peace of mind through benefits like auto rental insurance and trip cancellation coverage.

If you’re looking for a new travel card, the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card might be for you.

With a $95 annual fee, this credit card offers 2X points per $1 spent on dining and travel and 1.5X points per $1 spent on all other purchases. Those points are worth 1 cent each, so you can get a cash back equivalent of 2%. But if you’re a Bank of America banking or Merrill Lynch investment customer, you can earn even more. Depending on your account balance you can get an extra rewards bonus, letting you earn as much as 3.5% cash back.

Plus, there’s a 50,000-point introductory bonus offer if you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. That’s a cash value of $500.

Cardholders also get access to a nice suite of travel benefits, particularly a $100 airline credit and a $100 statement credit for the application fee of Global Entry or TSA Pre✓.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card
Apply Now

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Interest Rate: 17.99%–24.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Bank of America® Preferred Rewards clients can enjoy 25% - 75% rewards bonus on every purchase. That ups your earning potential to 3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.63 points on all other purchases.
  • Enjoy a premium set of benefits when you use your Premium Rewards card to book through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.
  • No blackout dates or restrictions and points do not expire.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee

Our Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

We give the Premium Rewards card 5 out of 5 Stars because it essentially pays for itself. For frequent travelers, it’s a strong addition to your wallet.

Why We Like It

  • 50,000-point introductory bonus for spending $3,000 within the first 3 months
  • Earn points on travel and dining purchases
  • $100 airline credit
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or $85 for TSA Pre✓
  • Eligible Bank of America banking customers can earn more rewards
  • No foreign transaction fees

Why It Could Be Better

  • Can’t transfer points to airline or hotel loyalty programs
  • No introductory APR for balance transfers or new purchases
  • Low-ranked customer service

The Premium Rewards card is a good mid-range option for travelers, offering valuable rewards and useful benefits for a moderate fee of $95. However, if you’re looking for other features and perks, check out the alternatives below.

Insider Advice: How to Get the Most Out of Your Card

  • For dining and travel: Use the card to book your trips and to pay for meals at restaurants, where you’ll earn 2X points per $1 spent.
  • Take advantage of the introductory bonus: Spend at least $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening the account to get 50,000 bonus points, a $500 cash value.
  • Use the $100 airline credit: Use your card to pay for incidental fees on flights, such as WiFi, entertainment, or drinks to get up to $100 in statement credits.
  • Sign up for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓: Streamline your travel experience by applying for one of these airport security programs, and you’ll get a statement credit for the cost of the application fee ($85 for TSA Pre✓, $100 for Global Entry).
  • Check your benefits before traveling: Before your trip, check what benefits are available to see where you can save. For example, you can skip the car rental company’s insurance because the card gives you coverage, instead.
  • Use a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account: If you do your banking with Bank of America or invest with Merrill Lynch, you can be a part of Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. Depending on your account balances, you can get a reward point bonus as large as 75%.

The Rewards

You can earn the equivalent of 1.5% to 2% cash back on your purchases, depending on how you use your card. If you’re part of the Preferred Rewards program, the cash back equivalent can be as high as 3.5%.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 2X points for every $1 spent on:
    • Travel
    • Dining Purchases
  • 1.5X points for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days
    • Value: $500
    • Return on spend: 16.67%

You can rack up rewards quickly by spending in the travel and dining categories, which are very broad and include a wide variety of purchase types. You’ll earn 2X points per $1 spent on expenses like flights or meals at restaurants.

And you’ll get 1.5X points per $1 spent on all other purchases, such as groceries or gas.

Points are worth 1 cent each, so at these rates you’ll earn 2% cash back on travel and dining purchases, and 1.5% cash back on everything else.

However, if you enroll in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you can get earn even more when you spend. Through this program, the total balances of your Bank of America bank accounts and Merrill Lynch investment accounts determines the bonus tier you receive. The bonus is applied at the time of purchase, so you’ll earn more points whenever you pay for something.

Preferred Rewards Tier Combined Balance Required Cash Back Bonus Points Earned (Travel/Dining Category)
Gold $20,000 25% 2.5X
Platinum $50,000 50% 3X
Platinum Honors $100,000 75% 3.5X

For example, if have at least $20,000 in a banking account, you’ll qualify for the Gold Tier, which gives you a 25% rewards bonus. That means if you would have earned 1,000 points, you’d get an additional 250 points for a total of 1,250. That’s a cash back equivalent of 2.5%.

Depending on your bank account balance, you could qualify for a reward bonus as high as 75%, giving you a cash back equivalent of 3.5% on travel and dining.

As long as your account remains open and in good standing, your points never expire.

The travel category is fairly broad, covering expenses you normally wouldn’t think of, like toll bridges and parking lot fees. The dining category covers restaurants, fast food, and bars, but does not include food purchased at grocery stores, bakeries, or other merchants that may sell food. You can see the eligible purchase types for each category below.

Travel Category
Airlines Hotels Buses Taxis Trains Vehicle rentals
Parking lots and Garages Tolls and Bridge fees Travel agencies Limousines Campgrounds Cruises
Boat rentals Ferries Timeshares Theme parks Tourist attractions Art galleries
Dining Category
Restaurants Fast Food Bars and Taverns

Redeeming

Your points are worth 1 cent each, regardless of your redemption method.

Redemptions for statement credits and account deposits tend to be the fastest and easiest methods, so we recommend sticking with them. However, there are several different ways to redeem your points:

  • Statement credits
  • Deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account
  • Contribution to eligible Merrill Lynch investment account
  • Travel expenses
  • Gift cards

You must have at least 2,500 points to redeem, which provides $25 in value. To earn 2,500 points, you’d have to spend $1,250 at the 2X rate.

How to Offset the Annual Fee

While there are other travel cards that don’t charge annual fees, it’s pretty easy to offset the Premium Rewards Card’s $95 annual fee, especially if you take advantage of the travel benefits.

Each year, you’ll receive up to $100 as a statement credit for incidental airline costs. If you typically spend at least $100 on checked bags, in-flight WiFi, or drinks each year, you’ll recoup the cost of the annual fee with the statement credit alone, even coming out with $5 extra.

See? The card pays for itself!

Whereas many credit cards require you to spend a certain amount per year to make them worthwhile, this benefit alone provides exceptional value. Any spending rewards you earn on top of it will be a nice bonus.

As another value-adding perk, you also receive a statement credit for the application fee for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓ ($85). These programs are valid for up to four years, so it’s like getting up to $25 a year.

From these two statement credits you’ll get up to $125 in value per year, which is $30 more than the annual fee you’ll need to pay.

You could also offset the annual fee with the rewards you earn from this card. When spending in the 2X categories, earning a 2% cash back equivalent, you’d need to spend $4,750 to earn $95 in value. But you won’t need to spend as much if you can make use of some or all of those credits.

The Benefits

You can earn a lot of rewards with the Premium Rewards Card. However, its benefits offer a ton of value, too. Frequent travelers will enjoy these perks, as they can enhance and streamline your trips.

For more details on the benefits, check out the terms and conditions of the Premium Rewards Card (look in the fine print under the APR information).

And for more information about the shopping and travel protections in particular, visit this Premium Rewards web page.

$100 Airline Incidental Statement Credit

If you fly regularly, you’ll appreciate an annual $100 airline incidental statement credit. Use your Premium Rewards Card to pay for incidental purchases on a flight – such as WiFi, baggage fees, or drinks onboard – and you’ll get statement credits up to $100 each calendar year.

One thing to note is that you only earn the credit if you use the card for incidental purchases. Other costs, like purchasing airline tickets or gift cards, are not eligible for the credit. (Some people report being reimbursed for certain airline gift cards with travel credits like these, even though the terms state that this won’t happen).

This is a very rare feature to find on a card that only costs $95. You typically only see these travel credits on more expensive cards, and they usually aren’t enough to offset the annual fee all on their own, like this $100 credit can. This credit can also be used with any airline, making it more flexible than what you get with some other cards. You’ll also get a $100 airline credit with the Amex Gold Card, for example, but in that case you need to pick one specific airline each year to use it with.

Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ Application Fee Credit

Sick of fumbling with your belt and juggling your Kindle and laptop through airport security?

Who isn’t?

There’s an easier way, and the Premium Rewards Card will help you through it. You can sign up for programs like Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ to expedite your way through security.

Just use your card to pay for the application fee – $85 for TSA Pre✓ or $100 for Global Entry – and you’ll get a statement credit for that amount within seven days.

This credit is only available once every four years, and can only be used for one program, not both. Global Entry actually includes TSA Pre✓, so for most people it probably makes sense to go with Global Entry.

A Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application fee credit is a common feature on high-end travel cards, but it’s unusual to see on a mid-range card like this. You won’t get this perk with other comparable travel cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Barclays Arrival Plus.

Luxury Hotel Collection

Want to feel like a VIP? The Luxury Hotel Collection by Visa Signature gives you special perks at select hotels all over the globe that enhance your experience, including:

  • Best available rate guarantee
  • Automatic room upgrades upon arrival, when available
  • Complimentary in-room WiFi
  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  • $25 food and beverage credit
  • Late checkout upon request

Just visit the Luxury Hotel Collection website to find a hotel for your next trip.

You’ll find the Luxury Hotel Collection offered on many Visa Signature travel cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred below. Other card networks have similar services — some Amex cards have the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, while some Mastercards, like the Barclays Arrival Plus, have the Luxury Hotels & Resorts program.

Visa Signature Concierge

With the Premium Rewards Card, you get access to the Visa Signature Concierge Service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It serves as a sort of assistant, except it puts Siri or Alexa to shame.

You’ll get help from a real person, helping you to coordinate trips, book tickets, secure reservations, or even send flowers.

You can use the concierge at any time, but they’re especially helpful when you’re traveling to a new city and you need help navigating the food and entertainment scene.

You can call your Visa Signature concierge service any time at 1-800-953-7392.

Concierge services are becoming pretty common on credit cards today, especially when it comes to travel cards. You’ll get it with similar travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Barclays Arrival Plus, as well as on many cards with higher fees.

Free FICO Credit Score

You can keep track of one of your credit scores for free with your Bank of America card. You’ll be able to check your FICO Score 8, based on data from your TransUnion credit report.

Most credit card issuers today offer some type of free credit score, but it’s nice that Bank of America provides an actual FICO score. If you don’t have another way to access scores based on your TransUnion credit report, this could be quite valuable.

Shopping Protections

  • Purchase Security: If an eligible purchase is damaged or stolen within 90 days after you bought it, you can get reimbursement of up to $10,000 per claim to repair or replace the item.
  • Warranty Manager Service: If you purchase an eligible item with your Premium card, Bank of America will double the manufacturer’s warranty, up to one additional year. Only warranties of three years or less are eligible.
  • Return Protection: If you’re not satisfied with an eligible purchase and the retailer won’t accept it as a return, you can be reimbursed for the item. You can get up to $250 per item, up to $1,000 per year.

Travel Protections

  • Trip Delay Reimbursement: If your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours due to a covered hazard, you can get up to $500 per ticket purchased for you and your eligible family members to cover incidental expenses, like meals or a hotel stay.
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Coverage: If you have to cancel a trip for a covered reason, you’ll get trip reimbursement up to $5,000 per person, per trip.
  • Baggage Delay Coverage: If your bags are delayed at least six hours when traveling by a common carrier, you can get up to $100 per day for up to five days to cover reasonable essentials, like clothing.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: If your luggage is lost or stolen, you’ll get coverage for the bags and their contents.
  • Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance: If you travel by common carrier and are injured, you’ll get coverage against loss of life, limb, or sight.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance: If you’re sick or injured while traveling, you can get help with medical referrals and legal services.
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Coverage: If you or a family member is severely injured or ill when traveling and requires emergency evacuation, you could be covered for eligible medical and transportation costs.
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Decline the rental company’s own insurance and pay with your Premium Rewards Card, and you’ll get reimbursement for damage due to collision or theft.
  • Roadside Dispatch Service: You can get access to a 24/7 network for help handling roadside emergencies, such as flat tires or breakdowns.

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
17.99%–24.99% Variable 17.99%–24.99% Variable 20.99%–26.99% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
$95  None 5%, $10 minimum 3%, $10 minimum
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
29.99% Variable Up to $38 Up to $27

The Premium Rewards Card has an annual fee of $95.

There is no introductory offer for new purchases, so any new purchases you make will start accruing interest unless you pay the statement balance in full. We recommend doing so, because it will help keep your credit utilization low in addition to preventing interest charges. It doesn’t really make sense to use this card for balance transfers, as it doesn’t have a low APR offer for that.

There are no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a great card to use when traveling outside the country.

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Card doesn’t offer a low introductory APR for new purchases or balance transfers. Look for another credit card if you need to complete a balance transfer or need time to finance a big purchase.
For more information, check out the Premium Rewards card’s terms and conditions.

What Is the Credit Limit?

If approved for the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card, your credit line will be at least $5,000.

You can also request a credit line increase at any time. If you want a higher limit, we recommend requesting an increase after 6 to 12 months.

Customer Support

Phone Support

Bank of America Customer Support

1-800-732-9194

Customer service is an often overlooked factor when considering a new credit card, but it’s incredibly important. If there’s a problem with your account, you want to have confidence in your card’s customer support team and know that your issue will be handled quickly and effectively.

Unfortunately, Bank of America is not well known for its customer service. According to J.D. Power’s most recent credit card satisfaction study, Bank of America was 7th out of 11 issuers.

However, we’ve had good experiences with Bank of America’s customer support team, so we were surprised to see them marked so low.

If you contact customer support and get a representative who doesn’t seem able to help you, don’t be afraid to ask for someone else or call again to speak to another representative.

Web Support

Bank of America Twitter Support

@BofA_Help

For basic questions, you can submit your inquiries on Twitter @BofA_Help or via live chat on the Bank of America website. Remember, this communication method is not secure, so don’t share personal or account information.

Although some card issuers offer a secure live chat, which becomes available after logging in, Bank of America does not provide that particular service.

The Bottom Line

If you love food and travel, the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card offers good value and benefits.

To decide whether or not it’s right for you, consider how often you travel and eat out. If you eat out several times a month and travel at least once a year, you’ll quickly earn rewards.

Between its rewards and introductory bonus, along with benefits like the $100 airline credit and $100 Global Entry/TSA Pre✓ credit, there are plenty of ways to save money and offset the $95 annual fee.

However, if you’re looking for a travel card with a different set of perks, like the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel programs, you’ll have to look elsewhere. You’ll need to find another card, like some of the ones mentioned below.

How to Apply for the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

To apply for the Premium Rewards Card, click on the Apply Now button below and complete the online application. Most people will receive a response within seconds, but in some cases, it could take longer.

If approved, you’ll get a notification. If you’re not approved, you’ll receive a letter in the mail explaining why you were denied.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal identifying information, including birth date, Social Security number, and phone number
  • Total household income and source of income
  • Monthly mortgage/rent payment
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card
Apply Now

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Interest Rate: 17.99%–24.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Bank of America® Preferred Rewards clients can enjoy 25% - 75% rewards bonus on every purchase. That ups your earning potential to 3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.63 points on all other purchases.
  • Enjoy a premium set of benefits when you use your Premium Rewards card to book through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.
  • No blackout dates or restrictions and points do not expire.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee

Alternatives to the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

  • American Express® Gold Card (Review): $250 annual fee; 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets; 3X points on flights; 25,000-point introductory bonus for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (Review): $95 annual fee (waived first year); 2X points on travel and restaurants; 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (Review): $89 annual fee (waived first year); 2X points on all purchases; 60,000-mile introductory bonus for spending $5,000 in the first 90 days
  • Hilton Honors Ascend Card (Review): $95 annual fee; 30X points at Hilton properties; 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations; 3X points on other purchases; 125,000-point introductory bonus for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

 

If you’re looking for a card that offers more luxurious benefits than the Premium Rewards Card, the American Express® Gold Card (Review) may be for you. A metal card that comes in gold or rose gold (for a limited time), frequent travelers can find a lot of value in the rewards and benefits.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per year in purchases
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on:
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at gas stations (former Premier Rewards Gold Card users only, until 10/4/19)
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 25,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $125–$500 (assuming 0.5–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 6.25–25%

Depending on what you buy, you could get a cash back equivalent of up to 8% back on your purchases, blowing the Premium Rewards Card out of the water.

If you love food and travel, you can earn Membership Rewards points quickly. Unlike the Premium Rewards Card, the Gold Card allows you to earn 4X points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets, a handy category to have along with U.S. restaurants. That can be a nice perk if you like to cook at home. Plus, you’ll get 3X points per $1 spent on flights.

Because statement credits will only give you 0.6 cents per point and other travel redemptions only provide up to 1 cent per point, it makes sense to hold out for point transfers. You could get 2 cents per point or more, depending on the deal you find. That works out to a cash back equivalent of 8% when spending in the 4X categories, 6% cash back when spending in the 3X categories, 4% cash back when spending in the 2X category, and 2% cash back on all other purchases.

Benefits

The American Express Gold Card offers some of the same benefits as the Premium Rewards Card, but it also has some other perks that may make it worth its higher annual fee.

  • $100 Airline Credit: Like the Premium Rewards Card, you can get a $100 credit to pay for incidental costs. However, the Gold Card’s version isn’t as flexible as the Premium Rewards Card’s offering. You have to pick one airline to qualify for the credit, and you can only change it once a year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express Gold Card at participating restaurants, like The Cheesecake Factory, and for delivery services like GrubHub.
  • The Hotel Collection: Get a $75 hotel credit for qualifying charges, and room upgrades when available.
  • Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee: If you find your room being advertised for a lesser price you can be reimbursed for the difference, as long as you file a claim before check-in.
  • Gold Card Destinations: Receive a $100 credit on eligible new bookings of vacation packages and cruises that cost at least $3,000. Must book through American Express Travel.
  • Entertainment Access: You’ll be eligible for exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events.
  • Preferred Seating: With Preferred Seating, you can get premium seats for concerts, sporting events, and more.
  • Shopping Protections: Get access to Extended Warranties, Purchase Protection, and Return Protection.
  • Travel Protections: Receive Premium Roadside Assistance, Travel Accident Insurance, a Global Assist Hotline, a Baggage Insurance Plan, and Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance.

Terms & Fees

The Gold Card has an annual fee of $250, more than double the cost of the Premium Rewards Card.

It’s also important to know that the Gold card is a charge card. That means you have to pay off your balance in full each month, or you’ll face high fees and penalties.

There are no foreign transaction fees. However, American Express isn’t widely accepted outside of the United States, so the Premium Rewards Card will likely be a better choice when traveling internationally.

Read more in our Review of the American Express Gold Card

 

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.

Similar to the Premium Rewards Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (Review) allows you to earn 2X points for travel and dining. Plus, you’ll get a 50,000-point bonus when you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months.

Rewards

SPENDING REWARDS
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on:
    • Travel
    • Dining at restaurants
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory BONUS OFFER
  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12.5–25%
REDEMPTION BONUS
  • 25% point bonus when redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
    Equivalent to:

    • 2.5X points on travel and dining at restaurants
    • 1.25X points everywhere else

Like the Premium Rewards Card, Chase Ultimate Reward points are generally worth 1 cent each. But redeem them for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards and you’ll get a 25% bonus, so your points will be worth 1.25 cents each.

That gives you a cash back equivalent of 2.5% for travel and dining, with 1.25% everywhere else. That 50,000-point introductory bonus would be worth $625 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

You can get more value from your points by transferring them to an airline or hotel program. By doing a point transfer, you could get 2 cents per point or more, giving you a cash back equivalent of 4% for travel and dining purchases, and 2% on everything else.

Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers some of the same benefits as the Premium Rewards Card, but one important difference is the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel travel loyalty programs.

  • 1:1 point transfer: Transfer points at a 1:1 rate to leading airline and hotel frequent travel programs, such as IHG Rewards or British Airways Executive Club. That means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles or points.
  • 10,000-point referral bonus: You’ll get a 10,000-point bonus for every friend you refer who applies for the card and is approved. Redeem those points with Chase Ultimate Rewards, and you’ll get $125 per friend.
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: As mentioned above in the Premium Rewards Card’s benefits, you can book through this program to get perks like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, room upgrades, early check-in or late check-out, and a unique gift.
  • Shop Through Chase: Earn more points by shopping at participating retailers with the Shop through Chase marketplace.
  • Chase Preferred Experiences: As a Sapphire Preferred cardholder, you’ll have access to exclusive events and experiences provided by Chase.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Like the Premium Rewards Card, you can call 1-800-953-7392 to speak with your Visa Signature Concierge, any time, day or night.
  • Travel and shopping protections: Get Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waivers, Purchase Protection and more.
  • Dedicated customer service specialists: Get 24/7 access to a dedicated customer service line. Just call the number on the back of your card to be immediately connected with a real human representative.

Terms & Fees

For the first year, the annual fee is waived. After that, there is a $95 annual fee. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Read more in our Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

 

If you’re looking for a strong travel rewards credit card, the Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (Review) is a good all-around option. It offers the same rewards rate regardless of the purchases you make, letting you easily earn double points on every transaction.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 2X miles per dollar for every purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 60,000 bonus miles for paying the annual fee and spending $5,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Value: $600
    • Return on spend: 12%
Redemption Bonus Offer
  • 5% of your miles back every time you redeem them

This card offers 2X points for every purchase. You can get 1 cent per mile when redeeming for travel statement credits. That comes to the equivalent of 2% cash back for every purchase you make. You can also get a redemption bonus of 5% of your miles back every time you redeem them, which means you’re effectively earning 2.1X miles per dollar, for a 2.1% cash back equivalent.

You’ll also get a 60,000-point introductory bonus, a $600 value. But you’ll need to spend $5,000 to get it, which is a bit high for an intro bonus of this size.

This card is similar to the Premium Rewards card in that each mile is only worth 1 cent and there is no point transfer ability. However, with the Arrival Plus card you can earn 2X points on all purchases, without being restricted to travel and dining like the Bank of America card.

Benefits

With an annual fee close to that of the Premium Rewards Card, the Arrival Plus card has comparable benefits.

  • World Elite Luxury Travel Benefits: You’ll get access to a travel advisor, discounts and upgrades at select hotels and airlines, elite status at participating car rental companies, and at participating hotels you’ll receive complimentary breakfast for two, room upgrades, and added amenities.
  • World Elite Mastercard Concierge Service: The Arrival Plus card offers a concierge service similar to that of the Premium Rewards Card. Call the concierge for non-emergency assistance for reservations or travel arrangements.
  • Free FICO Credit Score: Like the Premium Rewards Card, the Arrival Plus offers a free FICO Score 8, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Travel Protections: You will receive Mastercard Global and Travel Assistance Services, Travel Accident Insurance, Baggage Delay Insurance, and Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.
  • Shopping Protections: You’ll also get Extended Warranties, Purchase Security, and Price Protection.

Terms & Fees

The Arrival Plus card has an $89 annual fee, waived the first year, making it less expensive than the Premium Rewards Card (which has a $95 fee that is not waived the first year).

There are no foreign transaction fees and it is a Mastercard, making it a smart choice for international travel because it will have broad acceptance.

Unlike the Premium Rewards Card, which does not have a balance transfer intro offer, the Arrival Plus card gives you 0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening). That gives you some time to transfer a balance and pay it off before the regular APR rate of 17.99%, 21.99% or 24.99% Variable kicks in.

Read more in our Review of the Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

 

Many hotels offer their own co-branded credit cards, and if you have a favorite hotel chain you should look for an associated card. If you frequent Hilton hotels, for example, you might like the Hilton Honors Ascend Card (Review).

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 30X points per dollar or more at Hilton properties
    • 12X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 18X Base points per dollar or more for being a Hilton Gold member
  • 6X Bonus points for:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Bonus points for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 125,000 Bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$1,250 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 25–62.5%

If you stay at Hilton hotels or resorts often, you’ll rack up points quickly. You’ll get at least 30X points per $1 spent at eligible Hilton properties, in part from this card and in part from your Hilton Gold member status. If you value those points at 0.4–1 cent each, you’ll be getting a cash back equivalent of 12–30% at Hilton properties.

You can earn a much better return on your spending with the Ascend Card than with the Premium Rewards card. However, the rewards have more limitations. To get the best value you’ll need to redeem them for stays or other purchases with one specific hotel brand (Hilton), whereas you have more flexibility with the Premium Rewards card,

If you’re not a fan of Hilton hotels, you can find similar deals with other hotel chains.

Benefits

The benefits that the Ascend Card offers are pretty typical of a hotel credit card. Frequent Hilton customers should be able to get quite a bit of value from them, particularly the hotel status, airport lounge access, and ability to earn free night stays.

  • Annual Weekend Night Reward: If you spend $15,000 in a calendar year, you’ll get a Weekend Night Reward, valid at most Hilton properties.
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status: You’ll get complimentary Gold status. That means you’ll get an 80% bonus on Base points, complimentary breakfasts, room upgrades when available, and more.
  • Fast track to Diamond Status: Spend $40,000 in a calendar year to get Hilton Honors Diamond status.
  • Limited Priority Pass Select membership: You’ll get 10 free visits to Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants, with a $32 fee per person after that.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: Get a free membership to ShopRunner, which entitles you to free two-day shipping and returns at a selection of online retailers, like AutoZone, Express, and Newegg.
  • Amex Offers: Receive exclusive discounts at a selection of merchants, including Sam’s Club and Pier 1 Imports.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Get extra benefits like Purchase Protection, a Global Assist Hotline, and a Baggage Insurance Plan, among others.

Terms & Fees

The Hilton Honors Ascend Card costs $95 per year and has no foreign transaction fees.

In that sense it’s just like the Premium Rewards card, but the downside is that American Express cards aren’t accepted very widely in countries outside the U.S. So if you’ll be traveling abroad you’ll be better off with the Bank of America card, which is a Visa (and Visa cards are accepted pretty much everywhere credit cards are accepted).

Read more in our Review of the Hilton Honors Ascend Card

Looking for even more rewards at Hilton resorts? Check out the Hilton Honors Aspire Card, an upgraded version of the Ascend Card that costs $450 per year but comes with a variety of excellent perks.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card
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Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Interest Rate: 17.99%–24.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Bank of America® Preferred Rewards clients can enjoy 25% - 75% rewards bonus on every purchase. That ups your earning potential to 3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.63 points on all other purchases.
  • Enjoy a premium set of benefits when you use your Premium Rewards card to book through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.
  • No blackout dates or restrictions and points do not expire.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
Are you looking for a new travel card? See some other great card options in the Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018.

Do you use the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card? Let us know how you like it by leaving your own review!

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