Guide to Bank of America Preferred Rewards

Among the larger financial institutions, Bank of America may have the most understated banking benefits. For customers, the returns go beyond everyday spending on rewards credit cards. The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program ensures that members’ dedication to smart saving and investing earns them even more bonuses down the line.

With a comparatively low investment, Bank of America offers customers the opportunity to earn more interest on deposits, lower rates on loans and bonuses on their Bank of America credit card rewards.

If your money isn’t helping you unlock better bonuses, it may be time to consider Bank of America Preferred Rewards. This guide will give you a look into the program and help you decide whether or not it makes sense for your lifestyle.

Table of Contents

What is Bank of America Preferred Rewards?

Preferred Rewards is the invite-only incentive program of Bank of America and its investment arm, Merrill. Although there is no fee to join, customers must be invited into the program.

Qualifying accounts for Bank of America Preferred Rewards

To qualify, customers must own or co-own an active and eligible Bank of America checking account and hold a minimum three-month combined average daily balance of $20,000 or more. The cash can be held across several Bank of America account types, including:

  • Bank of America Advantage Banking, savings, money market savings, CDs and IRAs
  • Merrill investment accounts, including IRAs and the Cash Management Account
  • Merrill 529 college savings accounts on your banking statement
  • Revocable grantor trust accounts

Disqualified accounts for Bank of America Preferred Rewards

All accounts must be personal accounts — business accounts or commercial accounts do not qualify for the Preferred Rewards program. Other disqualified account types include:

  • Employee benefit plans, including 401(k) accounts, and annuities managed by Bank of America or Merrill
  • Irrevocable trust accounts
  • Uniform Transfers to Minors Acts and Uniform Gifts to Minors Act accounts

What are the Bank of America Preferred Rewards tiers?

Based on your balance across accounts on a rolling three-month average, there are five tiers you can qualify for in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. Earning Gold status requires a minimum of $20,000, while higher tiers are unlocked as your balances grow.

Preferred Rewards GoldPreferred Rewards PlatinumPreferred Rewards Platinum HonorsPreferred Rewards DiamondPreferred Rewards Diamond Honors
Minimum three-month average balance$20,000$50,000$100,000$1,000,000$10 million
Savings interest rate boost5%10%20%20%20%
Credit card rewards bonus25%50%75%75%75%
No-fee ATM transaction allowance1 per statement cycle

12 per year

Unlimited (U.S. only)Unlimited (U.S. and abroad)Unlimited (U.S. and abroad)
Merrill Guided Investing fee discount0.05%0.10%0.15%0.15%0.15%
Mortgage origination fee discount$200$400$6000.250% interest rate reduction (PayPlan must be established)0.375% interest rate reduction (PayPlan must be established)
Home equity line of credit interest rate discount0.125%0.250%0.375%0.625%0.750%
Auto loan interest rate discount0.25%0.35%0.50%0.50%0.50%
Select banking servicesNo feesNo feesNo feesNo feesNo fees

Gold tier benefits

Individuals and families who have at least $20,000 saved across Bank of America accounts qualify for Gold’s lowest tier. This level offers an entry point into the program, with the incentive to save even more over time.

The biggest bonus in this tier comes with qualifying Bank of America credit cards and the reduction in mortgage origination fees. Gold members get an additional 25 percent rewards bonus when spending on eligible cards, including the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card.

If you decide to purchase a new home or refinance your current mortgage, your Gold status will also help you save money. Low-tier members get a $200 reduction on the origination fee of a new purchase or refinance mortgage, which can help you reduce closing costs and save even more on your monthly home payment.

Other benefits from the Gold tier include a 5 percent interest rate boost on a Bank of America Advantage Savings account and a 0.05 percent program fee discount on a Merrill Guided Investing account. Those who hold an auto loan with Bank of America will get a 0.25 percent interest rate discount, while families with a home equity line of credit get a 0.125 percent interest rate discount.

Platinum tier benefits

Those who hold a three-month average of $50,000 or more across Bank of America accounts will qualify for the Platinum tier. Members don’t have to request an upgrade from the bank — once you hit the savings minimum, you will automatically qualify for an upgrade.

At this tier, members get a 50 percent rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards, as well as one no-fee transaction at non-Bank of America ATMs per month, for a total of 12 per year. The no-fee transaction means you will not be charged the Bank of America fee for withdrawing money, requesting a balance inquiry or making a balance transfer. The ATM bonus is good only at ATMs in the United States and U.S. territories, meaning you may still be charged fees for services at a non-network terminal outside the country.

This tier also sees increased bonuses and discounts for other accounts. Those with a Bank of America Advantage Savings account get a 10 percent interest rate booster, as well as additional discounts on Merrill Guided Investing program fees, home equity lines of credit interest rates and auto loan interest rates. Those who are planning on a new home purchase or current home refinance with Bank of America can get a $400 reduction in origination fees.

Platinum Honors tier benefits

The next tier of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is Platinum Honors. Customers are placed at this level by having a three-month average balance of $100,000 or more in their qualifying accounts.

With Platinum Honors, members get a 75 percent rewards bonus on their eligible Bank of America credit cards, along with unlimited no-fee transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs across the U.S. and in U.S. territories. You’ll still need to visit an international ATM partner when abroad to take advantage of no-fee transactions.

Balances in a Bank of America Advantage savings account will get a 20 percent interest rate booster while getting discounted interest rates on home equity lines of credit and auto loans. New purchase or home refinance mortgages by Bank of America will get a $600 reduction in origination fees, while Merrill Guided Investing program fees are discounted by 0.15 percent.

Diamond tier benefits

The fourth tier in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is the Diamond tier. You’re eligible for this level if you have a three-month average balance across accounts of at least $1,000,000.

Cardholders in the Diamond tier receive a 75 percent rewards bonus on eligible credit cards and have access to unlimited no-fee transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs across the U.S. and in U.S. territories. Additionally, customers gain a 20 percent interest rate boost on their Bank of America savings account balance.

At the Diamond rewards level, you also receive a 0.625 percent interest rate discount on a home equity line of credit, along with a mortgage origination interest rate reduction of 0.250 percent (if a PayPlan is established). The auto-loan interest rate discount at this tier is 0.50 percent, and Merrill Guided Investing program fees are discounted by 0.15 percent.

Diamond Honors tier benefits

The highest tier in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is known as Diamond Honors. To be eligible for Diamond Honors, you need a combined three-month average balance of $10 million.

Like the Diamond tier, cardholders in the Diamond Honors tier also receive a 75 percent rewards bonus on eligible credit cards and have access to unlimited no-fee transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs across the U.S. and in U.S. territories. A 20 percent interest rate boost on Bank of America savings account balances is also available to Diamond Honors tier members.

At the Diamond Honors reward level, enjoy a 0.750 percent interest rate discount on a home equity line of credit, as well as a mortgage origination interest rate reduction of 0.375 percent (if a PayPlan is established). The auto-loan interest rate discount at this tier is also 0.50 percent.

How to enroll in Bank of America Preferred Rewards

So, how do you become a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member? Based on your rolling three-month combined average daily balance, the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program allows enrollment on an invite-only basis. That means new customers depositing a minimum of $20,000 across Bank of America accounts will have to wait at least three months to take advantage of the Preferred Rewards program.

Once qualified, account holders will be invited to join the free program through online banking. The online system will take a regular count of your three-month average daily balance, so you will be automatically upgraded to the next tier when you qualify. There’s also no need to worry about losing status due to market fluctuation or withdrawals — your benefits are good for one year, giving you plenty of time to stay qualified for the program.

Enrollment requirements

As noted above, this program determines eligibility based on how much you hold over a rolling three-month period. If your average daily balance is at one of the five Bank of America Preferred Rewards tiers, you will be invited to join at that status through online banking.

For example, say your average daily balance is $20,000 in qualifying accounts in month one. In month two, market changes reduce your average daily balance to $15,000. By month three, strategy changes and additional deposits grow your average daily balance to $35,000. Over that three-month period, your average daily balance would be $23,333, which would qualify for an invitation to join with Gold status.

If by month four your average daily balance was $50,000, you wouldn’t immediately jump to Platinum status because your three-month average would be $33,333. If your average daily balance across accounts grew to $65,000 by month five, however, your three-month average would be $50,000, which would qualify you for an upgrade to Platinum status.

Bank of America credit cards in the Preferred Rewards program

There are thirteen Bank of America credit cards, including student cards, that can earn bonuses through the Preferred Rewards program. Depending on your goals, the bonus multiplier from your rewards tier could turn into best-in-class bonuses every time you use your card. Here’s a look at four of the best Bank of America credit cards for 2022:

Bank of America Premium Rewards: Best for overall rewards

  • Rewards rate: 2X points on travel and dining purchases; 1.5X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: 50,000 online bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Annual fee: $95

Even at the Gold tier, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card’s 25 percent bonus on the 2X and 1.5X categories will help your rewards balance add up quickly. In addition to the flexible redemption options at the same rate (ranging from travel rewards to cash back), the card comes with up to $100 annual airline incidental credit and up to a $100 fee reimbursement every four years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, giving you incredible value for a reasonable $95 annual fee.

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards: Best for cash back rewards

  • Rewards rate: 3 percent cash back on category purchases of choice, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstore or home improvement; 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 of combined 3 and 2 percent category purchases each quarter, then 1 percent); 1 percent on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: $200 online cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening
  • Annual fee: $0

Combined with Preferred Rewards, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card gives you the most control over how you earn rewards. The 3 percent cash back in your category of choice (on the first $2,500 in combined 3 and 2 percent category purchases each quarter, then 1 percent) would increase to between 3.75 percent and 5.25 percent. Further, the 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs would jump to between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent, depending on your status tier — all with no annual fee.

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Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards: Best for unlimited cash back rewards

  • Rewards rate: Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases
  • Welcome bonus: $200 online bonus cash rewards after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days
  • Annual fee: $0

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card allows you to earn 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases made with the card. Like its Customized Cash cousin, there’s no annual fee, and Preferred Rewards members can get boosted earnings — either 1.87 cents, 2.25 cents or 2.62 cents, depending on the tier you fall into. This flat-rate cash back card can be especially convenient for those who don’t want to track bonus cash back categories.

Bank of America Travel Rewards: Best for easy-to-use travel rewards

  • Rewards rate: Unlimited 1.5X points on all purchases
  • Welcome bonus: 25,000 bonus points ($250 value toward travel) if you make $1,000 in purchases within 90 days account opening
  • Annual fee: $0

Travel rewards can be difficult to understand, which is why the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is great for Preferred Rewards members who want decent travel rewards with points that are easy to use. Status-holding account holders can earn between 1.87X and 2.625X points with every purchase — with no rewards limit. You can use those points for statement credits on travel purchases at around 1 cent per point.

The bottom line

For the simple act of saving money and building wealth, Bank of America account holders can unlock valuable bonuses across categories, leading to more savings and rewards. If your rewards strategy is primarily built around cash back, you will be hard-pressed to find a more beneficial program than Bank of America Preferred Rewards.


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Many financial institutions offer incentive programs to encourage customers to increase the amount of business they do with that bank. Generally, customers that have a variety of deposit accounts, credit accounts and maybe a mortgage or car loan are more profitable than customers who only have one account, so banks want to encourage customers to consolidate their banking relationships. Bank of America offers such an incentive program called Preferred Rewards.

What Is Bank of America Preferred Rewards?

Bank of America Preferred Rewards is a rewards program meant to encourage Bank of America and Merrill investment customers to increase the assets they hold at Bank of America and with Merrill. To qualify for the program, customers must keep more than $20,000 in combined deposits in Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts.

The program rewards eligible customers with benefits including increased interest rates on deposit accounts, credit card rewards multipliers and reduced fees across several Bank of America and Merrill services. For many the most appealing feature of Preferred Rewards is the ability to pump up their credit card rewards.

What Cards Are Part of the Preferred Rewards Program?

Many Bank of America consumer credit cards are part of the Preferred Rewards program and are eligible to receive tier-based rewards bonuses. These cards include the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card and more.

Credit cards that do not earn rewards and co-branded credit cards, with the exception of the Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard, are not part of the Preferred Rewards program. Bank of America co-branded cards include cards offered in partnership with airlines and other brands such as the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card and Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®*.

Business credit cards are not eligible for the personal Preferred Rewards program, although Bank of America does have a Business Preferred Rewards program with similar rewards for business customers holding assets with Bank of America and Merrill.

How Do I Join Bank of America Preferred Rewards?

To become a Preferred Rewards client, you must have an eligible Bank of America checking account and hold a three-month combined average daily balance of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts. You can log on to your Bank of America account to see if you meet these qualification requirements. If you do, you can then enroll in the program free of charge.

While the balance requirements might seem steep, if you consolidate the funds you have in other deposit accounts—for example, money sitting in a checking account, an emergency fund in one savings account and a future house down payment in another savings account—into your Bank of America account, qualifying for the program might not be out of reach.

Another one of the easiest ways to qualify for Bank of America Preferred Rewards, especially if you’re aiming to qualify for the higher rewards tiers outlined below, is by transferring some of your retirement savings to Merrill Edge. Merrill offers both guided investing, which pairs you with an advisor and charges a percentage of your investment portfolio as an annual fee and self-directed investment accounts through Merrill Edge with no annual program fee.

Merrill Edge offers commission-free online stock, ETF and options trades. ETFs, or exchange-traded funds, are investment funds that contain a diversified collection of stocks, bonds and other assets. They are bought and sold on exchanges and often track an index, giving investors an easy, low-cost way to diversify. If you have an individual retirement account such as a Roth IRA or traditional IRA, transferring those assets to Merrill Edge is likely your fastest path toward earning Preferred Rewards status. Company-sponsored retirement accounts such as a 401(k) do not qualify.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards Tiers

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program offers five tiers: Gold, Platinum, Platinum Honors, Diamond and Diamond Honors. Both the benefits members receive and the combined balance required to qualify increase with each successive tier.

If your balances drop below the Preferred Rewards Tier level you have achieved, you will keep the higher tier level for a full year. After a year plus a three-month grace period you’ll be reassigned to a lower tier based on your current balances.

Gold Tier

Gold is the base tier of the Preferred Rewards program and is available to Bank of America customers who hold a $20,000 to $49,999 three-month combined average daily balance across their Bank of America and Merrill accounts.

The most notable feature of the Gold tier of Preferred Rewards is a 25% reward bonus on eligible Bank of America credit card accounts.

In addition to the above, the Gold tier offers a number of additional discounts and incentives on Bank of America and Merrill products:

  • $200 reduction on the origination fee of a new Bank of America purchase or refinance mortgage
  • 5% interest rate booster on a Bank of America Advantage Savings account
  • 0.125% interest rate discount on a new Bank of America home equity line of credit
  • 0.25% interest rate discount on a new Bank of America auto purchase or refinance loan
  • 1% discount for mobile and online orders of foreign currency, including free standard shipping
  • 0.05% annual program fee discount on Merrill guided investing products

All Bank of America Preferred Rewards tiers include priority member service, no monthly maintenance fees on up to four eligible checking and four savings accounts from Bank of America and no fees on select services including standard check orders, cashier’s checks, incoming domestic wire transfers and more.

Platinum Tier

The Platinum Tier is available to Preferred Rewards program members who hold between $50,000 and $99,999 in three-month combined average daily balance across their Bank of America and Merrill accounts.

Platinum includes all of the benefits of the Gold tier, but increases the credit card reward bonus to 50% and doubles the annual program fee discount on Merrill guided investing to 0.10%. In addition, the Platinum tier includes up to 12 no-fee non-Bank of America ATM transactions in the U.S. per year.

Many of the additional discounts on Bank of America and Merrill products also increase when you hit the Platinum tier:

  • $400 reduction on the origination fee of a new Bank of America purchase or refinance mortgage
  • 10% interest rate booster on a Bank of America Advantage Savings account
  • 0.250% interest rate discount on a new Bank of America home equity line of credit
  • 0.35% interest rate discount on a new Bank of America auto purchase or refinance loan
  • 1.5% discount for mobile and online orders of foreign currency, including free standard shipping
  • 0.10% annual program fee discount on Merrill guided investing products

Platinum Honors Tier

Preferred Rewards program members who hold between $100,000 and $999,999 in three-month combined average daily balances across their Bank of America and Merrill accounts will receive Platinum Honors status.

Platinum Honors builds on the benefits of the Platinum tier and includes a credit card reward bonus of 75%. Platinum Honors is the sweet-spot for many Bank of America Preferred Rewards program members, as it includes the highest credit card rewards bonus that Bank of America offers. In addition, Platinum Honors clients receive a 0.15% discount on Merrill guided investing and unlimited no-fee ATM transactions within the U.S.

Many of the additional discounts on Bank of America and Merrill products also increase when you hit the Platinum Honors tier:

  • $600 reduction on the origination fee of a new Bank of America purchase or refinance mortgage
  • 20% interest rate booster on a Bank of America Advantage Savings account
  • 0.375% interest rate discount on a new Bank of America home equity line of credit
  • 0.50% interest rate discount on a new Bank of America auto purchase or refinance loan
  • 2% discount for mobile and online orders of foreign currency, including free standard shipping
  • 0.15% annual program fee discount on Merrill guided investing products

Diamond Tier

The Diamond tier includes all of the benefits of the Platinum Honors tier and is offered to Bank of America customers holding between $1 million and $9,999,999 of assets at Bank of America and Merrill.

The additional benefits for the Diamond tier are limited, but the Diamond tier does add a mortgage interest rate reduction on new purchase or refinance mortgages. At the Diamond tier, this interest rate reduction is 0.250%. The Diamond tier also increases the interest rate discount on a new Bank of America home equity line of credit to 0.625%. And if you’re a traveler you will enjoy unlimited ATM transactions worldwide.

Diamond Honors Tier

The Diamond Honors tier is the highest tier of the Preferred Rewards program, for customers with a combined balance of $10 million or more with Bank of America and Merrill and includes all of the benefits of the Diamond tier. Diamond Honors customers receive a mortgage interest rate reduction of 0.375% and a home equity line of credit interest rate discount of 0.750%.

How To Maximize the Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program

For most consumers, the best way to maximize the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is to focus on the bonus multiplier that applies to eligible Bank of America credit cards. At the Platinum level or higher, the Preferred Rewards program offers members a 75% bonus on credit card rewards.

For general purchases, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card earns 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases with a $0 annual fee. When this is multiplied by 1.75, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card gives you 2.62% cash back for general purchases, making the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card arguably the single best credit card for cash rewards on general spending at this time.

If you travel frequently, consider the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, which offers a base 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases, making this card a 3.5% cash back card for all travel and dining purchases if you hold Platinum Honors or higher status. While you might be able to eke out better rewards at your specific hotel chain or by using transferable points for international business class flights, few cards can match 3.5% cash back on all travel purchases.

Depending on your financial needs, you might also find value in the reduced mortgage origination fee, home equity discount or the auto loan discount, but make sure that you shop around for rates. Paying a higher interest rate to save $600 in mortgage origination costs on a 30-year mortgage will almost certainly be a bad trade-off.

Bottom Line

If you have $50,000 or more in assets that you can easily move to Bank of America and Merrill and spend a significant amount of money on credit cards, consider going after Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards Platinum status. If you can move $100,000 or more in assets to Merrill, Platinum Honors status combined with the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card will enable you to earn 2.62% cash back on all purchases and 3.5% cash back on all travel purchases.

Frequently Asked Questions


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Here at Upgraded Points, there’s a ton of emphasis on transferable rewards, also known as flexible rewards points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards.

While these are incredibly useful for making those international first and business class trips possible, those points don’t make your entire vacation free — they just make the airfare and hotels free, for the most part.

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is unique in that it showcases a lot of potential for a cash-back rewards strategy. Simply put, you can maximize your cash-back potential by combining your banking, credit cards, and even investment accounts with Bank of America.

What Is Preferred Rewards?

There are 5 main tiers of Preferred Rewards:

  • Diamond Honors
  • Diamond
  • Platinum Honors
  • Platinum
  • Gold

Each of these has different benefits and qualification criteria, for which you’ll find all the in-depth information below.

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The short of it is: Bank of America rewards customers depending on their investment and deposit balances. To consider your balances, it sums up your qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment balances.

There are no fees to participate in the program, and if your balances cross a certain threshold, you’ll be automatically upgraded after the qualifying month. Status maintenance is contingent on your 3-month average combined balance in qualifying accounts.

Also, there’s a bit of fine print regarding tier status downgrades:

  • You’ll maintain your Preferred Rewards tier status for 12 months following your enrollment. If after 12 months you no longer meet the checking account or balance requirement, you’ll have a 3-month grace period. If you haven’t met the checking account requirement after 3 months, you’ll lose your Preferred Rewards status. If you haven’t met the checking account or balance requirement after 3 months, depending on your balances, you’ll either be moved to a lower tier or lose your Preferred Rewards benefits.

If you aren’t opening a new account with Bank of America and want to enroll in Preferred Rewards, you’ll need 2 things:

  1. An eligible Bank of America checking account (personal or business will qualify)
  2. A 3-month average combined balances of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America banking accounts and/or Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts.

Hot Tip: Small business accounts can enroll in the similarly structured Preferred Rewards for Business program to receive bonus rewards, lending discounts, and much more. Check out our guide for full details.

Membership Benefits

Bank of america platinum honors benefits
Image Credit: Bank of America

As mentioned above, there are 5 distinct tiers of Preferred Rewards status. Here are the main benefits of Preferred Rewards, regardless of status:

Select Banking Services

Monthly maintenance fees are waived on up to 4 eligible checking and 4 savings accounts from Bank of America. There are also no fees for ATM or debit card replacement, including rush replacement, standard check orders, cashier’s checks, check image service, check copies, stop payments, and incoming domestic wire transfers.

Furthermore, you receive overdraft protection transfer fees waived from your linked savings accounts, secondary checking accounts, or from a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Lastly, there are no fees for incoming international wire transfers and a small safe deposit box.

Auto Loan Interest Rate Discount

If you finance or refinance an automotive, you’ll eligible for this discount provided that the car is wholly or jointly in your name.

Mortgage Origination Fee Reduction

This is simply a reduction in fees/costs when you take out a mortgage with Bank of America.

Client Service

Receive priority customer service through the Preferred Rewards Center — a dedicated team of specialists available to handle product and service needs.

Merrill Edge Online Investing

No commissions are charged for online stock (equity) and ETF trades. These are waived for individually- or jointly-owned personal investment accounts.

Free Transactions at Non-Bank of America ATMs

Non-Bank of America ATM fees in the U.S. are eligible for a refund for withdrawals, balance inquiries, and balance transfers.

Credit Card Rewards Bonuses

You’ll earn the bonus when you redeem your earnings to a checking account or at the time of purchase with a points-earning card.

Most Bank of America-branded credit cards are eligible to receive the Preferred Rewards bonus. This is the most useful aspect of Preferred Rewards for points and travel enthusiasts.

Some examples of eligible cards are the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, and the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card.

Hot Tip: See our guide on the best travel rewards credit cards for more options to maximize your rewards, bonuses, and benefits. 

Rewards Savings Interest Rate Booster

This increases the interest rate of a Rewards Money Market Savings account.

Statuses

Here’s a look at each of the tiers and benefits, starting with the highest, Diamond Honors.

Diamond Honors Tier

Diamond Honors is the highest tier available; in order to qualify, you need to have a 3-month average combined balance of $10,000,000 or more. If you meet this threshold, you’ll receive a variety of fee-free banking services, plus other discounts.

One of the biggest benefits of Diamond Honors is that you’ll get a mortgage origination fee reduction of 0.375% on new purchases or refinances. Also, you can receive a HELOC interest rate discount of 0.75%, a 0.50% interest rate discount on auto loans, plus the highest-tier client service available.

With Diamond Honors (as well as Diamond), you’ll get exclusive luxury benefits and lifestyle experiences, including customized and unique events from premium brands like Louis Vuitton, NetJets, and Broadspire.

Diamond Honors (and Diamond) members receive a rewards bonus of 75% on all eligible Bank of America credit cards and also get access to the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card, which offers incidental travel credits and much more.

Lastly, you’ll receive a 20% interest rate booster on a Rewards Savings account. This makes a 1.00% interest rate catapult up to a 1.20% interest rate.

Diamond Tier

If you have between $1,000,000 and $9,999,999 in average combined balances, you fall under the Bank of America Diamond tier.

This tier affords a 0.25% interest rate reduction in mortgage purchases or refinances, as well as a HELOC rate discount of 0.625%.

Incrementally, that means Diamond members enjoy a slightly smaller mortgage purchase, refinance, and HELOC interest rate discount than Diamond Honors members do. But everything else is virtually the same!

Platinum Honors Tier

To qualify for Platinum Honors, you must have a 3-month average combined balance of $100,000 to $999,999. Once you meet this criterion, you’ll receive fee-free banking services for checking and savings accounts. The exact breakdown of fee-free banking services is in the above section.

You’ll also receive an interest rate discount on auto loans of 0.50%, or 50 basis points, as well as a $600 reduction in mortgage origination fees on a new purchase or refinance. Platinum Honors members will receive priority-level client service.

If you use Merrill Edge for online investing, you’ll enjoy up to 100 fee-free stock and ETF trades per month. You will also have unlimited no-fee ATM transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs in the U.S. with a Bank of America debit/ATM card.

As a perk of Platinum Honors, you’ll also receive a rewards bonus of 75% on all eligible Bank of America credit cards. As it stands, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card earns 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. If you couple your credit card spending with a Platinum Honors account, you’ll receive a 75% bonus on all of this spending, which brings up your earnings to 3.5 points per $1 spent on travel and 2.625 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Lastly, the 20% interest rate booster stays the same.

Platinum Tier

The qualification balance for the Platinum tier is $50,000 to $99,999 on a 3-month average for all combined, eligible accounts. As is the case with Platinum Honors, clients will receive no-fee services.

Platinum clients will receive a 0.35% interest rate discount on auto loans and a $400 reduction in mortgage origination fees.

You’ll also receive priority client service. Instead of receiving 100 fee-free stock and ETF trades with Platinum Honors, Platinum members will only receive 30 fee-free stock and ETF trades with Merrill Edge. You receive 1 no-fee transaction at non-Bank of America ATMs in the U.S. per statement cycle for a maximum of 12 per year.

Your credit card rewards bonus is 50%, bringing your earnings on the Bank of America Premium Rewards card to 3 points per $1 on travel and dining and 2.25 points per $1 on all other purchases.

You’ll receive a 10% interest rate booster on a Rewards Savings account. This makes a 1.00% interest rate result in a 1.10% interest rate.

Gold Tier

The last and lowest tier of Preferred Rewards is Gold. Your fee-free banking services are included with all tiers of Preferred Rewards, including Gold. The main benefit of Platinum and Platinum Honors over Gold is that there are no fees for incoming international wire transfers and a small safe deposit box.

To qualify for Gold status, you need to have a balance of $20,000 to $49,999.

With Gold status, you’ll have to pay for these fees. Nonetheless, you’ll enjoy a 0.25% discount on auto loan interest rates. You’ll also receive a discount of $200 on mortgage origination fees. Also, you are still entitled to priority client service.

You do not get access to fee-free stock and ETF trades with Merrill Edge Online Investing. You are also not eligible for no-fee ATM transactions.

You’ll receive a 25% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards. If you have the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, you’ll end up earning 2.5 points per dollar on travel and dining and 1.875 points per dollar on everything else.

Last, but not least, you’ll get a 5% interest rate booster on a Rewards Savings account. This will make a 1.00% interest rate increase to a 1.05% interest rate.

How To Optimize Your Earnings With Preferred Rewards

Bank of america platinum honors benefits
Image Credit: Bank of America

As discussed above, the main selling point is the bonus on credit card earnings. It can be summed up below:

Spending CategoriesNo Preferred Rewards StatusGold ($20,000 to $49,999)Platinum ($50,000 to $99,999)Platinum Honors ($100,000 to $999,999)Diamond ($1,000,000 to $9,999,999)Diamond Honors ($10,000,000+)
Travel and Dining2x points2.5x points3x points3.5x points3.5x points3.5x points
All Other Spend1.5x points1.875x points2.25x points2.625x points2.625x points2.625x points

With top-tier Diamond Honors status (as well as Diamond and Platinum Honors), you can earn up to 3.5% return on spending, which is great for those hungry for cash-back.

Here’s a summary of the Preferred Rewards benefits for quick reference (personal):

BenefitsGoldPlatinumPlatinum HonorsDiamondDiamond Honors
No-fee Banking ServicesIncludedIncluded, plus waived fees for incoming international wire transfers and a small safe deposit boxIncluded, plus waived fees for incoming international wire transfers and a small safe deposit boxSame as Platinum HonorsSame as Platinum Honors
Interest Rate Discounts on Auto Loans0.25%0.35%0.50%Same as Platinum HonorsSame as Platinum Honors
Mortgage Reduction in Origination Fee$200$400$6000.25% interest rate reduction on mortgages and refinances (no origination fee discount)0.375% interest rate reduction on mortgages and refinances (no origination fee discount)
Interest Rate Reduction for HELOCs0.125%0.250%0.375%0.625%0.750%
Client ServicePriorityPriorityPriorityHighest priorityHighest priority
Fee-free Stock and ETF TradesUp to 30 per monthUp to 100 per monthSame as Platinum HonorsSame as Platinum Honors
Fee-free ATM Transactions at U.S. Non-Bank of America ATMs12 per year (1 per statement)UnlimitedSame as Platinum HonorsSame as Platinum Honors
Credit Card Rewards Bonus25%50%75%Same as Platinum HonorsSame as Platinum Honors
Rewards Savings Interest Rate Booster5%10%20%Same as Platinum HonorsSame as Platinum Honors

Final Thoughts

All in all, using Bank of America Preferred Rewards is best for those who desire cash-back.

You can accelerate your earnings tremendously by combining your credit card and banking providers. Though it’s most worth it when you’re in the Platinum Honors tier, it could still be worth considering when at the lower tiers, too.

You can only use these points for cash-back, travel purchases, and gift cards, but it’s a solid 1 cent per point for cash-back.

For more cash-back options, check out this guide on the best cash-back cards to have in your wallet.



— Update: 25-12-2022 — We found an additional article Everything you should know about Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program from the website thepointsguy.com for the keyword bank of america platinum honors benefits.

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.


It’s wonderful to redeem points and miles for travel arrangements such as lodging and flights. But there can be many other types of expenses involved in planning a trip, too, such as car rentals, train tickets, gas and campsite fees, among others. Luckily, using cash-back rewards in combination with your points and miles can save you even more money on your next vacation.

With that in mind, we’ll be taking a closer look at the often passed-over Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. On top of the simple banking benefits members can expect, consolidating your finances with Bank of America can also boost your cash-back earnings on some of the best Bank of America credit cards.

That’s because Bank of America designed its Preferred Rewards program to incentivize consumers to move all of their checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts to Bank of America and Merrill.

The higher your balance of total assets with the bank, the more perks you can unlock, including with its credit cards. Depending on your holdings and the type of rewards you’re looking to accumulate, it might be time to stop ignoring Bank of America Preferred Rewards.

Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.

Preferred Rewards program basics

To qualify for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you must have both of the following:

  • An active, eligible Bank of America checking account.
  • A three-month combined average daily balance of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts.

There are now five tiers of Preferred Rewards, which you qualify for based on your combined average daily balance. They are organized like so:

  • Gold: $20,000 or more in total assets.
  • Platinum: $50,000 or more in total assets.
  • Platinum Honors: $100,000 or more in total assets.
  • Diamond: $1,000,000 or more in total assets.
  • Diamond Honors: $10,000,000 or more in total assets.

How to reach the required balance

Your investments can help you become eligible for the Preferred Rewards Program. (Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images)

While not exorbitant, those are still some pretty high figures to hit. You might have more opportunities to do so than you think, though.

If you have an emergency fund, a holiday account, a savings account and checking account, combining all those balances could easily qualify you for the first tier of Preferred Rewards. Once you add in investment accounts, such as IRAs, you may even find that the Platinum or Platinum Honors tiers are within reach.

Balances don’t have to be started with Merrill or Bank of America to count. Specifically, you can roll existing IRAs and investment accounts over to Merrill or Bank of America and immediately use those balances to begin establishing a three-month average to boost your tier. Of course, you’ll have to consider other things like account management fees and available investment options to decide whether doing so is a good option.

Read more  What Does The Yeast And Barley In Beer Do To Your Body?

Related: Some Bank of America cardholders now get new perks — and you can use them at home

How to move among Preferred Rewards tiers

You can rise from one rung to the next any month after your average daily balance for the three previous months reaches the threshold for the following tier. Once you reach a specific status level, though, you might not need to keep all your cash in the Bank of America basket. Instead, you’ll maintain your Preferred Rewards tier status for 12 months. If you no longer meet the qualification requirements after 12 months, you have a three-month grace period to do so. If you still don’t meet the criteria after the three-month grace period, you’ll either be moved to a lower tier or completely lose your Preferred Rewards benefits.

That means if you reach the $100,000 average daily balance threshold for three months, Bank of America will upgrade you to Platinum Honors. Then, even if your average daily balance drops below $100,000, you’ll maintain Platinum Honors for a total of 15 months before being downgraded.

Related: Full guide to Bank of America’s BankAmeriDeals cash-back deals

Preferred Rewards program benefits

Bank of America launched the Diamond and Diamond Honors tiers at the end of 2021. Here’s a chart of the five Preferred Rewards tiers and the benefits associated with each level:

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits.

Savings interest rate booster

You need to have a Bank of America Advantage Savings account and be an enrolled Preferred Rewards member to enjoy this benefit. If you have an existing savings account, it will not automatically convert to a Bank of America Advantage Savings account when you enroll in Preferred Rewards. So, be sure to request the conversion when joining Preferred Rewards.

At Gold, the interest rate boost is 5%, but don’t get too excited. For example, if your interest rate is 1.00%, a 5% rate booster would increase the interest rate to 1.05%. Here’s the current annual percentage yield on a Bank of America Advantage Savings account for a sample Florida resident to give you some perspective:

Bank of America Advantage Savings sample APY for Preferred Rewards members. (Screenshot courtesy of Bank of America)

You can check how this boost would affect the current annual percentage yield on a Bank of America Advantage Savings account in your region here.

Related: 6 questions to ask before choosing a savings account

Credit card rewards bonus

Preferred Rewards members earn a 25%, 50% or 75% rewards bonus on select Bank of America cards. For credit cards that earn points or cash rewards, you will receive a rewards bonus on every purchase. Your earning rate is based on your Preferred Rewards tier when the purchase posts to your account. We’ll get into how this plays out with specific cards below.

You can earn the Preferred Rewards bonus on most Bank of America consumer-branded credit cards, including the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, among others.

However, the following cards are not eligible for the rewards bonus:

  • Non-rewards credit cards.
  • Business-purpose credit cards.
  • BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards®.
  • Merrill branded (including MERRILL+®, Merrill Octave® American Express® and Private Banking and Investment Group Octave® American Express®).
  • Bank of America® Private Bank Octave®.
  • AAA® Gas Rebate.
  • Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®.
  • Alaska Airlines, including the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card.
  • Allegiant World Mastercard®.
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards.
  • Amway.
  • Asiana Airlines.
  • Celebrity Cruises.
  • Royal Caribbean International.
  • Sonesta World Mastercard®.
  • Spirit Airlines, including the Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard® and the Free Spirit® Travel Mastercard®.
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways®, including the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®.

The information for the Bank Americard Better Balance Rewards, Bank of America Private Bank Octave, AAA Gas Rebate, Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard, Allegiant World Mastercard, Amtrak Guest Rewards, the Free Spirit Travel More World Elite Mastercard and Free Spirit Travel Mastercard and the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Bank of America Travel Rewards — which should beginner travelers get?

Mortgage origination fee reduction

(Photo by Johner Images/Getty Images)

Anytime you can cut down on fees for buying or refinancing a home, you should. Preferred Rewards members are eligible to receive this particular discount beginning three business days after the end of the calendar month in which you satisfy the Preferred Rewards tier qualification requirements.

The origination fee reduction can’t exceed the amount of the lender origination fee. The Preferred Rewards fee reduction isn’t transferable. And you may not be able to combine this fee reduction with other discounts.

Related: 5 things to consider before buying your first house

Auto loan interest rate discount

You must complete an auto purchase finance or refinancing loan through Bank of America to qualify for this rate discount. This benefit is not transferable, so only the Preferred Rewards member can take advantage of this perk.

Of course, you’ll need to make sure that Bank of America offers the most competitive rate after the discount, otherwise it might not be worth pursuing. Even the small difference of just a quarter of a percent could save or cost you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Related: How refinancing your car loan could put some quick cash in your pocket

Home equity interest rate discount

You can get a home equity line of credit interest rate discount beginning three business days after the end of the calendar month in which you satisfy the Preferred Rewards tier qualification requirements. This benefit is non-transferable, but you may be able to combine this perk with other home equity interest rate discounts. And even co-borrowers are eligible.

Your discount will be based on the tier of Preferred Rewards that you have at the time of application, and is not subject to adjustment. So if you are Gold when you apply, but achieve Platinum later on, you won’t enjoy any further discount, unfortunately.

Related: 7 ways to improve your finances in 1 week

No-fee banking services

Preferred Rewards members enjoy many important banking services for no cost. (Photo by MStudioImages/Getty Images)

All Preferred Rewards members receive the following banking services:

  • Monthly maintenance fees waived on up to four eligible checking and four savings accounts from Bank of America.
  • No fees for ATM or debit card replacement, including rush replacement, standard check orders, cashier’s checks, check image service, check copies, stop payments and incoming domestic wire transfers.
  • Overdraft protection transfer fees waived from your linked savings accounts, secondary checking accounts or from a Home Equity Line of Credit.

Additionally, Platinum, Platinum Honors, Diamond and Diamond Honors members have no fees for incoming international wire transfers and can open a small safe deposit box for free at a Bank of America branch.

Free non-Bank of America ATM transactions

In the U.S. and U.S. territories, Platinum and Platinum Honors members:

  • Won’t be charged non-Bank of America ATM fees.
  • Will receive a refund of the ATM operator or network fee for withdrawals, balance inquiries and balance transfers.

Platinum members receive one free transaction per statement cycle (so up to 12 annually), and Platinum Honors members have no cap.

Meanwhile, Diamond and Diamond Honors members have unlimited no-fee transactions both in the U.S. and internationally.

Related: 7 ways to save on overseas ATM withdrawals

Merrill Guided Investing fee discount

Preferred Rewards members enjoy a fee discount when utilizing Merrill Guided Investing services. You can get started with as little as $1,000 for Merrill Guided Investing or $20,000 for Merrill Guided Investing with an advisor.

Merrill Guided Investing typically charges a fee of 0.45% of assets under management, and Merrill Guided Investing with an advisor typically charges a fee of 0.85% of assets under management. While those fees might seem small, they add up over time. As such, these charges can turn into a compound drain on your investments as they increase. So, it may be best to look for a financial advisor that charges a fixed fee instead of a percentage of your assets.

Related: Tips on how to become financially independent

Foreign currency exchange rate discount

Bank of America Diamond and Diamond Honors members can order foreign currency through online banking or the mobile banking app and effectively get a 2% exchange rate discount. You'll also get free standard shipping.

Access to exclusive lifestyle benefits

Top-tier Diamond and Diamond Honors members will enjoy customized and unique lifestyle experiences, whether it's travel, wellness, events, food and drink or other personal services. You can get a preview of some of these curated offers here.

Personalized concierge service

Finally, Diamond and Diamond Honors members will have complimentary access to “third party experts who can help navigate complex topics, such as college advice, career support, and eldercare options.”

How to maximize cash-back earning with Bank of America credit cards and Preferred Rewards

To maximize the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you’ll want to qualify for at least Platinum Honors and be eligible for the 75% bonus on your credit card rewards. Of course, it’s not a great idea to make big investment and banking decisions based entirely on credit card bonuses. However, it may be worthwhile if you already plan to invest in Merrill and have an existing banking relationship with Bank of America. If you do, here are some of the bank’s rewards cards to consider, and how you can maximize your cash-back earning with them.

Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card is an excellent fixed-value card in its own right. But it gets even more competitive when you add in the bonuses from the Preferred Rewards program.

The card charges a $95 annual fee and offers a modest selection of benefits. For example, cardholders get an up-to-$100 annual airline incidental fee statement credit, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years (up to $100) and some decent travel protections.

However, this card shines with its earning rates on everyday spending as well as travel and dining purchases. Here’s how the earning rates stack up once you consider the Preferred Rewards credit card rewards bonus:

You can redeem points from the Bank of America Premium Rewards card at a rate of 1 cent apiece for gift cards and purchases through the Bank of America Travel Center, as a statement credit to your credit card, and as cash deposits into Bank of America checking and savings accounts or eligible Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch accounts. So you can get a return of at least 2.625% on all purchases with this card if you hold Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors status. This great return makes the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card one of the best credit cards for everyday spending.

Related: Not to be underestimated: Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card review

Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

If you want to avoid paying an annual fee, you could opt for the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card instead. The Travel Rewards card earns 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases. Points can be redeemed to cover travel purchases at a rate of 1 cent per point. You can also redeem points for gift cards or cash, but you’ll get a lower value for these options.

By earning 1.5 points per dollar on everything plus a 75% Preferred Rewards bonus as a Platinum Honors (or higher) Preferred Rewards member, you effectively earn 2.625% cash back toward travel purchases made with the card. That’s a fantastic cash-back rate to earn on all spending — especially for a card with no annual fee.

Related: Bank of America Travel Rewards card: Simplicity for points beginners

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is great for folks who don’t want to keep track of multiple bonus categories, but who still want to earn at a strong fixed rate on all their purchases. Cardholders earn unlimited 1.5% cash-back rewards on all purchases with no limit.

Platinum Honors and higher members would actually get back 2.625% on all your purchases — one of the best rewards rates any card offers for non-bonus everyday purchases.

Related: The best Bank of America cards of 2022

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Another no-annual-fee card to look at is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card. It earns 3% in one of the following categories of your choice each calendar month:

  • Gas.
  • Online shopping.
  • Dining.
  • Travel.
  • Drugstores.
  • Home improvement/furnishings.

It also earns 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% back on everything else. Just note that you can only earn 3% and 2% on up to $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter.

So, if you're at least a Platinum Honors member, you’ll earn up to 5.25% cash back on your 3% category, up to 3.5% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1.75% cash back on all other purchases. That’s pretty phenomenal for a no-annual-fee cash-back rewards card.

Related: Customize your rewards structure: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card review

Bottom line

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is probably not worth pursuing unless you can qualify for at least Platinum Honors to maximize the 75% bonus on credit card earnings. That said, the program’s perks mean that if you already do business with Bank of America or Merrill, you should consider consolidating your banking and investing to boost your rewards and benefits.

It might even be worth switching to Bank of America if doing so won’t cost you anything extra. After all, the Preferred Rewards program can tip the scale on some of Bank of America’s top card offerings and reward you with significant discounts on other banking services like mortgage and auto loans.

For additional reading, check out our round-up of the best rewards credit cards.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon.

References

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