If you hold the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, you have a few choices when it comes time to redeem your points: You can use them to book travel, get cash back or buy gift cards. But how exactly do you go about redeeming them? Here’s a step-by-step guide for using your Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card points.
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First, you’ll need to sign in to your Bank of America account, select your Premium Rewards credit card from the list of accounts and click on the “Rewards” tab. That tab will show your total available points and provide an option to redeem them.
Clicking on “Redeem Points” brings you to a screen with three redemption options — you can use your points for travel, cash or gift cards. There’s a 2,500-point minimum on all redemptions.
Bank of America doesn’t have any airline or hotel transfer partners, but the first redemption option — “Travel” — will allow you to use your points to directly book a flight, hotel or car rental. The redemption rate is one cent per point, just as it is with the other two choices.
Shopping portals and gift card redemptions
However, you’ll probably be better off booking your travel another way. For instance, if you use an online travel agency (OTA) such as Orbitz or Expedia, you can earn additional rewards from the OTA itself. Also, many OTAs appear on cash-back shopping portals, so you can double-dip on a booking and get even more cash back. Then if you still want to use your Premium Rewards points for the travel booking, just redeem them for a statement credit for the same amount and you’ll get the identical one-cent redemption rate.
The same advice applies to gift card redemptions — you’ll get one cent per point. You’re not losing any value by going this route, but there are generally better ways to buy gift cards with a discount or cash back, or you can just pay for purchases with a credit card and earn additional rewards that way.
That brings us to the most valuable option — cash. We love points and miles, but nothing is more flexible than cash and the Premium Rewards card is one of the most powerful cash-earning cards out there, especially when you combine it with the Bank of America Preferred Rewards banking program. With this program, you can earn up to a 75% bonus on your credit card rewards, but to reach this tier you’ll need to have $100,000 in assets with Bank of America or its Merrill Lynch sibling.
So when you click on the “Cash” option, you’ll come to a screen that allows you to use points for a direct deposit into a Bank of America or Merrill account, a 529 College Savings Plan or a statement credit to your Premium Rewards card. Click the “Redemption Options” pull-down menu and you’ll find your various Bank of America accounts listed, including the Premium Rewards card itself.
Once you’ve selected an account, you can enter the number of points you want to redeem. Bank of America will show the cash amount you’ll receive for those points and ask you to confirm your entry.
The final screen will show a confirmation that your redemption request has been submitted, along with all the details and a transaction ID number (which you should note in case there are any issues). It can take up to five business days for the redemption to appear, so don’t panic if you don’t see it immediately.
You might have noticed that, along with the above process of making a single redemption (which Bank of America refers to as a “One-Time Redemption”), there’s a tab to the right that offers the opportunity to set up an Auto Redemption.
Turning on Auto Redemption will cause all the points you earn to be automatically redeemed as a statement credit or deposited into the account you’ve set at the end of each month, as long as you have at least 2,500 points to redeem. If you’d like to set your redemptions on autopilot, you’ll never have to think about it. Just watch the cash build up each month.
As you can see, redemptions with this card are pretty straightforward and the Premium Rewards card has a reasonable annual fee.
The Premium Rewards card is an excellent cash-back credit card, but if you’re interested mainly in travel rewards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has the same $95 annual fee and a bigger bonus — you’ll earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of having the card. The Premium Rewards card has a bonus of 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.
The Chase points you earn with the Sapphire Preferred are worth one cent each as cash back or 1.25 cents each toward travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. It earns a higher 3 points per dollar on dining and 5 points on travel booked through the Chase travel portal (or the same 2 points per dollar on travel booked elsewhere).
For spending that falls outside of these bonus categories, the Premium Rewards card’s 1.5 points per dollar beats out the Sapphire Preferred’s 1 point per dollar. But with the Sapphire Preferred you have the ability to transfer Chase points to the issuer’s airline and hotel partners.
This option makes the best travel credit cards a much better option for booking business- and first-class flights than even the best cash-back cards. For some examples of what you can do with transferrable Chase points, check out our article on the best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Or, if you prefer the simplicity of earning cash back and don’t qualify for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program, the Citi® Double Cash Card is an excellent choice. It has no annual fee and earns 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you make the purchase and an additional 1% as you pay your balance off.
Redeeming points with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card is quick and easy. This card is one of the top cash-back cards to use for your everyday spending, especially if you qualify for the highest status with the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.
If you do, you’ll get a 75% bonus on your credit card rewards, making every purchase with the Premium Rewards card worth at least 2.62% cash back — a very good rate of return.
Apply here: Bank of America Premium Rewards card.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Jason Stauffer.