One very popular topic in our google group is how to maximize your credit rewards. I’m a huge fan of getting as many signup bonuses as possible to get free trips in business class and five star hotel stays as I can. Of course, you should only be doing this if you can pay off the balances in full every month. If you need a zero percent APR card look at this previous post.
Some people like to keep it simple and carry one or two cards. The main topic of this post is how to get 2.625% rewards back on ALL your purchases with the Bank of America Premium rewards card by becoming a platinum honors customer, which will be detailed below.
You can optimize your yield simply by carrying a few cards, even if you don’t hit up all the signup bonuses. Others frequently ask me which cards I use for regular spending when I’m not trying to meet a signup bonus. For personal spend I use the Amex personal gold for four points back at supermarkets and dining (6.16% back when redeemed through Amex biz plat for American Airlines flights or any airline business class) and the US Bank altitude reserve 4.5% back in travel credits when using Apple Pay or travel categories. For non category spend I use the B of A premium rewards card.
For business cards I use the Chase ink cash- 5 points back on internet/ phone and IT and the Amex business blue- 2 points back for everything else. When combined with Amex business platinum, equivalent of 3.08% back when redeeming for American Airlines (or your airline of choice) flights.
Note that I hold the AMEX business platinum card for the benefits, not because I regularly use it for charges. The $550 annual fee is $330 post tax, offset by the $200 airline credit and $200 Dell credit. Holding this card gives me Centurion, Delta and Priority Pass lounge access as well as unlocks the feature of 35% points back when redeemed on the airline of your choice (American for me) or ANY airline in business class. If you email me I can send you a referral link for this, or any AMEX card.
One of my friends on our email thread thinks the above is way too confusing and signed up for a Alliant 3% cash back card for personal use. This drops to 2.5% with an annual fee after year one. Here’s what he asked:
“Speaking of my personal finances, I just started investing some post tax money into an investment account after building up my emergency fund. The B of A premium rewards card might be a good idea for me one my Alliant Visa drops down to 2.5% with annual fee next year. I just paid my property taxes with a 0.8% profit margin thanks to this card.
How do I become Bank of America platinum honors and get 2.625% back on everything?”
1. Bank of America is affiliated with Merrill Edge. To become platinum honors, you need to maintain a $100,000 balance for three months. Open up a Merrill edge post tax account (529 or IRA doesn’t count) and deposit $100,000. Here’s a link where they even give you $250 to do so (note I don’t get anything if you click on this):
2. If this a cash emergency fund invest in cash/ money market account. Otherwise just buy or dollar cost average into the fund of your choice. One possible choice is the mutual fund SPY as it tracks the SP500 with a 0.09% expense ratio and a 0.08 tracking error:
3. Apply for the B of A premium rewards personal credit card:
Free $500 for spending $3000. So that’s a free $750 with the $250 account bonus. Again I don’t get anything if you click on the link.
So if you maintain a $100k balance for three months (put in more if market dips) you become platinum honors (continued below)
4. The card with the $2500 quarterly limit is the B of A cash rewards card:
If you’re platinum honors, you can choose one category to get 5.25% back in I recommend online purchases or gas. Then you also get 3.5% back at grocery stores or Costco. The B of A cash rewards card is a good combo with the B of A premium because you get:
5.25% online purchases or gas
3.5% Costco, groceries, dining, travel
2.625% everything else
But, the cash card is limited to $10,000/ year. Even if you max it out it’s only a extra $262 or so.
Easier low hanging fruit is to get the chase ink unlimited (email me for a referral link), capital one spark ($1000 free), us bank altitude reserve ($750 in free travel), Chase Hyatt (can send you referral link) or AMEX gold or platinum (email me for a referral link)
There’s also a different B of A business travel rewards card which is business, not personal. Several folks have asked me if this is worth applying for.
I wouldn’t get the B of A BUSINESS 2.625% back for two reasons:
1. You would need $100k In a business B of A account to become business platinum honors which is separate from personal
2. The personal card (premium rewards) is cold hard cash while the business card is for redemptions against travel only (more limited use of rewards)
Of course if your credit limits are high enough for your purposes you could use B of A PERSONAL premium rewards as your main business card (and pay bills for the card from business checking). See: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/accountableplan.asp
Get your spouse to sign up for same card and add you as auth user for personal purchases (3.5% cash back dining and travel, 2.625% everything else).