Link: Apply now for the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card with 60K bonus points
The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is an intriguing cash back card, and in this post I wanted to take a close look at the $100 airline incidental credit that it offers, which can help with justifying the $95 annual fee on an ongoing basis.
Bank of America Premium Rewards Card basics
To start, let’s cover the very basics of the $95 annual fee Bank of America Premium Rewards Card:
- The card is currently offering a best-ever welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first 90 days; that’s worth $600 cash back
- The card offers 2x points on dining and travel and 1.5x points on all other purchases; points can be redeemed for one cent each
- What makes this card exceptional is that if you participate in the Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program, you can receive up to a 75% bonus on your credit card rewards; you’ll then earn the equivalent of 3.5% cash back on dining and travel and 2.625% cash back on all other purchases
- The card offers a $100 annual airline incidental statement credit, which is the easiest way to justify the $95 annual fee on the card, in my opinion; for mental accounting purposes, I consider this card to really cost nothing to hang onto
- The card offers a $100 statement credit toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry once every four years
Essentially the value proposition here is that many may appreciate the bonus of 60,000 points, worth a $600 statement credit. On top of that, if you can have $100K or more in assets with Bank of America and/or Merrill (this could include a SEP-IRA or 401k), then this card offers an unrivaled cash back return on everyday spending.
How the $100 airline incidental credit works
The Bank of America Premium Rewards Card offers a $100 airline incidental statement credit every calendar year. To qualify, you must use your card to pay for the airline incidental fee transaction, and a statement credit should post within two to three weeks of an eligible purchase.
So, how exactly does this work? There’s no need to designate a specific airline, but rather this credit qualifies for any eligible purchase made with the card. Let’s cover some of the exact details.
Which airlines are eligible for the airline credit?
The Bank of America $100 airline incidental credit is valid for domestic-originated flights on certain US domestic airlines. Bank of America specifically publishes that the following airlines are excluded from this benefit:
- Allegiant Air
- Spirit Airlines
- Sun Country Airlines
While it’s not explicitly stated, I think it’s safe to say that the following airlines are included with this benefit, at a minimum:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
What purchases are eligible for the airline credit?
According to the terms, the Bank of America $100 airline incidental credit is valid for the following types of purchases:
- Preferred seating upgrades
- Ticket change and cancellation fees
- Checked baggage fees
- In-flight entertainment
- Onboard food and beverage charges
- Airport lounge fees affiliated with eligible airline carriers
Meanwhile the following types of purchases are officially excluded:
- Airline ticket purchases
- Mileage point purchases
- Mileage point transfer fees
- Gift cards
- Duty-free purchases
- Award tickets
- Fees incurred with airline alliance partners
Note that this all comes down to whether the airline submits the purchase under the appropriate merchant category code, and that’s what determines eligibility for this benefit.
I should mention that there are lots of reports of some surprising purchases triggering this credit. Doctor of Credit has compiled a list of this, and as you’ll see, there are reports of all kinds of things triggering the credit beyond what’s on the list, ranging from select airline gift cards, to small airline ticket purchases.
Of course there’s no guarantee that will work for everyone or that it will work in the future, but at least historically a surprising number of purchases have qualified for this.
How useful is this airline incidental credit?
- It’s nice that you don’t have to register or designate any specific airline, but rather can use the credit across a variety of airlines
- The credit officially includes all kinds of useful purchases, ranging from seat upgrades to airport lounge access
- The credit unofficially seems to work on even more kinds of purchases
I’d certainly love to hear from OMAAT readers who have this card regarding their experience with using this credit. I’m inclined to say that this could be worth pretty close to face value, and more or less offsets the annual fee of $95. To me, that means this card doesn’t really cost anything to hold onto, for mental accounting purposes.
For many consumers, the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card can be the most rewarding cash back card for everyday spending. The card has a $95 annual fee, though the card offers a $100 annual airline incidental credit, which can really help offset that.
This credit can be used on most major US airlines, and applies to everything from preferred seating upgrades, to onboard food and beverage purchases. Given the reports I’ve seen of people being able to use this credit, I’d say it has the potential to be worth pretty close to face value, and should make it easier to justify the card’s annual fee on an ongoing basis.
If you have the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card, what has your experience been with the $100 airline incidental credit?