Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:46 pm

Easy Rhino wrote:My preferred balances seemed to update after my checking account statement (which was around the 6th of the month)


I'm guessing that it's based on the previous three calendar months, but the update appears on about the 5th or 6th of the month (for everyone), regardless of checking account statement date.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby MisterBill » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:59 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:I'm guessing that it's based on the previous three calendar months, but the update appears on about the 5th or 6th of the month (for everyone), regardless of checking account statement date.

Based on my experience this month, I think that it is based on your Merrill Edge statement closing. When I spoke to a PR rep on Friday (asking when I'd be able to join) the rep told me that she wasn't able to see my ME balance. That I was eligible to join when I logged in right after getting the email about my ME statement being available (at 2am Sunday morning) does not seem to be a coincidence to me. Of course, I could be wrong.

BTW I just logged into their mobile app for something and in the PR section, they tell me that I've been "Enrolled since Mar 2017".

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:50 pm

MisterBill wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:I'm guessing that it's based on the previous three calendar months, but the update appears on about the 5th or 6th of the month (for everyone), regardless of checking account statement date.

Based on my experience this month, I think that it is based on your Merrill Edge statement closing. When I spoke to a PR rep on Friday (asking when I'd be able to join) the rep told me that she wasn't able to see my ME balance. That I was eligible to join when I logged in right after getting the email about my ME statement being available (at 2am Sunday morning) does not seem to be a coincidence to me. Of course, I could be wrong.

BTW I just logged into their mobile app for something and in the PR section, they tell me that I've been "Enrolled since Mar 2017".


Right. MEdge statements cover calendar months, whereas checking account statements can occur any time of month, it seems.

My "Enrolled since" date also started a month into the future.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby MisterBill » Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:08 am

For anyone who cares about such things, I received replacement Cash Rewards cards this week (could not find the old ones and wanted to start using them now since the rebate is better) and they say "Preferred" on them.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby JT Marlin » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:11 am

Just letting you guys know, if you apply for the BoA Cash Rewards card as a Preferred Rewards (Platinum Honors) member, then you'll also get a 75% boost applied to the $100 signup bonus, so you'll get a $175 bonus instead of the standard $100 bonus.

Image

Background: I opened a ME and BoA account back in November and applied for the BoA Travel Rewards card as I was going on vacation immediately. Became a Preferred Rewards member in January. Actually got an email earlier this month saying I've been automatically upgraded to 'Banking Rewards for Wealth Management', I didn't even do anything lol.

Now I'm wondering if I had waited until I was a Preferred Rewards member before applying for the Travel Rewards card, then I would have gotten a 75% boost on the $200 bonus ($350)?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby BashDash » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:47 am

I recently transferred 100k worth of stocks to Merrill edge for a nice bonus. What kind of account do I need to open with Bank of America in order to get free trades?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:27 am

JT Marlin wrote:Now I'm wondering if I had waited until I was a Preferred Rewards member before applying for the Travel Rewards card, then I would have gotten a 75% boost on the $200 bonus ($350)?
No, see earlier posts.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby radiowave » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:52 am

BashDash wrote:I recently transferred 100k worth of stocks to Merrill edge for a nice bonus. What kind of account do I need to open with Bank of America in order to get free trades?


Pretty much any checking or savings account or CD. You can link a checking with ME and move funds transparently and immediately across BoA and ME. Unfortunately you cannot purchase any ETFs or MF from ME directly from the checking, you have to move the money first then make the transaction on the ME side.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby Earl Lemongrab » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:21 am

You get the 75% bonus whenever you move rewards to the bank account or Merrill Edge account (so don't use them for statement credits). I just went with the BofA Core Checking account. There's normally a $12 monthly fee but that's waived as one of the Preferred Rewards perks.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby michaeljc70 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:23 am

2 questions:

1) It sounds like ATM card is linked to a checking account rather than the brokerage account itself? At Etrade I had an ATM card with fee reimbursement and checks but it was not a separate account (taxable margin account).
2) Are international ATM fees reimbursed?

I can move a taxable and IRA so it sounds like I can get a $1500 bonus ($100k taxable and large IRA).

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby HikerNC » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:25 pm

Thinking ahead, what is the fee to close or transfer either a Roth IRA or a non-retirement Bank of America Merrill Edge account down the road?

Do they offer free safe deposit boxes?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby Earl Lemongrab » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:40 pm

HikerNC wrote:Thinking ahead, what is the fee to close or transfer either a Roth IRA or a non-retirement Bank of America Merrill Edge account down the road?

According to this source it's $49.95 for a full transfer and 0 for a partial. IRAs have a closing fee of $75. If you can't get the receiver to pay for it (I usually do) then leaving a bit behind should work

Do they offer free safe deposit boxes?

The site says a small one for Platinum and Platinum Honors.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby student » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:03 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Do they offer free safe deposit boxes?

The site says a small one for Platinum and Platinum Honors.


Thanks for the info. I was looking for this as well. I believe you mentioned that you were able to get them to pay the transfer out fee. Is that in addition to the promotion cash?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby misterno » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:08 pm

Can someone clarify please?

If I have IRA in Vanguard SP 500 index fund, how do I transfer this to Merrill Edge?

Merill Edge does not have Vanguard so they have something equivelant?

I understand their one time bonus but aren't their fees higher so in the long run it is worse off to transfer to Merill?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby Earl Lemongrab » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:30 pm

misterno wrote:Can someone clarify please?

If I have IRA in Vanguard SP 500 index fund, how do I transfer this to Merrill Edge?


Merill Edge does not have Vanguard so they have something equivelant?

Merrill Edge is a brokerage. You can transfer almost any Vanguard fund and any ETF. As noted elsewhere, if the fund is Admiral shares then you can't buy more but you can transfer it in and reinvest distributions. I would switch the fund to the ETF class before moving.

misterno wrote:I understand their one time bonus but aren't their fees higher so in the long run it is worse off to transfer to Merill?

Which fees?
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby misterno » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:13 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
misterno wrote:Can someone clarify please?

If I have IRA in Vanguard SP 500 index fund, how do I transfer this to Merrill Edge?


Merill Edge does not have Vanguard so they have something equivelant?

Merrill Edge is a brokerage. You can transfer almost any Vanguard fund and any ETF. As noted elsewhere, if the fund is Admiral shares then you can't buy more but you can transfer it in and reinvest distributions. I would switch the fund to the ETF class before moving.

misterno wrote:I understand their one time bonus but aren't their fees higher so in the long run it is worse off to transfer to Merill?

Which fees?


Merill Edge does not have IRA fees?

All brokerages do

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby Earl Lemongrab » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:17 pm

misterno wrote:Merill Edge does not have IRA fees?

All brokerages do

None that I use have fees, other than transfer/closing fees (mentioned above). Which ones in particular do you mean?
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby michaeljc70 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:52 pm

Has anyone tried to get the $1000 bonus recently? I was walking by a B of A branch today and there was a $600 bonus advertised in the window for Merrill Edge.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby Earl Lemongrab » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:12 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:Has anyone tried to get the $1000 bonus recently? I was walking by a B of A branch today and there was a $600 bonus advertised in the window for Merrill Edge.

People have reported that the offer here:

https://www.merrilledge.com/offers/1000offer

Is not available. I think someone was discussing a move to ME and was getting $1000. I don't recall which thread it was.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby LifeIsGood » Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:43 am

If you'll notice on the link posted above it says "Respond by Dec 21, 2016". I tried last year and was unsuccessful.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby tj » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:05 am

LifeIsGood wrote:If you'll notice on the link posted above it says "Respond by Dec 21, 2016". I tried last year and was unsuccessful.



It comes and go all the time. I would wait.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby deadlee » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:05 am

I spoke with the Merrill Edge representative. The $1000 promotion is now off, but an almost equivalent option exists if you are already a BoA checking account holder.

50% bonus on top of the 'advertised' promotion - ie $600 for $200k, + an additional 50% bonus, for a total of $900.

Hope this helps this forum!

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby Earl Lemongrab » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:30 am

deadlee wrote:I spoke with the Merrill Edge representative. The $1000 promotion is now off, but an almost equivalent option exists if you are already a BoA checking account holder.

50% bonus on top of the 'advertised' promotion - ie $600 for $200k, + an additional 50% bonus, for a total of $900.

I think I ran into that one before, but the rep could only give me the boost to the "regular" offer and not the $1000 one. I didn't think to check to see if that has the retention period as the base offer (90 days) but it probably does.

In general, it's not a bad idea to contact them and see if they have any unadvertised offers.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:03 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
deadlee wrote:I spoke with the Merrill Edge representative. The $1000 promotion is now off, but an almost equivalent option exists if you are already a BoA checking account holder.

50% bonus on top of the 'advertised' promotion - ie $600 for $200k, + an additional 50% bonus, for a total of $900.

I think I ran into that one before, but the rep could only give me the boost to the "regular" offer and not the $1000 one. I didn't think to check to see if that has the retention period as the base offer (90 days) but it probably does.

In general, it's not a bad idea to contact them and see if they have any unadvertised offers.


Saw this link mentioned elsewhere - 50% more than standard offer.
https://www.merrilledge.com/offers/me900
I didn't read the exact terms.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:27 pm

Anyone have experience with BoA credit card product changes. What changes are possible, and what is the (simplest) procedure for this? (I know you can't PC to BBR, that's not what I was considering.)

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby MisterBill » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:36 pm

Amusing story. I was just visiting friends who I knew had the Preferred Rewards account and who I thought had told me that they were getting a 2.625% rebate. But it turns out they only have the Cash Rewards card. I mentioned "Oh, so you're getting 5.25% on gas and 3.50% on groceries". The wife (who handles this stuff) told me no, it's only 3.75% on gas and 2.75% on groceries, she had a discussion with BofA and was told that was how it worked. I told her that was wrong, but she didn't believe me, so she logged onto her account and I showed her how she had redeemed $30+ in rewards and ended up with around $60 in her checking account, how that was 175% of what she redeemed, so it proved that she was getting the 75% reward on the full 2% and 3% rebate amounts. She said no, I was wrong. I finally gave up. She wasn't interested in the travel card either, said she didn't have enough travel to use it with, although I'm sure that they do. Sigh.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby G-Force » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:37 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:Anyone have experience with BoA credit card product changes. What changes are possible, and what is the (simplest) procedure for this? (I know you can't PC to BBR, that's not what I was considering.)


Converting between travel and cash rewards cards is easy.

Despite the word online, it's still possible to PC to BBR if you're willing to be persistent enough. I was able to do it last June after trying 3 times.

You can PC via chat or over the phone.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby arsenalfan » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:59 pm

MisterBill wrote:Amusing story. I was just visiting friends who I knew had the Preferred Rewards account and who I thought had told me that they were getting a 2.625% rebate. But it turns out they only have the Cash Rewards card. I mentioned "Oh, so you're getting 5.25% on gas and 3.50% on groceries". The wife (who handles this stuff) told me no, it's only 3.75% on gas and 2.75% on groceries, she had a discussion with BofA and was told that was how it worked. I told her that was wrong, but she didn't believe me, so she logged onto her account and I showed her how she had redeemed $30+ in rewards and ended up with around $60 in her checking account, how that was 175% of what she redeemed, so it proved that she was getting the 75% reward on the full 2% and 3% rebate amounts. She said no, I was wrong. I finally gave up. She wasn't interested in the travel card either, said she didn't have enough travel to use it with, although I'm sure that they do. Sigh.


IIRC Platinum Honors boosts BoA cards by 75%
So Cash Rewards = 5.25% gas, 3.5 groceries/warehouse stores, 1.75% everywhere else.
Travel Rewards = 2.625% everywhere.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:17 pm

G-Force wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Anyone have experience with BoA credit card product changes. What changes are possible, and what is the (simplest) procedure for this? (I know you can't PC to BBR, that's not what I was considering.)


Converting between travel and cash rewards cards is easy.

Despite the word online, it's still possible to PC to BBR if you're willing to be persistent enough. I was able to do it last June after trying 3 times.

You can PC via chat or over the phone.


I haven't seen chat on BoA for several months, and I don't see a secure message option, or even email. I guess phone is an option, but it's difficult when I have to put spouse on phone.

We wanted to PC an MLB cash rewards to a travel rewards, so hopefully the "cobranding"(?) is not a problem.

We also wanted to PC an MLB cash rewards MasterCard, to a Visa cash rewards, to use at Costco.

I know we could apply for more cards, (and get more signup bonus), but I don't want to overdo getting new cards. We will actually keep MEdge accounts, and use the CCs, long term, so I don't want to get labelled as an excessive bonus grabber.

ETA: Actually I wonder what is too many CCs with BoA. We got 8 between us, all in the last year (no BoA connection before then) and also got Pref Rew Plat Hon. I don't want to get labelled as an excessive bonus grabber, but I wouldn't mind grabbing a little bit more bonuses. :happy

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby MisterBill » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:16 pm

arsenalfan wrote:IIRC Platinum Honors boosts BoA cards by 75%
So Cash Rewards = 5.25% gas, 3.5 groceries/warehouse stores, 1.75% everywhere else.
Travel Rewards = 2.625% everywhere.

Yes, but she was saying it added 0.75% to the initial 1% on Cash Rewards, so gas was 3.75% and groceries were 2.75%. Obviously this was wrong and I proved it by showing that her redemption had been increased by 75%, but she couldn't/wouldn't understand it.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby MisterBill » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:18 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:I haven't seen chat on BoA for several months, and I don't see a secure message option, or even email. I guess phone is an option, but it's difficult when I have to put spouse on phone.

Chat is available but not after midnight eastern time, as I recall. No email, which is a real pain. I also hate having to call.

I'm also trying to reduce my card applications since I got rejected for the 100k bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve last year because of the 5/24 rule.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:00 pm

MisterBill wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:I haven't seen chat on BoA for several months, and I don't see a secure message option, or even email. I guess phone is an option, but it's difficult when I have to put spouse on phone.

Chat is available but not after midnight eastern time, as I recall. No email, which is a real pain. I also hate having to call.
Have you actually used BoA chat recently, and do you recall when? I've seen no trace of it for months, at any time of day (though I've only tried occasionally), so they really seem to have removed chat totally.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby MisterBill » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:38 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:Have you actually used BoA chat recently, and do you recall when? I've seen no trace of it for months, at any time of day (though I've only tried occasionally), so they really seem to have removed chat totally.

I used it once a few months ago. I just went to look for it and did not find it, but did get "Sorry, Chat is not available for this topic" on a few choices.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:34 pm

Here's a thread from another forum about the mystery of the disappearing Bank Of America online chat.
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit- ... -chat.html

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby triceratop » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:54 pm

Just a note that BofA screwed up and charged me $25 monthly maintenance fee this month despite my linked ME account (it was removed after talking to a branch banker). If this is happening to any of y'all, remember that the preferred rewards isn't the only road to waiving the fee: having $10,000 in linked ME accounts will satisfy the requirement. This will be helpful for the 3 billing cycles before you qualify for preferred rewards. I had to point this fact out to the CSR.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby madbrain » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:41 pm

G-Force wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Anyone have experience with BoA credit card product changes. What changes are possible, and what is the (simplest) procedure for this? (I know you can't PC to BBR, that's not what I was considering.)


Converting between travel and cash rewards cards is easy.

Despite the word online, it's still possible to PC to BBR if you're willing to be persistent enough. I was able to do it last June after trying 3 times.

You can PC via chat or over the phone.


But why would you convert ? You would get a separate signup bonus if you apply for a new card instead, right ?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby madbrain » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:58 pm

Do any of the BofA cards have travel insurance / trip cancellation coverage ?

It seems the Travel Rewards card does not. And since the 2.625% redemption rate is only if you redeem for travel, then we would have to purchase a separate travel insurance policy for each trip. That would completely defeat the benefit of the 2.625% rewards rate for us.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby triceratop » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:38 pm

madbrain wrote:Do any of the BofA cards have travel insurance / trip cancellation coverage ?

It seems the Travel Rewards card does not. And since the 2.625% redemption rate is only if you redeem for travel, then we would have to purchase a separate travel insurance policy for each trip. That would completely defeat the benefit of the 2.625% rewards rate for us.


I'd check how broad the travel category is. You might be surprised what is counted as travel.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby JDCarpenter » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:19 pm

triceratop wrote:
madbrain wrote:Do any of the BofA cards have travel insurance / trip cancellation coverage ?

It seems the Travel Rewards card does not. And since the 2.625% redemption rate is only if you redeem for travel, then we would have to purchase a separate travel insurance policy for each trip. That would completely defeat the benefit of the 2.625% rewards rate for us.


I'd check how broad the travel category is. You might be surprised what is counted as travel.


Definitely. Most of our online wine purchases somehow fall into that category. Easy way to redeem when you buy 20-25 cases a year. :happy
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby G-Force » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:30 am

madbrain wrote:
G-Force wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Anyone have experience with BoA credit card product changes. What changes are possible, and what is the (simplest) procedure for this? (I know you can't PC to BBR, that's not what I was considering.)


Converting between travel and cash rewards cards is easy.

Despite the word online, it's still possible to PC to BBR if you're willing to be persistent enough. I was able to do it last June after trying 3 times.

You can PC via chat or over the phone.


But why would you convert ? You would get a separate signup bonus if you apply for a new card instead, right ?

Yes, personally I wouldn't convert for this reason (unless it was to a BBR), but I was merely answering the question asked.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:47 pm

G-Force wrote:
madbrain wrote:
G-Force wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Anyone have experience with BoA credit card product changes. What changes are possible, and what is the (simplest) procedure for this? (I know you can't PC to BBR, that's not what I was considering.)

Converting between travel and cash rewards cards is easy.
Despite the word online, it's still possible to PC to BBR if you're willing to be persistent enough. I was able to do it last June after trying 3 times.
You can PC via chat or over the phone.

But why would you convert ? You would get a separate signup bonus if you apply for a new card instead, right ?

Yes, personally I wouldn't convert for this reason (unless it was to a BBR), but I was merely answering the question asked.

Points taken. Nevertheless there may be times you want to do a product change, rather than open a new line. It does appear that BoA is (like other issuers) clamping down on excessive new card opening
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby madbrain » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:24 pm

triceratop wrote:
madbrain wrote:Do any of the BofA cards have travel insurance / trip cancellation coverage ?

It seems the Travel Rewards card does not. And since the 2.625% redemption rate is only if you redeem for travel, then we would have to purchase a separate travel insurance policy for each trip. That would completely defeat the benefit of the 2.625% rewards rate for us.


I'd check how broad the travel category is. You might be surprised what is counted as travel.


Where can I find the full list of what counts as travel ?

The page at
https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... dsCcModule

after clicking on "Rewards" and then "Redeem" says only this :

Flexibility to redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees.


All of these would necessitate travel insurance for me.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby triceratop » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:31 pm

madbrain wrote:
triceratop wrote:
madbrain wrote:Do any of the BofA cards have travel insurance / trip cancellation coverage ?

It seems the Travel Rewards card does not. And since the 2.625% redemption rate is only if you redeem for travel, then we would have to purchase a separate travel insurance policy for each trip. That would completely defeat the benefit of the 2.625% rewards rate for us.


I'd check how broad the travel category is. You might be surprised what is counted as travel.


Where can I find the full list of what counts as travel ?

The page at
https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... dsCcModule

after clicking on "Rewards" and then "Redeem" says only this :

Flexibility to redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees.


All of these would necessitate travel insurance for me.


See: https://www.managerewardsonline.bankofa ... ov2014.pdf

You can look up into what category your expenses may fall into (many CC include such info on their transaction details on the website).
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby tfb » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:37 pm

madbrain wrote:Where can I find the full list of what counts as travel ?

https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... cale=en_US

A travel credit is applied as a statement credit to your account to offset travel Purchases from qualifying merchants in these travel-related categories: airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, trailer parks, motor home and recreational vehicle rentals, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, tour operators and real estate agents, operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, boat rentals, tourist attractions and exhibits like art galleries, amusement parks, carnivals, circuses, aquariums, zoos and the like. Purchases from some merchants that provide travel-related goods and services will not be eligible for a travel credit, like tolls and bridge fees, parking lot and garages fees, in-flight goods and services, duty-free airport Purchases, rentals of trailers, trucks, and other vehicles for the purpose of hauling.


Public transit and Uber counted for me.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby madbrain » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:45 pm

triceratop wrote:You can look up into what category your expenses may fall into (many CC include such info on their transaction details on the website).


Thank you ! I have a lot of CCs and have looked at many statements, but never seen the category numbers anywhere as far as I can recall. The list is certainly interesting (art dealers and galleries ?!? fortune tellers ?), but I don't see much that would apply to me that doesn't necessitate travel insurance. Maybe "tourists and exhibits", "amusement parks" and aquariums", but I probably wouldn't have enough spending in those categories to redeem.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby madbrain » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:51 pm

tfb wrote:
madbrain wrote:Where can I find the full list of what counts as travel ?

https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... cale=en_US

A travel credit is applied as a statement credit to your account to offset travel Purchases from qualifying merchants in these travel-related categories: airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, trailer parks, motor home and recreational vehicle rentals, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, tour operators and real estate agents, operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, boat rentals, tourist attractions and exhibits like art galleries, amusement parks, carnivals, circuses, aquariums, zoos and the like. Purchases from some merchants that provide travel-related goods and services will not be eligible for a travel credit, like tolls and bridge fees, parking lot and garages fees, in-flight goods and services, duty-free airport Purchases, rentals of trailers, trucks, and other vehicles for the purpose of hauling.


Public transit and Uber counted for me.


Thanks. I live in a car-dependent area and as much as I wish I could take public transit, it is not feasible for me. I have never taken Uber and never will as I think it's a very unethical company, but I don't want to expand on that subject here.

Bottom line - it looks like I could only redeem for cash rewards, unless I want to make travel bookings with this card and risk losing the entire value of the trip if I get sick (which happens rather frequently ; I'm sick as I'm typing this), or purchase separate travel insurance (which negates the extra rewards rate on travel). I don't really understand travel cards that don't offer proper travel insurance with trip cancellation. Amex Platinum for example doesn't, even with its $450 (now $550!) annual fee. I can understand a $0 AF card like the BofA card not offering it, though. But I would still rather pay an AF and have this coverage. Chase sapphire preferred, Barclay arrival+, Chase Rapphire Reserve, Citi prestige, all have this coverage (and annual fees).

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby triceratop » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:55 pm

madbrain wrote:
triceratop wrote:You can look up into what category your expenses may fall into (many CC include such info on their transaction details on the website).


Thank you ! I have a lot of CCs and have looked at many statements, but never seen the category numbers anywhere as far as I can recall. The list is certainly interesting (art dealers and galleries ?!? fortune tellers ?), but I don't see much that would apply to me that doesn't necessitate travel insurance. Maybe "tourists and exhibits", "amusement parks" and aquariums", but I probably wouldn't have enough spending in those categories to redeem.


That is unfortunate for you; I can only say that you are an exception among Bogleheads from my reading. The problem is not usually finding categories in which to redeem for travel.

Do you never use Taxis? Why do you need travel insurance for nearly everything (do you?)?

Anyway, this link may be helpful in finding places you spend money with the correct MCC.

Good luck.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby madbrain » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:05 pm

triceratop wrote:Do you never use Taxis?


I do, but only when I travel, and in the countries that I do, the taxis typically only take cash, not cards. And it's really a minimal amount.

Why do you need travel insurance for nearly everything (do you?)?


I only really need it for the expensive things like airline tickets and hotel rooms, which are often non refundable (or have various penalties for refunds).
I have little to no spending in any of the other categories in that BofA list.

Even if I signed up for the card just for the signup bonus, I would have trouble redeeming it for travel rewards due to lack of travel insurance. I would likely just redeem the bonus for cash rewards and then put the card in a drawer indefinitely and cancel. It's definitely not worth the trouble to open a Bofa checking or Merill investment account to me. I may just forego the card altogether as this is just not a good fit for me.

Anyway, this link may be helpful in finding places you spend money with the correct MCC.


Thanks, will review it.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:48 pm

With the BoA Travel Rewards card you only need to have 2.625%=1.5%*1.75 of your total spending (i.e. $525 out of $20,000) to be on "travel" to be able to redeem fully, in other words you need to keep "non-travel" spending below 97.375%. It's almost impossible to not accidentally spend enough on "travel" without even trying or thinking about it.

I haven't redeemed any yet, but I'm sure I'll accidentally spend something on "travel" sometime, e.g. zoo/aquarium/park entrance, so it's a complete non-issue for me.

ETA Also, if you could have got say 3% back on some other card for that travel instead of 2.625% then you're actually missing 3%-2.625% of that travel spending and if that travel spending was 2.625% of total spending then you would be missing
2.625%*(3%-2.625%)=0.02625*(0.03-0.02625)=0.0000984375=0.00984375%=0.984375bp
of total spending. So by BoA forcing you to put 2.625% of your total spending towards travel, the consequent loss of rewards is almost an entire basis point of total spending.

That's basically the magnitude of the issue. 1bp. (Almost.)

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby madbrain » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:32 am

*3!4!/5! wrote:With the BoA Travel Rewards card you only need to have 2.625%=1.5%*1.75 of your total spending (i.e. $525 out of $20,000) to be on "travel" to be able to redeem fully, in other words you need to keep "non-travel" spending below 97.375%. It's almost impossible to not accidentally spend enough on "travel" without even trying or thinking about it.

I haven't redeemed any yet, but I'm sure I'll accidentally spend something on "travel" sometime, e.g. zoo/aquarium/park entrance, so it's a complete non-issue for me.

ETA Also, if you could have got say 3% back on some other card for that travel instead of 2.625% then you're actually missing 3%-2.625% of that travel spending and if that travel spending was 2.625% of total spending then you would be missing
2.625%*(3%-2.625%)=0.02625*(0.03-0.02625)=0.0000984375=0.00984375%=0.984375bp
of total spending. So by BoA forcing you to put 2.625% of your total spending towards travel, the consequent loss of rewards is almost an entire basis point of total spending.

That's basically the magnitude of the issue. 1bp. (Almost.)


The point is that I would have to specifically exclude my actual travel (airline, hotel, rental car) spending from this card due to lack of travel insurance, and I would still have to work at it to do that and use at minimum two credit cards.

Based on my spending patterns, and tracking every dollar I spend in Quicken (though not broken down into categories like "aquariums"!), I think it's quite possible and indeed, likely, that I wouldn't have your calculated $525 of BofA "travel spending" out of $20,000, excluding airlines, hotels and rental cars. I would have to increase in my spending in the "aquariums" and "park" categories just to capture the higher redemption rate, which of course doesn't make sense - it's the trap that credit card issuers want you to fall into.


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