Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

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MrNewEngland
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by MrNewEngland » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:23 am

JDCarpenter 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.


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



If you buy the wine at a grocery store you'll get 3.5% back with the 1/2/3 card...

avalpert
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by avalpert » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:14 am

madbrain wrote:
*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.


Oh please. You pay most rental car balances at the end of the use so you can easily use the card then and not worry about cancelling travel. If you spread out say 1 night in a hotel across a few trips on this card throughout the year is the cancellation risk really that high? How many times have you cancelled trips in the past and had hotel costs reimbursed by your credit card company for it?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by madbrain » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:45 pm

avalpert wrote:Oh please. You pay most rental car balances at the end of the use so you can easily use the card then and not worry about cancelling travel.


If you don't shop for the best car rental rates, sure. The best rates are usually on non-refundable bookings. Again, we would be leaving some money on the table by paying more for refundable bookings just to use these rewards. Anyway, we almost never rent cars in the first place - most of our travel is abroad, and we have never rented a car in another country.

If you spread out say 1 night in a hotel across a few trips on this card throughout the year is the cancellation risk really that high? How many times have you cancelled trips in the past and had hotel costs reimbursed by your credit card company for it?


I only started using cards with annual fees and trip cancellation coverage last year. So far, I have not had to make use the trip cancellation coverage.

In the past, I used cash back cards with no annual fees, and purchased separate travel insurance. My incidence rate of actually using the coverage has been really high, maybe 30 - 40% . I have received 5 figures in non-refundable flights/hotel bookings.

The risk of putting one night in a hotel across a few trips is just losing the cost of that one night. Still not something I would rather do. I think what probably makes more sense is check out of the hotel using the card and pay for incidental fees such as dining, drinks, etc, and then use rewards to get reimbursed for them. We probably have enough of that sort of spending. I don't break it down between advance bookings and checkouts - just a "travel:lodging" category in Quicken, but I'm guessing this would be sufficient. I could likely get exact numbers by looking at dates of transactions nearing checkout date. Sometimes, we book full board though and there are no such checkout charges - happened on our most recent trip.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by avalpert » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:51 pm

madbrain wrote:
I only started using cards with annual fees and trip cancellation coverage last year. So far, I have not had to make use the trip cancellation coverage.

In the past, I used cash back cards with no annual fees, and purchased separate travel insurance. My incidence rate of actually using the coverage has been really high, maybe 30 - 40% . I have received 5 figures in non-refundable flights/hotel bookings.

Wow, you blow the actuarial tables out of the water. Well if you are that unlucky that you end up having to cancel one out of every 3 trips you plan than conventional approaches to travel are probably not right for you.

I've had many trips in my life both personal and business - definitely in the hundreds. I have never had a trip cancellation/interruption claim.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by madbrain » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:22 pm

avalpert wrote:[
Wow, you blow the actuarial tables out of the water. Well if you are that unlucky that you end up having to cancel one out of every 3 trips you plan than conventional approaches to travel are probably not right for you.


Yes. I unfortunately catch bugs very easily. Story of my life. It has been that way since I was a kid. There is no advance notice unfortunately.

I've had many trips in my life both personal and business - definitely in the hundreds. I have never had a trip cancellation/interruption claim.


I have had fewer trips than you undoubtedly, and have had many such claims. That's why I couldn't see myself doing any non-refundable bookings without trip cancellation coverage. And it's a big deal for me that this BofA Travel Rewards card doesn't have it. This benefit seems to be offered on quite a few cards, fortunately - all with annual fees, though. The amount of coverage varies, though. Some cards have as little as $2500 which wouldn't be enough for almost any of our trips. The more generous ones have $10k - $20k of coverage.

Interestingly, the BofA Merrill Rewards+ card offers $2500 of trip cancellation coverage, unlike the Travel Rewards card.

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triceratop
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by triceratop » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:51 pm

I just enrolled in the program after becoming eligible. :beer

There was a highly interesting part of the Terms & Conditions (everybody reads those in full detail....right?).

We will perform an annual review of your qualifying balances in the month following the anniversary date of your initial enrollment in the program. The annual review will calculate your three month average combined balance as of the end of your anniversary month and place you in the balance tier for which you meet the qualification requirements. If the result of the annual review would be to move you to a lower tier, you will have a three month period after your anniversary month in which to restore your qualifying balance before you are moved to that lower balance tier. If you are moved to a lower balance tier, your benefits may be changed to those of the balance tier for which you qualify without further notice. Please note that while you can be moved to a higher balance tier after any month in which you satisfy the combined balance requirement for that tier, you will only be moved to a lower balance tier as a result of the annual review.


Sure looks like one can move assets around during the year to collect other brokerage bonuses, then move the assets back for the annual review. All the while retaining one's Preferred Rewards benefits.

I didn't know of this from reading on the forums so maybe nobody has spotted it before, but it sure sounds like a great loophole.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:27 pm

triceratop wrote:I just enrolled in the program after becoming eligible. :beer

There was a highly interesting part of the Terms & Conditions (everybody reads those in full detail....right?).

We will perform an annual review of your qualifying balances in the month following the anniversary date of your initial enrollment in the program. The annual review will calculate your three month average combined balance as of the end of your anniversary month and place you in the balance tier for which you meet the qualification requirements. If the result of the annual review would be to move you to a lower tier, you will have a three month period after your anniversary month in which to restore your qualifying balance before you are moved to that lower balance tier. If you are moved to a lower balance tier, your benefits may be changed to those of the balance tier for which you qualify without further notice. Please note that while you can be moved to a higher balance tier after any month in which you satisfy the combined balance requirement for that tier, you will only be moved to a lower balance tier as a result of the annual review.


Sure looks like one can move assets around during the year to collect other brokerage bonuses, then move the assets back for the annual review. All the while retaining one's Preferred Rewards benefits.

I didn't know of this from reading on the forums so maybe nobody has spotted it before, but it sure sounds like a great loophole.


Good find. I had wondered about the specific mechanics of the "12 months plus 3 months" rule.
viewtopic.php?p=3172906#p3172906

jrbdmb
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by jrbdmb » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:15 am

*3!4!/5! wrote:Datapoints: We got Preferred status about two days after opening checking accounts, and it was about 1.5 months after opening/funding brokerage accounts.

In other words, neither account needs to be open for 3 months. The checking accounts instantly fills one of the necessary conditions. And for the tier calculation they use the average daily balance over 3 months (so that will include some zeroes for younger accounts, e.g. a 1.5 month old account that has had a steady $50k for that time will be calculated as having "average daily balance over 3 months" of $25k).

The "average daily balance over 3 months" calculation is updated monthly.

However I'm not sure which is the correct interpretation of the seemingly ambiguous rule about what happens when you drop below a tier cutoff.


I funded my BoA savings / checking accounts with $25K in early February, and added $100K to a linked ME account in mid-March. From my calculations I should have qualified for Preferred Rewards Gold by April 1, but so far I've gotten no notice from BoA. I'm calling later today to check my status, but it seems like many other things this program isn't as "automatic" as it claims to be. :|

(Edit - update below.)
Last edited by jrbdmb on Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by Chris001122 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:48 am

They make money on the people who don't pay the card off and they are making a little on your credit card purchases becauase the retailer pays them 3% for the privilege of having your money and you are only getting 2.65% of that back. They keep 0.35% which is $350 on $100,000.

I wouldn't be surprised if they are making money by selling your name. address and such to advertisers based on your purchases. Bank of America started doing that with me before I changed banks. I would get ads in my online bank statement for competing retailers. Plus, although you sound resistant, Merrill might make money on some people who choose to buy their high end funds. Once they merged with Merrill, I started getting calls about how I could invest with them, use an advisor in another state, etcetera. I had to ask them to stop calling.

I wouldn't be surprised if they "discontinue" the program for you or everyone after they realize it didn't make them money, but the thing is, you may never know if the gains to the bank exceeded the losses. Not everyone will use the program like you.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by jayhawkerbeef » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:28 am

If they took away certain benefits/changed the program - people can leave. It's that simple these days. That's what I do, but program changes have never been why I've left a brokerage it's normally for a better offer.

For those that invest only in Vanguard funds, it appears the US etfs are the same er at ME that's available when buying direct through VG. However, the international etfs are a few basis points higher at ME than if bought directly at VG. Doesn't bother me since I think it's worth it for the preferred rewards, and the customer service when I've used it has been fantastic.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:07 am

jayhawkerbeef wrote: However, the international etfs are a few basis points higher at ME than if bought directly at VG. Doesn't bother me since I think it's worth it for the preferred rewards, and the customer service when I've used it has been fantastic.

I'm not sure what you mean here. ETFs that invest in international funds? If so, which ones specifically do you mean?
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by jayhawkerbeef » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:27 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote: ETFs that invest in international funds? If so, which ones specifically do you mean?


VG International ETFs below that have higher expense ratios at ME vs VG. vxus & vwo are only small variances; can look those up yourself.
vxus
vss <--- the largest difference .17 vs .13
vwo

Interesting though vea is same at both; .09.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by Ethelred » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:34 am

jayhawkerbeef wrote:
Earl Lemongrab wrote: ETFs that invest in international funds? If so, which ones specifically do you mean?


VG International ETFs below that have higher expense ratios at ME vs VG. vxus & vwo are only small variances; can look those up yourself.
vxus
vss <--- the largest difference .17 vs .13
vwo

Interesting though vea is same at both; .09.

Vanguard reduced the ER on many of their mutual funds and ETFs within the last month or two. I strongly suspect the values at ME are simply out of date.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by jayhawkerbeef » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:36 am

^actually in speaking with ME they stated VG "as of yet" has not approved reducing those expenses at ME. "as of yet" is key, maybe today, tomorrow, never, etc..

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by avalpert » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:44 am

jayhawkerbeef wrote:^actually in speaking with ME they stated VG "as of yet" has not approved reducing those expenses at ME. "as of yet" is key, maybe today, tomorrow, never, etc..

I'm sorry but that isn't how ETFs work - they don't charge different expense ratios based on what brokerage happens to hold the security.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by triceratop » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:46 am

jayhawkerbeef wrote:^actually in speaking with ME they stated VG "as of yet" has not approved reducing those expenses at ME. "as of yet" is key, maybe today, tomorrow, never, etc..


ME doesn't have to approve anything. Fund expenses are taken out by the fund company, not the brokerage, and it is not dependent on where the funds are located.

The ME rep had no idea what they were talking about.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by jayhawkerbeef » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:50 am

I'm sorry but nowhere did I mention ME approves anything. Good, so you know how they work. My only point was the ERs are different. They are different, right?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by triceratop » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:56 am

No, they are not different. Neither ME nor VG has to approve anything.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by avalpert » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:58 am

jayhawkerbeef wrote:I'm sorry but nowhere did I mention ME approves anything. Good, so you know how they work. My only point was the ERs are different. They are different, right?

No, they aren't different. The expense ratio for the ETF (any ETF) is the same regardless of where the security is held. This should be obvious to anyone who reflects on how the expenses are expressed and how prices are set for trading ETFs.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by jayhawkerbeef » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:22 pm

Ok I'll go with the consensus here. For vss the below is what from the prospectus.

Management Fees 0.08%
12b-1 Distribution Fee None
Other Expenses 0.05%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.13% <-- This matches VG

Then does anyone know why they have .17% when researching on their site?
https://olui2.fs.ml.com/RIEtfsUI/RIEtfs ... iew&src=gq

$102.38Open
$102.47Previous Close
$87.83 - $103.2052-Week Range
147,261Avg. Volume (10 days)
3.17BMarket Cap.
30,958,000Shares Outstanding
134,247Shares Short
0.43%Short Interest(%)
0.97Beta
0.17Expense Ratio
NoLeveraged
NoInverse
$102.06NAV
As of 04/06/2017 12:00 AM ET
0.48%Prem/Disc to NAV %
$3,042.00Total Net Assets (Millions)
$0.074Dividend
2.73%Dividend Yield
03/22/2017Ex-Dividend Date
03/28/2017

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by avalpert » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:30 pm

jayhawkerbeef wrote:Ok I'll go with the consensus here. For vss the below is what from the prospectus.

Management Fees 0.08%
12b-1 Distribution Fee None
Other Expenses 0.05%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.13% <-- This matches VG

Then does anyone know why they have .17% when researching on their site?
https://olui2.fs.ml.com/RIEtfsUI/RIEtfs ... iew&src=gq

$102.38Open
$102.47Previous Close
$87.83 - $103.2052-Week Range
147,261Avg. Volume (10 days)
3.17BMarket Cap.
30,958,000Shares Outstanding
134,247Shares Short
0.43%Short Interest(%)
0.97Beta
0.17Expense Ratio
NoLeveraged
NoInverse
$102.06NAV
As of 04/06/2017 12:00 AM ET
0.48%Prem/Disc to NAV %
$3,042.00Total Net Assets (Millions)
$0.074Dividend
2.73%Dividend Yield
03/22/2017Ex-Dividend Date
03/28/2017

Because they haven't updated their database since Vanguard reported the lower ER in their most recent filings last month...

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triceratop
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by triceratop » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:30 pm

As was already mentioned, the only explanation is:

I strongly suspect the values at ME are simply out of date.


Fund expenses are not taken out by ME so it simply does not matter what numbers they have on their website.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by MisterBill » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:46 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.

That's true. We're going to Europe in a few months and I booked some tours and paid with Paypal (using my credit card, I had a zero balance there). They're showing up on BofA as travel. In fact, I had a tour cancelled and refunded to me, but the original charge is still showing up as eligible to be redeemed for points. So even without charging my airfare or cruise to the card, I have more than enough charges to redeem my points on for the foreseeable future. And conveniently, I ended the statement period with 2502 points, so I can redeem $25 now.

BTW a separate tip: if you're paying for something on Paypal in a foreign currency, do not let them do the currency conversion for you. By having them charge my card in Euros or GBP, I saved several dollars when the charge finally hit my BoFA Travel Rewards card because of the better exchange rate and lack of FTF.
Last edited by MisterBill on Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by MisterBill » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:54 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote: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

So, it turns out that they have a secure chat capability thru Facebook. I found this out when I posted a review of their app and complained about not being able to contact CS any way other than phone. They responded and pointed me at the FB websites. I haven't tried it, so I don't know how well it works. And obviously if you are not a Facebook user, it won't help you.

To use the app, click here: http://go.bofa.com/fbhelpdesk or http://go.bofa.com/fbhdmobile on mobile devices
Last edited by MisterBill on Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by *3!4!/5! » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:13 pm

MisterBill wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote: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

So, it turns out that they have a secure chat capability thru Facebook. I found this out when I posted a review of their app and complained about not being able to contact CS any way other than phone. They responded and pointed me that the FB websites. I haven't tried it, so I don't know how well it works. And obviously if you are not a Facebook user, it won't help you.

To use the app, click here: http://go.bofa.com/fbhelpdesk or http://go.bofa.com/fbhdmobile on mobile devices


Grrr! :annoyed I refuse to ever use Facebook. I hate it when companies entangle themselves with Facebook. Why use some other website when you've got your own website? :confused I just spent half an hour on the phone (mostly holding/multitasking) with BoA to do some trivial things that other companies do online. I can't complain about the bonuses I've got out of BoA though.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by triceratop » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:23 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:
MisterBill wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote: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

So, it turns out that they have a secure chat capability thru Facebook. I found this out when I posted a review of their app and complained about not being able to contact CS any way other than phone. They responded and pointed me that the FB websites. I haven't tried it, so I don't know how well it works. And obviously if you are not a Facebook user, it won't help you.

To use the app, click here: http://go.bofa.com/fbhelpdesk or http://go.bofa.com/fbhdmobile on mobile devices


Grrr! :annoyed I refuse to ever use Facebook. I hate it when companies entangle themselves with Facebook. Why use some other website when you've got your own website? :confused I just spent half an hour on the phone (mostly holding/multitasking) with BoA to do some trivial things that other companies do online. I can't complain about the bonuses I've got out of BoA though.


That beats sitting in a branch office for an hour because they had no idea why they were charging the $25 maintenance fee for the checking account despite $10k in qualifying deposits in a linked ME account.
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by fareastwarriors » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:53 pm

triceratop wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:
MisterBill wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote: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

So, it turns out that they have a secure chat capability thru Facebook. I found this out when I posted a review of their app and complained about not being able to contact CS any way other than phone. They responded and pointed me that the FB websites. I haven't tried it, so I don't know how well it works. And obviously if you are not a Facebook user, it won't help you.

To use the app, click here: http://go.bofa.com/fbhelpdesk or http://go.bofa.com/fbhdmobile on mobile devices


Grrr! :annoyed I refuse to ever use Facebook. I hate it when companies entangle themselves with Facebook. Why use some other website when you've got your own website? :confused I just spent half an hour on the phone (mostly holding/multitasking) with BoA to do some trivial things that other companies do online. I can't complain about the bonuses I've got out of BoA though.


That beats sitting in a branch office for an hour because they had no idea why they were charging the $25 maintenance fee for the checking account despite $10k in qualifying deposits in a linked ME account.


Their online chat has been wonderful to me. Prompt and helpful. They waived basically everything I have asked for.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by MisterBill » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:04 pm

Also on the subject of BofA, did anyone else incorrectly get charged a late fee on your Travel Rewards or other card this month? I have autopay set up, so this obviously should never happen. Fortunately, after getting over the shock of seeing the $25 fee, I saw a corresponding $25 credit posted the same day, so clearly they quickly realized their mistake.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by *3!4!/5! » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:48 pm

MisterBill wrote:Also on the subject of BofA, did anyone else incorrectly get charged a late fee on your Travel Rewards or other card this month? I have autopay set up, so this obviously should never happen. Fortunately, after getting over the shock of seeing the $25 fee, I saw a corresponding $25 credit posted the same day, so clearly they quickly realized their mistake.
It's apparently a well-known glitch.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=214772

jayhawkerbeef
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by jayhawkerbeef » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:07 pm

Haven't experienced the issue ever since I've set the autopay to occur 1 day prior than the due date or greater. Know this should not matter.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by *3!4!/5! » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:33 pm

There is talk on various sites
http://www.doctorofcredit.com/bank-amer ... imit-four/
http://www.doctorofcredit.com/merrill-a ... or-issues/
that BoA is tightening up on credit card approvals and is even shutting down cards, shortly after approving them, if they think people are just opening multiple cards for the bonuses. Sometimes a card will simply disappear from your account.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by triceratop » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:31 am

*3!4!/5! wrote:There is talk on various sites
http://www.doctorofcredit.com/bank-amer ... imit-four/
http://www.doctorofcredit.com/merrill-a ... or-issues/
that BoA is tightening up on credit card approvals and is even shutting down cards, shortly after approving them, if they think people are just opening multiple cards for the bonuses. Sometimes a card will simply disappear from your account.


Unless I am missing something I don't understand why the Merrill+ cards are something anyone would want. :confused
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by *3!4!/5! » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:11 am

triceratop wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:There is talk on various sites
http://www.doctorofcredit.com/bank-amer ... imit-four/
http://www.doctorofcredit.com/merrill-a ... or-issues/
that BoA is tightening up on credit card approvals and is even shutting down cards, shortly after approving them, if they think people are just opening multiple cards for the bonuses. Sometimes a card will simply disappear from your account.
Unless I am missing something I don't understand why the Merrill+ cards are something anyone would want. :confused
I got that card. What was I thinking? :oops:

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by danaht » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:19 am

triceratop wrote:
jayhawkerbeef wrote:^actually in speaking with ME they stated VG "as of yet" has not approved reducing those expenses at ME. "as of yet" is key, maybe today, tomorrow, never, etc..


ME doesn't have to approve anything. Fund expenses are taken out by the fund company, not the brokerage, and it is not dependent on where the funds are located.

The ME rep had no idea what they were talking about.


True. But a brokerage can take a percentage of the stock's (or ETF's) dividends/capital gains, charge a transfer fee and or/commission, and take percentage of the assets every year. I believe Edwards Jones is an example of brokerage that does all of this. With the exception of a full transfer fee - Merrill Edge has none of these fees if you have the 30/100 free commissions.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by avalpert » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:52 am

triceratop wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:There is talk on various sites
http://www.doctorofcredit.com/bank-amer ... imit-four/
http://www.doctorofcredit.com/merrill-a ... or-issues/
that BoA is tightening up on credit card approvals and is even shutting down cards, shortly after approving them, if they think people are just opening multiple cards for the bonuses. Sometimes a card will simply disappear from your account.


Unless I am missing something I don't understand why the Merrill+ cards are something anyone would want. :confused

500-1000 dollar sign up bonus on 3000 spend is pretty good

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by jrbdmb » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:44 pm

jrbdmb wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Datapoints: We got Preferred status about two days after opening checking accounts, and it was about 1.5 months after opening/funding brokerage accounts.

In other words, neither account needs to be open for 3 months. The checking accounts instantly fills one of the necessary conditions. And for the tier calculation they use the average daily balance over 3 months (so that will include some zeroes for younger accounts, e.g. a 1.5 month old account that has had a steady $50k for that time will be calculated as having "average daily balance over 3 months" of $25k).

The "average daily balance over 3 months" calculation is updated monthly.

However I'm not sure which is the correct interpretation of the seemingly ambiguous rule about what happens when you drop below a tier cutoff.


I funded my BoA savings / checking accounts with $25K in early February, and added $100K to a linked ME account in mid-March. From my calculations I should have qualified for Preferred Rewards Gold by April 1, but so far I've gotten no notice from BoA. I'm calling later today to check my status, but it seems like many other things this program isn't as "automatic" as it claims to be. :|

(Edit - update below.)


In a phone call with BoA today, I was told that the accounts do need to be open for three months in order to calculate the 3 month average daily balance. So either the rules have been changed or my rep was misinformed.

It is also possible that my ME funds do not count yet towards my balance because they haven't been open a full month. Hopefully Preferred Reward status will be waiting for me with the next update in early May.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by MisterBill » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:53 am

jrbdmb wrote:In a phone call with BoA today, I was told that the accounts do need to be open for three months in order to calculate the 3 month average daily balance. So either the rules have been changed or my rep was misinformed.

It is also possible that my ME funds do not count yet towards my balance because they haven't been open a full month. Hopefully Preferred Reward status will be waiting for me with the next update in early May.

That's odd. I had also previously been led to believe that ONE of the accounts needed to be open for 3 months. In my case, my checking account had been. Then I opened my ME account in late December but the required funds did not hit the account until after the PR calculation was done in January, so I didn't qualify then. I did qualify at the 50% credit card bonus level for February, and then got to Platinum Honors in March.

All of this reminds me that the $1000 ME signup bonus should be hitting my account any day now.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by ras4250 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:07 pm

Does anyone have any insight as to what parts of the year they bring back the bigger $1000 bonuses?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by LifeIsGood » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:50 am

ras4250 wrote:Does anyone have any insight as to what parts of the year they bring back the bigger $1000 bonuses?


There is a $900 bonus showing at https://www.merrilledge.com/offers/me900 however it shows the expiration date of April 18th. I'd call before applying.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by SVT » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:03 am

LifeIsGood wrote:
ras4250 wrote:Does anyone have any insight as to what parts of the year they bring back the bigger $1000 bonuses?


There is a $900 bonus showing at https://www.merrilledge.com/offers/me900 however it shows the expiration date of April 18th. I'd call before applying.


Looks like you have to already be a preferred rewards client to qualify for that offer. But calling anyway might be a good idea. Me, I just opened a CMA and Roth IRA accounts last night with the $600 reward offer. Oh well, I guess. I'm sure I couldn't call after the fact and get it increased.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:18 am

SVT wrote:Looks like you have to already be a preferred rewards client to qualify for that offer. But calling anyway might be a good idea. Me, I just opened a CMA and Roth IRA accounts last night with the $600 reward offer. Oh well, I guess. I'm sure I couldn't call after the fact and get it increased.

It's not going to hurt to check.
This week's fortune cookie: "The stock market may be your ticket to success." I sure hope so!

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by ras4250 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:48 pm

thanks. for anyone else interested, I was speaking with a representative who said they usually release the $1,000 offer around a convention - and next one is in August. FWIW.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by *3!4!/5! » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:14 pm

ras4250 wrote:thanks. for anyone else interested, I was speaking with a representative who said they usually release the $1,000 offer around a convention - and next one is in August. FWIW.
Careful. They may ask you to prove that you actually went to the convention, in order to get the bonus.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by jrbdmb » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:17 pm

MisterBill wrote:
jrbdmb wrote:In a phone call with BoA today, I was told that the accounts do need to be open for three months in order to calculate the 3 month average daily balance. So either the rules have been changed or my rep was misinformed.

It is also possible that my ME funds do not count yet towards my balance because they haven't been open a full month. Hopefully Preferred Reward status will be waiting for me with the next update in early May.

That's odd. I had also previously been led to believe that ONE of the accounts needed to be open for 3 months. In my case, my checking account had been. Then I opened my ME account in late December but the required funds did not hit the account until after the PR calculation was done in January, so I didn't qualify then. I did qualify at the 50% credit card bonus level for February, and then got to Platinum Honors in March.

All of this reminds me that the $1000 ME signup bonus should be hitting my account any day now.


Good info on the Preferred Rewards requirements. My first account at ME was opened in late December, followed by a BoA Savings in February and a BoA Checking in March. Assuming that ME accounts can be used for the three month requirement, I should hopefully qualify for one of the tiers with the May update.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by MisterBill » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:45 pm

So, here's a good experience I had with BofA Preferred Rewards CS. I inadvertently had not setup autopay on one of my BofA credit cards and got charged a late fee and interest this month. I finally got around to calling to ask them them to refund the fees and I had barely finished saying what happened when the rep said he had reversed the late fee and interest charges. He also went in and suppressed this month's interest charges which would normally get charged when you don't pay in full the previous month. The guy was excellent, made up for the fact that I had to sit on hold for 3 minutes before someone picked up (not a huge deal but I figured as a PR client they'd pick up immediately).
Last edited by MisterBill on Wed May 03, 2017 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by Ethelred » Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:41 pm

Since my sign-up bonus posted a few days ago, I figured I'd update my experience with BoA/ME. This is with the lower amount, since I missed the $1000 offer by a matter of hours.

Some dates:
31 Dec ME account application. I am a US permanent resident, so application info says I need to send copy of my passport and green card. Email acknowledging application says they'll get back to me within 1 to 2 business days.
6 Jan Having heard nothing, I phone ME. The CSR is very helpful, and says he will organize a secure email so I can send in the info required. Bizarrely, the secure email is clearly from BoA, but contains no personalized message or content addressed to me at all.
17 Jan ME account approved, after which I set up the transfer from Schwab
20 Jan transfer received
5 Feb BoA interest checking application, automatically approved and then linked to ME account.
6 Feb BoA account funded
26 April Bonus posted to ME account

When I went in to check on the two accounts, I found that BoA had charged me the $25 monthly account fee that is supposed to be waived if you hold more than $10k in the account or in a linked ME or Merrill Lynch account. The charge was in place for April 10th, but not for February or March 10th. Once I finally got through the automated voice systems today, I was able to talk to a CSR immediately, and she reversed the charge and said they'd make sure the accounts were linked properly. The CSR also said that Preferred Rewards specifically requires the checking account (not brokerage) to have been held for a full 3 months.

It comes across as if BoA/Merrill have well trained and helpful staff, but their systems are a complete mess.
- Why did no-one contact me with their information requirements for the ME application?
- Why did the bonus post after 3 months and 6 days (not a big deal, but odd)?
- Why was I charged an account fee? The account linkage is clearly there.
- Why the lack of clarity and consistency from the reports here as to when Preferred Rewards becomes available?
- I also have my employer's stock award account with Merrill Lynch, with their high fees and 20th-century user experience

I set up these accounts intending to move our credit cards to Bank of America, since the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card combined with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards gives pretty much the best rewards rate available, ignoring churning bonuses. These experiences are making me reconsider, since the cost if BoA screw up could be far bigger than the credit card rewards. Am I too worried?

Edit to add: I also don't seem to have free trades at ME. Is this because the $25k balance needs to be in cash in the ME account to qualify, not in stocks/ETFs, or should I have free trades available? Bear in mind this is a separate requirement to Preferred Rewards, so I can ignore it once I have PR.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by triceratop » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:08 pm

I had similar dates to you. My preferred rewards was activated about a week or two ago.

Ethelred wrote:When I went in to check on the two accounts, I found that BoA had charged me the $25 monthly account fee that is supposed to be waived if you hold more than $10k in the account or in a linked ME or Merrill Lynch account. The charge was in place for April 10th, but not for February or March 10th. Once I finally got through the automated voice systems today, I was able to talk to a CSR immediately, and she reversed the charge and said they'd make sure the accounts were linked properly. The CSR also said that Preferred Rewards specifically requires the checking account (not brokerage) to have been held for a full 3 months.


I am fairly sure that the CSR is incorrect about the requirement for the checking account being open for 90 days. Read the contract, I don't believe it is in there. Look at their own language: "All you need to qualify is an eligible Bank of America® personal checking account and maintain a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 in your Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts and/or your Bank of America deposit accounts." Pretty clear the CSR is wrong.

The same charge was applied to my account. I pointed out the error to a BOA branch manager and they quickly reversed the charge. As for why, I have no idea. However I am confident it is simply a wrinkle that will not repeat now that I am in the Preferred Rewards program.

It comes across as if BoA/Merrill have well trained and helpful staff, but their systems are a complete mess.
- Why did no-one contact me with their information requirements for the ME application?
- Why did the bonus post after 3 months and 6 days (not a big deal, but odd)?
- Why was I charged an account fee? The account linkage is clearly there.
- Why the lack of clarity and consistency from the reports here as to when Preferred Rewards becomes available?
- I also have my employer's stock award account with Merrill Lynch, with their high fees and 20th-century user experience

I set up these accounts intending to move our credit cards to Bank of America, since the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card combined with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards gives pretty much the best rewards rate available, ignoring churning bonuses. These experiences are making me reconsider, since the cost if BoA screw up could be far bigger than the credit card rewards. Am I too worried?

Edit to add: I also don't seem to have free trades at ME. Is this because the $25k balance needs to be in cash in the ME account to qualify, not in stocks/ETFs, or should I have free trades available? Bear in mind this is a separate requirement to Preferred Rewards, so I can ignore it once I have PR.


The requirement is to have an eligible BOA personal checking account plus a three month average combined balance of $X dollars. Note that even though you transferred in more than $X dollars you still must have the account open for 90 days. The free trades should show up shortly; one can also always call Merrill Edge and inquire; they are quite responsive in my experience. You can also call ME and ask for some more free trades in the interim until this all gets worked out; they told me they would credit any commissions to my account if I asked. So in my opinion you are too worried about this.
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by *3!4!/5! » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:37 pm

Reiterating
viewtopic.php?p=3172906#p3172906
*3!4!/5! wrote:Datapoints: We got Preferred status about two days after opening checking accounts, and it was about 1.5 months after opening/funding brokerage accounts.

In other words, neither account needs to be open for 3 months. The checking accounts instantly fills one of the necessary conditions. And for the tier calculation they use the average daily balance over 3 months (so that will include some zeroes for younger accounts, e.g. a 1.5 month old account that has had a steady $50k for that time will be calculated as having "average daily balance over 3 months" of $25k).

The "average daily balance over 3 months" calculation is updated monthly.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by triceratop » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:53 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:Reiterating
viewtopic.php?p=3172906#p3172906
*3!4!/5! wrote:Datapoints: We got Preferred status about two days after opening checking accounts, and it was about 1.5 months after opening/funding brokerage accounts.

In other words, neither account needs to be open for 3 months. The checking accounts instantly fills one of the necessary conditions. And for the tier calculation they use the average daily balance over 3 months (so that will include some zeroes for younger accounts, e.g. a 1.5 month old account that has had a steady $50k for that time will be calculated as having "average daily balance over 3 months" of $25k).

The "average daily balance over 3 months" calculation is updated monthly.


And I tell you that that was not the case for me personally, for whatever that is worth. I had balances that exceeded a balance tier and was not switched over until precisely 90 days had passed. In fact a CSR told me this as well and predicted the exact date that I would be enrolled into Preferred Rewards (the prediction was precisely accurate).

It is possible that their systems are so screwed up that there is a lack of consistency.
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Post by *3!4!/5! » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:00 pm

^ Okay, just reporting my personal datapoint. It is certainly true that BoA IT systems are pretty bad.

That said, although the Preferred Rewards are nice, there's not that much financially at stake in getting them a month or two later, i.e. slightly higher credit card cash back for that time.
Last edited by *3!4!/5! on Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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