Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

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

Postby tj » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:55 am

indexfundfan wrote:My Merrill Edge bonus showed up earlier this week as well.

I intend to keep these assets (mostly muni CEFs) with Merrill Edge. Once the dividends from the CEFs are credited, they are automatically transferred to my linked 3rd party bank account. Keeping the assets there also helps me qualify for preferred rewards and the associated credit card cash back bonuses.


May be off topic, but what led you to CEF's over the Vanguard muni funds?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:18 am

tj wrote:
indexfundfan wrote:My Merrill Edge bonus showed up earlier this week as well.

I intend to keep these assets (mostly muni CEFs) with Merrill Edge. Once the dividends from the CEFs are credited, they are automatically transferred to my linked 3rd party bank account. Keeping the assets there also helps me qualify for preferred rewards and the associated credit card cash back bonuses.


May be off topic, but what led you to CEF's over the Vanguard muni funds?

I actually have both. My Vanguard muni fund holdings are in fact larger than muni CEF holdings. I have 12% of my portfolio allocated to muni CEFs. Muni CEFs can be purchased with very good discounts and a significant portion was purchased back in 2013.
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dodecahedron
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby dodecahedron » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:40 pm

$1,000 bonus just materialized in my account yesterday (3/16) automatically, without my needing to request/intervene/etc.

I funded the account by transferring in Vanguard ETFs as an in-kind transaction 9/11/14 so six months was up 3/11/15. Since the account is a Roth IRA, the $1,000 bonus is considered tax free investment income on the Roth account.

I intend to keep enough ($100K) of these Vanguard ETFs in the Merrill Edge account to continue to qualify me for top tier B of A preferred platinum honors status (includes no fees on checking, saving, no fees for ATM withdrawals at any bank's machine (they reimburse host bank fees), free checks, free safe deposit box, free wire transfers, no fee cash rewards VISA that pays 3.5% on groceries and 5.25% on gas (up to $1500 per quarter) and no fee travel cash rewards that pays 2.625% on all other purchases (applied as a credit towards any purchases of travel type expenses of my choice going back 12 months and forward indefinitely.) Plus there is 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months, allowing me to keep money earning interest elsewhere. Also, my local B of A has great and helpful staff who have been a tremendous resource over the past 25 years for all kinds of things. (My late husband and I had a business account there and they had a great low cost payroll service, I had an estate bank account there and I also used them in countless ways to help with estate related paperwork, and they have been helpful in dealing with various specialized needs like foreign currency traveler's checks.

Thanks to tfb blog for tipping me off to this deal.
Last edited by dodecahedron on Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby southerndoc » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:29 am

dodecahedron wrote:no fee cash rewards VISA that pays 3.5% on groceries and 5.25% on gas (up to $1500 per quarter) and no fee travel cash rewards that pays 2.675% on all other purchases (applied as a credit towards any purchases of travel type expenses of my choice going back 12 months and forward indefinitely.) Plus there is 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months, allowing me to keep money earning interest elsewhere.


Is this true?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby Jonezez » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:34 am

southerndoc wrote:
dodecahedron wrote:no fee cash rewards VISA that pays 3.5% on groceries and 5.25% on gas (up to $1500 per quarter) and no fee travel cash rewards that pays 2.675% on all other purchases (applied as a credit towards any purchases of travel type expenses of my choice going back 12 months and forward indefinitely.) Plus there is 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months, allowing me to keep money earning interest elsewhere.


Is this true?


Yes, depending on your tier of "preferred rewards" based on balance in your account. Maximum is a 75% credit card rewards bonus. Since the travel rewards baseline is 1.5 points per dollar, 75% bonus = 2.625% (not 2.675%)

http://info.bankofamerica.com/preferred ... wards-_-NA

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

Postby dodecahedron » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:21 am

Jonezez wrote:
southerndoc wrote:
dodecahedron wrote:no fee cash rewards VISA that pays 3.5% on groceries and 5.25% on gas (up to $1500 per quarter) and no fee travel cash rewards that pays 2.675% on all other purchases (applied as a credit towards any purchases of travel type expenses of my choice going back 12 months and forward indefinitely.) Plus there is 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months, allowing me to keep money earning interest elsewhere.


Is this true?


Yes, depending on your tier of "preferred rewards" based on balance in your account. Maximum is a 75% credit card rewards bonus. Since the travel rewards baseline is 1.5 points per dollar, 75% bonus = 2.625% (not 2.675%)

http://info.bankofamerica.com/preferred ... wards-_-NA


Jonezez is correct. The correct number is 2.625%. Also, the zero percent APR on purchases period is 12 months. (It was late last night when I posted.) I will correct my previous post.

Here is the Finance Buff's post that tipped me off to this excellent rewards card deal with more details of how it works:

http://thefinancebuff.com/bank-of-ameri ... -visa.html

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby Seattlenative » Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:54 pm

G-Force wrote:The $1000 offer is available again. This one is good until March 31, but they keep getting renewed. http://www.merrilledge.com/offers/1000offer


So if my wife rolls over her 401(k) from her former company, how much hassle is she going to face with Merrill Edge? Will they assist her with the rollover paperwork so that she doesn't have to keep calling Transamerica, and also to have the proceeds go directly between custodians (avoid having a check placed in her hands)? She is pretty nervous about having this be a smooth process. Her 401(k) has slightly into six figures so under this deal she could receive a $500 bonus, and it would boost our BofA relationship from Preferred Rewards Gold up into the Preferred Rewards Platinum category. That would provide a big kicker payout on purchases made with our BofA Cash Rewards VISA card.

But ultimately, can we rely on their service? I just called their "Preferred Rewards Customer Center" telephone line, it was already closed at 5 pm on a Saturday, it wasn't particularly a user-friendly automated system, and when their robocaller described their hours on weekdays, it abruptly hung up on me. It was a bit of a cold slap in the face, reminding me that while BofA has been satisfactory for routine transactional banking (and terrific for online banking), it immediately raised my concerns about service quality in moving 401(k) funds into a Rollover Traditional IRA. Again, my wife really wants all of this paperwork and rollover follow-up with Transamerica to be handled by the brokerage, and her role limited to signing the forms.

We've seen TV commercials for TD Ameritrade and Fidelity bragging about how they will handle everything on a 401(k) rollover, plus they are paying nice cash bonuses albeit less than what BofA Merrill Edge is offering.

Schwab probably can handle the rollover competently, and we already have most of our investment accounts there. However, Schwab is offering no cash bonuses. Schwab will offer 100 free trades for a rollover. However, as Bogleheads we aren't active traders. Also, many of the excellent and very low-ER Schwab ETFs are commission-free.

Cash bonuses in the $500 category definitely grab our attention, but lack of hassles is equally important. It's too bad that my wife didn't reactivate her "grandfathered" free-trading Wellstrade account, since I recall that in 2008 they actually did a competent job at handling a previous 401(k) rollover for her. We could have reactivated her grandfathered wellstrade account when I did so last fall, but we were right up against the 2-year deadline and that has now passed. I suppose we could ask Wellstrade if they would offer any bonuses or even free trades for her, since ultimately this is a buy-and-hold proposition.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby dodecahedron » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:28 pm

Seattlenative wrote:
G-Force wrote:The $1000 offer is available again. This one is good until March 31, but they keep getting renewed. http://www.merrilledge.com/offers/1000offer


So if my wife rolls over her 401(k) from her former company, how much hassle is she going to face with Merrill Edge? Will they assist her with the rollover paperwork so that she doesn't have to keep calling Transamerica, and also to have the proceeds go directly between custodians (avoid having a check placed in her hands)? She is pretty nervous about having this be a smooth process. Her 401(k) has slightly into six figures so under this deal she could receive a $500 bonus, and it would boost our BofA relationship from Preferred Rewards Gold up into the Preferred Rewards Platinum category. That would provide a big kicker payout on purchases made with our BofA Cash Rewards VISA card.

But ultimately, can we rely on their service? I just called their "Preferred Rewards Customer Center" telephone line, it was already closed at 5 pm on a Saturday, it wasn't particularly a user-friendly automated system, and when their robocaller described their hours on weekdays, it abruptly hung up on me. It was a bit of a cold slap in the face, reminding me that while BofA has been satisfactory for routine transactional banking (and terrific for online banking), it immediately raised my concerns about service quality in moving 401(k) funds into a Rollover Traditional IRA. Again, my wife really wants all of this paperwork and rollover follow-up with Transamerica to be handled by the brokerage, and her role limited to signing the forms.


In the case of my Roth IRA transfer of ETFs previously held at Vanguard to Merrill Edge, everything was as smooth and easy as could be and no human intervention whatsoever was required. I went into Merrill Edge's on-line website (via the link in tfb's post, to make sure I got the $1,000 bonus) and set up a new Roth IRA at Merrill Edge, funding it via a trustee-to-trustee direct in-kind transfer of Vanguard ETFs held in my Vanguard Roth IRA.

I didn't have to talk to any human beings at all and I didn't have to deal with Vanguard's interface at all. I was pleasantly impressed at how easy and speedy it was.

That said, a rollover from a 401k to an IRA might be trickier than an IRA to IRA transfer.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby KSAL889813 » Mon May 11, 2015 1:06 pm

SobeCane wrote:I have my investment in iShares S&P 1500 Index Fund for automatic dividend reinvestment but was wondering about the fee you discussed above that I had not initially noticed. Can someone shed light on what this means:

Your stock or ETF commissions sell orders may also be subject to a fractional share liquidation fee of 10% of proceeds

Am i losing 10% of my dividend for having dividend reinvestment turned on? I am used to mutual funds with Vanguard so the ETF arena is new to me.


Just had an online chat with a Merrill Edge rep and they wrote: "The 10% refers to the fractional share amount that is being liquidated, not the total sell order."

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby nerdinvestor » Mon May 11, 2015 1:14 pm

I've considered doing this but I'm worried that if I transfer Vanguard mutual funds/ETFs to Bank of America that they would lose cost basis information, creating more trouble than it's worth once I later want to transfer the funds back to Vanguard. Does anyone have experience with this?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Mon May 11, 2015 1:22 pm

nerdinvestor wrote:I've considered doing this but I'm worried that if I transfer Vanguard mutual funds/ETFs to Bank of America that they would lose cost basis information, creating more trouble than it's worth once I later want to transfer the funds back to Vanguard. Does anyone have experience with this?

I have transferred ETFs (not mutual funds) from VBS to Merrill Edge. There were no issues with transferring the cost basis information.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby navyitaly » Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:34 am

It seems as if Merrill Edge removed the 10% fractional shares charge. It always would say it as a disclaimer, now it isn't there.

1 Other management and transaction fees may apply. In addition to your stock, ETF or option commission, sell orders may also be subject to a transaction fee (of between $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). If applicable, this fee appears under "Transaction Fee" on a Trade Confirmation. There are other fees associated with investing in ETFs, Read the "Expenses & Charges" sections of the prospectus to find out what they are. Contact us to obtain a prospectus.

Not sure, but I know I wasn't charged 10% recently. Hard to say though.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby G-Force » Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:44 pm

navyitaly wrote:It seems as if Merrill Edge removed the 10% fractional shares charge. It always would say it as a disclaimer, now it isn't there.

1 Other management and transaction fees may apply. In addition to your stock, ETF or option commission, sell orders may also be subject to a transaction fee (of between $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). If applicable, this fee appears under "Transaction Fee" on a Trade Confirmation. There are other fees associated with investing in ETFs, Read the "Expenses & Charges" sections of the prospectus to find out what they are. Contact us to obtain a prospectus.

Not sure, but I know I wasn't charged 10% recently. Hard to say though.

This only applies if you were automatically reinvesting dividends, correct?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby navyitaly » Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:59 am

Yes only if you reinvest dividends.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby prh2s » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:29 pm

navyitaly wrote:It seems as if Merrill Edge removed the 10% fractional shares charge. It always would say it as a disclaimer, now it isn't there.

1 Other management and transaction fees may apply. In addition to your stock, ETF or option commission, sell orders may also be subject to a transaction fee (of between $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). If applicable, this fee appears under "Transaction Fee" on a Trade Confirmation. There are other fees associated with investing in ETFs, Read the "Expenses & Charges" sections of the prospectus to find out what they are. Contact us to obtain a prospectus.

Not sure, but I know I wasn't charged 10% recently. Hard to say though.


I also sold off a position recently, and found that there was no 10% charge for liquidating the fractional shares. So yes, this charge does appear to be a thing of the past.

Patrick

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby afauthentic » Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:14 am

If you put $100k in Merrill Edge, you also get free small safe deposit box.
If you get their BofA Visa, once a month you get free museum passes.
I take advantage of both.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby quizzer25 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:32 pm

I got the bonus recently for transferring over $100K to ME roll over IRA.
Its sitting as cash BANA.

1)Will I get a 1099 from MerrilEdge for this bonus?
2)Can I buy MF or ETF with this amount?
3)Can I transfer this amount to my BOA checking instead of buying stocks/MF/ETF's?
4)Any tax impacts based on 2 or 3?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby tj » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:31 am

quizzer25 wrote:I got the bonus recently for transferring over $100K to ME roll over IRA.
Its sitting as cash BANA.

1)Will I get a 1099 from MerrilEdge for this bonus?
2)Can I buy MF or ETF with this amount?
3)Can I transfer this amount to my BOA checking instead of buying stocks/MF/ETF's?
4)Any tax impacts based on 2 or 3?



If it's in an IRA, then it will be taxed when you withdraw it. You can invest it in whatever you want including cash, but why would you withdraw it from an IRA if you don't need it yet?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby quizzer25 » Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:17 am

Thank you.

I will use that to buy VXUS or any ETF and add to my existing portfolio in the IRA.

I understand that it will not be taxed as I'm just transferring within the IRA - cash to ETF.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:14 pm

The Merrill Edge $1k offer is back again

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

Offer code NYEXPO16. Expires 4/22/2016.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby learnfinance » Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:23 am

It seems they have increased the qualifying assets for $1000 bonus to $200K, last year the same offer was available assets worth $100K. Please correct me if I'm missing something here.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby dodecahedron » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:48 am

learnfinance wrote:It seems they have increased the qualifying assets for $1000 bonus to $200K, last year the same offer was available assets worth $100K. Please correct me if I'm missing something here.


No, the $100K is the minimum assets needed for Platinum Preferred Honors status, but to get the full $1K bonus it has consistently taken $200K in assets.

See viewtopic.php?p=2244954#p2244954 (a post earlier in this thread, dated in 2014.)

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby canbonbon » Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:04 am

I was actually able to get $2500 bonus (maximum allowed and you may need to talk to Premium services) last year when I transferred assets over $1 mil. My local Bank of America rep handled this for me. It was fairly easy, they took care of everything. I had the money in various other brokerages. This helped me consolidate in one place (much easier to track). I also get 200 free trades per month (not sure why this aspect is not discussed in the thread above). Which is a huge deal for me as I tend to purchase ETFs on monthly basis (but even if they had given me like 10 trades that would be fine as I really don't need 200 trades per month). They also credited my accounts with any closing fee the other brokerages might have charged. In short, I am pretty happy with Merrill Edge for now and intend to stay here unless someone else has a better offer. Travel rewards card is excellent. I usually just convert the points to cash which can be applied to any Travel related expenses. Nice feature and knocks off $$ of the bill.

I know most people are Vanguard lovers here but looks like other companies have started offering features that Vanguard has to catch up to. Primarily because they are banks too, they can potentially offer all this. A final note about the Merrill Edge account. I know folks here have a complete disdain for Robo Advisors but I was recently contacted by the Premium ML services to sign up for being a part of a Robo Advisor pilot that they are starting soon. No further details were given. I did not sign up and would wait for it to launch before making any decision. I am tilting more towards Wisebanyan in that regard.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:18 pm

Wow, I didn't know of this "hidden" offer and the 200 free trades per month. I guess these are offered to the premium elite only?
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tj
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby tj » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:02 pm

indexfundfan wrote:Wow, I didn't know of this "hidden" offer and the 200 free trades per month. I guess these are offered to the premium elite only?

See:

http://info.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/


There's a certain number of free trades for each tier.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby denovo » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:26 pm

navyitaly wrote:Can someone very intelligent please inbrief me on how/where Bank of America/Merrill Edge/Lynch is making money on the Preferred Rewards - Platinum Honors status when you take the following actions (I do this literally). I have over $100,000 with Merrill Edge.



Where are they making their money? Please enlighten me. Is this a teaser promo?

Thanks.


They don't make money on you (individually) but they make money on you (aggregate). Financial services firms want clients with money. When a bunch of high-net worth clients put money in their account, a certain percentage of them will choose their expensive financial products and they will recoup their money.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby denovo » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:37 pm

navyitaly wrote:Can someone very intelligent please inbrief me on how/where Bank of America/Merrill Edge/Lynch is making money on the Preferred Rewards - Platinum Honors status when you take the following actions (I do this literally).


I should add that the benefits are nothing too special either. Free ETF trades with no account maintenance fees are common with Vanguard, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade and many have them have bonuses for depositing money. see e.g. https://www.tdameritrade.com/client/goodtimes/

Your other big benefit is the booster on the credit card rewards. Your cash back card will yield you 1.75 percent. You can get 2 percent on a citi cash card, so that's not really a benefit outside of the gas or grocery transaction.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:39 am

tj wrote:
indexfundfan wrote:Wow, I didn't know of this "hidden" offer and the 200 free trades per month. I guess these are offered to the premium elite only?

See:

http://info.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/


There's a certain number of free trades for each tier.

The link only shows up to a maximum of 100 free trades per month. Not 200.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:46 am

denovo wrote:
navyitaly wrote:Can someone very intelligent please inbrief me on how/where Bank of America/Merrill Edge/Lynch is making money on the Preferred Rewards - Platinum Honors status when you take the following actions (I do this literally).


I should add that the benefits are nothing too special either. Free ETF trades with no account maintenance fees are common with Vanguard, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade and many have them have bonuses for depositing money. see e.g. https://www.tdameritrade.com/client/goodtimes/


Merrill Edge's free trade, once you qualify and if you don't need more than the maximum provided, has the least restrictions.
Vanguard only provides free trades for Vanguard ETFs unless you hit Flagship.
Both Fidelity and TDAM have short-term trading fees which could be important if you need to TLH in the recent volatile market.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby dodecahedron » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:49 am

indexfundfan wrote:
tj wrote:
indexfundfan wrote:Wow, I didn't know of this "hidden" offer and the 200 free trades per month. I guess these are offered to the premium elite only?

See:

http://info.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/


There's a certain number of free trades for each tier.

The link only shows up to a maximum of 100 free trades per month. Not 200.


You can get the cash bonus for opening up an IRA and another cash bonus for opening up a taxable account at Merrill Edge, so I suppose it is also 100 free trades in each account type, for a total of 200.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby desiderium » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:59 am

I needed a real bank after my credit union became inconvenient and inadequate.

Bank of America has a checkered history of customer service, but for it's platinum rewards customers offered a streamlined relationship on the rare occasions personal interaction is needed. Also with 100k on deposit with ME, I get 2.65% cash back on my credit card. It's website is pretty good, and serves almost all of my needs. I use it to my cash flow, networked with my employer, my bills, online savings account and my vanguard account.

ME is only a means to maximize my banking relationship. I keep one ETF in my ME account, and I transfer dividends to my Vanguard account.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:59 am

dodecahedron wrote:You can get the cash bonus for opening up an IRA and another cash bonus for opening up a taxable account at Merrill Edge, so I suppose it is also 100 free trades in each account type, for a total of 200.

Yes you can stack the new account bonus. But, you still only get a total of 100 free trades per month.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby denovo » Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:24 am

indexfundfan wrote:
denovo wrote:
navyitaly wrote:Can someone very intelligent please inbrief me on how/where Bank of America/Merrill Edge/Lynch is making money on the Preferred Rewards - Platinum Honors status when you take the following actions (I do this literally).


I should add that the benefits are nothing too special either. Free ETF trades with no account maintenance fees are common with Vanguard, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade and many have them have bonuses for depositing money. see e.g. https://www.tdameritrade.com/client/goodtimes/


Merrill Edge's free trade, once you qualify and if you don't need more than the maximum provided, has the least restrictions.
Vanguard only provides free trades for Vanguard ETFs unless you hit Flagship.
Both Fidelity and TDAM have short-term trading fees which could be important if you need to TLH in the recent volatile market.


TD's restriction on short-term trading is 30 days and since you need 30 days for TLH to not trigger wash-sale it doesn't impede harvesting for me.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:34 am

denovo wrote:TD's restriction on short-term trading is 30 days and since you need 30 days for TLH to not trigger wash-sale it doesn't impede harvesting for me.

How about this scenario: you bought VSS on day 1. A week later, it drops 10% and you want to TLH to SCZ.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby denovo » Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:24 pm

indexfundfan wrote:
denovo wrote:TD's restriction on short-term trading is 30 days and since you need 30 days for TLH to not trigger wash-sale it doesn't impede harvesting for me.

How about this scenario: you bought VSS on day 1. A week later, it drops 10% and you want to TLH to SCZ.


I admit in that scenario the restriction sucks. I only rebalance and TLH annually (at the same time) so it doesn't affect me, but I see how it can affect others.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby Careful » Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:45 pm

I see so many people talking about ETFs with Merrill Edge. What about mutual funds? Vanguard mutual funds for example. Can you buy / sell those for free as well? thanks.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:12 pm

Careful wrote:I see so many people talking about ETFs with Merrill Edge. What about mutual funds? Vanguard mutual funds for example. Can you buy / sell those for free as well? thanks.

Merrill Edge has a list of NTF (no-transaction-fee) funds. But like many other brokers, the NTF list does not include Vanguard mutual funds.

Merrill Edge is good for ETFs. If you want Vanguard mutual funds, you should do it at Vanguard, especially if you want the admiral shares.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby letsgobobby » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:44 pm

So I move $100k in any ETF to Merrill to get the $600 reward after 180 days and qualify for Platinum Honors status; and get the BankAmerica Travel rewards credit card; and then I basically get 1.5*1.75=2.625% on every purchase (toward travel) and more on special categories (I already have the BOA Cash Rewards card so that's 2*1.75=3.5% on groceries and 3*1.75=5.25% on gas) and get no ATM fees and a free safe deposit box?

Is there a catch? I've skimmed the thread and the website...

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby JDCarpenter » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:02 pm

letsgobobby wrote:So I move $100k in any ETF to Merrill to get the $600 reward after 180 days and qualify for Platinum Honors status; and get the BankAmerica Travel rewards credit card; and then I basically get 1.5*1.75=2.625% on every purchase (toward travel) and more on special categories (I already have the BOA Cash Rewards card so that's 2*1.75=3.5% on groceries and 3*1.75=5.25% on gas) and get no ATM fees and a free safe deposit box?

Is there a catch? I've skimmed the thread and the website...


I don't have the cash rewards card and didn't catch the $600 reward, but that is a reasonable summary.

As for the "special categories," is that a reference to the cash rewards card (I'm unaware of it on the travel rewards)? We keep about 130K in Merrill Edge and checking. Get the 2.625, no annual fee, no foreign transaction, 40K+ credit limit (after asking for an increase to that amount), and, to date, no irritating contacts from Merrill. Also, if checking account, you get free ATMs in the US (including reimbursement of the charge from the owner of the ATM).

Finally, although we haven't done it yet, if you book travel through the BoA travel site (which allegedly has competitive deals), you get additional points/benefits.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby dodecahedron » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:04 pm

letsgobobby wrote:So I move $100k in any ETF to Merrill to get the $600 reward after 180 days and qualify for Platinum Honors status; and get the BankAmerica Travel rewards credit card; and then I basically get 1.5*1.75=2.625% on every purchase (toward travel) and more on special categories (I already have the BOA Cash Rewards card so that's 2*1.75=3.5% on groceries and 3*1.75=5.25% on gas) and get no ATM fees and a free safe deposit box?

Is there a catch? I've skimmed the thread and the website...


I have not found any catches in the year and a half that I have been Platinum Preferred Honors. Periodically, the $600 bonus is a $1,000 bonus but you need to keep $200K there for 180 days for that maximum bonus. I have gotten two of those $1,000 bonuses, one for my Roth IRA and one for my taxable account. $100k in total balances across all BoA and Merrill Edge accounts is what you need for steady state Platinum Preferred Honors (though actually you only need THAT for 90 days each year, since they requalify you based on a three month average once a year.)

Some people complain about a lot of annoying phone calls from pushy sales people, however mine have been minimal--just two token brief calls in 18 months and not at all pushy. I think the salespeople quickly pegged me as a Boglehead and realized they were wasting their time talking to me.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby letsgobobby » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:28 pm

Looks like it's currently $500 for $100k, and $1000 for $200k.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby desiderium » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:50 pm

letsgobobby wrote:So I move $100k in any ETF to Merrill to get the $600 reward after 180 days and qualify for Platinum Honors status; and get the BankAmerica Travel rewards credit card; and then I basically get 1.5*1.75=2.625% on every purchase (toward travel) and more on special categories (I already have the BOA Cash Rewards card so that's 2*1.75=3.5% on groceries and 3*1.75=5.25% on gas) and get no ATM fees and a free safe deposit box?

Is there a catch? I've skimmed the thread and the website...


Nope

I have not received any hassle from Merrill, other than some emails I unsubscribed from. The credit card service is good, like the occasions when you travel and are vulnerable to being cut off by the fraud algorithms. You can set it up in advance easily on the website, and if you forget it seems pretty easy to get a human to fix things promptly.

B of A, like many banks thrives on fee "gotchas". Foreign ATMs, and foreign credit card cash advances are particularly subject to predation. If you stick to the basics and use the e-tools to pay all your bills, you can remain free of fees.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:11 pm

Merrill Edge hasn't bothered me either after setting up the account.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby FlamingoTime » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:41 am

I currently bank with BofA and already getting platinum benefits from money market and checking. Does anyone know if after bringing in the $200k to Merrill, does it all have to stay on the Merrill side or could some be transferred to checking during the initial 180 days? For $200k, it is basically 1% interest, the same as online savings are paying. So makes no sense to move it in unless I intend to buy Merrill investments, which doesn't align with my AA, unless I do CDs or something.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby dodecahedron » Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:20 am

FlamingoTime wrote:I currently bank with BofA and already getting platinum benefits from money market and checking. Does anyone know if after bringing in the $200k to Merrill, does it all have to stay on the Merrill side or could some be transferred to checking during the initial 180 days? For $200k, it is basically 1% interest, the same as online savings are paying. So makes no sense to move it in unless I intend to buy Merrill investments, which doesn't align with my AA, unless I do CDs or something.


I don't understand your question. If you have $200K already invested elsewhere in something like Vanguard ETFs according to your AA, just bring those ETFs over to Merrill as an in-kind transfer and hold the Vanguard ETFs at Merrill. There's no particular reason to buy Merrill investments. You will get a hundred free transactions a month and if you want to rebalance or TLH or whatever, you can use those to buy and sell Vanguard ETFs.

From the terms of the thousand dollar bonus offer, it appears that the $200K must stay in a Merrill Edge account for 180 days (though if the balance declines purely due to market fluctuations, you will not be penalized.) Why you would want to maintain a large balance in a B of A account is a puzzle to me, since their interest rates are minuscule compared to online banks like Ally.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby arsenalfan » Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:47 am

Anyone have experience specifying into which account the new ME bonus goes?

As I understand it, if one has 20k BoA checkings now, and opens 2 new ME accounts of Roth and Taxable and transfers in 90k each, one would have 200k total assets and get 1k bonus in 180 days.

How do you specify the 1k goes into Roth? Call?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby indexfundfan » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:32 am

arsenalfan wrote:Anyone know have experience to specify into which account the new ME bonus goes?

As I understand it, if one has 20k BoA checkings now, and opens 2 new ME accounts of Roth and Taxable and transfers in 90k each, one would have 200k total assets and get 1k bonus in 180 days.

How do you specify the 1k goes into Roth? Call?

As far as I know, you can't merge the asset values. The bonus is by account.
You bring $90k to the Roth, the Roth is going to get a bonus of $250.
You bring $90k to the taxable acocunt, that account is going to get a bonus of $250.
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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby arsenalfan » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:32 am

Thanks! Fine print verifies you're correct.
200k across all accounts = preferred rewards status.
Money bonus is per account only.

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby *3!4!/5! » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:26 pm

Is the Preferred Rewards ever taxable, in particular the percentage boost (25%, 50%, 75%, or even the regular BoA customer relationship bonus of 10%) to credit card rewards.

For example, suppose you get $400 as a combination of signup bonus and/or cash back (e.g. from BoA Cash Rewards credit cards), and then you redeem them to a BoA account while you have Preferred Rewards - Platinum Honors status, for a 75% boost of $300, and a total of $700. What are the tax implications? What will BoA report? (Conceivably they could send a 1099-MISC for $700, and I had read that such a thing has happened.) What does the IRS think?

The common wisdom is that at least the $400 is a non-taxable rebate, e.g. say you spent $20,000 and got 2% cash back of $400. Then your $20,000 purchases were merely discounted to $19,600, and you did not receive $400 taxable income.

When you bring the Preferred Rewards 75% boost into the picture then one way to look at it is this. You are getting a 3.5% rebate, so your $20,000 purchases were merely discounted to $19,300, and you did not receive $700 (or $400 or $300) taxable income.

Another way to look at it is that the extra $300 comes from some kind of banking transaction that did not in and of itself require any purchase, so that the $300 is some kind of interest or other taxable income.

Another way to look at it is that the banking transaction aspect of it converts the whole $700 into some kind of taxable income.

And in practice, if they send you a 1099-MISC for $700 the IRS will believe you have $700 taxable income, or else expect you to go through contortions to explain why not.

Does anyone have any experience with this scenario? What are the tax rules for this?

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Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Postby tfb » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:14 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:What will BoA report?

Nothing.
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