BoA Premium Rewards status

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Topic Author
SlowMovingInvestor
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BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by SlowMovingInvestor »

I'm currently a Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards BoA customer (I have 100K+ in a Merrill Edge account).

I want to move part of the Merrill Edge funds to another broker, so I'll have less than 100K there. From what I've read

1) BoA looks at last 3 months average balance once a year (in my case it's October), then they decide your status.
2) You can improve your status at any time in the year by moving more $$ in, and hitting the average balance limit
3) But if you pull $$ out of BoA, they don't downgrade you till the next year, when the eval you (in my case next October).

Is that correct ? This would allow me to wait and pull money out of Merrill Edge after October
cabfranc
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by cabfranc »

This is correct. We had $100K+ in a BoA Money Market account earning near 0 interest and moved it to a HYSA. Our Platinum Honors status lasted for 12 months from the date the balance dropped, during which time they send us frequent emails reminding us to bring the balance up or we would lose our status. After 12 months we dropped to Gold level ($20K).

You didn't ask but I don't really think Preferred Rewards is worth it. Even with the credit card rewards, the opportunity cost of earning 0 interest is greater. Sure, you could keep the money in Merrill Edge in ETFs, but we prefer Fidelity or Vanguard. The other benefits are not particularly exciting--like free non-BoA ATM withdrawals. Most are benefits other banks give you without requiring you to lock up $100K earning no interest.
RocketShipTech
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by RocketShipTech »

cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:38 pm This is correct. We had $100K+ in a BoA Money Market account earning near 0 interest and moved it to a HYSA. Our Platinum Honors status lasted for 12 months from the date the balance dropped, during which time they send us frequent emails reminding us to bring the balance up or we would lose our status. After 12 months we dropped to Gold level ($20K).

You didn't ask but I don't really think Preferred Rewards is worth it. Even with the credit card rewards, the opportunity cost of earning 0 interest is greater. Sure, you could keep the money in Merrill Edge in ETFs, but we prefer Fidelity or Vanguard. The other benefits are not particularly exciting--like free non-BoA ATM withdrawals. Most are benefits other banks give you without requiring you to lock up $100K earning no interest.
You can buy Fidelity or Vanguard ETFs in Merrill Edge for free. There’s literally no opportunity cost.
Shorty
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Shorty »

You should be good for 15 months (last 3 to build the rolling average back).

https://www.bankofamerica.com/preferred ... uirements/

What happens if your balances drop?
Even if your eligible balances drop below the requirements for your tier (Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors), you'll maintain your Preferred Rewards status for 12 months following enrollment. If you no longer meet the balance requirements after 12 months, you’ll have a 3-month grace period to increase your balances. After that, if you still don't meet the balance requirements after the grace period, you’ll be moved to a lower tier or lose your Preferred Rewards benefits.
Last edited by Shorty on Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
student
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by student »

RocketShipTech wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:39 pm
cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:38 pm This is correct. We had $100K+ in a BoA Money Market account earning near 0 interest and moved it to a HYSA. Our Platinum Honors status lasted for 12 months from the date the balance dropped, during which time they send us frequent emails reminding us to bring the balance up or we would lose our status. After 12 months we dropped to Gold level ($20K).

You didn't ask but I don't really think Preferred Rewards is worth it. Even with the credit card rewards, the opportunity cost of earning 0 interest is greater. Sure, you could keep the money in Merrill Edge in ETFs, but we prefer Fidelity or Vanguard. The other benefits are not particularly exciting--like free non-BoA ATM withdrawals. Most are benefits other banks give you without requiring you to lock up $100K earning no interest.
You can buy Fidelity or Vanguard ETFs in Merrill Edge for free. There’s literally no opportunity cost.
+1.
Shorty
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Shorty »

cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:38 pm You didn't ask but I don't really think Preferred Rewards is worth it. Even with the credit card rewards, the opportunity cost of earning 0 interest is greater. Sure, you could keep the money in Merrill Edge in ETFs, but we prefer Fidelity or Vanguard. The other benefits are not particularly exciting--like free non-BoA ATM withdrawals. Most are benefits other banks give you without requiring you to lock up $100K earning no interest.
I think highly worth it - no need for money to be locked up. My ROTH IRA account counts with Merrill Edge (Chase wouldn't count toward their Sapphire/Private Client). The BofA cash back credit cards are the best you'll get consistently short of jumping through serious hoops and odd "valuations". "Premium Rewards" gets you a minimum of 2.625% cash back with no limit (3.5% on travel/dining - you can do better). It has a $95 AF, but $500 welcome bonus and $100 airline credit + $100 TSA/global entry. "Cash Rewards" get you tiered 5.25% back or 3.5% back depending on categories ($2,500/qtr limit, but you can have many cards). "Online" & "gas" are great categories. Also: Dining, Travel, Drug Store, and Home Improvement. You can switch categories once per month.
spammagnet
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:54 pm... "Premium Rewards" gets you a minimum of 2.625% cash back with no limit (3.5% on travel/dining - you can do better). ...
How, consistently?
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dodecahedron
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by dodecahedron »

RocketShipTech wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:39 pm
cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:38 pm This is correct. We had $100K+ in a BoA Money Market account earning near 0 interest and moved it to a HYSA. Our Platinum Honors status lasted for 12 months from the date the balance dropped, during which time they send us frequent emails reminding us to bring the balance up or we would lose our status. After 12 months we dropped to Gold level ($20K).

You didn't ask but I don't really think Preferred Rewards is worth it. Even with the credit card rewards, the opportunity cost of earning 0 interest is greater. Sure, you could keep the money in Merrill Edge in ETFs, but we prefer Fidelity or Vanguard. The other benefits are not particularly exciting--like free non-BoA ATM withdrawals. Most are benefits other banks give you without requiring you to lock up $100K earning no interest.
You can buy Fidelity or Vanguard ETFs in Merrill Edge for free. There’s literally no opportunity cost.
Indeed, no opportunity cost. I simply moved some Vanguard ETFs in-kind from Vanguard to Merrill Edge some years ago. As far as I can tell, those ETFs are just as happy and productive at ME as they were at VG. They throw off dividends just the same, which I could reinvest automatically (free) or which I can very easily move and deploy elsewhere to pay bills or whatever. I do not have a fancy slice and dice tilt strategy.

And on top of getting the Preferred Rewards benefits, I got paid $1,000 bonus for moving $200K there originally and holding it there for six months. I actually got two of these thousand dollar bonuses, one for moving a Roth IRA there and one for moving a taxable account there. (After which I made sure to keep at least $100K to maintain ongoing Preferred Rewards status, though I guess I could do the 12/15 month strategy.)
cabfranc
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by cabfranc »

student wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:52 pm
RocketShipTech wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:39 pm
cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:38 pm This is correct. We had $100K+ in a BoA Money Market account earning near 0 interest and moved it to a HYSA. Our Platinum Honors status lasted for 12 months from the date the balance dropped, during which time they send us frequent emails reminding us to bring the balance up or we would lose our status. After 12 months we dropped to Gold level ($20K).

You didn't ask but I don't really think Preferred Rewards is worth it. Even with the credit card rewards, the opportunity cost of earning 0 interest is greater. Sure, you could keep the money in Merrill Edge in ETFs, but we prefer Fidelity or Vanguard. The other benefits are not particularly exciting--like free non-BoA ATM withdrawals. Most are benefits other banks give you without requiring you to lock up $100K earning no interest.
You can buy Fidelity or Vanguard ETFs in Merrill Edge for free. There’s literally no opportunity cost.
+1.
Can you purchase them every month without fees?
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dodecahedron
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by dodecahedron »

Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:54 pm "Online" & "gas" are great categories.
I agree ¨Online¨ is a great category, but ¨gas¨? I hardly buy any gas (especially these COVID days). Is there something else that gets counted as ¨gas¨ category that is not obvious?
Shorty
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Shorty »

spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:58 pm
Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:54 pm... "Premium Rewards" gets you a minimum of 2.625% cash back with no limit (3.5% on travel/dining - you can do better). ...
How, consistently?
Well - 5.25% with their "cash rewards" cards (3% category with 75% bonus) with the quarterly limit of $2,500 per card. Again, you can have many cards and so can your spouse. You just need to select that bonus. "Travel" is one, "Dining" is another...of the 6 I mentioned above.

I currently have various Chase & AMEX products with COVID promos going on. But you can get 5.25% back strictly with BofA. Full disclosure, I recently hit the top status and only have a single "Cash Reward" card. They have honored the program so far. I plan on divesting of Chase/AMEX and going primarily to BofA for CC spend.
spammagnet
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:38 pmThis is correct. We had $100K+ in a BoA Money Market account earning near 0 interest and moved it to a HYSA. Our Platinum Honors status lasted for 12 months from the date the balance dropped, during which time they send us frequent emails reminding us to bring the balance up or we would lose our status. After 12 months we dropped to Gold level ($20K). ...
That being the case, I can move the ETFs in Merrill over to Chase Investments long enough to get their $725 new account bonus, then move it back to keep my Platinum Honors status for my credit cards, without penalty.
Shorty
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Shorty »

dodecahedron wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:02 pm
Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:54 pm "Online" & "gas" are great categories.
I agree ¨Online¨ is a great category, but ¨gas¨? I hardly buy any gas (especially these COVID days). Is there something else that gets counted as ¨gas¨ category that is not obvious?
True. I don't think BofA needs to try too hard with COVID - it's a $0/yr card (AMEX/Chase on the other hand..). Frugal Professor has several blog posts optimizing. He goes nuts, even buying gift cards online for Costco, etc.

https://frugalprofessor.com/another-boa ... ency-post/
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dodecahedron
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by dodecahedron »

cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:00 pm
student wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:52 pm You can buy Fidelity or Vanguard ETFs in Merrill Edge for free. There’s literally no opportunity cost.
+1.
Can you purchase them every month without fees?
[/quote]

Yup. Unlimited free trades:
Unlimited $0 Trades
With Merrill Edge Self‑Directed, get unlimited free online stock, ETF and option* trades with no trade or balance minimums
source

Footnotes indicate there are $0 commissions, but there are some fees for options and margin trades. But plain vanilla unleveraged purchases and sales of stocks and ETFs are free.
Shorty
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Shorty »

spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:06 pm
cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:38 pmThis is correct. We had $100K+ in a BoA Money Market account earning near 0 interest and moved it to a HYSA. Our Platinum Honors status lasted for 12 months from the date the balance dropped, during which time they send us frequent emails reminding us to bring the balance up or we would lose our status. After 12 months we dropped to Gold level ($20K). ...
That being the case, I can move the ETFs in Merrill over to Chase Investments long enough to get their $725 new account bonus, then move it back to keep my Platinum Honors status for my credit cards, without penalty.
Does it count toward new account bonuses if you move stocks between accounts without buying/selling? Are you planning on liquidating?
Shorty
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Shorty »

dodecahedron wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:09 pm Footnotes indicate there are $0 commissions, but there are some fees for options and margin trades. But plain vanilla unleveraged purchases and sales of stocks and ETFs are free.
I moved in $$ for the bonus and ended up creating a margin account. I purchased stocks (less than the $$ moved in) and, oddly, the site showed margin activity. I called them up, they were very nice on the phone. The system eventually reconciled it automatically - no margin charges, but did take a few days for everything to settle and show up properly.

I've been very happy with the web site, app, phone support, and experience overall.
Last edited by Shorty on Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by SlowMovingInvestor »

Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:42 pm You should be good for 15 months.

https://www.bankofamerica.com/preferred ... uirements/

What happens if your balances drop?
Even if your eligible balances drop below the requirements for your tier (Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors), you'll maintain your Preferred Rewards status for 12 months following enrollment. If you no longer meet the balance requirements after 12 months, you’ll have a 3-month grace period to increase your balances. After that, if you still don't meet the balance requirements after the grace period, you’ll be moved to a lower tier or lose your Preferred Rewards benefits.
That is a little ambiguously phrased. Does that mean you'll get the preferred rewards status only for the first 12 months after you sign up for the program ? Or does it mean that basically at any time, you can move $$ out, move back after 11-12 months and keep your status throughout ? If so, it's a good deal. Especially with an IRA -- where you don't have to worry about 1099-DIVs etc.
student
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by student »

cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:00 pm
student wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:52 pm
RocketShipTech wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:39 pm
cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:38 pm This is correct. We had $100K+ in a BoA Money Market account earning near 0 interest and moved it to a HYSA. Our Platinum Honors status lasted for 12 months from the date the balance dropped, during which time they send us frequent emails reminding us to bring the balance up or we would lose our status. After 12 months we dropped to Gold level ($20K).

You didn't ask but I don't really think Preferred Rewards is worth it. Even with the credit card rewards, the opportunity cost of earning 0 interest is greater. Sure, you could keep the money in Merrill Edge in ETFs, but we prefer Fidelity or Vanguard. The other benefits are not particularly exciting--like free non-BoA ATM withdrawals. Most are benefits other banks give you without requiring you to lock up $100K earning no interest.
You can buy Fidelity or Vanguard ETFs in Merrill Edge for free. There’s literally no opportunity cost.
+1.
Can you purchase them every month without fees?
Yes. For ETF, you can buy by paying $0 commission. So it is free.
student
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by student »

SlowMovingInvestor wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:16 pm
Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:42 pm You should be good for 15 months.

https://www.bankofamerica.com/preferred ... uirements/

What happens if your balances drop?
Even if your eligible balances drop below the requirements for your tier (Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors), you'll maintain your Preferred Rewards status for 12 months following enrollment. If you no longer meet the balance requirements after 12 months, you’ll have a 3-month grace period to increase your balances. After that, if you still don't meet the balance requirements after the grace period, you’ll be moved to a lower tier or lose your Preferred Rewards benefits.
That is a little ambiguously phrased. Does that mean you'll get the preferred rewards status only for the first 12 months after you sign up for the program ? Or does it mean that basically at any time, you can move $$ out, move back after 11-12 months and keep your status throughout ? If so, it's a good deal. Especially with an IRA -- where you don't have to worry about 1099-DIVs etc.
Why do you want to transfer in-and-out on a regular basis? For transfer bonus?
Shorty
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Shorty »

SlowMovingInvestor wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:16 pm That is a little ambiguously phrased. Does that mean you'll get the preferred rewards status only for the first 12 months after you sign up for the program ? Or does it mean that basically at any time, you can move $$ out, move back after 11-12 months and keep your status throughout ? If so, it's a good deal. Especially with an IRA -- where you don't have to worry about 1099-DIVs etc.
Clear as mud.ThePointsGuy found this:
“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.”
I'd like to think that in practice they start the timer the month your avg balance drops below the threshold, but who knows. The language all seems to indicate that they lock it in when you achieve the status, then check the following year. How this works for members with many years of status is anyone's guess. I suspect you could request more time as a previous status holder.
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dodecahedron
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by dodecahedron »

Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:07 pm
dodecahedron wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:02 pm
Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:54 pm "Online" & "gas" are great categories.
I agree ¨Online¨ is a great category, but ¨gas¨? I hardly buy any gas (especially these COVID days). Is there something else that gets counted as ¨gas¨ category that is not obvious?
True. I don't think BofA needs to try too hard with COVID - it's a $0/yr card (AMEX/Chase on the other hand..). Frugal Professor has several blog posts optimizing. He goes nuts, even buying gift cards online for Costco, etc.

https://frugalprofessor.com/another-boa ... ency-post/
Given his large family of growing kids and the amount he spends on Costco groceries, etc., I don´t think it is going nuts for him to buy gift cards online at Costco.

Full disclosure: I have a small household and spend a lot less on groceries than he does and I buy gift cards online for my favorite nearby grocery store (Hannaford) to get the 5.25% discount.

I also like to buy stuff at my local Target via online curbside pickup arrangement. Not only does it save me time (compared to roaming the store looking for my item) but it qualifies the purchase as 5.25% ¨online¨. (Plus doing this reduces impulse purchases.) I was doing this even before COVID but obviously additional advantage is less microbe exposure.

As for gas. I currently have two Cash Rewards cards. By default, they are both set to online. But when appropriately, I opportunistically switch one of them to another category. I tend to fill up when my tank is about quarter to half full. I am averaging about one gas stop every two months. Planning to buy gas shortly before the end of August. I will switch one of my two Cash Rewards to gas shortly before I fill the tank near the end of the month. Then as soon as Sept 1 hits, I will be free to change it to whatever category seems to be most useful given my spending plans at that time.
spammagnet
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:10 pmDoes it count toward new account bonuses if you move stocks between accounts without buying/selling? Are you planning on liquidating?
There is no reason to liquidate anything. ETFs make it easy. Moving ETFs in kind from Fidelity is how we got $1800 in new account bonuses from Merrill (now up to $1000 per account) and established Platinum Honors status with BA. Doing the same is how we're going to get $1450 in new account bonuses from Chase.

Unfortunately, we have only retirement accounts. If we had sufficient taxable investments to open separate individually-owned non-retirement accounts, that would earn us another $1450 at Chase, and would have been good for another $2000 at Merrill.
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dodecahedron
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by dodecahedron »

Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:10 pm
spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:06 pm
cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:38 pmThis is correct. We had $100K+ in a BoA Money Market account earning near 0 interest and moved it to a HYSA. Our Platinum Honors status lasted for 12 months from the date the balance dropped, during which time they send us frequent emails reminding us to bring the balance up or we would lose our status. After 12 months we dropped to Gold level ($20K). ...
That being the case, I can move the ETFs in Merrill over to Chase Investments long enough to get their $725 new account bonus, then move it back to keep my Platinum Honors status for my credit cards, without penalty.
Does it count toward new account bonuses if you move stocks between accounts without buying/selling? Are you planning on liquidating?
I have never actually bought or sold any securities in my Merrill Edge account and yes, I got the new account bonus. All I did was move some of my Vanguard ETFs in-kind from Vanguard to Merrill Edge. I simply hold them at ME. When the dividends come in, I move the funds to my BoA checking account and use them to pay bills or whatever.

So literally the only activity I have done at ME is collect dividends and move the dividend proceeds to checking. (And eventually move all but $100K of the ETFs out to another brokerage, Schwab. Merrill Edge did charge me a $75 fee because I closed one of my accounts--the Roth IRA--entirely but the other brokerage receiving the ETFs was more than happy to reimburse that.)
Shorty
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Shorty »

Doww - I just did $100k in June for $350. I wonder if they'd let me switch the promo to $500...
spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:29 pm
Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:10 pmDoes it count toward new account bonuses if you move stocks between accounts without buying/selling? Are you planning on liquidating?
There is no reason to liquidate anything. ETFs make it easy. Moving ETFs in kind from Fidelity is how we got $1800 in new account bonuses from Merrill (now up to $1000 per account) and established Platinum Honors status with BA. Doing the same is how we're going to get $1450 in new account bonuses from Chase.

Unfortunately, we have only retirement accounts. If we had sufficient taxable investments to open separate individually-owned non-retirement accounts, that would earn us another $1450 at Chase, and would have been good for another $2000 at Merrill.
spammagnet
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:54 pm... "Online" & "gas" are great categories. ...
We try to shop elsewhere but Amazon gets most of our online business. Their 5% Chase Visa card is far better than BA's. We're not using a lot of gas, and what we use is paid for with $50 Shell gift cards purchased on gas card weekends at Publix for $40. It's hard to beat a 20% discount.
Shorty
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Shorty »

dodecahedron wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:27 pm Given his large family of growing kids and the amount he spends on Costco groceries, etc., I don´t think it is going nuts for him to buy gift cards online at Costco.
I didn't mean going nuts to buy gift cards online. He goes nuts with the optimization problem - it's great. Ref his spreadsheets, screenshots, and other posts on the topic. Lots of action for small percentage differences. It's his hobby/passion. Respect to him - I've corresponded with him a number of times via email on (what I consider to be) complex topics.
spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:43 pm
Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:54 pm... "Online" & "gas" are great categories. ...
We try to shop elsewhere but Amazon gets most of our online business. Their 5% Chase Visa card is far better than BA's. We're not using a lot of gas, and what we use is paid for with $50 Shell gift cards purchased on gas card weekends at Publix for $40. It's hard to beat a 20% discount.
Yep - I use Chase Visa Amazon as well. I assume you get a good return at Publix :-). I haven't heard of the "gas card weekends"...intriguing...
spammagnet
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

dodecahedron wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:35 pmI have never actually bought or sold any securities in my Merrill Edge account and yes, I got the new account bonus. All I did was move some of my Vanguard ETFs in-kind from Vanguard to Merrill Edge. I simply hold them at ME. When the dividends come in, I move the funds to my BoA checking account and use them to pay bills or whatever. ...
My goal is even less activity than that. I set the ETFs to auto-reinvest.

One thing that aggravates me about BA is you can pay their credit cards in full automatically only from their checking account. I have zero interest in using their checking account for anything other than establishing Platinum Honors status. My substitute is an ebill through Fidelity. But my brief experience with that is you can't pay the statement balance in full automatically. It seems that the "Current Amount Due" is only the minimum due. I'm told by Fidelity that is determined by Bank of America, not Fidelity or their billpay vendor.

What I'll do now is let the minimum pay automatically to avoid an error of omission, but set a reminder to pay the account balance (using manual billpay) near the end of the calendar month. That makes your utilization rate look good when reported to credit agencies at the end of the month.
spammagnet
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:44 pm... I haven't heard of the "gas card weekends"...intriguing...
It's a regular event. Spend $50 on groceries and you can buy a $50 gas card for $40. You're supposed to give them a paper coupon from the weekly flyer (available at the door) but all cashiers have a stack on hand. They also have the gas gift cards so you don't have to pick it off the end cap display.

We accumulate a shopping list of higher cost food (bottles of olive oil, spices) and household supplies (dishwasher detergent) and buy it on those weekends. It's easy to run the bill into the hundreds buying stuff you'll buy anyway, and not have to store a whole warehouse of stuff. (We're not super-shoppers by any stretch of the imagination.)

I surmise that Publix corporate management intended that you could buy 1 $50 gas card for a purchase of $50 or greater, but it's consistently applied in the area where I live as 1 gas card per $50 multiple.

Edit: Of course, I use whatever credit card is giving me the most benefit for groceries at the time.
Last edited by spammagnet on Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by SlowMovingInvestor »

student wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:20 pm
Why do you want to transfer in-and-out on a regular basis? For transfer bonus?
To keep a higher level of status at another broker and also at BoA/ME. And using an IRA to avoid cost basis or 1099 hassles.
spammagnet
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:44 pm... He goes nuts with the optimization problem - it's great. Ref his spreadsheets, screenshots, and other posts on the topic. Lots of action for small percentage differences. ...
My only spreadsheet is to keep track of new account dates to stay under Chase's 5/24 (which no longer concerns me) and to avoid annual fees.
spammagnet
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

SlowMovingInvestor wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:05 pm... To keep a higher level of status at another broker and also at BoA/ME. ...
That's some serious double-dipping.
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dodecahedron
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by dodecahedron »

spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:55 pm One thing that aggravates me about BA is you can pay their credit cards in full automatically only from their checking account. I have zero interest in using their checking account for anything other than establishing Platinum Honors status. My substitute is an ebill through Fidelity. But my brief experience with that is you can't pay the statement balance in full automatically. It seems that the "Current Amount Due" is only the minimum due. I'm told by Fidelity that is determined by Bank of America, not Fidelity or their billpay vendor.

What I'll do now is let the minimum pay automatically to avoid an error of omission, but set a reminder to pay the account balance (using manual billpay) near the end of the calendar month. That makes your utilization rate look good when reported to credit agencies at the end of the month.
Interesting. Not an issue for me for two reasons:

1) My primary transaction checking account, which I have happily used since we moved here 31 years ago, is my trusty BoA checking account. I do not keep large balances there so I do not mind that I could possible earn more interest elsewhere.

2) I do not like to do autopays of full balances on credit cards from my checking accounts. Too much can go wrong. I want to scrutinize the bill for unauthorized charges.

Also, I also transfer in funds on an as-needed basis from Ally online savings to my BoA checking as needed for large nonroutine bills (e.g., this month´s BoA Premium Rewards bill is going to be very large because I charged a new central AC system and hot water heater to it!) so I want to make sure those ACH transfers go through in an orderly manner before authorizing the full billpay.

So precautionary protective minimum autopays are fine with me (e.g., if I get seriously ill with COVID or flu for a while or distracted by some other crisis) but I would not want to risk overdrawing my checking account if a very large balance due bill came along during that time.
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

dodecahedron wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:12 pm... 2) I do not like to do autopays of full balances on credit cards from my checking accounts. Too much can go wrong. I want to scrutinize the bill for unauthorized charges.
There's plenty of time to scrutinize between when the statement is issued and when the payment is paid on the due date.
Also, I also transfer in funds on an as-needed basis. ...
My funds are placed optimally for my retirement. My goal with respect to financial management is to do nothing. As small a task as having to pay the two BA card accounts manually is annoying.
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dodecahedron
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by dodecahedron »

spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:33 pm
dodecahedron wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:12 pm... 2) I do not like to do autopays of full balances on credit cards from my checking accounts. Too much can go wrong. I want to scrutinize the bill for unauthorized charges.
There's plenty of time to scrutinize between when the statement is issued and when the payment is paid on the due date.
Also, I also transfer in funds on an as-needed basis. ...
My funds are placed optimally for my retirement. My goal with respect to financial management is to do nothing. As small a task as having to pay the two BA card accounts manually is annoying.
There is indeed, usually, plenty of time to scrutinize in a normal month. But once I have scrutinized there is very little additional time involved in clicking a button to authorize payment of the bill manually.

It seems like most of the work in financial management is involved with scrutinizing the bills and very little with actually ¨paying the bill¨ (by clicking the button.)

So if you are still scrutinizing your bills, you are not ¨doing nothing¨ with respect to financial management.

But glad to hear your funds are placed ¨optimally¨ for retirement for your needs.

I like having a transaction-oriented checking account which normally has sufficient inflows (from SS, pension) to meet normal routine monthly bills and a completely separate large online savings account that is easily accessible for the occasional ¨big-spending month¨ (like when major household repairs or my lumpy annual real estate tax bills come due.)

To each their own.
jjbiv
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by jjbiv »

spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:55 pm
dodecahedron wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:35 pmI have never actually bought or sold any securities in my Merrill Edge account and yes, I got the new account bonus. All I did was move some of my Vanguard ETFs in-kind from Vanguard to Merrill Edge. I simply hold them at ME. When the dividends come in, I move the funds to my BoA checking account and use them to pay bills or whatever. ...
My goal is even less activity than that. I set the ETFs to auto-reinvest.

One thing that aggravates me about BA is you can pay their credit cards in full automatically only from their checking account. I have zero interest in using their checking account for anything other than establishing Platinum Honors status. My substitute is an ebill through Fidelity. But my brief experience with that is you can't pay the statement balance in full automatically. It seems that the "Current Amount Due" is only the minimum due. I'm told by Fidelity that is determined by Bank of America, not Fidelity or their billpay vendor.

What I'll do now is let the minimum pay automatically to avoid an error of omission, but set a reminder to pay the account balance (using manual billpay) near the end of the calendar month. That makes your utilization rate look good when reported to credit agencies at the end of the month.
You can automatically pay BoA credit card accounts in full from any bank account which supports ACH. I do not use my BoA checking account for much of anything and it works fine. Just link your external bank account and select that as the account to use to automatically pay the BoA credit card ebills.
spammagnet
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

jjbiv wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:49 pm..
You can automatically pay BoA credit card accounts in full from any bank account which supports ACH. I do not use my BoA checking account for much of anything and it works fine. Just link your external bank account and select that as the account to use to automatically pay the BoA credit card ebills.
I did not know that because it was not offered, perhaps because I hadn't linked a bank in advance. In my experience, the choice of payment source is made when setting up the auto payment and usually includes allowing you to add a bank at that point.

Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.
cusetownusa
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by cusetownusa »

RocketShipTech wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:39 pm
cabfranc wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:38 pm This is correct. We had $100K+ in a BoA Money Market account earning near 0 interest and moved it to a HYSA. Our Platinum Honors status lasted for 12 months from the date the balance dropped, during which time they send us frequent emails reminding us to bring the balance up or we would lose our status. After 12 months we dropped to Gold level ($20K).

You didn't ask but I don't really think Preferred Rewards is worth it. Even with the credit card rewards, the opportunity cost of earning 0 interest is greater. Sure, you could keep the money in Merrill Edge in ETFs, but we prefer Fidelity or Vanguard. The other benefits are not particularly exciting--like free non-BoA ATM withdrawals. Most are benefits other banks give you without requiring you to lock up $100K earning no interest.
You can buy Fidelity or Vanguard ETFs in Merrill Edge for free. There’s literally no opportunity cost.
This...it as been totally worth it for me. I thank this board for making me aware of it.
cusetownusa
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by cusetownusa »

spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:55 pm
dodecahedron wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:35 pmI have never actually bought or sold any securities in my Merrill Edge account and yes, I got the new account bonus. All I did was move some of my Vanguard ETFs in-kind from Vanguard to Merrill Edge. I simply hold them at ME. When the dividends come in, I move the funds to my BoA checking account and use them to pay bills or whatever. ...
My goal is even less activity than that. I set the ETFs to auto-reinvest.

One thing that aggravates me about BA is you can pay their credit cards in full automatically only from their checking account. I have zero interest in using their checking account for anything other than establishing Platinum Honors status. My substitute is an ebill through Fidelity. But my brief experience with that is you can't pay the statement balance in full automatically. It seems that the "Current Amount Due" is only the minimum due. I'm told by Fidelity that is determined by Bank of America, not Fidelity or their billpay vendor.

What I'll do now is let the minimum pay automatically to avoid an error of omission, but set a reminder to pay the account balance (using manual billpay) near the end of the calendar month. That makes your utilization rate look good when reported to credit agencies at the end of the month.
Maybe I am misunderstanding your issue but I pay my BoA credit cards in full automatically every month from my non BoA checking account. Was super easy to set up and now I never have to think about it. No need to use the BoA checking account.
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

cusetownusa wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:50 amMaybe I am misunderstanding your issue but I pay my BoA credit cards in full automatically every month from my non BoA checking account. Was super easy to set up and now I never have to think about it. No need to use the BoA checking account.
You did not understand (correction) MISunderstand my issue. When I tried to set up auto-pay I was not offered a chance to add my checking account, as is my experience with other banks. Someone else described having your experience so I'm adding my bank for ETF transfers, first. Maybe when that's verified it will be available for paying the credit cards.

Thanks for the info.
Last edited by spammagnet on Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
MikeG62
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by MikeG62 »

spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:29 pm
Shorty wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:10 pmDoes it count toward new account bonuses if you move stocks between accounts without buying/selling? Are you planning on liquidating?
There is no reason to liquidate anything. ETFs make it easy. Moving ETFs in kind from Fidelity is how we got $1800 in new account bonuses from Merrill (now up to $1000 per account) and established Platinum Honors status with BA.
Same.

Sometime after bonus posted in CMA, securities were transferred (also in-kind) to JPM/Chase (for their bonus - see below). Left cash from bonus in ME account (and have since transferred most of that to my BofA checking account). Leaving that CMA in place to avoid the $75 transfer fee (and maybe for a new bonus in the future).

Moved roughly 1/2 of the position in the IRA back to Fidelity. Will leave the rest in the IRA at ME to maintain Platinum Honors status at BofA.
spammagnet wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:29 pm Doing the same is how we're going to get $1450 in new account bonuses from Chase.
I am in process on a $2,000 Chase Private Client bonus.
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viperguy56
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by viperguy56 »

I moved 200k to Merril for the bonus kept in VTSAX and I've just left it there. I use the Cash Rewards and Premium Rewards CC for everything other than Amazon (5% chase and doesn't take away from my $2500/qtr limit for the 5.25%). However, I moved out almost all of the money I had with Chase about 2 years ago and they haven't threatened to take away my Chase Private Client status. So maybe BoA is a lot more lax on their rules then they say just as Chase has been. Or maybe I've just been lucky! :D
SobeCane
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by SobeCane »

How do you determine the month they check eligibility? In the OP’s case, it was October but I’ve been platinum honors for 5 years or so and don’t remember which month I initially received it.
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by crefwatch »

I'm not interested in another brokerage account. It has seemed to me that Premium Rewards is primarily a tool to produce an (at least) annual summons. The physical meting with an employee, is nominally to change some status bit on a savings or money market account, in order to maintain the absolutely highest level of benefits. Having been to one of these, I found it a time-consuming sales presentation to upsell and open brokerage accounts and other things I don't want. Right now, bank interest rates are so low that a 15% bonus (of, say, 0.01%) isn't much of a reward for the tedious meeting.
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by jjbiv »

spammagnet wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:12 am
cusetownusa wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:50 amMaybe I am misunderstanding your issue but I pay my BoA credit cards in full automatically every month from my non BoA checking account. Was super easy to set up and now I never have to think about it. No need to use the BoA checking account.
You did not understand (correction) MISunderstand my issue. When I tried to set up auto-pay I was not offered a chance to add my checking account, as is my experience with other banks. Someone else described having your experience so I'm adding my bank for ETF transfers, first. Maybe when that's verified it will be available for paying the credit cards.

Thanks for the info.
Log in to BoA and go to Bill Pay, Manage Accounts, Other Pay From Accounts, Add a Pay From account you own at another institution. Enter the requested account details and click Add Account. You will need to wait for the test deposits to be made to your newly added account and verify the deposit amounts with BoA. Then you can use the account to set up automatic ebill payments for your BoA credit cards.
jjbiv
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by jjbiv »

crefwatch wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:26 am I'm not interested in another brokerage account. It has seemed to me that Premium Rewards is primarily a tool to produce an (at least) annual summons. The physical meting with an employee, is nominally to change some status bit on a savings or money market account, in order to maintain the absolutely highest level of benefits. Having been to one of these, I found it a time-consuming sales presentation to upsell and open brokerage accounts and other things I don't want. Right now, bank interest rates are so low that a 15% bonus (of, say, 0.01%) isn't much of a reward for the tedious meeting.
Huh? You don't have to meet with anyone at BoA/Merrill, let alone do so annually. I've had Preferred Rewards for years and have never set foot in a BoA physical branch or office location.
Pessimist55
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Pessimist55 »

What meeting? I dont go to the branch. They don't bug me w calls. Not sure what you're talking about


crefwatch wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:26 am I'm not interested in another brokerage account. It has seemed to me that Premium Rewards is primarily a tool to produce an (at least) annual summons. The physical meting with an employee, is nominally to change some status bit on a savings or money market account, in order to maintain the absolutely highest level of benefits. Having been to one of these, I found it a time-consuming sales presentation to upsell and open brokerage accounts and other things I don't want. Right now, bank interest rates are so low that a 15% bonus (of, say, 0.01%) isn't much of a reward for the tedious meeting.
Hyperchicken
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Hyperchicken »

SobeCane wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:15 am How do you determine the month they check eligibility? In the OP’s case, it was October but I’ve been platinum honors for 5 years or so and don’t remember which month I initially received it.
That is the month when you signed up for the Preferred Rewards program. If you don't remember it - look for "member since" under your Preferred Rewards icon on your online banking page.

That then becomes the month when your "annual review" happens - this is what BofA calls it - this is simply a too fanciful term for simply saying that this is the only month when a decision can be made to downgrade your Preferred Rewards tier. And you get 3 months of grace period after that - so like others said, you can have up to 15 months free ride after your balance dropped below your current tier requirements.

Reading more comments, I see people get put off by this "annual review" thing. No one meets with you or reviews anything. Literally all that happens is that you receive an e-mail that your tier is going to get downgraded in 3 months.

In case anyone is wondering, here's the exact language of the annual review e-mail when you're about to get downgraded:

Hi, USERNAME, here's an update on your Preferred Rewards tier status

As a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, your relationship is important to us. The annual program review has shown your eligible balance doesn't currently meet the 3-month average combined requirement of $100,000 for your tier.

Restoring your program balance as soon as possible will enable you to continue to receive your current Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors tier benefits. You can view your program balance, benefits, and compare different tier levels of the program on your Preferred Rewards Summary in Online Banking.
The program gives you a 3-month grace period to meet the requirements to avoid experiencing a loss in your level of benefits.

Also, you get upgraded in any month when your 3-month rolling average balance exceeds the next tier's requirements. It is only a downgrade that only happens once a year at the annual review plus 3 months grace period.
Last edited by Hyperchicken on Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
Shorty
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Shorty »

Thank you! That was ridiculously hard for me to find. I gave up the last time around.
jjbiv wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:32 am Log in to BoA and go to Bill Pay, Manage Accounts, Other Pay From Accounts, Add a Pay From account you own at another institution. Enter the requested account details and click Add Account. You will need to wait for the test deposits to be made to your newly added account and verify the deposit amounts with BoA. Then you can use the account to set up automatic ebill payments for your BoA credit cards.
spammagnet
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by spammagnet »

jjbiv wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:32 amLog in to BoA and go to Bill Pay, Manage Accounts, Other Pay From Accounts, Add a Pay From account you own at another institution. Enter the requested account details and click Add Account. You will need to wait for the test deposits to be made to your newly added account and verify the deposit amounts with BoA. Then you can use the account to set up automatic ebill payments for your BoA credit cards.
Thanks for those specific instructions. I'm waiting to verify the deposits.
Lacrocious
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Re: BoA Premium Rewards status

Post by Lacrocious »

I'm just getting this setup - all online. I have the a few CC's already and just received Premium Rewards CC approval. Vanguard Total Stock Fund was converted to ETF easily with a phone call to Vanguard. VTI was transferred from Vanguard to Merrill Edge w/o major issues. The "minor" issue was that transferring 100% of VTI from Vanguard to Merrill Edge pulled only the whole shares of VTI. Per Vanguard, industry standard is to only transfer whole shares and to sell any partial shares. This has to do with some of the funkiness of how a broker holds partial shares of a stock/etf for you. Whatever, I was able to call and ensure my selected lot of VTI was "sold" to eliminate the partial share. This had nothing to do with Merrill Edge.

I just need a checking account and enough time to get to Premium Rewards status.

Note - there were no tedious meetings, phone calls or bank visits. I did get one call from a Merrill Edge transfer support person that was great. He basically asked if I had any questions - which I didn't at the time. He gave me his phone number and email address in case I had questions in the future. I did email him one morning and he responded that afternoon with answers. I would call that very good interaction.

- L
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