Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

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Topic Author
stilllurking
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:44 am

Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by stilllurking » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:19 pm

I opened up an ME CMA account and was approved today. Just at the deadline of their $900 bonus. I also initiated a transfer of just over $200k of VTI from Vanguard right after I got online access to my ME account. I only have a credit card with BoA at this time and understand I need to enroll in preferred rewards. I don't intend to keep a lot of money in the checking account but was wondering when I should open the checking account and get enrolled in preferred rewards.

Since I haven't established a three month average balance yet, would my checking account be charged the $5 fee right off the bat? Or does the opening of the checking account and subsequent enrollment in preferred rewards eliminate the fee?

Is there an ideal time to do this over days or weeks or can I just get all of the prerequisites set up now so that in three months, I'll have Platinum honors level?

Thanks.

student
Posts: 3131
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by student » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:27 pm

Since you are transferring $200k, I think they would want to make you happy. You can ask them to waive the $5 checking account fee or just pick one that has no monthly fee if a minimum is met. After you are officially enrolled in Preferred Rewards, you can reduce the amount in the checking account.

With your assets, after one month, you will already be in platinum.

martint
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:31 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by martint » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:30 pm

stilllurking wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:19 pm
I opened up an ME CMA account and was approved today. Just at the deadline of their $900 bonus. I also initiated a transfer of just over $200k of VTI from Vanguard right after I got online access to my ME account. I only have a credit card with BoA at this time and understand I need to enroll in preferred rewards. I don't intend to keep a lot of money in the checking account but was wondering when I should open the checking account and get enrolled in preferred rewards.

Since I haven't established a three month average balance yet, would my checking account be charged the $5 fee right off the bat? Or does the opening of the checking account and subsequent enrollment in preferred rewards eliminate the fee?

Is there an ideal time to do this over days or weeks or can I just get all of the prerequisites set up now so that in three months, I'll have Platinum honors level?

Thanks.
I’d suggest opening the checking account, and linking it, soonish.

If you do everything online, technically they will wait 3 months to compute your 3 month avg >$100k to get you the platinum honors (2.625% cash back on credit card plus free trades, etc).

I seem to recall you can get the status “immediately” if go in branch to open and link the checking account with the brokerage.

Topic Author
stilllurking
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:44 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by stilllurking » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:31 pm

Thanks student

It looks like all of the eligible checking accounts have few and the lowest is the $5 one.

I couldn't tell but is there a minimum asset level or time period to enroll in preferred rewards or as long as I have the checking account, I can enroll which I think would then automatically waive the checking account monthly fee.

student
Posts: 3131
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by student » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:39 pm

stilllurking wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:31 pm
Thanks student

It looks like all of the eligible checking accounts have few and the lowest is the $5 one.

I couldn't tell but is there a minimum asset level or time period to enroll in preferred rewards or as long as I have the checking account, I can enroll which I think would then automatically waive the checking account monthly fee.
I think they look at your assets once a month and consider average of the past 3 months. After 1 month, your average will be $200,000/3 >= $50,000. So you will be in platinum level. After 2 months, you will be in platinum honors level. When I did my transfer, I went into the branch and the ME person assigned me a person to work him via email. That person or someone at the branch should be able to help you with waiving the $5.

As I said earlier, you can pick one that has $10 monthly fee but it is waived if you have $1500 in the account or preferred rewards customer. You only need to keep the $1500 there for one month until you are a preferred rewards customer. Afterward, you can drop it to $1 if you choose.

dcbogle
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Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 5:07 pm

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by dcbogle » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:29 pm

I recently did this as well, and based on the terms on the landing page for the $900 offer, I think it’s only a 30 day wait. In case the offer page goes away at midnight, here is the relevant section:
Enrollment in Preferred Rewards: Until April 30, 2019, when you enroll in the 50% More offer, you are consenting to be enrolled in the Preferred Rewards Program within 30 days of funding your new Merrill Edge account with a minimum of $20,000. During the promotional period, the Preferred Rewards requirement to maintain your combined balances for a three month calendar period will be waived. You must have or open an eligible personal checking account (either Bank of America® personal checking or Advantage Banking account) as well as a Merrill Edge IRA or CMA account to be enrolled in Preferred Rewards. All Preferred Rewards benefits available in the tier associated with your combined balance level will be active within 30 days of enrollment.
(Emphasis mine)

My transfer hasn’t posted yet, so I can’t confirm. Obviously, you still need to keep everything at BoA/ME for 90 days to get the bonus.

That being said, I’d sign up for the checking account ASAP. Even if you get charged the fee and can’t get it waived, you’ll make it up in credit card rewards in no time.

confusedinvestor
Posts: 541
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:04 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by confusedinvestor » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:34 pm

You can call the customer service of ME and they will link you with a BoA customer service to waive those fees. Worse case, you may get charged $5 for 2 months and then they will reimburse you back

ME has great perks - Brokerage Bonus, Free Trades, M* Access, BoA Small Safe Deposit Box, Free Banking, free notary for non banking stuff, Credit Card rewards from 2.625% cashback to 5.25 for your level (PR PH Platinum Honors level )- It is best deal out there, but, for Bank Checking, Fidelity CMA is the best. ME and BoA websites are not that great and customer service is ok, not that great.

stilllurking wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:19 pm
I opened up an ME CMA account and was approved today. Just at the deadline of their $900 bonus. I also initiated a transfer of just over $200k of VTI from Vanguard right after I got online access to my ME account. I only have a credit card with BoA at this time and understand I need to enroll in preferred rewards. I don't intend to keep a lot of money in the checking account but was wondering when I should open the checking account and get enrolled in preferred rewards.

Since I haven't established a three month average balance yet, would my checking account be charged the $5 fee right off the bat? Or does the opening of the checking account and subsequent enrollment in preferred rewards eliminate the fee?

Is there an ideal time to do this over days or weeks or can I just get all of the prerequisites set up now so that in three months, I'll have Platinum honors level?

Thanks.

jimmyg
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:23 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by jimmyg » Wed May 01, 2019 12:51 am

I wondered the same thing.

I opened a Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking account at the beginning of April (for a $300 bonus). I thought I would be prompted to fund the $100 minimum balance when I created the account, but I wasn't. While waiting several days for BofA to send trial deposits/withdrawals to my funding bank account, I deposited $100 in person at a local BofA branch. I still needed to have at least $10,000 in BofA/Merrill or be enrolled in Preferred Rewards to waive the $25 monthly maintenance fee. I opened a Merrill Edge cash management account and planned to move $200,000 into it just before the end of April (for a $900 bonus).

However, I was shocked to receive my checking account statement in mid-April (way earlier than expected), which showed no penalty for not having the minimum balance for a few days and showed no monthly maintenance fee not having $10,000 in BofA/Merrill or not being enrolled in Preferred Rewards. I did have a $2,000 direct deposit go into my BofA checking one day before the statement. Maybe there's a grace period when opening accounts online since it might take some time to set up funding sources.

I moved $200,000 into my Merrill Edge CMA last week. According to comments at https://www.doctorofcredit.com/merrill- ... vestments/, it might take more than one month to get Preferred Rewards. I asked my Merrill Edge onboarding representative for some free trades until my Preferred Rewards takes effect and he said he would set that up, but my Merrill Edge account still lists a $6.95 commission fee per trade :annoyed. But that's okay since I still need to decide on my investment portfolio :mrgreen: while I wait for a month or two for my Platinum (and Platinum Honors) Preferred Rewards to take effect.

philibuster123
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:22 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by philibuster123 » Wed May 01, 2019 6:32 am

I would agree with the others here: go ahead and open the checking account to get the Preferred Rewards level. I have it and it's great. I'm pretty sure BofA won't charge the $5 for a month or two, and if they do, you can have it reversed, and if they don't, just net it off your $900 opening bonus!

student
Posts: 3131
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by student » Wed May 01, 2019 6:48 am

jimmyg wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 12:51 am
I wondered the same thing.

I opened a Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking account at the beginning of April (for a $300 bonus). I thought I would be prompted to fund the $100 minimum balance when I created the account, but I wasn't. While waiting several days for BofA to send trial deposits/withdrawals to my funding bank account, I deposited $100 in person at a local BofA branch. I still needed to have at least $10,000 in BofA/Merrill or be enrolled in Preferred Rewards to waive the $25 monthly maintenance fee. I opened a Merrill Edge cash management account and planned to move $200,000 into it just before the end of April (for a $900 bonus).

However, I was shocked to receive my checking account statement in mid-April (way earlier than expected), which showed no penalty for not having the minimum balance for a few days and showed no monthly maintenance fee not having $10,000 in BofA/Merrill or not being enrolled in Preferred Rewards. I did have a $2,000 direct deposit go into my BofA checking one day before the statement. Maybe there's a grace period when opening accounts online since it might take some time to set up funding sources.
Yes. There is a grace period.
jimmyg wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 12:51 am
I moved $200,000 into my Merrill Edge CMA last week. According to comments at https://www.doctorofcredit.com/merrill- ... vestments/, it might take more than one month to get Preferred Rewards. I asked my Merrill Edge onboarding representative for some free trades until my Preferred Rewards takes effect and he said he would set that up, but my Merrill Edge account still lists a $6.95 commission fee per trade :annoyed. But that's okay since I still need to decide on my investment portfolio :mrgreen: while I wait for a month or two for my Platinum (and Platinum Honors) Preferred Rewards to take effect.
What do you mean by still listing a $6.95 commission fee? You should try to do a trade and see whether the $6.95 comes up in the final page BEFORE you hit submit. My guess is it has been set up already. If you need to make trade and the system charges you $6.95, you can call the representative and ask him/her to reimburse you.

jimmyg
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:23 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by jimmyg » Wed May 01, 2019 8:12 am

student wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 6:48 am
Yes. There is a grace period.
It would have been nice if BofA mentioned a grace period, like: "If opening a checking account online, you have a grace period of x days (or y weeks) to fund your account." That would have saved me (and the OP) some grief and anxiety. :D
student wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 6:48 am
What do you mean by still listing a $6.95 commission fee? You should try to do a trade and see whether the $6.95 comes up in the final page BEFORE you hit submit. My guess is it has been set up already. If you need to make trade and the system charges you $6.95, you can call the representative and ask him/her to reimburse you.
On my Activity Center, under Commissions, it says:

Equities and ETFs: $6.95
Your online commission per trade
Options: $6.95 + $0.75 per contract
Your online commission per trade
Other fees may apply, view details in Fees & Commissions

I believe it's supposed to show $0 and/or show how many free trades I have remaining. But free trades won't do me any good at the moment because I don't know what ETFs to buy yet. Besides, I hate calling Merrill Edge because they always ask for personal info / account number / user ID to verify/confirm things; I prefer typing that stuff instead of saying it because I have nosy neighbors...

hayhayday
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:42 pm

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by hayhayday » Wed May 01, 2019 6:16 pm

After one month your qualify balance will be around 66.6k giving platinum status waiving checking fee, in 2nd month balance 133.33k giving plat honor with 75% bonus so fee issue shouldn't be a problem. When I have called due to other fees (stop payment, wire) they have waived them without me asking while on call with rep so wouldn't worry about waiver if you are charged for some reason.

Topic Author
stilllurking
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:44 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by stilllurking » Wed May 01, 2019 6:30 pm

Thanks for all the responses. Very helpful.

A question that also came to mind is if I apply for the premium credit card, can I still use it before I have platinum honors status to accumulate points and achieve spend? I thought I read that you get the 75% bonus points upon redemption? Is that an accurate statement?

Let's say I apply and get the card by mid May and then start spending. Then at the end of June I get Platinum honors level, would any spending and accumulated points from mid May to the end of June be eligible for the 75% uptick?

frankandbeans
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:55 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by frankandbeans » Wed May 01, 2019 7:01 pm

Nope, bonus is accrued based on status at time of purchase. The Cash Rewards used to be the exception to this rule--bonus was applied at time of redemption--but no more.

Explorer
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:54 pm

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by Explorer » Wed May 01, 2019 8:00 pm

stilllurking wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 6:30 pm
Thanks for all the responses. Very helpful.

A question that also came to mind is if I apply for the premium credit card, can I still use it before I have platinum honors status to accumulate points and achieve spend? I thought I read that you get the 75% bonus points upon redemption? Is that an accurate statement?

Let's say I apply and get the card by mid May and then start spending. Then at the end of June I get Platinum honors level, would any spending and accumulated points from mid May to the end of June be eligible for the 75% uptick?
New purchases will get you 75% boost only after you become preferred rewards honors. The cash bonus points they give you for premium card will NOT get the 75% boost. In other words, for each transaction they add 75% bonus and show points in the rewards section of the CC pages.

I would wait till you are fully qualified before applying for the card.

I originally joined ME for the 100 trades per month deal - but that is no longer a big deal since most brokerages have a huuuuge list of commission free widgets. The CC bonus with BofA is still a very compelling reason to become preferred rewards customer.

Also, just so you know the ME brokerage accounts have an FDIC insured option of money accounts called "preferred deposit" that is currently paying just a little north of 2% - it is akin to a savings account.

Topic Author
stilllurking
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:44 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by stilllurking » Wed May 01, 2019 8:30 pm

That's explorer.

Does anyone know whether or not an authorized user's spend would go towards becoming a preferred rewards member and getting the 75% bonus?

I've been churning a lot of cards and wonder if BoA would approve me with all of the hits. So if I get the joint account owner on the ME account to apply and add me as the authorized user, could I still manage to get enrolled into preferred rewards? The checking account that I opened is solely in my name. Does all this have to match or is it more of a household asset level?

Explorer
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:54 pm

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by Explorer » Wed May 01, 2019 9:29 pm

stilllurking wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 8:30 pm
That's explorer.

Does anyone know whether or not an authorized user's spend would go towards becoming a preferred rewards member and getting the 75% bonus?

I've been churning a lot of cards and wonder if BoA would approve me with all of the hits. So if I get the joint account owner on the ME account to apply and add me as the authorized user, could I still manage to get enrolled into preferred rewards? The checking account that I opened is solely in my name. Does all this have to match or is it more of a household asset level?
If you have a joint account at ME, and that joint account has the needed balance for Preferred rewards, both qualify to be preferred rewards members.

Then, any BofA card on either of the two names will earn the bonus. I think each of you can get an individual card and earn two separate bonuses - I am not sure.

Not sure if that answers your questions...

Topic Author
stilllurking
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:44 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by stilllurking » Wed May 08, 2019 8:10 am

Thanks Explorer.

Seems like they are still holding the line with the average 3 month balance. I opened up ME and checking account between April 30 and May 1st and called them this morning. They can now see that the accounts are linked but without the 3 month average, they won't let me enroll in Preferred Rewards.

Just my data point.

softwaregeek
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed May 08, 2019 8:59 pm

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by softwaregeek » Mon May 13, 2019 6:12 pm

They waived the fee for me

Topic Author
stilllurking
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:44 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by stilllurking » Mon May 13, 2019 6:16 pm

softwaregeek wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 6:12 pm
They waived the fee for me
Thanks!

I assume you called BoA right? Or was it your ME representative that helped waive the fee?

Did you have the full $100K plus with ME right from the start when you opened up the checking account? Those two accounts were opened up days apart from each other in my case.

softwaregeek
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed May 08, 2019 8:59 pm

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by softwaregeek » Mon May 13, 2019 6:32 pm

Yes, was part of big account move. Called BofA, got it removed. Was in top tier.

Topic Author
stilllurking
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:44 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by stilllurking » Mon May 13, 2019 6:34 pm

softwaregeek wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 6:32 pm
Yes, was part of big account move. Called BofA, got it removed. Was in top tier.
Do you recall how long from opening your ME and BoA checking account to being able to enroll in Preferred Rewards? I'm hoping it's not the full 3 months because then there may be a total of three checking account fees to request reimbursement for. By the sound of your post, it sounds like you were only charged one fee?

softwaregeek
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed May 08, 2019 8:59 pm

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by softwaregeek » Wed May 15, 2019 12:59 am

One fee, one account.

student
Posts: 3131
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Merrill Edge and Preferred Rewards

Post by student » Wed May 15, 2019 5:35 am

stilllurking wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 6:34 pm
softwaregeek wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 6:32 pm
Yes, was part of big account move. Called BofA, got it removed. Was in top tier.
Do you recall how long from opening your ME and BoA checking account to being able to enroll in Preferred Rewards? I'm hoping it's not the full 3 months because then there may be a total of three checking account fees to request reimbursement for. By the sound of your post, it sounds like you were only charged one fee?
I am not the person you addressed this message but I am familiar with ME. With you $200k, you will be gold after 1 month. Just call the person who assisted you with the transfer and request that the fee be removed.

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