|by Mr Credit Card|
The Bank of America Accolades card is BOA’s version of their high end prestige card. Being late to the game, they have to compete with the traditional giants in this space, American Express Centurion, Citi Chairman Card and Diners Club. So how does this card stack up? Well, let’s have a look.
Earning Rewards – Like all Bank of America credit cards, the reward program for the Accolades card is based on the WorldPoint Rewards Program. You get to earn one point for every dollar that you spend on the card. WorldPoints points are good for 5 years from the month that you earned those point. Cardholders can earn unlimited points.
World Points Rewards – I tend to judge high end prestige credit cards based on their travel rewards and extra perks. Most high end cardholders tend not to redeem points for gift cards or merchandise. This card though is tied directly to what WorldPoints has to offer.
Travel Rewards – WorldPoints has a hybrid rewards for travel which I will explain below. Firstly, they allow you to redeem points for airline tickets to certain destinations. The table below shows the number of points needed. Though there are “no blackout dates”, there are a couple of restrictions for the WorldPoints program. Air travel reservations must be made at least 21 days in advance and include a Saturday night stay. Car rental and hotel reservations must be made at least 7 days in advance.
|25,000 Pts||Continental US (roundtrip) – up to $400|
|35,000 pts||Canada, Mexico, Panama – up to $600|
|45,000 pts||Alaska, Hawaii, Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas – up to $600|
|60,000 pts||Europe – up to $800|
|85,000 pts||International – up to $1150|
|–||100,000 additional pts for First Class Upgrade|
WorldPoints also has another program called the Flex Air where you can book your own flights (through WorldPoints) and use points for your purchase (100 points for $1). This is slightly more flexible than the above method where you are subject to the availability of WorldPoints “in house” travel agents.
Below are some other travel benefits of this card.
– You will get refund of $350 if a retailer refuses to take your returned goods.
Fees – The annual fee is $295 though it is waived for private client members of BOA with more than $200,000 of assets with their private wealth management unit.
Comparison to other cards – As I have mentioned in my reviews of high end cards, travel rewards are the most important feature for high end cards. Unfortunately for the Accolades card, the rewards are based on WorldPoints program. The good thing about WorldPoints is that the old system to redeeming a set number of points for a certain travel destination is still in place. But it comes with the usual restriction like having to book 21 days in advance or having to stay a Saturday night. I think most cardholders will want more flexibility and so will probably use the Flex Air Option, where you can book any flight with WorldPoints (where 100 points gets you $1). For this reason, I think the Amex Membership Rewards and the Platinum Card is much better because you can either do it like the Flex Air method or transfer points to frequent flier miles.
For this year, their international airline program allows you to get discounted companion ticket when you pay for a full fare ticket. In this regard, I think the Amex Platinum International program is better because you actually get a “free” companion ticket when you book a full fare business or first class ticket (and depending on what sort of discounts you can get on a discounted ticket, the free companion ticket may be more cost effective).
While the Accolades gives complimentary membership to Priority Pass, they do not have hotel elite status embedded. For example, you are eligible for a gold level Starwood Preferred Guest Membership with the Platinum Card and Gold Level Membership for Hilton HHonors with the Citi Chairman Card. You do not get such benefits with the Accolade.
It’s other features are pretty standard for an elite type card – with 24 hour concierge service, travel insurance, purchase protection etc.
Verdict – Couple of things have shaped my view on the BOA Accolades Card. Firstly, I think the WorldPoints Program is inferior to the Membership Rewards Program. Their points expire in 5 years, unlike MR points, which do not expire. You also cannot transfer points to frequent flier miles (which many high end cardholders would like). You also do not get any upgrade in status for any hotel frequent guest program.
Aside from the reward program, I do not think the Accolades has enough additional features to really challenge established cards like the Platinum and the Chairman Card. Aside from the complimentary Priority Club Membership, I think it really falls short.
Hence, I think for those looking at a high end card, I still prefer my good old Amex Platinum Card.