Product Changing with Bank of America

Product Changing with Bank of America

Category : Uncategorized

Historically, Bank of America has been the most churner friendly bank. Up until about a year ago, it was possible to open up five (yes, you read five) Alaska Airlines credit cards and earn the bonus in the same day.

After a enterprising blogger post about that, the deal effectively was killed. That being said, it’s still possible to open up two personal and one business card products in the same day and earn the bonus. In fact, you can earn the bonus multiple times a year. Not as good as five in one shot, but I’ll take it.

So how is this relevant?

Well the Alaska Airlines cards from Bank of America comes with a $75.00 annual fee. Annual fees the first year are really annoying. Especially for cards that don’t have such great benefits. The Alaska card’s sign up bonus is all it is good for.

Open the card, get the points, and cancel the card, right? Not anymore.

After the beans were spilled about the five-in-one-day method, Alaska and Bank of America began clawing back (that is taking back awarded miles) bonuses for cardmembers who opened the card and then just cancelled them. Now, the Alaska Airlines mileage program is one of the best in this game. Their program is the swiss army knife of mileage programs: they partner with 17 other mileage programs, across all major airline alliances and some non-alliance airlines like Hainan, Icelandair, and Emirates. They’re redemption rates are also great. So you can see why these points are so popular. I’d say $75.00 is worth it!

You don’t even need to spend any money to earn the bonus

There is no spending requirement, just paying the annual fee, to earn 25,000 points

There is no spending requirement, just paying the annual fee, to earn 25,000 points

(Now, there is a backdoor link to get 25,000 bonus miles + $100.00 Statement credit after spending $1,000 in three months, effectively canceling out the annual fee–but they don’t always honor that if you get approved for multiple cards in the same day).

When I opened two Alaska cards in June 2015 I had intended to cancel them after the miles posted, so as to not pay the annual fee. And then the hammer fell with news about the clawbacks and even threatening to charge cardmembers for the value of the redeemed flights(!) surfaced. I kept them open, earned the bonus and paid the annual fee–and then threw them in my drawer–my graveyard of credit cards, where they go to die and collect dust.

Earlier this month I received a friendly reminder from Alaska that my annual fee for this cardmember year was due soon.

The card does not have strong earning capabilities. I could have just called to close the card. What’s the benefit to keeping it open?

Sure, my credit report and overall credit. Not worried about that.

When I apply for another Alaska card–which I’m sure will be soon–I’ll have this credit line to bring over to the new application to get approved for the new card!

But that mean’s paying an annual fee… right?

WRONG

Bank of America will convert your Alaska airlines card to one of their no-fee Bank of America cards that either earn cash back or points. Your account on your credit report and credit limit remain the same, you just receive a new card with different earning structure and no annual fee.

Bank of America reps can be difficult when it comes to converting your product. Here’s what I recently did and have done in the past to have them approve the conversion:

  1. Call the number on the back of the card;
  2. Ask for a retention bonus (because the earning isn’t strong, you don’t use it as much as you thought) because you cannot justify paying the annual fee;
  3. If they do not come back to you with a reasonable and agreeable offer, ask to downgrade it to a no-fee version
  4. They will offer you a lower fee non-Visa signature version–decline that;
  5. Push them and ask for the Bank of America no fee cards. Come prepared: they offer the BankAmericard Cash Rewards, BankAmericard Travel Rewards and BankAmericard. (NOTE: You will not earn the sign up bonus on these cards when you convert).
  6. They may say it is impossible. HANG UP AND CALL AGAIN. Or push the rep and say that you’ve done this before. He/she will then tell you they will put the request in. Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 6.04.07 PM
  7. Wait for piece of mail indicating your request has been approved (7 – 10) days.

I’d hold off applying for an Alaska card now. At some point in June, the offer will go up to 30,000 points after spending $1,000 in three months.

Good luck!

 

-The Miner


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