Bank Elite Status Benefits
Elite status is the name of the game for many of us and I often write about strategies to obtain elite status across a variety of hotel and airline loyalty programs. I have even written about Founderscard and why I have that membership which gives me some elite like benefits at various businesses. If you can find a way to enhance your experience through “status” then why not?
One thing that isn’t talked about often is what I am going to call Bank Elite Status. Of course every bank has a different phrase describing their program, but in essence they give their high value customers a lot of perks in exchange for large deposits. This can open up avenues to greater rewards and even a higher chance of approvals. Today we’ll look at 3 of the major bank elite statuses.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards
Bank of America calls their loyalty program Preferred Rewards and it actually comes with three tiers. They must really like being compared to travel loyalty programs. The three tiers are:
- Platinum Honors
To earn status you must:
Maintain a 3-month average combined balance in your qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or your qualifying Merrill Edge® and Merrill Lynch investment accounts of at least $20,000 for the Gold tier, $50,000 for the Platinum tier, or $100,000 for the Platinum Honors tier.
How to Earn Preferred Rewards Status
As you can see, you must maintain a 3 month average of $100K. This means you could deposit $300K for one month and get the status. Once status is reached, they won’t reevaluate you for 12 months and then upon reevaluation will give you 3 more months to meet the requirements again. In other words, you get it for 15 months after qualification even if you move the money out.
What It Gives You
So let’s talk about Platinum Honors. Among the interesting benefits are free ATM withdrawals, priority customer service and discounts on loans. The big benefit though is a 75% bonus on credit card rewards. That makes a card like the BofA Travel Rewards card go from 1.5% cashback to 2.625% everywhere. Very powerful!
I personally have obtained Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors status in order to gain the increased rewards earning. You can find out more about how I did it and why in this post.
For the longest time Citigold was a bank elite status for the every man. All you needed to do was open a Citigold account and you were in. Of course the Citigold account came with a $30 monthly fee or a steep balance requirement to waive the fee, but everyone could get it. That is changing very soon. Beginning on November 1, the $30 fee will be eliminated, but you wont be able to get Citigold unless you have $200K or more in combined balances with the bank.
As a product that everyone could get, Citigold used to be nice with very good customer service and some modest benefits like a reduced annual fee on the Prestige card ($350 vs. $450). Now, with such a high requirement I don’t think it stacks up given the benefits.
Among the benefits are:
- Annual fee waivers on some products
- Reduced or waived fees on many accounts
- Reduced interest rates
- Bonus rewards offers for select credit cards
Since Citigold is sort of in the middle of a re-branding, it remains to be seen if they will offer additional benefits to their high net worth clients once the asset requirement is in place. As of now I am not aware of any huge credit card benefits other than the Prestige annual fee reduction, however the hope is that Citigold may in the future help to get around Citi’s new bonus rules and maybe make approvals easier.
Time will tell, but I would wait on this one.
Chase Private Client
If you haven’t quite heard yet, Chase has tightened on their approvals of credit cards, especially for people who have opened up 5 or more new accounts over the past 24 months. One known way around this restriction is to become a Chase Private Client.
Officially, this is how Chase determines eligibility for Chase Private Client:
Available to individuals who maintain an average daily balance of $250,000 or more in any combination of qualifying linked deposits and investments.
And this is true. You need to place $250K in the bank or commit to placing $250K in the bank. You can try to meet with a Private Client Banker and request the status without having all of the funds in place, but they will make sure you move over the money or they can downgrade you out of the program.
Chase Private Client Benefits
Among the benefits of Chase Private Client are:
- Free ATM withdrawals worldwide
- Free safe deposit box
- Many free checking and savings account
- Wire transfer and other fees waived
- Benefits extended to immediate adult family members
Of course the biggest benefit of Chase Private Client for many of you will be the possibility of avoiding the 5/24 guideline. While this isn’t guaranteed, your applications will have a higher chance of approval based on data points. Considering Chase’s wide range of travel rewards products, it might make sense to meet with a Chase Private Banker to see if you can move towards joining the program, even if you don’t move all of your money over right away.
Other banks have similar programs for high net-worth clients. They often waive fees and give other discounts, but of course require you to deposit a lot of money with them and can charge high fees on investment products. As always, you should seek the advice of your personal financial professional to determine what you should do, but each of these three programs offers value if you care about the credit card (and other) products of that particular bank.
For me Bank of America Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors status is paying off with both higher credit lines on my cards and higher cashback rewards as well. Chase Private Client is on my list to pursue as well, but Citigold just isn’t worth it anymore unless they sweeten the pot signifcantly after the upcoming changes.
What are your thoughts on bank elite status or high net worth client programs? Let us know in the comments!