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With Their New Rules is Bank of America the Toughest Approval in the Biz Now?

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Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

Does Bank of America Have New Anti Churning Rules?

Does Bank of America Have New Anti Churning Rules?

I really do miss the good ole days.  Back when things were easy and the points were flowing.  One by one the rivers have been reduced to a dribble and the wells are almost completely dry.

Bank of America used to be our “safe place” a place of safe harbor for people in the game.  But people ran rampant and abused our safe harbor for all it’s worth.  Some signed up for 8 versions of the same card…back to back to back.  Bank of America became a scorned lover and started to say no more.

Related: Chase 5/24 Explained: Everything You Need to Know

First Bank of America instilled the 2/3/4 rule. Now they have been denying people because they didn’t have a banking relationship.  Does this combination make it the toughest approval in the biz now?

It is almost like Bank of America is the love child of Chase’s 5/24 rule and US Bank’s Altitude application rules.  And it is one ugly baby.

Related: How to increase your chances of approval with Bank of America

Bank of America 2/3/4 Rule Explained

Before I get to the new data points I thought it would be good to review Bank of America’s 2/3/4 rule:

  • 2 Bank of America cards allowed per rolling 2 months
  • 3 Bank of America cards allowed per rolling 12 months
  • 4 Bank of America cards allowed per rolling 24 months

This is for Bank of America cards only.  It also does not include business cards either, only personal cards.

Bank of America does take applications from outside banks into consideration during the approval process. There is no hard and fast rule when considering outside bank applications though.

Does Bank of America Have New Anti Churning Rules?

New Application Approval Rules

It seems now that Bank of America has been denying people based on the fact that they don’t have a bank account with BOA.  Some have even been sent a letter asking for a $1500 CD in order to be approved.  This had happened on business cards in the past but it is new for personal cards.

Windbag Miles had an article about it last month and he had 3 data points that came to the same conclusion.  Shawn said he has seen similar reports as well.

It seems like this may be a new barrier to entry.  I don’t know if Bank of America has any products worth getting a bank account for but they do typically have a checking account sign up bonus.

Just be sure to keep it to regular banking if you open up a Bank of America checking account.

My Personal Experience

I have applied for the BOA Premium Rewards card twice now and been denied both times. Once was during an App-O-Rama and the other time was yesterday after my IHG card approval.  I do not fall into any of the 2/3/4 rules and I have a bank account with Bank of America so I am assuming it is my overall hard inquires count that lead to my denial.


While I am not sure if this is the toughest regulations of all of the banks, it is the first two fold process out there.  I wonder if others will flock towards this method of thinking going forward.

It makes sense from a business prospective.  If you can get a customer to bank with you, use your credit cards and service their mortgage, all at the same time, then they are less likely to leave. Even if it is just because of the hassle factor.  I am just not sure if Bank of America has enough goodies to make this stick.

Have you run into this issue?  Are you willing to sign up for a checking account to gain access to their credit cards?



Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Ah, our evil Bank of America! Thanks for the info. I’ve been wondering about the 40K AS sign up and trying again! Hubby and I had our mortgage with BoA, now paid off, but I keep 40k in a MM act for hubby, and 10k balance in his checking account. My Ck & Sav Accra are much less but used to manage cash flow and pay the bills.
    I’ll try him for AS and me for Amtrak – great for Acela tickets to NYC

  2. @ Mark: Thanks for the info. I have question regarding BOA premier card.
    May-2017 I opened an Alaska card and got the bonus. In May-2018 I PC it to BOA Premier card.
    Now this year May-2019, can I cancel the BOA premier and re-apply to get the bonus on it? I am also planning to get Alaska card for the bonus.
    Not sure if I can get the bonus for either of those cards. Your input will be helpful to understand the situation.

    • Yeah you should be able to if they approve it since they don’t have a family of cards rule etc. Be sure to lower the credit on the card you are looking to cancel a few days before closing to free up that credit for the application.

      • Just an update: I closed my BOA Premium card last week.
        Applied for an Alaska card got an instant approval. Applied for BOA Premium card next day and got denied.
        Maybe, I now will have to wait 24 months to get the bonus on this card.
        Any idea to approved for this card?

        • I don’t believe so – I would just wait a few months and try again. It may not have fallen off your BOA account yet on their end which may have your credit extended too high in their eyes right now etc.

          I just got a second business card from the 6 months apart, same card. So it should work.

  3. My experience is totally opposite most all of what is posted here. I have had an Alaska Co-branded BOA card for a number of years, and I have had a second Alaska Airlines Co-branded BOA card for perhaps 3 years. Three days ago I applied for the 40,000 bonus mile Alaska Airlines Co-branded BOA card online and was approved in less than a minute. Owing quite a bit on both of them, I was surprised. AND I don’t have a mortgage, savings, or checking with BOA. Oddly, about 3 years ago, I opened a checking accounting with BOA to get the advertised 25k mile bonus. After complying with the mandatory two direct-deposits, no bonus miles were forthcoming, they had no answer, and I closed the account. Anyway, glad to get
    the 40k if it comes. 🙂

    • Congrats Mickey. Have you been applying for a lot of other cards from other banks as well? That is where most have been running into trouble with BOA.

  4. Can anyone say (or make an educated guess) about what the minimum amount in funds they are looking for? Also does it matter what kind of account it is (CD, savings, or checking)? From looking at their offerings non looked too competitive compared to what I get elsewhere. To avoid fees it seems to me the easiest would be to open a savings account with over $1k.

    • Jeff sorry I am not sure. I thought they usually specified in the letter if not automatically approved.

  5. This is what happens when people abuses the sign up bonuses. It’s like come on!!… 8 versions of the same card, back to back to back. What makes you think that the bank is not going to catch on. First was AMEX, then Chase and Citibank, and now BOFA too… Stop abusing the system and ruining it for everybody!

    • I agree – taking it to the extreme is never a good thing. But as the economy gains momentum the banks tighten the screws. Don’t think for a minute the reigns won’t loosen during the next recession. The banks are there to make money off of you nothing more, there is no partnership here.

  6. […] With Their New Rules is Bank of America the Toughest Approval in the Biz Now? – Wow, the banks just keep tightening the screws on us. However, it all makes sense. Banks need to make money, and if all we do is earn the bonus, then cancel the card, that’s a losing proposition for the bank. Build a relationship with your bank, open a bank account, and let them view you as a client, not a customer. […]

  7. Banks need to make a profit. I have no problem starting a banking relationship in order to earn valuable rewards. We need to “play nice” with the banks, otherwise they will continue to tighten the rules to the point where we can’t get any bonuses in the future.

    • The flip side to that is that if you want loyal customers then offer competitive products. There are plenty of cards I keep and use long term…BoA needs to do a better job providing some of those if they want more loyalty. But I agree 100% they are in this to make money and we are not always the best customers.

  8. Glad I’m not the only one. Was denied a few months ago for the premium rewards card due to insufficient income (never saw that excuse before and my income is not small). I have a checking account though with barely any money in it. I’ve been platinum honors for half a year due to Merrill edge accounts. Currently have 4 BBR, TR, and CR with purposefully small CLs and I’m under 2/3/4. Thought being plat would guarantee me for an approval or they would say I have too many accounts. But, neither turned out to be true.

    • I know the letter said one thing but you are probably running into an issue with having too many overall cards with them. I believe they want people to have 4 personal overall cards or under. I doubt you get approved until you ax a few.

  9. Yup same story you are describing here… Denial for all of those reasons. Apparently I am not the only one.

  10. I previously had a checking account with BofA last year, but closed due to fees moving money around and the fact I received the bonus on the account and had no more use for it.

    Since then….all denials. only denials for my wife as well. Two each. I am considering opening a savings account to see if that would help things, but this is disheartening to say the least.

    • My wife has still been able to get new cards from them but I am like 1 for 4 with them as of late. Pretty sad

  11. Got denied last week for not having enough deposited in their bank. I have a BOA checking. I’ve had 2 BOA cards in the last 2 years.

  12. Just transfer in your IRA free trades and free checking accounts with non ATM fee waiver it is the complete package. No need to park cash that IRA is untouchable until retirement might as well get something on top of the returns. I’m on the verge is transferring everything over from Chase checking.

  13. BofA seems to care about the amount of $ you have with them, based on the M+ application which explicitly asked how much you kept with ML/BofA. I’ve gotten the Premium Rewards and churned another AS personal in the past 2 months without issue (no recon required) at 30+/24 (all banks).

    Re: Website
    I bank with BofA as well, which might make payments easier (simple to transfer BofA-BofA), but among the many banks I work with they seem to have a pretty good website

  14. BoA accounts are worth a look, but only if you are willing to actually park serious money in them.

    The most interesting feature is their “Platinum Honors” category. For $100,000 in a BoA *or* Merrill brokerage account, they give a 75% bonus on *some* of their CC rewards. The brokerage also offers free trading.

    This brings their “worldpoints” card up from 1.5% to 2.62% in regular spending. Worldpoints can be easily used for a very broadly defined travel category at 1 point = 1 cent.

    They regularly run welcome bonuses for these accounts that will add hundreds of dollars for opening them. Mine paid $1000.

    The biggest downside in my experience is BoA’s quirky payment system. Automatic payments to your CC are simply a nightmare. It is almost as if they don’t want to get paid.

    • If you have the cash to park in there, or ML at least, then it is a great program. They usually have competitive sign up bonuses.

      I just question the theory behind it. They make so much off of credit card fees etc. why limit your customer base?

      Their website is atrocious…it is like they used a local credit unions website design team.


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