Bank Of America's Special New Amex For Rich People

Do you have over $100,000 on deposit at Bank of America? If you do, you might qualify for a special new Amex just for Bank of America’s wealthy customers. Oh my, the perks are fat!

From the Boston Globe:

Gwenn Bezard , research director at Aite Group , a banking consulting firm in Boston, says: “If you’re high net-worth and a high spender, you will be better off using an American Express product because of the value of what’s out there.”

That’s because American Express charges merchants nearly 2.6 percent in fees for every dollar of transactions done with its cards, compared with less than 2 percent on average for Visa and MasterCard, Bezard said.

That adds up to extra revenue that American Express uses to fund perks that appeal to its wealthy cardholders, the same approach Bank of America is taking with its new card.

“This is just an opportunity for us to leverage the great capabilities of our credit card business to offer something for our most affluent clients,” said John Bahnken , president of the bank’s Global Wealth & Investment Management Products Group , which is based in Boston.

The card has lots of fun perks like private concierges who’ll get you concert tickets, special “fantasy vacations,” and if you spend “$250,000 on the card, you can take your points (worth $2,500) and give them to charity…and Bank of America will match your donation. Ain’t that sweet. —MEGHANN MARCO

Bank lavishes perks on new credit card [Boston Globe]
(Photo: tengaport)

Comments

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  1. Doc Benway says:

    What is the yearly fee on this card? Is it better than Amex’s Centurion Card (the Black Card)?

  2. nweaver says:

    Actually, this is why the Costco Amex is so good…


    No fee for Costco members, 3% cash back at resteraunts, 2% on travel, 1% on everything else.

  3. DCKiwi says:

    American Express Blue Cash is even better. After first $6,500 in purchases for the year, you earn 5% back at grocery stores/gas stations and 1.5% back on all other purchases.

    I received ~$600 back last year.

  4. gruffydd says:

    I like the AmEx One Card – there’s a $35 fee after your first year, but no silly points, 1% of your purchases are added to a high yield savings acct (currently at 5%)

  5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the FDIC only insure up to $100,000 per depositor per institution?

    So, in order to qualify for this fancy-pants credit card you must have deposited more than what would be insured for you in the event Bank of America goes belly-up?

    Nice.

  6. tvh2k says:

    No yearly fee but BofA makes that up with low-yield account offerings for your $100k in net worth. Interest rate is a bit high but not aweful (prime+3.99 = 12.24 at present). My best card is prime+1.75. The perks were not all that impressive, however.

  7. BillyMumphry says:

    Centurion card is $1500/ year. The perks are pretty stupid though. I don’t know who uses the “great” servioes Amex parades before you. Believe me, my parents aren’t interested in having someone book them a “hot table” in Houston. And they are more than capable of putting together a vacation. They were one and done with the black card…and this seems to be pretty much the same deal.

    It does come in a nice case though! Cool, shiny things!

  8. Dan25 says:

    @LastVigilante: 100K per deposit entity. so thats 100K for a sole owner acct, 100K for a joint, 100K for trust, 100k for a CD, 100K for a savings, ect. And all of that is without having an FC broker out the money to other banks to have it insured.

  9. mathew says:

    Personally, I use American Express because they’ve always given me fantastic customer service. Three true stories:

    I moved to the US. Called AmEx, told them my new address. They verified my details with AmEx UK, and a new US AmEx card arrived first thing the next day by courier.

    Amtrak double-charged me. I called AmEx, they found the transaction, noted the same amount debited twice in the space of seconds, said they’d deal with it. They did, no paperwork or other hassle for me.

    AmEx bill didn’t turn up, so by the time I logged on to their web site I had missed a payment deadline. I called them and said the bill had gone missing in the mail, and that I’d submitted an immediate online bill payment request with my bank. They waived the fees.

    Sure, that extra 0.6% isn’t nice for retailers with tiny margins. I keep a Mastercard for the ones who don’t take AmEx as a result.

  10. 160medic says:

    Can you qualify with a Consular Matricular(illegal alien id card)?Bof A gives loans and accounts to those felons.

  11. zolielo says:

    @Dan25: If I recall my money and banking classes, my work for the FDIC, and the signs at banks… It is $100K per depositor per institution, simply.

    However, you are right with beneficial ownership, trusts, joint accounts, and other alternative ownership accounts which can be considered separately for the $100K insurance limit. Plus for Individual Retirement Account the limit is $250,000.

  12. tallladude says:

    It sounds like the perks that come with Amex Platinum Card, for which you *definitely* don’t need to have $100k in savings to qualify. (I believe you need $10k/year in spending).

    Granted, its $450/yr for membership (recently hiked from $395).

    However, a new perk more than makes up for this– up to four free domestic companion tickets per year, the only requirement is the paying ticket be $299 or more.

    Other perks the BofA card offers which sound exactly the same as Platinum:

    - Free access to over 500 airline club lounges. Platinum gives free access to Continental, Delta and Northwest Lounges.

    - Special fantasy vacations. Platinum has its “By Invitation Only” program.. special one-time events/trips that often grant access to people/areas not normally given to “common folk”.

    - Donate miles to charity. All Amex members have the ability to take part in Membership Rewards, which basically grants 1 mile for every dollar spent. The annual fee for this program is waived for Platinum Card members. Ok, so maybe BofA doubles the contribution. Why would someone want to donate miles this way to begin with– they get the tax deduction, you don’t.

    It’s likely the high wealth BofA customers put their money in something better than a money market account. But lets assume thats the case. For $100k, BofA now pays 3.73%. There are plenty of online institutions that pay 5% or more on same. On $100k, that amounts to over $1270/year. Take $450 of that, get the Platinum on your own, and be better off than the BofA deal.

  13. DCAview says:

    Mathew’s right — Amex provides awesome customer service on its credit cards, but we’re entering new territory with this card and others issued by banks rather than Amex.

    Because the bank (in this case, Bank of America) is the entity with which you’ve got your relationship, it’s the entity with which you’ll be dealing for most customer-service experiences (in the same way that, if you’ve got a Bank of America Mastercard, you deal with B of A for billing errors or address changes and not Mastercard itself. I don’t doubt that B of A will put its best customer agents on cards like this one, but, to me, B of A’s best is about average for American Express.

    Oh, and on the deposit-insurance isssue: Guys, we’re talking about Bank of America here. With its affiliates, it’s got over $603 billion of deposit liabilities right now (far more than any other bank and almost as much as Chase and Citi’s *combined* $684 billion). If B of A ever hits trouble, it won’t matter whether the FDIC limit is $100K or $100MM — there’s just no way the bank will fail and no way that depositors will have to look to the FDIC to be made whole. Like Continental Illinois before it, Bank of America is simply just too big to fail.

  14. j2diz says:

    @DCAview – I had to comment just to say thanks for addressing the FDIC/BOA comment. When I read that I almost laughed out loud. Something tells me even if BOA did go belly up, he (assuming LastVigilante is a he) wouldn’t have to worry about it… cuz if he had more than 100k in his account he’d have a clue. That should be the last of his worries about BOA :)
    Then again aren’t they the only bank conducting business with illegals right now?


    My two cents about credit cards.
    - AMEX Blue is the best credit card for cash-back on practical, everyday purchases, as long as you spend $6,500 a year. Try putting your rent, utilities, and other “check” purchases on it – a lot of times they accept credit cards and that makes it easy to hit the 6500 minimum. It adds up fast – I’m a college student and was shocked when I received a statement credit of almost $600 for my first year of spending cash back- and my spending obviously wasn’t that much beyond the necessities. That’s six times what I got from U.S. Bank the prior year. Screw the college card.
    - AMEX PLATINUM is worth it – for ONE YEAR. A $395 credit card for a college student? You must think I’m crazy. But I’m not. Think about it: The card is $395 per year, but the initial sign-up bonus for most people is 25K “reward points.” Redeem those points and any more you get from using the card within the first year, and cancel the card. Things like an airline ticket up to $500 valid in the U.S. – just look through the catalog and there’s all kinds of options that practically pay for the one year fee. Keep the fancy looking card in your wallet for all kinds of reasons – such as for when you’re in airports. You can still show the card to gain access to and use a lot of the benefits, like airport lounges, early check in, etc. – They don’t RUN the card just LOOK to see if you have one… Let me tell you the free alcohol in those lounges is also a nice perk.
    My guess is that AMEX doesn’t figure many people will spring for the $395 card and then cancel it after one year – and continue to try and milk the benefits. Most people aren’t that cheap probably. But hey I’m a college student just trying to get by and get my money’s worth :)

  15. satoru says:

    Nothing can beat the black Amex card for pure “I’m better than you” feeling. That thing is like having Jedi mind powers. You definitely get treated much better at restaurants and clubs if you flash that around. I’ve only seen it once, but its powers over retailers is magical!

  16. shdwsclan says:

    Yeah, that amex black is insane…ive never seen it….well besides google images….and heard about it…

  17. TheBigLewinski says:

    I am not sure that the $10K threshold is what qualifies you for the Platinum card. I have an AMEX Gold card and spend over $25K/year but they are not offering me the Platinum card, not sure why.

  18. larry_y says:

    “global wealth client with at least $100,000 in net assets” – not sure what that means. Does that mean customers of their brokerage/wealth management services?

    Oh, and I like my Amex Gold card (which is free from my broker, who isn’t BoA).

  19. FLConsumer says:

    The Amex Centurian card isn’t all that great… $2500/year fee..and I know, we just audited someone with one. Not real impressed with the “perks” of Amex. Visa has their “Visa Signature” card which has most of the same perks, no annual fee, 1.5% cash back across the board with *NO* limit to how much cash back you can get. No required spending amount per year either. Depending on the bank of issue, it does come in a pure black/gray/silver color scheme similar to Amex’s Centurian (at least my Wachovia Wealth Management Visa Signature card is). From what I’ve seen, better restaurants and hotels do recognize the Visa Signature cards and do seem to give better service. There’s also some VERY nice perks.

    I just checked in at a Renaissance hotel last week and was given a free room upgrade + $25 gift certificate for their restaurant. Not bad.

    For those curious: [www.visa.com]

    For those trying to build credit, these high-roller cards are NOT for you. They have no preset spending limit, therefore if you don’t have many higher lines of available credit, these will hurt your score, as they’ll appear to be 100% utilized.