John Sellers
Rewards Executive at Bank of America

As the Bank of America executive in charge of Rewards, John Sellers oversees all rewards programs; including consumer and small business reward programs and credit card rewards redemption.

Prior to his current role, he led work in other product areas at Bank of America including Auto Lending, Merrill Edge and Credit Card. John is the architect of the award-winning Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card and led the effort to bring Chip technology to all Bank of America cards.

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2020 Planning: A Checklist to Maximize Your Rewards

Tips to get the most out of your 2019 rewards and a roadmap to success in the year ahead

By John Sellers, Rewards Executive at Bank of America
Advertorial Disclosure

A new year often brings new resolutions, including financial goals. But waiting until January to map out your financial rewards strategy can actually limit your success!

Before things get too busy around the holidays, it’s a great time to start planning for the year ahead. By assessing your financial rewards status and setting goals now, you have time to define next steps and hit the ground running in 2020.

Once you’ve mapped out your 2020 rewards strategy with the tips below, it may be helpful to set up an appointment with a banker to talk through it. They can help ensure you’re set up to maximize rewards in as many areas as possible.

What you can do now to prepare for financial success in 2020

  • Reassess Your Current Rewards Programs: Loyalty programs periodically update their perks, benefits and rewards. When you take a step back to evaluate your programs, you may find new benefits that rolled out over the past few months – or even an existing benefit that wasn’t on your radar! For example, an auto loan discount may not have caught your attention earlier this year, but rediscovering it now could be the perfect timing if you’re saving up for a new car in 2020.

    The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program rolled out several new perks this year – including foreign currency exchange rate discounts of up to 2% (great for traveling abroad) and fee discounts of up to 0.15% on Merrill Guided Investing accounts. Also new this year, unlimited commission-free stock, ETF and option trading is available to all Preferred Rewards members through Merrill Edge Self-Directed.
  • Set Goals to Earn Rewards: By developing the habit of continuously contributing to a savings account, you can work toward building deposits and investment accounts that are eligible for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. And, as your qualifying balances grow, so does the level of Preferred Rewards benefits available to you – which can help with both short- and long-term financial goals for 2020 and beyond. For example, Preferred Rewards members may qualify for up to a $600 reduction on mortgage origination fees, auto loan discounts of up to 0.50%, credit card rewards bonuses of up to 75% and $0 stock, ETF and option trades through Merrill Edge Self-Directed.
  • Rake in the Rewards: By mapping out upcoming activities in 2020 and connecting them with a rewards strategy, you can truly maximize perks and benefits. If you’re planning a big trip, for example, you can use a credit card that rewards you for travel to get more out of your purchases. One savvy approach is to “layer” your rewards: when you book a flight, use your frequent flier number to earn miles (layer #1); book the flight with a credit card like the Bank of America Cash Rewards card, which allows you to earn 3% cash back on the category of your choice, including travel (layer #2). As a Preferred Rewards member, you’ll receive a credit card rewards bonus of up to 75%, which translates to up to 5.25 percent cash back per dollar spent on travel (layer #3).
  • Track Your Success: Once you’ve made your plans, a great way to start visualizing financial goals is by tracking them through a comprehensive dashboard. The Bank of America My Rewards tool, available in online and mobile banking, is a great example. It’s a comprehensive rewards dashboard that helps you easily track your Bank of America credit card rewards, Preferred Rewards earnings and BankAmeriDeals all in one place. You can also explore your current benefits, find rewards you might have missed and redeem your rewards right in the app.

Planning a financial rewards strategy doesn’t need to be overwhelming! If you reassess your goals and create a plan to maximize your rewards earnings, you’ll have given yourself a gift well before the holidays.

To learn more about how to maximize rewards in 2020, check out my recent Twitter Live Q&A with international travel expert Lee Abbamonte and Wise Bread Executive Editor Janet Alvarez

This is a sponsored post by Bank of America as part of Wise Bread's continued partnership with them.