Bank of America Accolades Card
is the first premium credit card offered by Bank of America
targeted exclusively for the banks “affluent, wealthy and ultra- wealthy clients served through Premier Banking & Investments, The Private Bank of Bank of America and its extension,
Family Wealth Advisors." The card is notable as it is the bank’s foray into a new market segment as well as a product offered as a result of the bank’s acquisition of another bank, U.S. Trust, particularly since the larger Bank of America has taken the smaller bank’s corporate name in
establishing a separate legal entity for the first time in history. The entity’s name is U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management.
The Bank of America Accolades Card, also called the Bank of America Accolades American Express Card, is a co-branded card that is accepted by merchants who accept the American Express card.
The introduction of the card coincides with Bank of America’s acquisition of U.S. Trust, a private bank that caters to those with extremely high assets and income. Traditionally, this banking sector has been dominated by JPMorgan and the large brokerage firm,
Morgan Stanley , as well as Citicorp and Goldman Sachs. With the acquisition, the private banking unit
of Bank of America will be the largest in the world.
The Accolades card is seen as a tool to enter this market segment. The Wall Street Journal has reported that "the bank has struggled to prove it can cater to wealthy clients with the personalized service offered by some rivals.” “The bank says the Accolades card is its first designed solely for clients of its wealth unit.”
The main competitor in this credit card segment is the American Express Centurion Card
, which is black in color. The Luxury Institute's recent survey of customer preferences ranked two American Express Cards in the top two; Centurion Card first and Platinum card
second. Special access, unparalleled benefits and enhanced customer experience were cited as the reasons for its high regard among customers as well as justification for the $2,500 annual fee for the Centurion card. At about the same time of announcement of the new card, competitor Wachovia Bank announced plans to add 300 bankers to its private banking unit adding to
240 currently on staff.
Advertising segments for the new card began in
September, 2007. Citigroup reportedly has a competing card
It has been reported that card holders will receive points that can be redeemed for luxury vacations, cooking and other lessons, concierge services, and other benefits.
An additional benefit included with the card is free access to a number of airport lounges worldwide. The benefit is provided by a company called Priority Pass. A free membership to Priority Pass is provided for the primary card holder only.