Merrill Lynch, Bank of America’s wealth management division, is currently offering their fee-free Visa Signature with a 50,000 sign-up bonus after spending $3000 in three months [this is not a referral link]. This is the first time I’ve heard of this credit card being publicly accessible. Their points system is redeemable on any flight, at the rate of 25,000 points for $500. Strangely, the redemption must be on a round-trip flight departing from the United States (boo!). Further, you can only redeem your points at the above rate if your operating carrier is American, Delta, United, or British Airways; any other airline requires a 30,000 point redemption for the same value. Finally, if you spend $50,000 in a year, you’ll receive a $200 travel credit or a Delta Skyclub membership (I think you can guess which has more value).
Now, there are a couple oddities to this application. First, while it’s based on the regular Bank of America application system, they ask whether you want to release your investment information with Merrill Lynch to Bank of America. You can decline. Further, they ask how much money you have invested with Merrill Lynch. Fortunately, the first band of $0-19,000 is rather large. I’ve spoken to one person who was approved with absolutely no Merrill Lynch or Bank of America relationship. Finally, unfortunately for us non-US citizens, the application directly asks whether or not you’re a US citizen, and if not, you can’t apply online.
You can read more about the card benefits on their advertising packet. I’d hazard to say that it’s the best no-fee annual card out there, with a tremendous! HUGE! AWESOME! (sound like someone…? 😛 ) sign-up bonus. I don’t know if this link was intended to be released, so if you’re interested, I’d hurry about submitting your application.