Is Merrill to blame? Let's try. From BAC's internal website:
Changes to Recognition & Reward programs for 2009
Wed 17 Dec 2008
Bank of America remains strongly committed to recognizing the achievements of associates; however, in light of the current economic and business environment, the company will no longer offer its current Recognition & Reward programs beginning Jan. 1, 2009. This includes the Award of Excellence, Spirit Medallions, Spirit Rewards points, Spirit Cards and service anniversary gifts. Associates will continue to receive a lapel pin and desk memento to commemorate milestone anniversaries.
A new approach to recognition will be developed and introduced in the future for the combined Bank of America, Countrywide and Merrill Lynch organization, and information will be shared with associates as it becomes available.
Through Dec. 31, 2008, managers may continue to award Spirit Medallions and Spirit Rewards points, and all associates may continue to send Spirit Cards.
Associates will have through Feb. 28, 2009 to redeem Spirit Rewards points. Redemption requests made after that date will not be fulfilled.