The credit card world is saturated with a ridiculous number of travel rewards credit cards. There are cards for hotels and for flights, cards with categories that rotate their high cash back categories, general travel rewards cards, travel cards with annual fees, ones without. You get the point.
That’s why, when a simple travel card that offers great rewards hits the market, it’s worth writing home about.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card is one of those cards.
Here’s our full review!
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card key facts
- Best for those with good or excellent credit: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card is available for those with good or excellent credit. If your credit doesn’t meet those criteria, try applying for some other credit cards that specialize in those with fair or poor credit.
- 0% introductory APR: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card offers a 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and this will be a big advantage if you plan to travel during the first year of owning the card, and need to carry a balance.
- Introductory bonus offer: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards sign-up bonus is very easy to qualify for. You only need to spend $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account to qualify, and you’ll earn 25,000 points, worth $250. The sign-up bonus points must be redeemed for a statement credit toward travel-related purchases.
- 1.5 points earned on every $1 in purchases. That’s an across-the-board rewards offer and requires no revolving categories or special purchase types.
- Rewards points never expire: There’s no limit on how many points you can earn, and they never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
- Variable APR: After 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, after that a Variable APR will apply based on your credit worthiness.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card in-depth analysis
Bank of America® Travel Rewards specializes in both travel-related purchases and redemptions, though it’s 1.5 points per $1 rewards structure makes it a good card for everyday use as well.
Simple rewards points set-up
While many credit cards offer enhanced rewards on specific purchase categories, then 1% rewards on all other purchases, Bank of America® Travel Rewards keeps it simple. You’ll earn 1.5 points on every dollar you spend on all categories – all the time.
Two primary redemption options
While Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card doesn’t offer unlimited redemption options, the two they provide will give you plenty of flexibility.
Points can be redeemed for either travel credits or gift cards.
Redeeming for travel purchases
The first option is to redeem your points for statement credits toward travel purchases. When redeemed for travel credits, they’re applied as a statement credit toward the purchase of travel-related activities.
But if they’re redeemed through The Travel Center, points are doubled. This consists of 1.5 bonus points and 1.5 basis points, for every $1. Travel credits can be redeemed once you’ve accumulated 2,500 points, worth at least $25.
Redeeming for gift cards
The second option is to take your rewards in the form of gift cards which start at 3,125 points (also $25). Gift cards can be deposited into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or for credit to an eligible Cash Management Account with Merrill.
No cap on rewards
This gets back to the simplicity of earning rewards with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card. Not only are there no special rewards categories, but there’s no limit on how many points you can earn.
The more you spend, the more points you’ll accumulate.
Rewards don’t expire
Your cash back rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open and in good standing.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card has one of the easiest sign-up bonuses to qualify in the entire credit card universe.
After spending just $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days, you’ll earn 25,000 bonus points, worth $250. You can do that by spending a little over $300 on the card each month.
And though the bonus is small compared to other credit card sign-up bonuses, $250 is very generous against the $1,000 in purchases that’s needed to earn it.
0% introductory APR
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card has a 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases.
Interest rates and fees
- Annual fee: $0!
- Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR, and will apply indefinitely.
- Cash advance fee: The greater of 3% of the amount of each advance, or $10, but the greater of 5% or $10 for ATM, over-the-counter, same-day online and cash equivalent cash advances.
- Balance transaction fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
- Foreign transaction fees: None.
- Late payment or returned payment fee: $39 for late payments, $28 for return payments.
- Redeem points for statement credits toward travel-related purchases.
- Double your points when you book travel through the Travel Center.
- No foreign transaction fees.
Other card benefits
- Free FICO score – Get your monthly TransUnion educational score.
- $0 Liability Guarantee – You’re covered if fraudulent charges are made to your card. But Bank of America attempts to block fraud when detected, and alert you of the activity.
- Overdraft Protection – Connect your card to your Bank of America checking account to prevent going over limit on your card.
- Digital Wallet – When you add your Bank of America credit card to your mobile device you can shop in-store or in-app using Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay.
- Customer service – Available by toll-free phone or live chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards
Bank of America offers their Preferred Rewards program for customers who have an eligible Bank of America personal checking or Advantage Banking account, and maintain certain three-month average combined balances, along with a qualified Merrill Investment account.
The program is offered in three tiers:
- Gold – Combined balances of at least $20,000 – 25% rewards enhancement.
- Platinum – Combined balances of at least $50,000 – 50% rewards enhancement.
- Platinum Honors – Combined balances of at least $100,000 – 75% rewards enhancement.
How much can I earn using the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card?
To help you see how much you can earn with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card, we’re presenting two scenarios. The Budget Spender assumes you will charge $1,000 per month on the card. The Premium Spender assumes $2,000 per month.
As you will see from the tables below, you will earn $537.50 in the first year, then $225 per year as a Budget Spender. As a Premium Spender you can earn $1,062.50 in the first year, then $630 per year thereafter.
Budget spender – $1,000 monthly credit card spending
|Spending category||Spending per month||Earnings after 1 year||Earnings after subsequent years|
|All purchase categories||$1,000||$180||$180|
Premium spender – $2,000 monthly credit card spending
|Spending category||Spending per month||Earnings after 1 year||Earnings in subsequent years|
|All purchase categories||$2,000||$360||$360|
Pros & cons
- Simple rewards system — Earn 1.5 rewards points for every $1 spent on all purchases, all the time.
- Rewards points are unlimited, and don’t expire — No blackout dates or restrictions on rewards and points do not expire.
- Easy bonus qualification — The 25,000 bonus points are easy to qualify for, with just $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days.
- 0% introductory APR — Good for the first 18 statement cycles.
- Enhanced rewards for Bank of America customers — Earn an additional 25% to 75% more cash back if you are a Preferred Rewards customer.
- No annual fee and not foreign transaction fees — There are no extra fees that you’ll need to pay annually or when you travel and make purchases outside the United States.
- Small sign-up bonus — The bonus is worth only $250, which is hardly the most generous in the industry.
- Rewards redemptions are somewhat limited — Though you can take gift cards and transfer the money to a Bank of America or Merrill account, when taken as statement credits they can only be applied against travel related purchases.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card vs. Bank of America® Cash Rewards Card
|Card feature||Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card||Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card|
|Cash back||Unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases||3% on category of your choice, plus 2% at grocery stores or wholesale clubs, plus unlimited 1% on all other purchases|
|Intro offer||25,000 bonus points – worth $250 – after spending at least $1,000 in the first 90 days||$200 online cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days|
|0% introductory APR on purchases||18 billing cycles||See Terms|
|Foreign transaction fee||None||See Terms|
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Card is primarily for general use. It gives you the option to choose a 3% cash back spending category, and to change it monthly.
You’ll also get 2% cash back on groceries and wholesale clubs. But the combination of 3% and 2% categories limits you to no more than $2,500 in purchases per quarter.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card is more oriented toward travel. There are no specific spending categories – all purchases earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent. But one of the primary differences between the two cards is that your rewards points, when redeemed as statement credits, must be applied toward travel-related purchases.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Card has no similar restrictions. Though both cards do enable you to convert your rewards into deposit accounts at Bank of America, or investment accounts with Merrill. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card also has no annual fee.
One of the most significant differences between the two cards is that Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card has no foreign transaction fee. This makes the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card the superior card for international travel.
Should you sign up for Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card?
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card will be of most interest to those who travel frequently, but especially those who engage in foreign travel. The absence of the foreign transaction fee, which is 3% with most credit cards, will largely offset any higher points rewards offered by other credit cards, at least in regard to foreign travel.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card also offers the best use of rewards points for travel-related purchases. In fact, the sign-up bonus requires application of the bonus points earned toward travel-related purchases only. But with regular rewards points, you’ll still have the option to redeem them for gift cards, which can be converted to cash and deposited in either a Bank of America deposit account or a Merrill investment account.
Because of the Preferred Rewards enhancement of 25% to 75% on rewards points for those with larger combined account balances with Bank of America, customers of the bank should be particularly interested in this card for travel purposes.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card is one of the simplest – but still rewarding – travel credit cards on the market. For starters, it has a straightforward 1.5 points for every $1 spent. And you can earn as many rewards as you can rack up.
This card also rewards Bank of America clients with extra rewards, has no foreign transaction fee, and no annual fee!
All these perks make this a must-have card for frequent travelers.