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This article was last updated Mar 03, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers a great sign-up bonus — $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. It also comes with a unique ongoing rewards structure, where you can earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, 1% cash back on all other purchases).
If you’re looking for a cashback credit card with a generous sign-up bonus and strong ongoing value, this is a good card to consider. Let’s take a look at whether you’re eligible for the bonus, how to earn it and what you can do with the cash back you earn.
In this post:
- Are you eligible for the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card sign-up bonus?
- How can you use your sign-up bonus?
- Other ways to earn rewards
- The bottom line
Are you eligible for the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card sign-up bonus?
This sign-up bonus is aimed at new cardholders who apply for a card in response to this offer. If you have another Bank of America credit card and request a product change or upgrade to the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, you won’t qualify for the bonus.
If you do qualify to receive the sign-up bonus, you’ll have to spend $1,000 on purchases — and those purchases will have to post to your account within 90 days of opening your card. Note that some types of purchases can take time to post to your account, so if you’re trying to earn the sign-up bonus, it’s probably a good idea not to wait until the 90th day to hit the spending requirement.
Fees, returns and adjustments do not count toward the $1,000 spending requirement. There’s a limit of one bonus cash rewards offer per account, so if you earn this sign-up bonus, you shouldn’t expect to earn any other sign-up bonuses Bank of America might offer on this card.
Bank of America’s website specifies, “Your account must be open with active charging privileges in order to receive this offer.” So make sure you haven’t paid late or done anything that would get your account frozen or closed — in other words, practice good credit behavior!
Once you’ve met the spending requirement to earn the sign-up bonus, you should keep an eye out for it to post to your rewards balance within eight to 12 weeks.
How can you use your sign-up bonus?
This card earns cash back, not travel miles or rewards points, so redemption options are somewhat limited. However, you do have a few choices:
- There’s no minimum amount required if you want to redeem your cash rewards for statement credits, deposits made directly into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or for credit to an eligible account with Merrill.
- However, if you want to redeem your cash rewards as a contribution to a qualifying 529 account with Merrill, that has to be done in increments of $25.
You can also set up automatic redemptions into an eligible Bank of America and Merrill account. Automatic redemptions start at $25. However, statement credits, checks and contributions into a qualifying 529 account are not eligible for automatic redemption.
Other ways to earn rewards
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card earns 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, 1% cash back on all other purchases). You can choose one of the following categories to earn 3% on:
- Online shopping
- Drug stores
- Home improvement/furnishings
This is one of the best gas credit cards available, especially with a $0 annual fee. It’s also a solid choice for earning cash back on travel, with the travel category purchases such as:
- Airline tickets
- Car rentals
You’ll have the opportunity to change your 3% category each month. It defaults to gas until you change the category for the first time. Cash back earned with this card does not expire as long as the account remains active.
Finally, you can earn 25%-75% more cash back when using this card if you qualify for one of Bank of America’s three tiers in its Preferred Rewards program. Preferred Rewards is based on your qualifying combined balances in your Bank of America banking and/or Merrill investment accounts. The lowest tier starts at a $20,000 required balance. You can qualify for the second tier with $50,000 or more, and $100,000 or more can get you into the highest tier.
The bottom line
If you’re looking for a card with a strong sign-up bonus and excellent ongoing rewards after you’ve earned the sign-up bonus, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card fits that description. It’s a particularly great choice since you can choose your 3% cashback category from six different options and can change that choice monthly. This will allow you to plan ahead — for example, if you’re planning a road trip, you can choose the gas category. And for other months, when you’re doing a lot of holiday shopping, the online shopping category may net you more in rewards.
The only area where this card might be lacking is if you want more flexibility in how you can redeem your rewards — such as a travel card that allows you to transfer points to airline and hotel partners. If that’s the case, you might find a better fit on our list of best travel credit cards.