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In this article
- Who should get this card?
- How it works for travel
- What counts as travel?
- Up to 75% more points with Bank of America Preferred Rewards (For most, an easy 10%)
- 3x points at the BofA travel site
- Real chip + PIN for international travel
- What’s missing from this card?
- How does it compare to other cards?
- Questions and Answers
- What does it take to be approved?
- Do points expire?
- Can you transfer or combine points?
- What is the minimum number of points to redeem?
- How far back can you redeem travel credit?
- Can you use points for cash back?
- What airlines can you book with points?
- Can you use these points with airline miles?
- Is there a small business version?
- Is there trip cancellation insurance or trip delay coverage?
Who should get this card?
In general, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a great no annual fee option for someone looking for a simple card for all spending or a credit card that will easily complement another credit card with bonus categories. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is also a great option if you are looking for a $0 annual fee credit card that earns decent rewards that can be applied towards travel purchases.
Having significant investments ($20,000+) with Bank of America, Merrill Edge, or Merrill Lynch accounts will increase earning rates for this credit card, so if you fall into this category it is definitely worth considering the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card.
How it works for travel
When you are ready to redeem your points for a travel purchase, all you need to do is make the travel purchase with your Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and use your points to reimburse the purchase as a statement credit.
What counts as travel?
Bank of America classifies the following categories as travel purchases:
- Airlines, air carriers
- Lodging – hotels, motels, resorts
- Car rental agencies
- Cruise lines
- Taxicabs and limousines
- Travel agencies and tour operators
- Passenger railways
- Transportation – suburban and local commuter passenger, including ferries
- Bus lines
- Transportation services – not otherwise classified
- Real estate agents and managers – rentals
- Campgrounds and trailer parks
- Tourist attractions and exhibits
- Art dealers and galleries
- Amusement parks, carnivals, circuses, fortune tellers
- Aquariums, dolphinariums, zoos, and seaquariums
- Boat leases and rentals
- Recreation services – not otherwise classified
Up to 75% more points with Bank of America Preferred Rewards (For most, an easy 10%)
A 10% bonus will be added to the points you earn if you have a qualifying account with Bank of America. This bonus is simple to achieve by having an active checking or savings account with Bank of America. If you do have that, you will earn an additional 0.15 points per dollar spent, effectively making the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card a 1.65% back card when you redeem your points toward travel purchases.
You can earn an even higher bonus if you qualify for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards Program. This bonus would be instead of the 10% bonus mentioned above, not in addition to. In order to qualify, you need to have at least $20,000 invested with Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, or Merrill Edge accounts. Merrill Edge is a great way to get access to these benefits without having to go into a Bank of America branch as will also give you access to low fee index funds. Having $20,000 invested will qualify you for the Gold program with the following benefits:
A 25% bonus on rewards earned would make this card effectively 1.875% cash back when you redeem your points for travel purchases.
A $50,000+ investment will qualify you for the Platinum program with the following benefits:
A 50% bonus would effectively make this card a 2.25% cash back card as long as you redeem your points toward travel purchases.
You’ll need to have at least $100,000 investment to qualify for Platinum Honors with the following benefits:
With a 75% rewards bonus, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card would give you 2.625% back on purchases as long as you redeem your points toward travel purchases.
If you don’t already have money invested with Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, or Merrill Edge, it most likely will not make sense to move your money in order to get a higher bonus on your credit card rewards. However, if you don’t have an account with BoA at all, opening a checking or savings account is a very easy way to boost your credit card rewards.
3x points at the BofA travel site
If you book your air travel through the Bank of America travel site, you can double the points you are earning. On your first $6,000 of airfare purchases made through the Bank of America travel site, you will earn 3 points per dollar spent instead of the regular Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases.
Real chip + PIN for international travel
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is great, especially for traveling in Europe. It is a true Chip + PIN card, which means that you won’t have a problem buying train and subway tickets from the un-manned kiosks in Europe. Of course, don’t forget to memorize your PIN before you leave or it won’t do you much good!
What’s missing from this card?
The biggest thing missing from the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card credit card is any sort of travel protection. Many competing cards offer some sort of trip delay, cancellation, lost and delayed baggage, and/or trip accident insurance. There are also other cards available that will probably give you more back for your spending. We’ve compared quite a few different cards below.
How does it compare to other cards?
Points earned is based on $1,500 total per month of spending in the following categories:
- $200 gas
- $400 groceries
- $100 restaurants
- $100 travel
- $700 other
Make sure to compare the following credit cards after considering your own spending patterns, and you can use your calculator to see which no annual fee travel credit cards will earn you the most rewards.
When paying with your Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, you will earn Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. In a month, based on the spending pattern presented above, you will earn 2,250 points. In a year, you would earn 27,000 points – redeemable for $270 toward travel purchases.
vs Discover it® Miles
The Discover it® Miles also earns Unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases. The equates to $270 over the course of the year when you redeem your points toward travel purchases, according to the spending pattern outlined above. You don’t need a minimum amount of miles in order to redeem them, which is a nice benefit that the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card does not have.
A huge bonus of the Discover it® Miles is that Discover is currently matching all miles earned for the first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel – $350 for the Miles you’ve earned plus $350 more with your Discover Match®. The Discover it® Miles has a $0 annual fee.
vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. According to the spending pattern above, you would earn 1,300 Ultimate Rewards points per month and 15,600 Ultimate Rewards points per year.
While this is less points earned than through the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, Ultimate Rewards points are often more valuable. These points can be transferred to a number of hotel and airline transfer partners including United and Hyatt. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers valuable trip cancellation, delay, lost/delayed baggage, and primary car rental coverage insurance that is not provided by the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great combination if you are willing to manage two credit cards. This way, you can book tickets with your miles earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and use your Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card to pay the taxes on the award ticket. If you do this, you will be able to use your BoA points to reimburse the taxes from your flights. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an annual fee of $95.
vs Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is another easy card with no bonus categories to keep track of. You’ll always Earn 2% cash back on purchases 1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases. This works out to double cash on all purchases.
Over the course of a year, you’ll earn $360 in cash back that can be applied to your travel purchases or any other purchases you make. The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer does not have an annual fee and also grants you some trip cancellation, interruption, travel accident, and car rental insurance benefits.
vs Chase Freedom®
The Chase Freedom®, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, earns Ultimate Rewards points. A huge difference, however, is that Ultimate Rewards earned with the Chase Freedom® cannot be transferred to airline and hotel transfer partners unless you have a premium Chase credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
The Chase Freedom® Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Gas, groceries, and restaurants often make an appearance at least once a year – we will assume this for our calculations.
Over the course of a year, according to the spending pattern we outlined above, you would earn 17,800 Ultimate Rewards points. If you do not have a premium Chase credit card, these points can be redeemed for $178 in cash back, but if you do have a premium Chase credit card these points can be transferred to Chase’s airline and hotel partner programs. The Chase Freedom® has a $0 annual fee.
vs Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students
The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students earns Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment and Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
Citi considers ‘entertainment’ to consist of the following: live entertainment, theatrical productions, concerts, live sporting events, movie theaters, amusement parks (including zoos, aquariums, circuses, and carnivals), tourist attractions (including museums and art galleries), record stores, video rental stores, and on-demand internet streaming media. We will assume that one quarter of your travel expenses would fall into this category.
Your Citi ThankYou® points can be transferred to airlines and hotels that Citi partners with if you have a premium Citi card like the Citi Premier℠ Card or the Citi Prestige® Credit Card. If you don’t, you’ll only be able to redeem your ThankYou® points for cash back at a rate of one cent each. The points you earned over the course of the year would be worth $167.50.
The information related to the Citi Prestige® Credit Card and the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card. These offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or are no longer available.
vs Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card allows users to Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in, 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases. Over the course of a year, you will be able to earn 24,000 points according to the spending outline we presented above.
When you redeem your points, they are worth one cent each if you want cash. This means that you’ll have earned $240 back in a year. If you instead use your points to book travel via Wells Fargo’s GoFarRewards site, they will be worth 1.5 cents each giving you a total value of $360 in a year. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is Chip + PIN, but is also an American Express card, so it will have lower acceptance abroad. This credit card has a $0 annual fee.
Questions and Answers
What does it take to be approved?
In order to get approved for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, you typically need to have an Excellent/Good credit score.
Do points expire?
Points earned from the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card will never expire as long as you have the card account open and in good standing.
Can you transfer or combine points?
Points cannot be transferred or combined with those of another person.
What is the minimum number of points to redeem?
Redemptions start at 2,500 points – equivalent to $25 when redeemed toward a travel purchase.
How far back can you redeem travel credit?
You can redeem your points toward travel purchases up to 12 months after the purchase was made.
Can you use points for cash back?
It is possible to use your Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for cash back instead of applying them toward a travel purchase, but you won’t get as much value out of your points if you do this. When you redeem your points toward a travel purchase, each point is worth one cent. If you want to redeem your points for cash back, each point is only worth 0.6 cent.
What airlines can you book with points?
Any airline ticket can be booked. All you need to do is pay for the airfare with your Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, and use your points to reimburse the purchase in the form of a statement credit.
Can you use these points with airline miles?
No. Points earned through the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card are different from frequent flyer miles. You can’t combine your Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card rewards points with your frequent flyer miles or points earned through another bank.
Is there a small business version?
There is a small business version of the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, but it is slightly different than the personal version of the card. The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card earns 3% cash back on your choice of one of the following six categories: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services, 2% cash back on dining (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Is there trip cancellation insurance or trip delay coverage?
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card does not offer trip cancellation insurance or trip delay coverage. If this is a benefit you are looking for in a credit card, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Citi Premier℠ Card as great alternatives.
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