The Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a great no annual fee option that has big earning potential if you’re a Bank of America customer.
1.5x on everything, and up to 2.6x for some people. You earn 1.5x points on all your purchases, but if you have big checking, savings, or investment account balances with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch you can earn up to 2.6x points on everything you spend, an incredibly lucrative deal.
Real Chip + PIN with no foreign transaction fees. When you’re traveling abroad, this card has a PIN assigned to it, so you can use it at kiosks, ticket machines, toll booths, and other places there isn’t a person on hand to take your signature. It also has no foreign transaction fees to worry about.
Use it for any travel purchase. You don’t have to use special booking sites or airlines. Just pay for any travel with your card, then use your points to erase the purchase from your statement. You can erase as little as $25 at a time, using 2,500 points, or as many as your points will allow. Every point is worth one cent toward travel expenses.
No airline miles. You can’t mix and match these points with airline miles you’ve earned by flying. Instead, think of them like cash you can use toward travel purchases.
No big category bonuses. You can earn 3x points on travel you book via the Bank of America travel website, but other than that there aren’t big category bonuses, and if you don’t have a Bank of America checking or savings account with a big balance you’re earning just 1.5x points on everything else.
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 BoA Travel Rewards card is also a great option if you are looking for a no 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.
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.
Bank of America classifies the following categories as travel purchases:
Airlines, air carriers
Lodging – hotels, motels, resorts
Car rental agencies
Taxicabs and limousines
Travel agencies and tour operators
Transportation – suburban and local commuter passenger, including ferries
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
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.
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 1.5.
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!
The biggest thing missing from the Bank of America Travel Rewards 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.
Points earned is based on $1,500 total per month of spending in the following categories:
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 1.5 points for every dollar you spend in every purchase category. 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.
The Discover It Miles card also earns 1.5 miles per 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 card does not have.
A huge bonus of the Discover It Miles card is that Discover is currently matching all miles earned for the first year. If you earn 27,000 miles, Discover will give you an additional 27,000 miles at the end of your first year. The first year, this would equate to $540 earned back from your spending. You’ll also be able to be reimbursed for up to $30 of your in-flight wifi purchases. The Discover It Miles card does not have an annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns two points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. 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 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.
BoA Travel Rewards and Chase Sapphire Preferred 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 and use your Bank of America Travel Rewards 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 has a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year.
The Citi Double Cash is another easy card with no bonus categories to keep track of. You’ll always earn 1% back when you pay for your purchases and another 1% back when you pay your credit card balance. 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 does not have an annual fee and also grants you some trip cancellation, interruption, travel accident, and car rental insurance benefits.
The Chase Freedom, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, 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, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Plus Business credit card.
The Chase Freedom earns 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar spent on all categories and earns 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent on categories that change quarterly. 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 does not have an annual fee.
The Citi ThankYou Preferred earns 2 Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment and 1 ThankYou point per dollar spent 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. With the Citi ThankYou Preferred, you would be able to earn 16,750 ThankYou points in a year.
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 or Citi Prestige. 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 Citi ThankYou Preferred also offers trip delay, cancellation, travel accident, and rental car insurance coverage. This card does not have an annual fee.
The Wells Fargo Propel credit card earns 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. gas stations, 2 points per dollar spent at restaurants, and 1 point per dollar spent on all 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 card is Chip + PIN, but is also an American Express card, so it will have lower acceptance abroad. This credit card has no annual fee.
In order to get approved for the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, you typically need to have a credit score that is at least in the upper 600s.
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.
Points cannot be transferred or combined with those of another person.
Redemptions start at 2,500 points – equivalent to $25 when redeemed toward a travel purchase.
You can redeem your points toward travel purchases up to 12 months after the purchase was made.
It is possible to use your Bank of America Travel Rewards 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.
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.
No. Points earned through the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card are different from frequent flyer miles. You can’t combine your BoA Travel Rewards with your frequent flyer miles or points earned through another bank.
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 WorldPoints Travel Rewards for Business Visa card also earns 1.5 points per dollar spent on all regular purchases and the ability to earn 3 points per dollar spent by shopping through the Bank of America travel site.
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 or Citi Premier as great alternatives.
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Foreign Transaction Fee Waived
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