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Bank of America Travel Rewards card review: 1.5% cash back, no fee

by on Mon June 4, 2012 • 7 Comments

bank-of-america-travel-rewardsCapital One just got a second wake up call from Bank of America with the new Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. The first was the BankAmericard Privileges Travel Rewards card (see review).

The basic Travel Rewards card is pretty simple, but powerful. You get:

  • 1.5 miles per dollar spent. That’s 50% more than with most travel credit cards
  • No annual fee. It’s rare to see a card that offers more than 1 point per dollar with no annual fee. The 1.5 points per dollar compares to 1.25 points per dollar for the comparable no annual fee card from Capital One.
  • No foreign transaction fees.  Those are often 3% on purchases made overseas.
  • 10% bonus on points each year. If you have a Bank of America checking, savings, or retirement account you’re eligible for the bonus.
  • Easy redemption. Just apply for statement credit for all or part of your travel purchases on any airline, car rental, hotel, and much more. Each point is worth one cent toward travel purchases, and you can redeem starting at 2,500 points.
  • Click here for a secure link to the Bank of America application
Other things to consider…
  • Capital One does have a 1.5% cash back card, but the catch is you have to wait until the end of each year to get your cash. They give you 1% cash back upfront, then a 50% bonus at the end of the year. With the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card you get the full 1.5% value upfront ready to use against your travel purchases. The only waiting you have to do is for the 10% bonus at year end.
  • This card is good if you’re completely against paying annual fees – there isn’t a better value we can find for cash back value with no annual fee.
  • However you can earn more by getting a card that pays an annual fee. For $75 per year you can get the BankAmericard Privileges Travel Rewards card which offers double points on all spending, for a 2% or better cash back value.
  • If you want aspirational awards like first class travel or exotic international locations, you’re probably better off with earning traditional airline miles with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Visa or Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

So how does Bank of America get away with offering a better product than Capital One? Well, they are probably spending a lot less on big TV advertising and targeting this card to their current retail bank customers, meaning they’re passing the marketing savings on to you in the form of higher rewards.

The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

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"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

7 thoughts on Bank of America Travel Rewards card review: 1.5% cash back, no fee

  1. Luis

    Hi my name is Luis I just got approved for the Bank of America travel reward card. Once I get points, for example 30,000 points and I would like to redeem those points on a flight. How do I purchase a flight. Do I go to a regular travel airline or do I have to contact Bank of America by phone with the flight information when I’m ready.


      @Luis – Just purchase the travel with your card from anywhere you’d like, then you can log in to your account online and offset the travel charges with your points.

  2. Alison

    Can you expand?: “If you want aspirational awards like first class travel or exotic international locations, you’re probably better off with earning traditional airline miles with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa or Starwood Preferred Guest American Express.”

    Since the BoA card doesn’t appear to limit where you can go or where you have to buy your travel – I’m a little confused by this thought.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. MileCards

      @Alison – With a program like B of A where your points work like cash, the number of points you need is based on the dollar price of the ticket you want. An aspirational business class ticket from the US to Europe costs about $3,000 or more to purchase. To book that with B of A points, you’d need 300,000 points (each point is worth a penny toward travel).

      If you’re using regular airline miles, like with United for example, they offer business class tickets to Europe for 100,000 miles roundtrip. It’s a fixed rate no matter how much the dollar price of a ticket on that flight is. Now, there might not be seats available with miles at that level every day, but there’s a decent chance you’ll find a flight that works. It’s the cases where the ‘free’ flight you’re looking for would cost a lot in dollar terms that regular airline miles can be more useful.

      But if you’re primarily looking at $300 domestic tickets, you’re fine with a points as cash program like B of A since you can pick any flight you want that’s at a good price.

  3. Art

    10% bonus based on the total purchases (1 point for $10) and not the points earned so this is 2.1% CashBack card when redeemed for travel

  4. Credit Card Education

    I actually have this card and I just received and I spoke with customer service this morning actually and they said that this is in the list of cards to roll out with EMV chips. I agree with you too that their marketing costs are probably lower because they have such a huge base of deposit accounts which is what facilitated me getting this card in the first place.


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