The Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a great starter card to earn free travel, and it’s even better if you have a Bank of America account to boost your earning.
Use your points for any travel. No need to mess with airline mile rules. Just buy travel with your card, and use your points to erase the cost from your statement. It’s that simple.
No annual fee. Just pure points with no cost.
Real Chip + PIN for international travel. This card comes assigned with a PIN number so it’s really handy to use in international locations that don’t accept traditional cards without a PIN. Even better, there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about, which is rare for a no annual fee card.
1.5x on everything. Earning with this card is really simple – you get 1.5x points on everything you buy, and there’s a 20,000 point bonus for signing up and meeting the introductory spending requirements. Plus, if you’re a Bank of America customer with money in the bank you can earn up to 2.6x points per dollar you spend, making this an outstanding deal.
Can’t combine with real airline miles. You can’t use these points to add to airline miles you might already have. They’re just Bank of America points, so you can’t mix and match them with airline miles and hotel points from your favorite airline or hotel.
No double point categories. While you earn 3x points on purchases made on the Bank of America travel website, there’s no special bonus for spending in popular categories like gas or dining.
The Bank of America Travel Rewards card has no fee, so it’s an easy way to get started earning rewards for travel. This in depth review covers a lot, but if you have questions, we’re happy to answer them before you decide.
In general, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is a great option if you’re 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 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.
The real no brainer is if you have significant investments ($50,000+) with Bank of America, Merrill Edge, or Merrill Lynch accounts, which can unlock earning up to 2.6x points on everythin you spend, 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.
The great thing about this card is that a lot of things you wouldn’t think count as travel are classified as travel by Bank of America, so you can use your points to erase any of these charges from your statement:
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
The real secret sauce of this card is the extra point bonus you get for being a loyal Bank of America customer.
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 gets you 1.875x points per dollar you spend, and the bonus is posted on your statement at the same time as your regular spending points, so you don’t have to wait longer to receive them.
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 2.625x points on purchases once you count the rewards bonus.
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 an 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 comprehensive travel protection. Many competing cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 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.
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 so you have lots of time to use your points.
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 Bank of America 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.
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 If you spend $1,500 in a month you will earn 2,250 points. In a year, you would earn 27,000 points – redeemable for $270 toward travel purchases.
Other cards have special bonuses for spending in certain categories that can let you earn points faster. Let’s assume you spend $1,500 a month split across these spending categories:
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.
Bank of America 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 2% 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. And there’s no signon bonus to earn more points.
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 American Express card earns 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. gas stations, 2 points per dollar spent at U.S. 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.
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Foreign Transaction Fee Waived
Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?
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Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® or 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.