Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
Consumers with a healthy chunk of money in qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts or Merrill investment accounts will get the most value from this card. Depending on how much money you have in them, you could earn 25% to 75% more than you would if you didn’t bank with Bank of America—up to 2.62 points for every $1 you spend on the card.
But even if you bank elsewhere, this is a worthwhile credit card if you have good credit and want a super-simple way to earn points toward free travel. Earning 1.5 points on every purchase is a good rewards rate for a flat-rate travel card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. And the redemption process is one of the more flexible and low-maintenance around.
Competitive earnings rate
Points can be redeemed for travel bought anywhere
Generous bonus for new cardholders
Restrictions on when you can redeem points, and for how much
Very high holdings required in other accounts to earn extra rewards
Short purchase APR deal compared to other similar cards
- Competitive earnings rate: 1.5 points per dollar spent isn’t unusually high among general travel rewards cards without an annual fee. But you earn the flat rate on every purchase, while many other cards require you to spend in particular categories to earn a higher rate.
- Points can be redeemed for travel bought anywhere: Unlike some travel cards, this one lets you book travel using any website or travel agent that you please, and request reimbursement in the form of a travel credit. So you don’t have to worry about the award seat restrictions or travel blackout dates that come with some airline rewards programs, and you’re not limited to buying your travel through a particular booking system.
- Generous bonus for new cardholders: This card offers a large 25,000 point bonus, worth $250 dollars when redeemed against travel purchases. Among travel cards with no annual fee, the bonus beats the competition by $50-$100.
- Restrictions on when you can redeem points, and for how much: You can’t redeem points for travel credit or cash until you’ve collected at least 2,500 points, or $25. And the points must be applied to the most recent 2,500 qualifying travel and dining purchases you made on the card. The required minimum could leave money in your account versus in your wallet.
- Very high holdings required in other accounts to earn extra rewards: While it’s nice that you can potentially earn more by having another account at Bank of America or Merrill, you only qualify if you’ve got at least $20,000 in one of those accounts. The top-earning tier requires at least $100,000.
- Short purchase APR deal compared to other similar cards: Other travel cards with no annual fee offer interest-free promotional periods of 14 or 15 months. This card offers 12 months.
New Cardholder Bonus
The 25,000-point bonus is worth $250 in travel—more than most competitors offer. Plus, you only have to spend $1,000 within your first 90 days to earn those points, which may be fairly easy if you use your card for everyday expenses such as groceries and gas.
You won’t qualify for a sign-up bonus if you’re an existing customer upgrading your card. Only consumers applying for a brand new card are eligible.
Earning Points & Rewards
Many travel cards award 2 or more points per $1 spent on airline, hotel, or other travel purchases, but only 1 point per $1 on everything else. So unless you spend a ton of money on travel, it can be tough to build up a lot of points on those cards. The Bank of America Travel Rewards card makes it easy to collect points just by using your card for routine purchases. You’ll receive 1.5 points for every $1 you spend, regardless of what you buy, which gives you more opportunities for earning points
For example, if you regularly charge $1,000 a month—in groceries, gas, or whatever else you buy with the card—you’ll automatically collect at least 1,500 points a month. That’s 18,000 points per year, adding up to $180 worth of travel by the end of the year.
You can earn more with a qualifying Bank of America deposit and/or Merrill investment accounts, too, although the entry level for earning those extra points is steep. Depending on your three-month average balance, this is how much of a boost you'll get in rewards, and the value of your points after charging $12,000 in a year:
- $20,000 to $49,999 = 25% rewards bonus (1.87 points per $1) = $224
- $50,000 to $99,999 = 50% rewards bonus (2.25 points per $1) = $270
- $100,000 or more = 75% rewards bonus (2.62 points per $1) = $314
There’s no cap on the total number of rewards points you can earn, nor is there an expiration date for rewards.
All cardholders have another way to boost earnings. You can earn 3 points for every $1 spent on most purchases made through the Bank of America Travel Center, with no limit on the number of bonus points you can earn.
Points redeemed for travel are worth 1 cent each, which is the baseline value you want to get from a general travel rewards card. While some credit cards let you transfer your points to other rewards programs with higher-value points or miles, transfers aren't allowed on this card.
At first glance, redeeming your rewards points seems like it should be fairly simple. You can redeem them for a statement credit that reimburses you for qualifying travel purchases made in the previous 12 months with the card.
There is a surprisingly wide variety of expenses that qualify for the travel reimbursement. Besides airfare, car rentals, travel agencies, and hotels, you can also be reimbursed for:
- Public transportation such as buses and ferries
- Parking lot fees
- Tourist attractions, including art galleries, amusement parks, and zoos
The catch is that when you redeem points for travel, you have to do so in 2,500-point (equal to $25) increments. And the statement credit must first be used for recent purchases.
You can redeem your points for gift cards and cash, too, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Points that are redeemed for cash are only worth 0.6 cents each, and those redeemed for gift cards will vary in value, depending on the retailer. You can only redeem points for cash in increments of 2,500 and for gift cards in increments of 3,125.
How To Get the Most Out Of This Card
You’ll get the most value out of this card if you already have or you open a qualifying Bank of America checking or savings account, and/or a Merrill account with at least $20,000 in funds. Bank of America’s loyalty bonus is tiered based on how much money you have saved; but if you have an extensive amount of savings banked, you could get quite a bit of value out of your Bank of America card.
You’ll also want to redeem points just after making a purchase since you only have one year after a qualifying purchase to be reimbursed for it and especially because statement credits must go to the most recent qualifying purchases.
Finally, if you’re going to book travel, consider doing it through the bank’s travel center so you’ll get the extra 1.5% points on every dollar you spend.
Bank of America ranked third out of 11 national card issuers and scored a bit above average in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.
Bank of America offers a mobile app, an online chat feature on its website, and free regular access to your FICO credit score.
Bank of America has standard security features, including the ability to set up account alerts and to use a virtual card number in mobile wallets.
The card’s fees are mostly standard for the industry. Travelers will be happy with the fact that there is no foreign transaction fee.