Bank of America Travel Rewards Card Review

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The Bank of America Travel Rewards card offers solid value for a travel card with no annual fee, and you don’t have to work especially hard, either. The single rewards rate on every purchase is very competitive, and if you’re a Bank of America customer with a sizable balance, you’ll earn even more, thanks to the card’s loyalty bonus.

Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card

overall rating
4.5
Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
3.2
for Fees
3.5
for Rewards
3.1
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

25,000 bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening - which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker

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.

Pros
  • Competitive earnings rate

  • Points can be redeemed for travel bought anywhere

  • Generous bonus for new cardholders

Cons
  • 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

Pros Explained

  • 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: Among travel cards with no annual fee, the bonus beats the competition by $50-$100.

Cons Explained

  • 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 first be applied to the most recent travel purchase 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.

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 $1,200 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.

Redeeming Rewards

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
  • Tolls 
  • 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 the most recent travel purchase you made on the card. So you’ll need to keep a close eye on your points balance and redeem as soon as you can 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 relatively quickly, since you only have one year after a qualifying purchase to be reimbursed for it, and statement credits must go first to the most recent purchase. 

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.

Customer Experience

Bank of America received an “About average” ranking in J.D. Power’s 2019 Power 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.

Security Features

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.  

Fees 

The card’s fees are mostly standard for the industry. Travelers will be happy with the fact that there is no foreign transaction fee.

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CURRENT CARD
Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
overall rating
4.5
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Bank of America. "Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  2. Bank of America. "Preferred Rewards." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  3. Bank of America. "Terms and Conditions for Bank of America Travel Rewards." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  4. J.D. Power. "Credit Card Rewards War Reaches Inflection Point as Competition Grows, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed May 15, 2020.