Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students Review

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The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students is a worthwhile choice for college students who have plans to study and travel abroad or want to rack up rewards during a gap year. You may, however, need a co-signer if you haven’t established a good credit history.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students

overall rating
4
Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students
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 (%) 16.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.4
for Fees
4.3
for Rewards
3.4
for Credit
4.0

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

Top Rated For

  • Best Credit Cards for Students

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Student Persona
    Looks for deals that make a limited budget go further
    Student
  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly
    Credit Builder

The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students is best for travel-minded students who want to use rewards to help pay for their next trip or while studying and trekking abroad. The card’s sign-up bonus and rewards rate are more than competitive, but unlike some student cards, you may need good credit (or a co-signer) to qualify. 

Pros

  • Generous sign-up bonus

  • Decent rewards rate

  • Long 0% APR promotion

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • You may need good credit

  • Low value when redeeming rewards as cash

Pros Explained

  • Generous sign-up bonus: Many student credit cards don’t offer a sign-up bonus, and if they do, they’re not always worth much. This card’s 25,000 bonus points are worth $250 in statement credits for travel purchases. 
  • Decent rewards rate: Some student credit cards offer bigger bonuses for specific types of purchases, but this card’s 1.5 points per $1 spent applies to everything, and unlike many competitors, there’s no cap on how much you can earn. Plus, you’ll get another 1.5 points per $1 spent on travel booked through the Bank of America Travel Center. 
  • Long 0% APR promotion: Your purchases won’t accrue any interest for the first 12 billing cycles, about twice as long as other student cards that offer an introductory APR. While it’s best to avoid carrying a balance (particularly as you’re establishing good credit card habits) you’ll have a year if you need some time to pay off a particularly large purchase. (Just remember your APR after that will jack up to a variable 16.74%-24.74%, depending on your creditworthiness.)
  • No foreign transaction fee: Some student cards charge a fee of as much as 3% of each transaction when you make purchases abroad. If you’re planning to take the card on an international trip, this card is the better choice. Foreign transaction fees can more than cancel out the rewards you’ll earn. 

Cons Explained

  • You may need good credit: Unlike with many student credit cards, a good credit score is recommended to get approved. If you’re just establishing your credit history, you may need a co-signer who meets those standards. Luckily, Bank of America is one of the few major issuers that allows co-signers on its student credit cards.
  • Low value when redeeming rewards as cash: Your rewards are worth the standard 1 cent per point if you use them to travel, but if you want cash back, you’ll get just 0.6 cents per point.  

Sign-Up Bonus

You’ll receive 25,000 bonus points if you spend at least $1,000 within 90 days of getting your card. That’s good for $250 in statement credits for travel purchases, or $150 if you redeem your points for cash. This is impressive, given most student cards have a meager bonus, if any. (Though some don’t require you to spend as much to get it.) Even if you have the Discover it Student Cash Back Card, which matches your rewards at the end of your first year, you’re not likely to net more.   

Earning Points & Rewards

The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students has a simple, straightforward rewards structure that applies to all purchases. You’ll earn 1.5 points per $1 charged on your card, more than competing flat-rate cards. The only exception is a bonus for eligible purchases made through the Bank of America Travel Center. For those, you’ll earn 3 points per $1.

There’s no limit on your earnings and your points never expire. 

Some student cards offer 2 or 3 points per $1—or even 5% cash back—but only for charges at certain locations, like grocery stores or gas stations. Depending on whether you spend the bulk of your money on the same things, you may earn more with a competing tiered-rate card.

Redeeming Rewards

The card offers a lot of flexibility on travel redemptions, and that’s how you’ll get the best value from your points. 

You can use your card to book travel how and where you want, with no blackout dates or restrictions. Then you request a statement credit against your travel purchases, and the bank will credit you at a value of 1 cent per point. You can redeem your points through your online account, the bank’s mobile app, or over the phone. (And you can redeem them for up to 12 months after you make a travel purchase, so if you haven’t earned enough to cover a trip, you have a year of wiggle room.) 

Bank of America defines eligible travel broadly. It includes purchases with airlines, hotels, timeshares, trailer parks, campgrounds, vehicle rental agencies, cruise lines, and travel agencies as well as boat rentals, parking lot fees, tolls, and more. Even charges at amusement parks and circuses qualify. In-flight goods and duty-free airport purchases are excluded, however.

You can also redeem your points for cash back, but at only 0.6 cents per point, you won’t get the most bang for your buck. You can also purchase gift cards with your rewards, and redemption values for those vary.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

If spending $1,000 in 90 days is a tall order for you, consider adding an authorized user, such as a parent, so you don’t miss out on the sign-up bonus. That person can use the card and then pay you back for his or her purchases. (Just make sure the person is reliable and will reimburse you right away, since you are responsible for any charges made by an authorized user.)

Use the card for everything you can, but avoid spending more than you can pay off at the end of each month. Not only is it a bad habit to get into, but you don’t want interest charges to eat into your rewards.

When it’s time to redeem your rewards, make sure to use them for travel rather than cash back to maximize their value.

Customer Experience

In J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Bank of America rates about average, but its mobile app is “better than most” at No. 3 out of nine card issuers. The bank also offers a live chat feature on its website, or you can reach customer service over the phone 24/7.

If you opt-in, Bank of America offers free monthly updates on your FICO credit score, a great feature for college students just starting to establish their credit history. Take advantage of the perk as you develop good credit habits.

Security Features

Bank of America offers standard security features like zero liability and chip card technology.

Bank of America Travel Rewards Card’s Fees 

This card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which is important if you’re planning to study or travel abroad. It also doesn’t charge an annual fee, which is relatively standard for this category of cards, but important for a starter card nonetheless. 

For Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students

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CURRENT CARD
Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students
overall rating
4
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 (%) 16.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles

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.