Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card review: Choose your bonus category
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Maximize your cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings.
- Now earn 3% cash back in your choice category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
- Earn a $200 online cash back bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening.
- This offer is very competitive, but earning additional bonus cash back (25-75% more on each purchase) is reserved for those who are Preferred Rewards clients.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- BANK OF AMERICA® CASH REWARDS CATEGORIES
- BANK OF AMERICA® CASH REWARDS REDEMPTION OPTIONS
- BANK OF AMERICA® CASH REWARDS FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE AND OTHER DRAWBACKS
- HOW BANK OF AMERICA® CASH REWARDS COMPARES TO OTHER CREDIT CARDS
- IS THE BANK OF AMERICA® CASH REWARDS CARD A GOOD CREDIT CARD?
With no annual fee, a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend just $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening, and the ability to choose which category you'll earn 3% back in, it's hard to beat the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card.
It's a straight-forward, simple credit card. Rewards don't expire, there is no annual fee, and categories for earning your 3% back don't change unless you want them to. It doesn't get much easier than that.
The categories in which you can earn cash back rewards with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card are on a tiered system.
You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then 1%.
In addition to these three tiers of cash back rewards, if you’re a Bank of America Premier Rewards member you could earn up to 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase made. That means the 3% choice category rewards could be worth as much as 5.25% and the 2% categories could be worth as much as 3.5% back! That’s a steal for a card with no annual fee.
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- No annual fee
- No minimum to redeem for cash back
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Just as the name says, this is a cash back rewards-based card. Rewards don't expire. They can be redeemed as a credit on your statement, deposited directly into your Bank of America accounts, or to eligible Merrill accounts.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, so if you frequently travel abroad, you might want to consider bringing another card along for your international purchases. This fee might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but think about it this way: if you spend $3,000 on a trip abroad with your Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, you’ll be looking at an extra $90 in fees. This might not be a huge deal to if you rarely travel internationally, especially because this card has no annual fee, however, if you’re taking multiple trips abroad each year, the extra money you’ll spend because of this fee can quickly add up.
Another potential downside of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card also depends on your spending habits. You do get to choose the category you want your cash back rewards in, but the cap is $2,500 per quarter. Do the math, do your homework, and make sure it's worth it for you. You don't want to leave money on the table if you could earn more with another card.
Finally, unless you're a Preferred Rewards member, you won't be able to unlock every benefit of the card, including the 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card vs. Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
If you're looking to make a large purchase and earn cash back on it, you might want to consider the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer as its terms slightly edge out the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card because of its intro APR offer.
With the Citi card you'll get 18 months of introductory 0% APR, where most credit cards within the cash back category have, at most, a 12-month introductory offer of 0% APR, which is pretty generous. After the intro period, the APR jumps to 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable). If you have a major purchase on the horizon that would be easier to pay off in smaller increments, the extended balance transfer intro could be appealing.
One unique thing about the Citi® Double Cash Card is that it earns you 1% cash back when you buy and 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases (whether you pay your balance in full or over time, though you must make the minimum payment on time to earn cash back). So while the structure is different than the Bank of America card that offers tiered reward levels of 3%, 2%, and 1%, the Citi card gives you double the opportunity to earn cash back on every purchase made.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card vs. Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
If it’s the foreign transaction fees that make you weary of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card might be a suitable alternative as it does not charge the 3% fee that the cash rewards card does.
The other main difference between these two cards is that the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card gives rewards in points, not in cash. Its welcome offer has the same low spend threshold of $1,000 spent in the first 90 days that the account is open; however, instead of getting $200 cash as you would with the cash back rewards card, you earn 25,000 points, which is worth $250 toward travel.
Neither card has an annual fee, and rewards on both cards don't expire as long as your account is open and in good standing. The decision between these two will likely be the question of whether you frequently travel or keep closer to home.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card vs. Chase Freedom®
(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
These two cards showcase a couple of similar features, but their reward structures are vastly different.
Let's start with the similarities. Chase Freedom® offers new cardholders a $150 cash-back bonus after spending $500 within three months, which is less than what the Bank of America card offers, but for a lower spending threshold. Neither card charges an annual fee, but both charge a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made abroad.
Now for the differences: The primary difference between these two cash back cards is the structure of categories. Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back when you activate on up to $1,500 spent in combined purchases in bonus categories that rotate each quarter. The differing quarterly categories could make the decision between which card is best for each cardholder. Sure, you earn a higher percentage back with the Chase card, but you don't get to select the category. You'll have to decide how much control you want when it comes to your rewards earning power if your decision boils down to these two cards.
The information related to the Chase Freedom® credit card has been collected by CardRatings and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.
If you like having choices and flexibility and don’t plan to frequently make foreign transactions, Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card could be a good fit for you. To make the most of it though, you need to be on top of your spending habits and know which category would be the best in terms of earning cash back.
This card is also great if you are not the type of person who wants to spend all of their rewards. Instead, you could use it as a savings tool by depositing your cash back rewards into one of your Bank of America accounts.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is also a sweet deal for Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients as this status helps you to earn additional cash back on every dollar you spend.