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Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card review: Choose your bonus category

This is a terrific credit card for cardholders who value choice in their cash-back rewards programs – 3% back in your choice category of gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishing; 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 spent quarterly in combined choice category/grocery/wholesale club purchases); and 1% on all other purchases. You can update your choice category for future purchases once each calendar month using the mobile banking app or online banking, or do nothing and it stays the same.
 CardRatings Editor  | Updated

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Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

This card is no longer available.
Our Rating:   
Excellent/Good

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.

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.

BANK OF AMERICA® CASH REWARDS CATEGORIES

The categories in which you can earn cash back rewards with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card are on a tiered system.

  • The first one is the 3% cash back tier where you can earn 3% cash back in one of the following six categories: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings. You choose which category depending on where you spend the most money.
  • The second tier is 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to $2,500.
  • 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%.

  • The last tier is 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 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.

    Top Features

     Cash Back on Gas
    Earn 3% cash back on gas or your choice of one of five other popular categories (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
     Cash Back on Groceries
    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
     Cash Back on Other
    Unlimited 1% on all other purchases

    BANK OF AMERICA® CASH REWARDS REDEMPTION OPTIONS

    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.

    BANK OF AMERICA® CASH REWARDS FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE AND OTHER DRAWBACKS

    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.

    HOW BANK OF AMERICA® CASH REWARDS COMPARES TO OTHER CREDIT CARDS

    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 Flex℠

    These two cards showcase a couple of similar features, but their reward structures are vastly different.

    Let's start with the similarities. Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers new cardholders a $200 cash-back bonus after spending $500 within three months, which is a lower spending threshold and offers 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®) for the first $12,000 spent during your first year as a cardholder. 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 Flex℠ 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.

    IS THE BANK OF AMERICA® CASH REWARDS CARD A GOOD CREDIT 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.

    Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Compared to Other Cash back Cards

    This card is no longer available.
    Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
    Apply online for Chase Freedom Unlimited®
    Cash Back on Gas
    Earn 3% cash back on gas or your choice of one of five other popular categories (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) 
    Cash Back on Gas
    3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). 
    Cash Back on Gas
    1.5% 
    Cash Back on Gas
    1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
    Cash Back on Gas
    Qualified applicants will receive exclusive benefits such as 1% cash back rewards on all purchases 
    Cash Back on Groceries
    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 
    Cash Back on Groceries
    6% at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) 
    Cash Back on Groceries
    5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target(R) or Walmart(R) purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. 
    Cash Back on Groceries
    1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
    Cash Back on Groceries
    Qualified applicants will receive exclusive benefits such as 1% cash back rewards on all purchases 
    Cash Back on other
    Unlimited 1% on all other purchases 
    Cash Back on other
    1% cash back on other purchases 
    Cash Back on other
    1.5% 
    Cash Back on other
    1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
    Cash Back on other
    Qualified applicants will receive exclusive benefits such as 1% cash back rewards on all purchases 

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