Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review: No annual fees plus 1.5 points on every purchase
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- An intro offer rewards new cardholders with a $250 value (25,000 bonus points) after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of opening an account.
- Enhanced rewards for Bank of America Preferred Rewards members, including up to a 75% bonus on rewards.
- A simple rewards earning structure means rewards can accumulate quickly without requiring a lot of planning.
- The rewards and intro offer are decent for low to average credit card spenders, but if you're a heavy credit card user, you can likely find another travel rewards card with more substantial rewards.
If you're an avid traveler who doesn't like to do a lot of work to earn your rewards, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card could be a great fit for you. It doesn't offer special categories in which you can earn rewards, but instead, gives you a consistent 1.5 points per dollar spent on every purchase made. And if you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, the amount of points that you earn can increase by a whopping 25% to 75% depending on your tier (tiers are based on three-month average balances across qualifying accounts).
In addition to 1.5 points earned per dollar spent, new Bank of America® Travel Rewards cardholders can get the ball rolling with 25,000 bonus points, earned after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening an account. Since 100 points equal $1 in travel credit, that's equal to a $250 bonus in statement credit for travel, which is a pretty attractive welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card.
Points can be redeemed for statement credits to help cover most travel expenses such as hotel accommodations, vacation packages, auto rentals, baggage fees, and more.
- Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
- Redeem on travel-from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has all the bells and whistles you'd expect to find in a travel card. The rewards rates are competitive, and redeeming points for travel is a breeze. There are no blackout dates or restrictions when it comes to using your card for travel, which adds an extra layer of accessibility. Points can be redeemed for statement credits which can then be applied for travel purchases which means you're free to make any travel purchase you want.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards cardholders also have access to many perks traditional Bank of America customers receive including overdraft protection and access to Bank of America financial centers and ATMS. Plus, Its fraud protection, detection, and resolution services have been recognized across the industry as some of the best.
The ability to earn additional rewards as a Bank of America customer is an intelligent way for issuers to look at how cardholders can redeem points. Because cardholders can add their rewards points into an eligible savings account, technically rewards points can earn interest. The entire concept promotes strategic credit card use, which is always a win in our book.
One of the benefits of being a Bank of America credit card holder is access to rental car insurance. If you pay for your entire car rental with your Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and decline the rental car agency's insurance coverage, you can rest assured knowing that you’re covered by Bank of America, and that you're saving yourself money by not shelling out dollars for insurance coverage you hopefully won’t need anyway.
When traveling, it's not safe to carry a lot of cash, so people tend to use their credit cards for purchases. This is a smart move, but many credit cards, however, charge up to a 3% fee for foreign transactions. That's more than $100 on a $4,000 hotel tab. Why waste your money on a fee? That's where this card comes into play.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can spend freely both near and far without worrying about accruing extra costs. A 3% fee may not seem like much, but it can add up in a hurry, especially if your travels take you abroad often.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is very similar to the Bank of America® Travel Rewards card in that it's a no-annual-fee card that offers unlimited 1.5% on all purchases – in the form of cash back though, instead of points. However, the Chase card also awards 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and 3% at drugstores. Additionally, new cardholders can earn a $200 bonus with the Chase card once spending a very manageable $500 within the first three months of opening an account and can earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) during your first year as a cardholder. Additionally, you can take advantage of an intro 0% APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases (then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable).
It's not specifically a travel card, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited® does come with some travel benefits that are worth mentioning, such as trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, auto rental collision damage waiver, and roadside assistance. Additionally, rewards accumulate as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, so your "cash back" can certainly be redeemed as travel rewards. The Chase card does charge foreign transaction fees though, so if you're looking for a credit card to use internationally, you might be better off with the Bank of America card.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred®
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Unlike the Bank of America® Travel Rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card carries a $95 annual fee, but its rewards program is a bit more lucrative. Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders earn two points on travel and dining at restaurants and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. The welcome offer is a bit more, too. New cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points, worth $1,000 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, once spending $4,000 within the first three months of card membership.
If it’s the dining and travel categories where you make the bulk of your credit card purchases, it will likely be difficult to match the earning rate that you can get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, unless maybe you have Preferred Rewards status with Bank of America. Even then though, Sapphire Preferred® rewards are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, so it’s a hard program to beat.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards has no annual fee though, so it might be the better option if you’re looking for a card that doesn’t have any extra costs.
The information related to this card has been collected by CardRatings and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards vs. Premium Rewards®
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The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is basically just an amped up version of the Travel Rewards credit card. It has a $95 annual fee, but also a lot of additional rewards which help to offset this.
To start, Premium Rewards® cardholders enjoy $100 back every year to cover airline incidental costs as well as a $100 credit to cover a TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry application fee. The welcome bonus also holds more value. With the Premium version, new cardholders can look forward to 50,000 points - a $500 value - once spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening an account.
There’s a boost when it comes to earning rewards with the Premium card, too. Instead of earning 1.5 points per dollar, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® cardholders earn two points on travel purchases and 1.5 points on everything else.
If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, both cards will earn you 25%-75% more, and neither card charges foreign transaction fees.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a good card for someone who does a moderate amount of traveling and doesn't want the hassle of hidden fees or categories to earn points. Rewards are easy to redeem, and if you are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member this card is especially beneficial because your rewards points are accelerated.