Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review: A travel rewards card to offset your vacation dining
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 at least $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 welcome 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 CardName 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 at least $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. Interestingly, though, you can also redeem points for statement credit to cover restaurant purchases, including takeout, making this card an excellent option for all the people saying, "Travel rewards are great, but eating out while on vacation is EXPENSIVE!" This card allows you to offset that otherwise hard-to-offset, but absolutely necessary part of traveling; after all, everyone has to eat.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
- Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
The CardName 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.
Lastly, this card offers IntroAPRRate (then, RegAPR). Intro APR offers aren't common among travel rewards cards, so this benefit does help this card stand apart.
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 CardName 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.
CardRatings conducts a survey annually to learn what actual cardholders think of their cards. Here are the results:
|Current Scores||Past Scores|
|Rewards Program Satisfaction||7.7||7.2|
|Likelihood of Continuing to Use||8.3||7.8|
|Recommend to a Friend/Colleague||7.6||7.4|
*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.]]>
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card vs. CardName
The CardName 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% as a base rate on 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 earn 1.5% more cash back on every purchase (up to $20,000 spent) during the first year. You can also take advantage of an intro 0% APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers (then RegAPR).
It's not specifically a travel card, but the CardName 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®
Unlike the Bank of America® Travel Rewards card, the CardName carries a AnnualFees annual fee, but its rewards program is a bit more lucrative. Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders earn 5X total points on all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal; 3X points on dining, including eligible delivery services and takeout; 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs); 3X points on select streaming services; 2X points on travel purchases; and 1X point on all other purchases. The welcome offer is a bit more, too. New cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points, worth $750 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.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards vs. Cash Rewards
Both solid options in the Bank of America family, the main difference between these two cards is the way that they earn rewards. With the Bank of America® Travel you earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on every purchase made. With the CardName though, you earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (in one of the following six categories: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings), 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.
The other big difference between these two cards is that the Travel Rewards card gives rewards in points, not in cash. The Travel Rewards card's welcome offer has the same low spend threshold of at least $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 Rewards card (once spending at least $1,000 in the first 90 days your account is open), 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 prefer your rewards in the form of points or straight cash, and also of how you like to earn your rewards. Tiered categories are great if you make a lot of purchases at specific places each quarter, while flat rewards are better for those who don’t like to think about how/where they’re earning rewards, and instead, just want to earn them with every swipe of their card.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards vs. Premium Rewards®
The CardName is basically just an amped up version of the Travel Rewards credit card. It has a AnnualFees 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 PreCheck® 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 at least $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 unlimited two points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, both cards can earn you 25%-75% more, and neither card charges foreign transaction fees.
CardName 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.
Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2022 to conduct surveys among 1,554 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2022-Aug. 31, 2022 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were included to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted. "Current Scores" reflect scores from the most recent survey (2022); "Past Scores" reflect scores from the 2021 survey.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Compared to Other Travel rewards Cards
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