Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card Review 2022
New Account Bonus
Points and Redemptions
- New account bonus
- Flexible point redemption
- $0 annual fee
- 0% introductory interest rate, good for 15 billing cycles
- Steep fees on late payments
- Penalty APR charged after first late payment
- No points bump for certain purchase categories
- High credit score required for applicants
Overview of the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
A travel-oriented, widely accepted credit card can ease the task of making reservations at home and payments in an unfamiliar city. For some transactions, such as car rentals, a credit card beats cash or a debit card as a method of payment
Who Is It Best For?
The Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a solid option for someone who’s considering a card dedicated to travel expenses. Cardholders who book through Bank of America’s Travel Center system are rewarded with a generous points bump, and budget-conscious cardholders can avoid an annual fee.
Bank of America Travel Rewards Features
Travelers in the past relied on traveler’s checks to exchange their funds for foreign cash. Traveler’s checks also paid for transportation, hotels, meals, museum visits and other expenses when voyaging abroad. Credit cards made these transactions easier, while foreign travel lost one of its more daunting challenges — managing and protecting people’s money.
Later, credit cards began offering points and rewards for purchases, and several issuers designed more specialized cards that were geared to the traveler. The Bank of America Travel Rewards card made it into the top tier of travel cards with no annual fee, a generous new account offer and bonus points for the bank’s customers.
New Account Bonus
Credit cards typically offer new account bonuses in points or cash. The issuer requires a minimum purchase within a time limit, usually 60 or 90 days, for the bonus to kick in. Cards linked to travel providers, such as airlines, may offer miles as an introductory bonus.
New accounts on the Bank of America Travel Rewards card are rewarded with a generous starting bonus of 25,000 points. The bonus is granted after the purchase of $1,000 in goods or services in the first 90 days of owning the card. The points can be redeemed at the rate of 1 cent on travel or dining charges, so the bonus is worth $250 to the new account holder.
Points and Redemptions
Points accumulate on the Bank of America Travel Rewards card at the rate of 1.5 for every dollar of purchases, and they don’t expire. Going through the Bank of America Travel Center to book your purchase earns 3 points per dollar spent.
Preferred Rewards are offered to customers who maintain minimum balances in a Bank of America deposit account or a Merrill investment account. These kick in at:
- Gold: $20,000 minimum
- Platinum: $50,000
- Platinum Honors: $100,000
At these levels, they can significantly boost the card’s value.
At the top tier of Platinum Honors, the card rewards 2.625 points for every dollar spent, and 5.25 points per dollar for travel booked through the Bank of America Travel Center. There’s no limit to the number of points cardholders can collect on this card, and no “blackout dates” prevent cardholders from using them at the hotel or airline of their choice.
The card is flexible on redemption options, and purchases only indirectly related to travel are eligible. This includes airlines, hotels, restaurants, cruises, car rentals, local transportation, campgrounds, museums, aquariums, zoos and other expenses. In contrast to company-branded travel cards, there’s no restriction on the company or chain that customers reserve with.
Interest rates charged by the Bank of America Travel Rewards card are average for the industry. One of the card’s key advantages is an introductory annual percentage rate of 0% for the first 15 statement dates.
In contrast to many competitors, this card does not offer a 0% rate on balance transfers when cardholders open a new account. These transactions carry a varying rate from 14.24% – 24.24%, depending on the customer’s credit score. After the initial balance transfers, the APR will vary based on the prime rate.
No interest is charged on a purchase if the full purchase price is paid within 25 days after the close of the billing cycle.
Using the card for cash advances, wire transfers or balance transfers will incur a fee. This is set at either $10 or 5%, whichever is greater, of the amount on wire transfers or cash advances taken via ATM, online or over the counter. The fee is $10 or 3% of the amount, whichever is greater, on cash advances taken by direct deposit or check.
There’s no annual fee on the Bank of America Travel Rewards card, and no fee is charged on foreign transactions.
In addition, cardholders have to guard against even a single late payment, as a penalty APR of 29.99% is applied to purchases after the first one. This penalty APR can rise with the prime rate and can be applied by the company indefinitely.
Bank of America offers a good defense against fraudulent use of its credit cards and extends a 0% liability guarantee.
Cardholders must promptly report loss of the card or any suspicious activity. In most cases, the company will reimburse funds charged through fraud the next business day, pending the bank’s investigation of the transaction.
The Bank of America Travel Rewards card offers a few valuable perks for travelers:
- Car rental insurance is a nice security feature offering some peace of mind for travelers needing a vehicle.
- There’s no foreign transaction fee charged when you purchase items in a foreign country.
Trip Cancellation Perks
Cardholders in search of trip cancellation insurance will have to look elsewhere, however, as the Bank of America Travel Rewards card doesn’t offer it.
If trip cancellation insurance and other perks are high on a consumer’s needs list, they may want to consider the Bank of America Premium Rewards card. This card has trip cancellation or interruption insurance, as well as insurance covering delayed or lost bags, emergency transport and evacuation, and reimbursement if the trip purchased on the card is delayed. Premium Rewards also offers purchase protection and extended warranties.
Cardholders have an extensive network of ATMs and a national bank franchise available behind the Travel Rewards card.
Good To Know
Points on the Bank of America Travel Rewards card can be redeemed for a direct cash payment. The issuer makes the payment either by check or direct deposit into a bank account. The redemption rate is $.006/point, meaning once the minimum balance of 2,500 points is reached, the cardholder can redeem a cash payment of $15.
Comparable Travel Cards
Several other rewards cards are available to choose from, so consumers will want to see how alternative options stack up against Bank of America before deciding.
Bank of America Travel Rewards vs. Capital One Venture Rewards
The Capital One Venture Rewards card earns a generous 2 miles per dollar purchased, and 5x miles if rental cars or hotels are booked through Capital One Travel. This card then allows the holder to redeem the rewards for travel expenses at 1 cent per mile accumulated. It’s a real advantage for those who spend a larger amount on travel.
The Venture Rewards card levies an annual fee of $95. Despite the higher fee, the sign-up bonus beats Bank of America’s — it’s set at 60,000 miles if $3,000 is spent on purchases within three months. That means right out of the gate, the holder is rewarded with $600 in bonus value.
Bank of America Travel Rewards vs. Discover It Miles
The Discover It Miles card matches the Bank of America Travel Rewards points rate, offering 1.5x miles per dollar spent. In addition, the Discover It Miles card charges no annual fee and pays a 1-for-1 point match in the first year of use.
Bank of America Travel Rewards wins the matchup based on wider acceptance of the Visa payments network over Discover. For consumers interested in straight cash redemption, however, Discover extends the same rate whether the points are turned in for travel expenses or cash, putting it ahead of the Travel Rewards card.
Bank of America Travel Rewards vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Although Chase levies an annual fee of $95 for its Sapphire Preferred card, consumers relying on it for travel expenses enjoy a generous schedule of points and rewards. For travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5x points are rewarded. Dining purchases gain 3x points, and all other travel purchases get 2x. Points are redeemable at 1.25 cents each if a reservation is made through Chase.
In addition, the new account bonus is worth 80,000 points after purchases totaling $4,000 in the first 3 months, a major improvement over the comparable program at Bank of America.
Bank of America Travel Rewards vs. Delta SkyMiles
The Delta SkyMiles card, issued in partnership with American Express, is one of the most popular affinity travel cards. The Gold version offers 70,000 introductory bonus miles on opening a new account and charges no fee for the first year — although the fee is $99 annually thereafter. SkyMiles also offers 2x points on dining and grocery purchases and the same bump for reservations made with Delta.
When considering a travel card, it’s important to consider affinity programs for airlines and other travel providers such as hotel chains. If an employer is locked into a single provider for flights or rooms, for example, it may be advantageous for the employee to consider an affinity program for the bonuses offered for booking with that provider.
Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card FAQHere's some more answers to frequently asked questions about the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card.
- How do you apply for the card?
- Visit the homepage for this card and click on the Apply Now button. You'll have to give basic information about yourself as well as your annual income, source of income and housing expenses.
- What’s the required credit score for this card?
- Bank of America sets the bar fairly high for its Travel Rewards card. The issuer recommends a good-to-excellent score for those applying, meaning a FICO at about 670 or above.
- Is there online account access?
- Account holders can go to Bank of America's online banking portal to access information about their points and rewards, as well as an extensive menu of affinity reward programs.
- Is there a minimum point balance to redeem points?
- Redemption of points is available once 2,500 points are reached. The issuer sets a minimum of 3,125 points for redemption in the form of gift cards.
- What are the ways to redeem points?
- Points can be redeemed for rewards in the form of travel credit, cash or gift cards.
- Is there a limit to the points you can earn?
- There's no limit on points with this card. There's no fee to redeem points, and the points don't expire.
With its Preferred Rewards program for qualified cardholders, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card edges out close competitors issued by Capital One and Chase. Applicants do need solid credit scores to qualify, however, and the card is missing a few of the perks offered by the same bank’s Premium Rewards card.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Bank of America. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Bank of America.
This article was republished on April 26, 2022. Information is accurate as of April 6, 2022.
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