Let’s be honest. There are many great travel credit cards out there, from premium cards with point-increasing travel portals to cards with a variety of valuable statement credits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card doesn’t really seem to fall into any of these categories and, quite honestly, it’s generally considered a mediocre card.
However, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card actually has a few features that make it ideal for the right person – someone who wants simplicity, no annual fees, a decent flat-rate rewards structure, and flexibility when it comes to payment. ‘exchange.
Luckily, this card offers all of that, plus a bit more. Here’s a look at some of the “hidden” benefits the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card has to offer.
What does the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card offer?
Quick Card Details:
- Welcome offer: 25,000 bonus points when you make purchases of $1,000 within 90 days of account opening (worth $250 for travel)
- Reward rate: 1.5X unlimited points on all purchases
- Annual subscription: $0
- Enter APR: 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases
- Regular APR: 13.99% to 23.99% Variable APR
For starters, this card offers 1.5 times the points on all your spend. Although this rate is nothing to write home about, the draw here is simplicity. Unlike many travel credit cards, there are no rotating bonus categories to follow or activate each quarter. Simply swipe your card for all your purchases and watch the rewards accumulate in your account.
As a starter travel card with no annual fee, you should also consider the welcome bonus and the introductory interest rate for purchases.
First, if you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account, you’ll earn 25,000 bonus points, worth $250 when redeemed for travel or meals. You can also enjoy an introductory APR of 0% on new purchases for 15 billing cycles, allowing you to pay off large purchases over the course of one year and three months. After 15 billing cycles, your APR will be between 13.99% and 23.99% variable.
These features are roughly comparable over similar travel credit cards with no annual fee. Now let’s explore some unique features that might make you take a second look at this Bank of America card.
Earn and redeem rewards
As mentioned, you will earn 1.5 fixed points on all purchases. Unlike some rewards cards, there are no rotating bonus categories to track or activate, making this a good choice for simplicity.
The deciding factor here is that you can increase your earnings as a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. As part of this invitation-only rewards program, you’ll earn up to 75% more rewards for every dollar you spend with your Bank of America Travel Rewards Card. However, to qualify, you must maintain a minimum balance in your qualifying Bank of America or Merrill investment accounts. The minimum balance for each level is as follows:
|Gold||$20,000 to $49,999||25%|
|Platinum||$50,000 to $99,999||50%|
|Platinum Honors||$100,000 to $999,999||75%|
|diamond||$1,000,000 to $9,999,999||75%|
|Diamond Honors||$10 million or more||75%|
As a member you will find that this can really boost your earnings beyond the 1.5x return you would normally earn with the card. At the highest tier, you could earn up to 2.62X points for every dollar spent with your Travel Rewards card. Even doing the first tier can earn you 25% more rewards, which can be a substantial boost with a flat rate card like this.
Now let’s talk about redeeming your rewards. This is where the simplicity is extended and the flexibility becomes more apparent. The Bank of America Travel Rewards Card allows you to redeem your rewards for statement credit or cash as a deposit to an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account. Plus, you can redeem your rewards for travel and dining purchases up to 12 months after the transaction appears on your statement.
Unlike some rewards credit cards, your cash redemptions don’t lose value, so your points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed. In other words, 5,000 points are worth $50, either in cash or on a credit statement to cover your travel or dining purchases.
If you decide to redeem your points for gift cards, the redemption value is considerably less at 0.6 cents each. Then there is a minimum of 3,125 points for redemption.
Why The Bank of America Travel Rewards Card Should Be Recognized For Its Hidden Benefits
If you focus on the seemingly meager 1.5x earnings, you might actually be overlooking the convenience of this card, as well as the flexibility of dining and travel redemption options. Credit on the travel rewards statement for past purchases means you won’t face blackout dates or travel restrictions when redeeming.
Another benefit of redeeming your rewards for travel in the form of statement credit is that you’ll have the freedom to book through third-party sites for potentially better travel deals. If you don’t want to log into issuer travel portals and wade through all the information and an unfamiliar interface, the simplicity of booking with your travel site of choice can be appealing.
Next, you should know that your points cover a wide range of travel purchases that are not offered as redemption options by other issuers. For example, you can get statement credits for admission tickets to art galleries and aquariums, purchases at bars and nightclubs, or even qualifying purchases from real estate agents.
Here is a list of travel and dining related categories covered by your points:
These travel categories are much broader than what many issuers offer as travel redemptions, and knowing how many categories your points could cover offers the potential to save a ton of money. Remember, if you don’t travel or dine much, you can always redeem your points for cash back.
Otherwise, why should you get the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card?
In addition to strong cash values for travel and dining purchases, you might want this card for additional benefits, like access to the BankAmeriDeals program. With BankAmeriDeals, you can enjoy exclusive discounts for using your card at eligible retailers for a specific period of time. You can save 5-15% on select purchases by activating your offer and using your card based on offer details.
If you are an erudite traveler, for example, chances are you also like cultural places such as museums. If so, you can take advantage of the Bank of America Museums On Us program. Simply show your Bank of America debit or credit card and valid photo ID for free admission. More than 225 “cultural institutions” during the first weekend of each month.
Finally, since the Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a Visa Signature card, you will have access to additional benefits including purchase protection, concierge services, extended warranty coverage, access to curbside shipping and certain travel and emergency assistance services.
The bottom line
At first glance, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card may not seem very appealing. As a basic travel credit card, the features are pretty minimal. However, a closer look at the convenience and flexibility of this card makes it a worthwhile option to consider.
And as a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, this card is ready to deliver even more value.