Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card

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A fantastic travel rewards card only if you’re at a high-status level with Bank of America.

Advertiser Disclosure: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertising partners.

The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card includes some intriguing perks available to cardholders who have a banking relationship with Bank of America, but those extra goodies aren’t enough to make this a first-tier travel rewards credit card.

On the other hand, this is a good pick for any travel fan who wants to earn points, but doesn’t want to pay for the privilege.

Review

The Travel Rewards card (formerly the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card) comes with no annual fee, which makes its only decent rewards program look a bit better. You’ll earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend. Top-of-the-line travel cards pay 2X spending or more — but you’ll pay for it in the annual fee.

The signup bonus is also fairly standard for a fee-free travel card. You’ll earn enough points for about $200 in travel if you meet the spending requirements.

Again, pretty good, but nothing too exciting here.

Who should get this card

If you’re an existing Bank of America customer, the pumped-up rewards program makes this a card to consider. You can earn a 10% to 75% bonus on card spending depending on how much money you have banked with BofA.

Keep in mind, you’ll have to have some serious cash invested in this bank to earn this bonus, which probably still isn’t enough to compel you to switch bank accounts just for the credit card rewards.

What can those BofA bonuses earn you?

For example, if you have the highest status of Platinum Honors with Bank of America — which comes with a hefty $100,000 minimum account balance requirement, you can earn a 75% bonus on your cash-back rewards.

If you have no banking relationship and spend $1,000 in three months, you earn $15 in redeemable travel credits back. If you have a Bank of America bank account, with the 10% customer bonus, that gives you another $1.50 back for a total of $18.50 back.

But if you have the highest Platinum Honors Preferred status, that additional 75% back means you get a total of $26.25 on the $1,000 spent.

Advantages
  • Get 20,000 bonus points when you spend at least $1,000 within the first 90 days of opening an account.
  • Points earned can be redeemed for a statement credit for any qualified travel spending.
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
Disadvantages
  • You have to make your travel purchase first and then redeem your rewards as a credit on your statement. Some other rewards programs allow you to use your rewards directly to make the purchase.
  • No additional perks like lounge access or travel protections that come with many other travel rewards cards.
  • There are other rewards cards that earn a higher flat rate back.

Fees and APR

  • This card has no annual fee.
  • You’ll pay no foreign transaction fee if you use this card overseas.
  • There’s a 3% balance transfer fee and all transfers carry a variable 15.99% APR, making this a poor choice to transfer high-interest balances.
  • There’s a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles, then a variable 15.99% to 23.99%.

Extras, perks and using points

Use your points to redeem for a statement credit to pay for any travel-related expenses including flights, hotels, vacation packages, rental cars, cruises and baggage fees.

As a Bank of America customer, you can get a 10% points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America checking or savings account. If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, you could increase that bonus from 25% to 75%.

You have to maintain a combined balance of at least $20,000 with either Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or Merrill Edge to get these increased rewards but if you do, the cash-back rewards go from good to outstanding.

You don’t have to have to have the full amount of credit available to redeem, partial redemptions are allowed.

The points never expire and there is no fee to redeem them.

How this card compares

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
Card Details
  • No annual fee
  • $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days

If you have bank accounts with Bank of America, you might want to consider the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card, which has the same customer bonuses as the Travel Rewards card, but a different rewards structure. Cash Rewards offers 3% cash back on gas purchases and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to $2,500 in combined spending per quarter. You’ll earn 1% on all other purchases.  Rewards can be redeemed for a statement credit anytime, making it a more flexible choice.

 

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Card Details
  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard has a ton of flexibility. You can use your rewards to book travel on any airline, hotel, cruise ship. You can even take a taxi. Discount travel sites are covered, as well, letting you book your trip your preferred way.

If you’re a globetrotter, road-tripper or wanderer of any type, this card should be in your wallet.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.