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Author: Barry Bridges
In this article:
Bankrate’s top picks for Bank of America credit cards
How we chose our favorite Bank of America cards
Bankrate’s team of credit card experts evaluated the Bank of America credit cards available for 2019 against our proprietary scoring method. Each card has been awarded a unique score out of a total of 5.
We have picked out the best cards for various scenarios. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding the best credit cards. The perfect card for you depends on what you are looking for. We have tried to do the hard work for you to help you find the Bank of America card to best suit your needs.
The Bankrate card experts have evaluated Bank of America credit cards on various attributes, including annual fees, sign-up bonuses, APR, rewards value and additional features like travel insurance. Each category is weighted accordingly to produce a final score out of a possible 5.
Deeper details on our top Bank of America credit cards
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
This card is a great option for your first travel rewards card, or if you won’t be traveling enough in 2019 to warrant a premium travel card, but you still want a card you can use outside the U.S. with no foreign transaction fee and that you can use toward travel-related expenses. With the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, you get a ton of flexibility allowing you to use your rewards to fly any airline, stay with any hotel chain, at any time.
- You get 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. That can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
- Points earned can be redeemed as statement credit for qualified travel spending, which means you’re not tied to a specific airline or hotel chain.
- No foreign transaction fee.
- You have to make your travel purchase first and then get your travel expenses back as statement credit.
- No lounge access or travel protections.
- There are higher flat-rate cash back cards.
Read our full Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card review.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
This card offers decent rewards rates on groceries and gas, but the real value is unlocked if you are a Preferred Rewards member. That way, you can earn 25% – 75% more cash back on every purchase. (See the “Bank of America Preferred Rewards” section to learn more.) This card is great for anyone looking for a straightforward cash back card for 2019 that offers good rewards rates on the categories you already spend heavily in, like grocery stores, wholesale clubs and gas stations.
- $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- This card offers 3% back on choice category purchases (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings) and 2% back on spending at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to $2,500 in combined spending per quarter, and unlimited 1% on all other spending.
- If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% – 75% more cash back on every purchase.
- No annual fee.
- You will pay a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S.
- The 3% and 2% cash-back rates have a spending limit of up to $2,500 in combined purchases which could be restrictive for anyone who spends heavily in those categories.
Read our full Bank of America Cash Rewards review.
BankAmericard® credit card
A balance transfer credit card can be a great tool to consolidate debt in 2019 and pay down what you owe without incurring interest. The best balance transfer cards offer long introductory periods and low balance transfer fees, this card delivers on both. While this isn’t industry-leading (there are some cards offering $0 balance transfer fees) it’s better than most.
- 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. (After offers expire, 14.99% – 24.99% variable APR applies.)
- No annual fee.
- No penalty rate. Paying late won’t automatically raise your interest rate. Other account pricing and terms apply.
- This card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus.
- On purchases outside the U.S., you will pay a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
Read our full BankAmericard credit card review.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
As with all of the Bank of America credit cards, your rewards rates are improved for loyal Bank of America customers. Preferred Rewards members can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase (based on your enrolled tier: Gold 25%, Platinum 50%, Platinum Honors 75%). The Premium Rewards card not only offers great rewards rates but also a generous sign-up bonus. The card’s $95 annual fee is more than made up for by up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections.
- Receive 50,000 bonus points, a $500 value, after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
- Earn unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per $1 spent on everything else.
- You have the flexibility to redeem for a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch® accounts like checking, savings, and 529, for gift cards or use at the Bank of America Travel Center.
- No foreign transaction fee.
Read our full Bank of America Premium Rewards card review.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
Co-branded airline credit cards tend to get a bad rap for inflexibility. Not so with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card because you can transfer your miles to a range of airline partners. That means you can get to over 900+ destinations on your rewards. That’s a great perk of this card. Couple that fact with the Companion Fare™ offer, which gives you a companion ticket on Alaska Airlines starting at $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22), valid on all Alaska flights booked on alaskaair.com, and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature has a very compelling offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account. If you regularly fly long-haul, and or plan to in 2019, this card offers the most value.
- Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on everything else.
- Now – 40,000 Bonus Mile + Alaska’s Famous Companion FareTM Offer.
- Your travel options are expanded as you can transfer your miles to numerous airline partners.
- Alaska’s companion fare could save you hundreds of dollars.
- Free checked baggage for up to six traveling with you on the same reservation.
- $75 annual fee.
- If you don’t travel routes frequented by Alaska Airlines or its partners then this probably isn’t the best card for you.
Read our full Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card review.
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
The Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card offers a high tiered rewards rate in your choice of one of six categories. You will earn 3% cash back on your choice of one of the following:
- Gas stations (default)
- Office supply stores
- TV/telecom & wireless
- Computer services
- Business consulting services
You also earn 2% cash back on dining (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Obviously, it depends if your business spends heavily in these categories as to whether this is the best option for you but it’s certainly a compelling deal in the Small Business credit card industry.
- Generous sign-up bonus that is easily attainable (a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening).
- Great rewards rates if your business spends heavily on any of the six choice categories.
- You get a 75% rewards bonus on every purchase when you’re a Business Advantage Relationship Rewards Platinum Honors tier client, which means you earn 5.25% on your selected choice category, 3.5% on dining and unlimited 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.
- The 2% rewards rate on restaurants is limited to actual restaurants, coffee shops and cafes are not included like they are with some other cards.
- The guidelines for what qualifies as an office supply store is also somewhat strict, so make sure to check out the details to ensure you’ll still benefit.
Read our full Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard review.
Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card
For small businesses that clock a lot of miles, you might want to consider the Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard for 2019. The card offers 1.5 points on every dollar you spend and 3 points per dollar spent on travel booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center — powered by Expedia®. That means you get maximum flexibility with no blackout dates. If your business takes you outside of the U.S. you can use your card happily knowing that you won’t be incurring foreign transaction fees. Your rewards with this card are unlimited which is generous for a no annual fee card.
- A sign-up offer of 25,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in net purchases within 60 days of opening your account (worth $250 in statement credit toward travel expenses).
- If you’re a Business Advantage Relationship Rewards Platinum Honors tier client, you get a 75% rewards bonus on the base earn of every purchase you make. As a result, you earn 2.62 points for every $1 you spend and 4.12 points per every $1 you spend at the Bank of America Travel Center.
- There are business cards with more generous rewards rates.
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card
If your business requires you to regularly travel the routes frequented by Alaska Airlines, the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card can give you access to Alaska Companion Fare once a year. On the anniversary of opening your account, you will receive a companion fare starting at $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees). That, in itself, can be worth the $50 annual fee for the company (plus $25 per card). Alaska also allows you to transfer miles to its airline partners which increases the flexibility and number of destinations at your disposal for 2019.
- 40,000 bonus miles when you make $2,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days.
- The Companion Fare starts at $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees).
- You get a free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other passengers.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- There are business travel cards offering higher rewards rates.
- If you require multiple cards for authorized users it could get expensive at $25 per card.
What is Bank of America?
Bank of America (often abbreviated to BofA) is the second biggest full-service bank in the U.S. (by total assets). It has both retail banking and corporate banking operations across the United States and in more than 35 countries. The Bank was the first to offer a licensed general-purpose credit card with the BankAmericard in 1966. BofA is well-known for its credit card line up, which covers the spectrum from great cash back, travel and business cards. Aside from credit cards, Bank of America offers a multitude of services from mortgages to car loans to checking, savings and brokerage accounts.
Why choose Bank of America?
Bank of America credit card perks vary depending on the card you choose, but there are a lot of lesser-known benefits for Bank of America cardholders. Take, for example, Museums on Us, which offers free museum visits for more than 200 U.S. museums on the first full weekend on each month, $0 liability coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen, access FICO score and mobile banking.
Bank of America credit cards are really a great choice for existing Bank of America clients. If you deposit your credit card rewards into a Bank of America checking or savings account in 2019, you will receive a 10% boost on what you’ve earned. With both banking and credit accounts through Bank of America, you can also take advantage of the simplicity of having all of your financial accounts available from one app.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards
Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program takes a lot of their services – including credit cards – from good to great. There are three tiers of Preferred Rewards, and your tier is calculated using your combined balances in your Bank of America banking and/or your Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts. You need to enroll in the program, but once you do, you will automatically be moved up as your balances grow.
This is another instance when using Bank of America for both your checking and saving needs can help you maximize the value you get from their services. When you use Bank of America Preferred Rewards, you can boost your rewards bonus that you earn on your BoA credit cards, qualify for auto loan and home equity discounts, take advantage of an interest rate booster for saving accounts and so much more.
Here is a simple breakdown of how each tier can help you earn more with your BoA credit card:
Gold Preferred Rewards
Gold Preferred Rewards requires a balance of $20,000 – $50,000 (it’s calculated as a three-month average on combined balances). If you qualify for Gold, you get a 25% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards, as well as other banking benefits for 2019.
Platinum Preferred Rewards
Platinum Preferred Rewards requires a balance of $50,000 to $100,000 and gives you a 50% boost on your rewards with eligible Bank of America credit cards. Additionally, you’ll receive a host of other benefits, such as increased savings rates and reduce mortgage origination fee.
Platinum Honors Rewards
Platinum Honors Rewards clients have a three-month average combined balance of over $100,000 and qualify for a huge 75% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards.
If you are a Preferred Rewards client, make sure to factor the rewards bonus into your analysis of their credit card offers, as they can really improve your 2019 returns.
Choosing the right Bank of America credit card
There are so many different types of credit cards to choose from, and Bank of America covers them all. It’s important to have a firm understanding of what you’re looking for from your credit card in 2019. Here are a few things you should consider before applying for your new credit card:
Your financial goals and personal spending habits
There is no “one size fits all” credit card. Determining which card will offer you the most value comes down to your goals and spending habits. If one of your 2019 resolutions is to travel more, one of Bank of America’s travel rewards cards might be a good fit for you. If you’re looking to consolidate debt, look for the card with the best balance transfer offer.
It’s also important to understand your spending habits because certain cards within a category might offer bonus rewards for certain expenses. Knowing which categories you spend the most in each month will help you choose a card that will earn the most rewards.
Perks and benefits
A good credit card should give you benefits that are easy to use and a rewards system that works best for you. For instance, frequent travelers will find the most value out of a travel-focused rewards card that offers perks such as travel statement credits, lounge access and trip insurance; busy families, however, might like the simplicity of a flat-rate cash back card with features like extended warranty and purchase protection.
Many cards offer a sign-up bonus after you hit certain spending requirements. Generous sign-up bonuses can turn an average card into a great one depending on the value of the bonus. Just because a card has a large sign-up bonus, however, does not mean that it’s automatically a better card for you. For example, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card offers 40,000 bonus miles after making purchases of $2,000 or more in the first 90 days of account opening, but that may not be of much value if you don’t travel often.
When looking at sign-up bonuses, it’s important to note whether you can realistically hit the minimum spend requirements to receive the bonus. If you have a smaller budget, a smaller sign-up bonus might be worth it if you have to spend less money on the card to get it.
If you ever plan on carrying a balance on your credit card, APR is extremely important because it determines how much interest you pay each month. Variable APRs differ from card to card but usually fall between 17 and 30 percent based on creditworthiness. Some cards also offer a 0% APR period when you first sign up for the card, which can help you pay off larger expenses such as appliances over time without paying interest.
Bottom line: There’s a Bank of America card for everyone, so long as you know what you’re looking for.
Barry Bridges is a senior editor for Bankrate. Before he started writing about personal finance, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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