Author: Bankrate Staff | Last Updated: January 4, 2019
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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 100.
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; annual fees, sign-up bonuses, APR, rewards value, and additional features (like travel insurances). Each category is weighted accordingly to give a final score out of 100.
Bankrate’s top picks for Bank of America credit cards
Recap of the top Bank of America credit cards
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: Best for travel
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 if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening , which 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: Best for cash back
This card offers decent rewards rates on groceries and gas, but the real value is unlocked if you are a Preferred Rewards client with Bank of America. That way, you can boost your customer bonus up to 25% – 75%. (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.
- $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on 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 1% on all other spending.
- If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can get a 25% – 75% rewards bonus 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: Best for balance transfers
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 at 0% APR and low balance transfer fees, this card delivers on both. The BankAmericard offers 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account, then, 15.24% – 25.24% Variable APR. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers. While this isn’t industry-leading (there are some cards offering $0 balance transfer fees) it’s better than most.
- The lower end of the variable APR rate is much lower than the industry average.
- 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of opening the account.
- No annual fee.
- No penalty APR. Paying late won’t automatically raise your interest rate (APR). 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: Best for large sign-up bonus
As with all of the Bank of America credit cards, your rewards rates are improved for loyal Bank of America customers. Preferred Rewards clients can get a 25% to 75% rewards bonus (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.
- 50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.
- Earn unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per $1 spent on everything else.
- Flexible redemption options. You can redeem cash back as statement credit, a deposit into an eligible account, gift cards or travel purchases (through 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: Best for a strong airline transfer program
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 800 destinations on your rewards. That’s a great perk of this card. Couple that fact with the annual Companion Fare, that gives you a companion ticket on Alaska Airlines for just taxes and fees, Alaska Airlines Visa Signature a very compelling offer for. If you regularly fly long-haul, and or plan to in 2019, this card offers the most value.
- Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent directly with Alaska Airlines and 1 mile for every $1 on everything else.
- 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 or more in the first 90 days.
- 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.
- $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: Best business card for cash back
The Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card offers high tiered rewards rates with a very high spending cap before your rewards rate drops. You will earn 3% cash back at gas stations and office supply stores on up to $250,000 in combined spending a year before your reward rate drops down to 1%. That’s a very generous rate that means you could earn as much as $7,500 before your reward rate drops, and on a no annual fee card. 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 2019 deal in the Small Business credit card industry.
- Generous sign-up bonus that is easily attainable.
- Great rewards rates if your business spends heavily on gas station and office supplies 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 constitutes as an office supply store is also somewhat strict, 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: Best business card for travel rewards
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 which is 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 client you can get up to 75% rewards bonus.
- There are business cards with more generous rewards rates.
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card: Best for businesses that fly with Alaska Airlines
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 for just 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.
- 30,000 bonus miles when you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days.
- Companion Fare every year.
- 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 checkings, 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 30,00 bonus miles, 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.