Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.
Bank of America has just announced a new rewards structure that allows cardholders to decide how they want to earn rewards. This, paired with their modestly boosted sign-up bonus value, was enough reason to move this card from a “no thanks,” to a “sure.” Plus, if you are a Preferred Rewards client with Bank of America, you can really boost the value of this card.
You’ll earn $150 in online cash rewards after you make just $500 in purchases during the first 90 days of account opening. That spending requirement is fairly low – even for a rewards card that carries no annual fee.
Starting in January of 2019, cardholders can choose from six different categories to earn 3 percent cash back from – travel, gas, online shopping, restaurants, drug stores and home improvement/furnishings. If you’re enrolled in the Preferred Rewards program, the 25 to 75 percent bonus on purchases means your 3 percent category choice could be bumped up to 5.25 percent.
You’ll still receive 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and an unlimited 1 percent on everything else. Plus, you have the option to change your 3 percent cash back category once every month via Bank of America’s Mobile Banking app or Online Banking.
This card’s most direct competition is the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, another card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. Both cards offer extra rewards on gas station and supermarket spending.
If you purchase much of your household’s groceries, there’s a better card for you.
Who should get this card
This card is good for someone who wants an easy-to-follow cash-back card that rewards them for typical household spending. There are no rotating categories to keep track of and if you have a bank account or brokerage account with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch, the rewards value starts to exponentially increase.
This card also may be good for anyone looking to make a big purchase who wants the flexibility to pay it off over time. Cash Rewards comes with an introductory APR of 0% for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases and on balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After that, a variable APR of 16.24% – 26.24% will apply.
Fees and APR
- 0% introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles, then 16.24% – 26.24% variable
- There is no annual fee.
- You’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside the United States.
Extras, perks and using rewards
Cash-back rewards can be redeemed at any time in any amount as either a statement credit, deposited to your Bank of America bank account, or used to buy gift cards through Bank of America’s online shopping portal.
Preferred Rewards clients can get a bonus ranging from 25% to 75% depending on your Preferred Rewards status.
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.
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 bonus on your cash-back rewards of up 75%.
If you have just the Bank of America Cash Rewards card and spend $1,000 in three months on gas (if gas is your chosen 3% category), you earn $30 back. But if you have the highest Platinum Honors Preferred status, that additional 75% back means you get a total of $52.50 on the $1,000 spent at the pump.
How this card compares
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid, straightforward cash-back rewards card that’s ideal for cardholders who just don’t have the time or energy to track spending categories. It ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards we track.
There are other cards that offer better rewards, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash-back on everything is an excellent reward coming from a no-annual-fee credit card.
If you also hold a premium travel rewards card from Chase like the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer your rewards from the Freedom Unlimited to one of the premium cards to redeem for travel at an increased value.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is simple. And that’s a good thing.
The card’s rewards program is structured so you don’t have to think about whether this is the month that gas station spending pays more or that it’s time to take advantage of warehouse club spending. There’s also no annual fee, so you don’t have to do the math about how much you’ll have to spend to make the card worth it.
When it comes to rewards value, the Citi Double Cash Card ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards that charge no annual fee.
Longer-term, the Citi Double Cash Card may earn you more rewards. Earn an unlimited 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay for those purchases.