Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
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 $200 in online cash rewards after you make just $1,000 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 on the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter, and an unlimited 1% cashback on every other purchase. 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.
- You’ll pay a 3% fee (minimum $10) on all balance transfers.
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.