Key takeaways

  • The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers simplicity and low fees as a travel rewards starter card.
  • The rewards rate and perks aren’t likely to appeal to people with robust travel rewards experience.
  • It does, however, offer an intro APR period, which is uncommon among travel rewards cards.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card brings simplicity, low fees and an intro APR offer to a crowded and often complicated travel credit cards landscape. But is the card worth it for you?

You can certainly earn more rewards and enjoy higher redemption values with other travel rewards cards, but the Bank of America Travel card could deserve a place in your wallet under certain conditions.

When is the Bank of America Travel Rewards card worth it?

The Bank of America Travel card can be worth it as a travel rewards starter card, especially if you already have a relationship with Bank of America. Here are some situations in which the card is most worth it.

If you want a simple rewards structure

The card rewards you with unlimited 1.5X points on every purchase, which matches the rewards rates of many flat-rate cards. It isn’t a sky-high rate, but it’s simple with no categories or spending caps to remember. As an added bonus, your points won’t expire for the life of the account.

The welcome bonus is also easy to earn — spend $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening to receive 25,000 online bonus points, which can be redeemed for $250 in statement credit to cover travel purchases. For most cardholders, $1,000 is an attainable number that won’t require you to spend far above your budget. The best part is that there’s no annual fee to worry about offsetting. You can simply swipe the card on every purchase and wait for the rewards to pile up.

If you need an introductory APR offer

Travel rewards cards aren’t known for their balance transfer offers, so this feature does set the Bank of America Travel Rewards card apart.

Take advantage of a 0 percent intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases as well as on balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro period expires, the ongoing variable APR is 19.24 percent to 29.24 percent.

Remember, you won’t earn rewards on transferred amounts nor will the transfer count toward earning your welcome bonus. Purchases during the 0 percent APR period, however, will earn points and count toward the welcome bonus spending requirement.

If you’d like to redeem rewards for travel or dining

The Bank of America points you earn can be used for the standard redemptions such as statement credit, gift cards, check or direct deposit into a Bank of America or Merrill account. However, one special feature this rewards program offers is that you can redeem your rewards for statement credits retroactively, on eligible travel and dining purchases, for up to 12 months after your purchase date.

This essentially means that you can spend your rewards on travel booked through third-party websites or directly with the airline or hotel, instead of restricting redemptions to only travel reservations made through the issuer’s online portal. Plus, the travel and dining categories actually have a broad definition.

Here are a few examples of the wide range of redemption options for travel:

  • Flights, including baggage fees
  • Hotel stays
  • Timeshares
  • Vacation rentals
  • Travel agencies
  • Car, boat and truck rentals
  • Cruise lines
  • Tourist attractions
  • Transit
  • Campgrounds

Restaurant redemption also covers more than you might expect, including:

  • Restaurants
  • Takeout
  • Fast food
  • Bars and taverns
  • Nightclubs

Each point is worth 1 cent each when you redeem it for a qualifying travel or restaurant category. However, for gift card redemptions the value goes down to 0.6 cents, giving you far less bang for your rewards buck.

If you want useful travel perks

Naturally, you would expect a travel rewards card to limit the fees for those traveling overseas. This is true of the Bank of America Travel Rewards card, as it doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. In other words, you can swipe your card outside of the United States without generating fees for doing so.

The card is also a Visa Signature card, which entitles you to a host of benefits, including:

  • Visa Signature concierge services
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Travel and emergency assistance

If you have a Bank of America or Merrill bank account

Existing Bank of America or Merrill customers or those interested in banking with them may find the Bank of America Travel Rewards card particularly appealing because of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. Among other benefits, members earn 25 percent to 75 percent more rewards on each purchase.

There’s no fee to join the program and membership is automatic if you meet minimum balance requirements across your qualifying accounts. The highest tier, Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors, members earn a 75 percent boost on your 1.5X points rate, making your rewards rate 2.625X points. This tier requires a minimum three-month combined average daily balance of $100,000 across your qualifying accounts. The lowest Preferred Rewards tier, however, requires just a $20,000 average balance across your accounts, and those members receive a 25 percent boost on their rewards, bringing the rewards rate to 1.875X on each purchase.

If you’re able to take advantage of this program, it could add a substantial boost to your rewards.

When is the Bank of America Travel Rewards card not worth it?

Before signing up for the card, be sure to consider your own financial priorities. There are potential downsides to the card, too, which make it unsuitable for certain types of cardholders. If the following scenarios apply for you, you’d be better off applying for a different card.

If you want to join a robust travel program

Despite the name, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card does not offer much in terms of actual travel features. There is a travel portal where you can book flights, hotels and car rentals, but the issuer has no airline or hotel partners to which you can transfer rewards.

That means there is no way to maximize rewards potential by transferring points to travel partners. And your points are not worth more, per point, when redeemed on the travel portal as opposed to using them for statement credits toward eligible travel and dining purchases. For both redemption options, one point is worth 1 cent.

When travel prices are high, rewards from a more robust travel program, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, may bring you more value.

Should you get the Bank of America Travel Rewards card?

If you’d like to earn simple, reliable rewards while paying off debts from other credit cards or a large purchase, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a good card to keep in your back pocket. The introductory APR allows you to focus your payments on your balances, without paying high interest. Any purchases you make earn 1.5X points, which is a respectable rewards rate for a no-annual-fee card.

However, as the only card in your wallet or the only travel credit card you have, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card may not be worth it. If you put all your expenses on it, you’ll amass a decent amount of rewards. But it may be difficult to maximize their value without being able to transfer to any hotel or airline partners (or receive a boost in rewards value when making travel bookings via the Bank of America Travel Center).

The bottom line

The Bank of America Travel Rewards card works best for someone who craves flexibility and a rewards structure that is easy to keep track of. What this card lacks in a travel portal and boosted earnings, it makes up for in low (or no) fees and intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers.

Still, even among starter cards, this one doesn’t inspire. Unless you are a Preferred Rewards client in one of the higher tiers, there are likely better travel rewards credit cards for you.

Issuer-required disclosure statement
Information about the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card was last updated on May 8, 2024.