Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

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A fantastic travel rewards card only if you’re at a high-status level with Bank of America.

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Editor’s note: Some of the offers below may have expired. Bank of America rates updated October 1, 2018.

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card includes some intriguing perks available to cardholders who have a banking relationship with Bank of America, but those extra goodies aren’t enough to make this a first-tier travel rewards credit card.

On the other hand, this is a good pick for any travel fan who wants to earn points, but doesn’t want to pay for the privilege.

Review

The Travel Rewards card (formerly the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card) comes with no annual fee, which makes its only decent rewards program look a bit better. You’ll earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend. Top-of-the-line travel cards pay 2X spending or more — but you’ll pay for it in the annual fee.

The signup bonus is also fairly standard for a fee-free travel card. You’ll earn 25,000 online bonus points if 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.

Again, pretty good, but nothing too exciting here.

Who should get this card

If you’re an existing Bank of America customer, the pumped-up rewards program makes this a card to consider. You can earn a 10% to 75% bonus on card spending depending on how much money you have banked with BofA.

Keep in mind, you’ll have to have some serious cash invested in this bank to earn this bonus, which probably still isn’t enough to compel you to switch bank accounts just for the credit card rewards.

What can those BofA bonuses earn you?

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 75% bonus on your cash-back rewards.

If you have no banking relationship and spend $1,000 in three months, you earn $15 in redeemable travel credits back. If you have a Bank of America bank account, with the 10% customer bonus, that gives you another $1.50 back for a total of $18.50 back.

But if you have the highest Platinum Honors Preferred status, that additional 75% back means you get a total of $26.25 on the $1,000 spent.

Advantages
  • Get 25,000 bonus points when you spend at least $1,000 within the first 90 days of opening an account.
  • Points earned can be redeemed for a statement credit for any qualified travel spending.
  • 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles, then 16.99% - 24.99% variable APR.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
Disadvantages
  • You have to make your travel purchase first and then redeem your rewards as a credit on your statement. Some other rewards programs allow you to use your rewards directly to make the purchase.
  • No additional perks like lounge access or travel protections that come with many other travel rewards cards.
  • There are other rewards cards that earn a higher flat rate back.

Fees and APR

  • This card has no annual fee.
  • You’ll pay no foreign transaction fee if you use this card overseas.
  • There’s a balance transfer fee of $10 or 3% of the amount being transferred, whichever is greater. All transfers carry a high variable APR of 16.99% – 24.99% variable, making this a poor choice to transfer high-interest balances.
  • This card comes with a variable APR of 16.99% – 24.99%.

Extras, perks and using points

Use your points to redeem for a statement credit to pay for any travel-related expenses including flights, hotels, vacation packages, rental cars, cruises and baggage fees.

As a Bank of America customer, you can get a 10% points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America checking or savings account. If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, you could increase that bonus from 25% to 75%.

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.

You don’t have to have to have the full amount of credit available to redeem, partial redemptions are allowed.

The points never expire and there is no fee to redeem them.

How this card compares

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
  • No annual fee
  • New Offer: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases AND for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
  • Easily add your Mastercard® credit card to any digital wallet for a simple, secure, and convenient way to pay online, in-app, and in-store
Credit Needed

Excellent/Good

Regular APR

15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days

If you have bank accounts with Bank of America, you might want to consider the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card, which has the same customer bonuses as the Travel Rewards card, but a different rewards structure. Cash Rewards offers 3% cash back on gas purchases and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to $2,500 in combined spending per quarter. You’ll earn 1% on all other purchases.  Rewards can be redeemed for a statement credit anytime, making it a more flexible choice.

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
  • Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
Credit Needed

Good/Excellent

Regular APR

17.99%, 21.99% or 24.99% variable based on your creditworthiness

Annual Fee

$89 (waived first year)

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% intro for first 12 billing cycles following each BT that posts within 45 days of account opening

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard has a ton of flexibility. You can use your rewards to book travel on any airline, hotel, cruise ship. You can even take a taxi. Discount travel sites are covered, as well, letting you book your trip your preferred way.

If you’re a globetrotter, road-tripper or wanderer of any type, this card should be in your wallet.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Credit Needed

Excellent, Good

Regular APR

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s unlimited 2X miles per $1 spent on all purchases makes it less cumbersome to track than cards with different bonus categories. Depending on your spending habits this could work out better or worse for you in terms of mileage earning potential. One of the best attributes of this card is you can book your travel any way you like, on any site, and then redeem your miles as a statement credit towards that purchase. This makes it a more flexible choice than other cards that require you to use their travel portals for maximum value.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.