If you are looking for a low-maintenance, flat-rate cash back credit card, there’s no doubt that the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card card has come up on your radar. Whether you’re a newbie to credit card rewards or just prefer the simplicity of a rewards card with a flat rate, there could be some benefits to going with the Unlimited Cash Rewards card.
This guide will break down the Unlimited Cash Rewards card’s benefits and who might get the most out of it. Although you may get this card because it’s easy to use, you’ll definitely be settling for a lower cash back rate. The long and short of this card’s story is that Bank of America Preferred Rewards program members stand to earn the most with this card. Here’s what else you need to know if you plan on applying for the Unlimited Cash Rewards card.
Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card benefits
- Rewards rate: Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases
- Welcome offer: $200 online bonus cash rewards after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days
- Annual fee: $0
- Intro APRs: 0 percent intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days
- Variable APR: 14.24 percent to 24.24 percent
Let’s start with the obvious—this card offers 1.5 percent cash back on all your purchases. This is a rather low rewards rate, especially since many flat-rate cards are now offering 2 percent cash back. But, there are some who stand to gain from this card anyway.
As a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you’ll get a boosted amount of cash back—up to 2.62 percent back depending on your checking, savings and investment account balances. We’ll talk more about the different tiers and how to qualify below, but it’s good to know what you’re getting with this card upfront.
No matter how much you earn with this card, your redemption options for the cash back you earn are pretty straightforward:
- A direct deposit to your Bank of America checking or savings account
- A credit to an eligible Merrill account, including 529 accounts
- A statement credit to your card
Another card feature that stands out is the welcome offer equal to $200 cash back after you spend $1,000 or more on purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. This breaks down to a little over $330 in spending per month, which is a reasonable requirement most won’t have trouble meeting.
0% intro APR
Then, there’s the 0 percent introductory APR for both purchases and balance transfers. This makes the card ideal for a larger purchase that you can pay off over time with paying interest. Also, if you’ve got any high-interest debt you are looking to pay down, the balance transfer offer could be a great help.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards program
By keeping a certain minimum three-month average balance across your Bank of America accounts, you could qualify for one of three status levels that give you access to a number of banking benefits, including a 25 percent to 75 percent rewards rate bonus on your card:
|Tier||Balance required||Percentage boost on cash back||Unlimited Cash Rewards Rate|
As you can see, in the Platinum Honors tier, you can earn 3.5 percent back with your Unlimited Cash Rewards can. You stand to earn quite a bit more if you can maintain a higher balance in a qualifying account.
Visa Signature perks
The Unlimited Cash Rewards card is a Visa Signature card and comes with a few perks as a result. As a Visa Signature cardholder, you’ll get benefits such as purchase security, extended warranty coverage, 24/7 roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance services. Plus, you’ll get ID Navigator credit monitoring via NortonLifeLock.
The total list of Visa Signature benefits includes special privileges and discounts with a variety of select merchants, but it’s best to contact Bank of America to confirm which benefits your card is eligible for.
BankAmeriDeals and Museums on Us
These two benefits come with all Bank of America credit cards and are exclusive to Bank of America. BankAmeriDeals is the issuer’s limited-time offer program, similar to Amex Offers or Chase Offers, which lets you activate promotional offers in your account to get an extra 5 to 15 percent cash back at participating merchants that include select retailers, restaurants and more.
Museums on Us, also available for Bank of America debit card holders, gives you free access to over 225 “cultural institutions” across the country. Simply present your Bank of America card and a valid photo ID during the first weekend of every month to unlock this benefit.
Maximizing the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card
Essentially, you’ll get the best cash back rate as a Preferred Rewards member. If you aren’t eligible for that program, there’s not much else you can do but swipe and enjoy the convenience of earning hassle-free cash back. You don’t have to keep up with rotating bonus categories or special spending categories to earn your cash back with your Unlimited Cash Rewards card.
You could take your cash back earnings and deposit them into a Bank of America account of your choice to qualify as a Preferred Rewards member. But even spending a substantial amount on your card each year could take a long time to build up enough cash to qualify for a tier in the program.
Another idea might be to pair your card with another cash back card that earns more in categories where you spend most. You could stay in the Bank of America family of cards with the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, which offers a higher rate of cash back on more common spending categories like dining and grocery stores. If you don’t mind paying a small annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers similar cash back categories at much higher rates than the Unlimited Cash’s 1.5 percent rate.
The bottom line
The Unlimited Cash Rewards card doesn’t offer the best rates for cash back credit cards. However, for the right person (namely, Preferred Rewards members), it can be a convenient way to earn credit card rewards. For heightened rewards, either add another higher-earning card to your wallet or aim to move up in the Preferred Rewards tiers.