Issuer comparison: Bank of America vs. Chase
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Before you sign up for a new credit card, it can help to compare a few major issuers and their unique card offerings, rewards structures and regular benefits and perks. One major comparison to take a look at is Chase Bank vs. Bank of America, mostly because both of these issuers offer popular rewards credit cards that can help you score flexible rewards for each dollar you spend.
Maybe you already have a couple of credit cards in mind, or maybe you want to do a basic comparison of all the cash back and travel credit cards each issuer offers. Either way, this guide will help you decide between two banking giants — Chase Bank vs. Bank of America — before you sign up for your next credit card.
Bank of America overview
Bank of America has more than 4,000 retail financial centers nationwide and roughly 16,000 ATMs. Currently, this card issuer also boasts 19 different credit cards, which include rewards credit cards, co-branded airline credit cards, secured credit cards, student credit cards and more.
Credit card features
If you’re wondering about the features you’ll get with a Bank of America credit card, it really depends on the unique card offer you sign up for. Some cards offer cash back or welcome bonuses, while others offer lower ongoing interest rates, an introductory APR offer or credit-building tools.
However, premium credit cards from Bank of America are likely to come with even more perks. For example, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card comes with up to $100 in airline incidental credits annually, up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, trip delay insurance, trip cancellation/interruption coverage, baggage delay insurance, a lost luggage reimbursement, an auto rental collision damage waiver and emergency evacuation and transportation coverage. This card also comes with extended warranty coverage, purchase protection and return protection.
Approval odds and restrictions
Since Bank of America offers secured credit cards for bad credit, this bank is likely a better option than Chase if you need to build credit or repair your credit.
It’s also worth noting that Bank of America lets you check for prequalified credit card offers on the website without a hard inquiry on your credit report. This feature lets you enter basic information to find out which Bank of America cards you might be eligible for. However, there’s no guarantee you will ultimately be approved.
When it comes to getting approved for a Bank of America credit card, note that restrictions may apply. For example, you may face a 24-month rule — which says you cannot be approved if you have had the same card product within the last two years — for specific card offerings. Bank of America also reportedly has a 2/3/4 rule, which may limit you to two Bank of America credit cards in a 30-day period, three cards in a 12-month period and four cards in a 24-month period.
If you’re looking for a credit card that lets you track your purchases, payments and rewards with your mobile device, you should know that Bank of America has an award-winning digital banking platform that is currently accessed by 55 million mobile users. With the Bank of America mobile app, you’ll be able to customize your dashboard, access your FICO score, transfer money, pay bills, deposit checks and more. You’ll also have the benefit of fingerprint sign-in, which can ward off hackers and thieves. Other security features you can access with the app include alerts for suspicious activity and zero fraud liability.
Chase Bank overview
Chase has more than 4,700 banking locations nationwide, as well as more than 16,000 ATMs. It also boasts 36 different credit cards, which include rewards credit cards, student credit cards, co-branded airline and hotel credit cards, Disney credit cards, Amazon credit cards and business credit cards.
Credit card features
Cash back credit cards from Chase typically include welcome offers, extended warranty coverage, purchase protection, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, an auto rental collision damage waiver and travel and emergency assistance services. Other benefits may include cellphone protection or exclusive merchant promotions.
Meanwhile, some of the best travel credit cards from Chase come with benefits like 1:1 points transfers to airline and hotel partners, no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance or a lost luggage reimbursement, an auto rental collision damage waiver, a trip delay reimbursement and emergency travel assistance or evacuation coverage. The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, a premium travel credit card, also comes with airport lounge access, an up to $300 annual travel credit and an up to $100 credit for Global Entry, TSA Precheck or NEXUS, among many other benefits.
Approval odds and restrictions
Chase does not offer any credit cards for consumers with poor credit. In fact, all Chase credit cards are geared toward consumers with good to excellent credit.
Chase also limits new credit card welcome bonuses and approvals within specific card families. For example, both Chase Sapphire cards — which include the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — have the following wording in their fine print: “This product is available to you if you do not have any Sapphire card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months.”
In addition, before you apply for a new credit card from Chase, you should know about Chase’s 5/24 rule. This rule states that you cannot get approved for a Chase credit card if you have opened five or more cards — from any issuer — within the past 24 months.
Like Bank of America, Chase also offers a very versatile mobile app. The app lets you keep track of your credit card purchases, make payments and track your rewards using your mobile device. Chase banking customers can also benefit from perks like mobile check deposit, online bill pay and more. The Chase mobile app also supports fingerprint sign-in and facial recognition, and you can use the app to lock and unlock your credit card if it has been lost or stolen.
Chase vs. Bank of America: Rewards programs
When comparing Chase vs. Bank of America, you’ll also want to learn about each issuer’s rewards program and determine which type of rewards you want to earn.
Bank of America rewards program
Bank of America credit cards come with a number of potential redemption options. For example, depending on the card you have, you may be able to redeem your rewards for statement credits, gift cards, deposits to an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account or Bank of America Travel Center purchases.
In some cases, such as with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, you can redeem your Bank of America travel rewards points for statement credits to cover a wide range of travel and dining purchases, including flights, hotel stays, campgrounds, boat rentals, public transit, tourist attractions, restaurants, takeout, bars, nightclubs and many others.
Additionally, note that Bank of America travel cards currently don’t offer the option to transfer points to airline and hotel programs.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards
Although the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program isn’t strictly a credit card rewards program, it does help Bank of America customers earn 25 percent to 75 percent more rewards for each dollar they spend on their cards.
To qualify for this program, you must have an eligible Bank of America checking account and a three-month combined average daily balance of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America or Merrill accounts.
The minimum balance qualifications and rewards bonuses for each program tier are:
The rewards bonus you’ll receive can make a substantial difference. For example, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card normally offers 2X points on travel and dining purchases and 1.5X points on all other purchases. However, Platinum Honors members with this card earn 3.5X points on travel and dining purchases and 2.62X points on all other purchases.
Chase Ultimate Rewards program
Many top Chase credit cards earn rewards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, including their cash back cards and travel cards. In most cases, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for cash back, direct deposits, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, travel, shopping at Amazon or via PayPal, Apple products and Chase dining or experiences. If you have a premium travel credit card from Chase, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can even transfer your points to Chase travel partners at a 1:1 ratio.
Chase travel partners and rewards
Although Bank of America offers some pretty nice incentives to customers who keep at least $20,000 in eligible accounts, Chase really stands out in terms of its travel rewards program. For example, some Chase cards provide more value for your points when you redeem them for travel. Specifically, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a 50 percent points boost when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offer a 25 percent points boost for travel redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Chase also partners with the following hotel and airline programs:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- Air France / KLM Flying Blue
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
The bottom line
At the end of the day, both Chase and Bank of America have some pretty intriguing credit card offers. However, Chase really stands out in terms of its travel credit cards and redemption options for rewards, while Bank of America is much more attractive if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards customer or if you need to build or rebuild your credit.
If neither issuer seems like a good fit for you, there are other top card issuers to consider as well. If you want the best rewards credit card for your needs and goals, make sure you also consider options from American Express, Capital One, Citi, Discover and Wells Fargo.
The Bank of America content in this post was last updated on Aug. 31, 2022.