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The information about the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card, Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card, and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.
Your guide to top credit cards from Bank of America
Bank of America, the country’s second-largest banking corporation, provides a multitude of money management services as well as a healthy crop of credit cards. If you already have an account with the bank or are eligible for a Bank of America bonus offer, one of their top credit card options could provide extra value.
Bankrate will provide the information you need on Bank of America’s top credit cards, breaking down the best card features, where some cards fall short, tiered benefits and more.
In this guide:
Bankrate’s picks for best Bank of America credit cards
A closer look at our top Bank of America cards
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card
Best for cash back
- This card is best for: Cash back seekers who prefer an uncomplicated rewards system.
- This card is not a great choice for: Someone who tends to spend a lot in a few particular categories. If you don’t mind keeping up with bonus categories, you may do better with a card like the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, which rewards particular types of purchases at a higher rate.
- What makes this card unique? The Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is the simplest of Bank of America’s credit card offerings, rewarding cardholders with a flat 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases.
- Is the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card worth it? While 1.5 percent cash back isn’t the most standout offer on the rewards card market, the value of this card lies in its simplicity. If you’re after a no-fuss cash back card, you’re sure to find steady, uncomplicated value in the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card.
Read our full Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card review.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Best for choice of rewards category
- This card is a good fit for: Anyone interested in choosing their own high-rate rewards category for cash back.
- This card is not a great choice for: People who prefer a more open-ended cash back card that offers a flat rate on all eligible purchases, with no special categories to choose or maintain.
- What makes this card unique? Cash back cards with rewards rates higher than the typical 1-2 percent usually have fixed categories or categories that change every quarter, with the issuer calling the shots. This card provides the rare opportunity for you to choose where you’ll earn the highest rate.
- Is this card worth it? If you want more control over how you earn rewards, a customizable cash back card — with no annual fee — might be irresistible.
Read our Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card review.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Best Bank of America travel card
- This card is a good fit for: Loyal Bank of America customers who want to go all-in with the bank’s top travel rewards card.
- This card is not a great choice for: Infrequent travelers, who won’t be able to take full advantage of the rewards program and travel-oriented benefits.
- What makes this card unique? You have the flexibility to redeem rewards for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill® accounts or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center.
- Is this card worth it? For Bank of America Preferred Rewards members, definitely. Earning 25-75 percent more points on every purchase (based on your enrolled tier) can supercharge your rewards earnings and offset the $95 annual fee.
Read our Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card review.
BankAmericard® credit card
Best for balance transfers
- This card is a good fit for: Those looking for a lengthy (but temporary) break from costly APR on qualifying balance transfers and purchases.
- This card is not a great choice for: People looking for a credit card sign-up bonus or a standard rewards program.
- What makes this card unique? It doesn’t offer the typical “cash back on all eligible purchases” opportunities, but you can occasionally earn cash back at participating merchants through BankAmeriDeals.
- Is this card worth it? If your main concern is transferring a high-interest balance or getting a temporary reprieve from interest on purchases, this straightforward card could help you get the job done.
Read our BankAmericard credit card review.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Best for qualifying travel purchases
- This card is a good fit for: Anyone looking for a rewards card that also offers the chance to earn statement credits for a wide variety of travel purchases, including art galleries, zoos, campgrounds and travel agencies.
- This card is not a great choice for: Travelers who want to earn high rewards rates for their allegiance to a single airline or hotel chain. This card is about flexibility rather than brand loyalty.
- What makes this card unique? Bank of America provides a lot of latitude in how it defines travel purchases eligible to earn statement credits, which makes this card a great choice for out-of-the-way travel itineraries.
- Is this card worth it? For a particular kind of traveler, this no-annual-fee card offers many opportunities to get the most out of their travel budget.
Read our Bank of America Travel Rewards review.
What is Bank of America?
Bank of America (often abbreviated as BofA) is the second biggest full-service bank in the U.S. (by total assets). Compared with its competitors, it’s behind only J.P Morgan Chase & Co.
Biggest banks in the U.S. by assets
||JP Morgan Chase & Co.
||Bank of America
||Wells Fargo & Co.
Source: “Top 15 largest banks in the US” – Bankrate.com
Bank of America has both retail banking and corporate banking operations across the United States and in more than 35 countries.
The bank was the first to offer a licensed general-purpose credit card with the BankAmericard in 1966. Ever since, BofA has been well-known for its credit card line up, covering the spectrum from cash back to travel to business.
In addition to credit cards, Bank of America offers financial products and services including mortgages, car loans, checking and savings accounts and investments through Merrill Lynch.
Who should get a Bank of America credit card?
Bank of America has options for many kinds of credit card users, but some consumer groups can especially benefit from one of their credit cards. They include:
Loyal banking customers
Bank of America Preferred Rewards members are eligible to earn as much as 75% more points per purchase, based on their membership tier. Other Preferred Rewards benefits include discounts on auto loans and home equity loans.
Cash back strategists
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card lets you choose the purchase category where you earn the highest cash back rate. This option can help you maximize your cash back returns depending on where you concentrate your spending.
Bank of America offers travel cards for everyday consumers, small business owners and students. You can book travel through the Bank of America Travel Center and enjoy benefits including purchase protection, roadside dispatch and lost luggage reimbursement.
Bank of America has multiple cards with 0% intro APR balance transfer offers. These offers provide an opportunity to transfer an existing debt to a new card and get a temporary break from interest as you pay it off.
Small business owners
Bank of America has credit cards to help small business owners earn cash back or travel rewards. By earning and redeeming rewards, you can defray some of the everyday costs of operating your business.
By using an eligible card to book airfare, hotels or rental cars through the Bank of America Travel Center, you can earn double the standard rewards rate on those purchases.
Pros and cons of Bank of America credit cards
- With eligible Bank of America accounts and Merrill Edge investment accounts, you can enroll in the Preferred Rewards program to get higher rewards point value.
- Many Bank of America cards charge no annual fee.
- The BankAmeriDeals program has special cash back offers at select merchants.
- Through the Museums on Us program, your Bank of America card may be a free ticket into a participating museum.
- All cards come with access to Bank of America’s Online and Mobile Banking service.
- Sign-up bonuses aren’t competitive with many comparable cards.
- Some competitors offer more flexibility in redeeming travel rewards.
- Unless you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you won’t get maximum value out of your card’s rewards program.
- Some non-travel cards charge a 3% foreign transaction fee, which could apply to online purchases made from overseas merchants.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards
Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program takes a lot of their services — including credit cards — from good to great. There are three tiers of Preferred Rewards, and your tier is calculated using your combined balances in your Bank of America banking and/or your Merrill accounts. You need to enroll in the program, but once you do, you will automatically be moved up as your balances grow.
This is another instance when using Bank of America for both your checking and saving needs can help you maximize the value you get from their services. When you use Bank of America Preferred Rewards, you can boost your rewards bonus that you earn on your BoA credit cards, qualify for auto loan and home equity discounts, take advantage of an interest rate booster for saving accounts and so much more.
Here is a simple breakdown of how each tier can help you earn more with your BoA credit card:
Gold Preferred Rewards
Gold Preferred Rewards requires a balance of $20,000 – $50,000 (it’s calculated as a three-month average on combined balances). If you qualify for Gold, you get a 25% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards, as well as other banking benefits.
Platinum Preferred Rewards
Platinum Preferred Rewards requires a balance of $50,000 to $100,000 and gives you a 50% boost on your rewards with eligible Bank of America credit cards. Additionally, you’ll receive a host of other benefits, such as increased savings rates and reduced mortgage origination fee.
Platinum Honors Rewards
Platinum Honors Rewards clients have a three-month average combined balance of over $100,000 and qualify for a huge 75% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards.
If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, make sure to factor the rewards bonus into your analysis of their credit card offers.
How to decide which card is best for you
It’s important to have a firm understanding of what you’re looking for from your credit card. Here are a few things you should consider before applying:
Your financial goals and personal spending habits
There is no one-size-fits-all credit card. Determining which card will offer you the most value comes down to your goals and spending habits. If one of your 2021 resolutions is to travel more, one of Bank of America’s travel rewards cards might be a good fit for you. If you’re interested in managing high-interest debt, look for the best offer for doing a balance transfer with BofA.
It’s also important to understand your spending habits, because certain cards within a category might offer bonus rewards for certain expenses. Knowing which categories you spend the most in each month will help you choose a card that will earn the most rewards.
Perks and benefits
A good credit card should offer benefits that are easy to use and a rewards system that works best for you. For instance, frequent travelers will find the most value with a travel-focused rewards card that offers perks such as travel statement credits, lounge access and trip insurance. Parents and other everyday shoppers might like the simplicity of a flat-rate cash back card with features like extended warranty and purchase protection.
Many cards offer a sign-up bonus after you hit certain spending requirements. Just because a card has a large sign-up bonus, however, does not mean that it’s automatically a better card for you.
When looking at sign-up bonuses, it’s also important to note whether you can realistically hit the minimum spending requirement. If you have a smaller budget, a card with a smaller sign-up bonus might be easier to qualify for.
If you ever plan on carrying a balance on your credit card, APR (annual percentage rate) is extremely important because it determines how much interest you pay. Variable APRs differ from card to card but usually fall between 17 and 30 percent based on creditworthiness. Some cards also offer an introductory 0% APR period when you first sign up for the card, which can help you pay off large expenses with a temporary break from paying interest.
How we chose our top-rated Bank of America cards
Bankrate’s personal finance experts have evaluated the top Bank of America cards according to our 5-star rating system. The list of criteria for rating credit cards includes:
Whether the card offers cash back, travel points/miles or multi-purpose rewards for eligible purchases and the potential returns based on rewards rate (1 percent cash back per $1 spent, 1 mile per $1 spent, and so on).
Perks and benefits
Whether the card offers extras such as retail discounts, extended warranties on purchases, travel insurance and financial management tools.
Whether the card charges an annual fee and if so, how much the card’s overall value and benefits might offset the fee.
Whether the card has a sign-up bonus, welcome offer or similar sign-up incentive and how much it adds to the card’s overall value.
How the card’s APR compares with current averages as an indicator of cost and value.
Foreign transaction fee
Whether the card charges a foreign transaction fee for international purchases and how the fee affects the card’s overall value.
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