Many credit card issuers boast a lineup of rewards credit cards that let you earn cash back, points or miles on travel, and Bank of America is no exception. While not as popular as travel credit cards from Chase or American Express, Bank of America travel cards can actually be rather lucrative and insanely flexible—although the specifics will depend on which credit card you sign up for.
If you’re ready to give Bank of America Travel Rewards a chance, you should find out which Bank of America credit cards let you earn rewards for travel, the travel rewards benefits offered and how to use Bank of America Travel Rewards points to your advantage. This guide touches on all of these topics with the goal of helping you make the most of your rewards.
Which Bank of America credit cards earn rewards on travel?
Bank of America offers a surprising number of co-branded travel credit cards that are geared to loyalists with specific brands. For example, you can turn to Bank of America to sign up for the following travel credit cards:
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
- Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard®
- Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard®
- Allegiant World Mastercard®
- Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard®
- Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®
- Sonesta World Mastercard®
- Royal Caribbean® Visa Signature® Credit Card
- Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®
- Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card
However, their bread and butter rewards card products fall within the Bank of America travel rewards umbrella. The two main Bank of America credit cards that let you earn travel rewards are profiled below.
- Welcome bonus: 25,000 online bonus points worth $250 when you make at least $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening
- Rewards: Earn an unlimited 1.5X points for each dollar you spend on qualifying purchases
- Annual fee: $0
- Perks: No foreign transaction fees; introductory 0 percent APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles (followed by a variable APR of 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent)
Why we like it: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card lets consumers rack up travel rewards with no annual fee. Additionally, the introductory APR offer can help you save money on interest for a limited time.
- Welcome bonus: 50,000 bonus points (worth $500) when you make at least $3,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening
- Rewards: Earn an unlimited 2X points per $1 spent on travel and dining; 1.5X points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Annual fee: $95
- Perks: Up to $100 in airline statement credits per year; up to $100 toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership every four years; no foreign transaction fees
Why we like it: The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card offers 2X points on travel and dining, but you’ll get 1.5X points per $1 spent on all regular purchases. This gives it a similar earning rate to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, a top option among beginner travel credit cards.
How to redeem Bank of America Travel Rewards points
When it comes to redeeming your Bank of America travel rewards, your options can vary depending on the card you have.
For example, the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card lets you cash in your rewards for a deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account or for credit into an eligible Merrill Lynch or Merrill Edge account. You can also redeem your rewards for a statement credit on your card or for gift cards. Another option is redeeming your points for travel bookings via the Bank of America Travel Center.
With the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, on the other hand, you can use your card to book travel anywhere you want. From there, you can redeem your points for a travel credit statement with Bank of America or to pay for restaurant purchases, including takeout. To redeem your points, all you have to do is log in to your Bank of America credit card’s online account management page.
Maximize your Bank of America travel rewards
To get the most of your travel rewards points with Bank of America, you should try to be as strategic as you can. Consider the ways you may be able to earn more points on your spending and maximize your rewards when you go to redeem.
Join the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program
One major way to boost your Bank of America travel rewards involves signing up for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. Doing so can net you an additional 25 percent to 75 percent more in rewards for each dollar you spend, although you do need to keep a significant amount of money on deposit with the bank to qualify.
Also, keep in mind that the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program offers additional perks like savings boosters and loan discounts for members with cash on deposit. The following chart shows how much more you could earn in rewards as a member, as well as how much cash you need to keep with the bank to qualify for each tier.
|Three-month combined average daily balance requirement||$20,000 to $50,000||$50,000 to $100,000||$100,000 or more|
|Credit card rewards bonus||25 percent||50 percent||75 percent|
While minimum balance requirements are high, the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program can help you earn considerably more points on your spending if you qualify. For example, cardholders with the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card have the potential to earn up to 3.5X points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62X points on other purchases at the top tier.
Compare pricing in the travel portal
Keep in mind that the Bank of America Travel Center lets you make travel bookings with over 200,000 hotels and resorts and more than 200 airlines, among other options. Since some Bank of America travel rewards credit cards let you redeem your points for statement credits or for travel booked through the Bank of America Travel Center, you should compare pricing with both.
By comparing the price of booking with your credit card and accepting a statement credit or booking through the travel portal, you can make sure you get the best deal.
Pick a card with an annual fee
Finally, make sure to think long and hard about your goals before you sign up for a travel credit card from this issuer. After all, you can pay the $95 annual fee on the Bank of America Premium Rewards card and earn a much larger sign-up bonus and significantly more rewards on travel and dining spending.
Since this card also comes with up to a $100 airline fee credit and up to $100 toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership every four years, it could easily leave you “ahead” in a financial sense.
The bottom line
Bank of America travel rewards can work differently depending on the card you sign up for, so make sure to compare all the best rewards card options before you decide. In the meantime, spend some time comparing cards from this issuer to other travel rewards credit cards from Citi, Chase, American Express and other major issuers.
You may find that Bank of America has the best travel rewards option for your needs, but you’ll never know for sure unless you check.