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The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a worthy addition to most wallets. Its rewards structure is most attractive as part of a broader cash back strategy, and it gets even better if you have at least $20,000 in deposits or investments with the bank.
Cardholders who carry balances from month to month can benefit from the lengthy interest promotions on balance transfers and new purchases.
What are the key benefits and who is best suited for this card? Read on to find out.
Details of the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card
This card is best known for offering 3 percent cash back on a category of your choosing from the following list: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores and home improvements/furnishings. You can change your selection every month if you wish.
Plus, all cardholders get 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. The 3 percent and 2 percent categories are capped at a combined $2,500 in quarterly spending. All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back.
Thanks to the Preferred Rewards program, cardholders who have at least $20,000 in eligible deposits or investments with Bank of America or its subsidiary Merrill Lynch get a 25 percent rewards boost. That means the 3 percent cash back category becomes 3.75 percent; the 2 percent category rises to 2.5 percent; and the 1 percent category is 1.25 percent.
If you have at least $50,000 in eligible deposits/investments, your rewards stretch 50 percent further (so the categories pay 4.5 percent, 3 percent and 1.5 percent cash back, respectively).
And if you have at least $100,000 on file, there’s a 75 percent bonus. That turns the 3 percent category into a whopping 5.25 percent cash back; the 2 percent category becomes 3.5 percent; and the 1 percent category earns 1.75 percent. Those are stellar returns, particularly from a card that does not charge an annual fee.
Is the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card worth it?
I’d say yes, even if you don’t have a spare 100 grand around the house. But I wouldn’t suggest making this your primary card unless you can hit that top Preferred Rewards threshold.
It’s best to focus on the top-earning category
If you’re going to use one card for everything, you’d probably be better off with a no-annual-fee card that gives an unlimited 2 percent cash back on purchases. (Examples include the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card (earns cash rewards) and the Citi® Double Cash Card, which technically gives 1 percent cash back when you make a purchase and another 1 percent when you pay it off.) The more you spend on the Customized Cash card, outside of the bonus categories, the less likely you are to top an overall 2 percent return.
I like how the Customized Cash allows users to change their 3 percent category every month, and the list of potential choices includes something for everyone. It’s especially advantageous if you have one of those flat-rate 2 percent cards as a foundation because you could then focus the Customized Cash card’s entire $2,500 quarterly limit on your 3 percent categories.
No interest for 18 billing cycles
Chasing rewards only makes sense if you can pay your credit card bills in full and avoid interest since the average credit card APR is more than 16 percent. The Customized Cash card has a variable APR ranging from 16.24 to 26.24 percent, but it gives new cardholders an intro 18 interest-free billing cycles on new purchases and balance transfers (balance transfers made in the first 60 days).
That’s six months shorter than the longest balance transfer offers on the market, but it’s still good. If you’re planning to transfer a balance, note there’s a transfer fee of 3 percent or $10 (whichever is greater). Of course, aim to pay off the entire balance before interest starts accruing. Also note these transfers must be made within 60 days of opening the account to receive the introductory rate.
Cardholder benefits and perks
New cardholders get a $200 introductory bonus after spending $1,000 in their first 90 days.
The Customized Cash card also participates in the BankAmeriDeals program, which gives extra cash back (often 5 to 15 percent) when you opt into participating promotions and pay with your card.
And all Bank of America credit and debit cardholders receive free general admission to hundreds of participating museums and other cultural institutions during the first full weekend of every month.
Should I get the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card?
If you like cash back cards, there’s a good chance the answer is yes—but consider the credit cards you already have. Will the Customized Cash card’s 3 percent and 2 percent categories improve upon the rewards you’re already earning, or do you have other options that meet or exceed those returns?
Consider the opportunity cost as well. There might be an even better option for you, such as the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card , which gives 5 percent cash back on your top eligible spending category each month (up to $500 per billing cycle, with 1 percent cash back on all other purchases). With this card, you don’t have to choose a category, either. It automatically awards the boosted rate to the purchase category in which you spend the most.
How to maximize your rewards with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Getting 3 percent cash back on a popular category is sweet, and it’s even sweeter with this card because you can choose your own adventure. Some other rotating category card issuers determine the categories for you, so they’re not always as useful.
For instance, if you have the Customized Cash card, maybe one month you’ll choose travel as your 3 percent category because you’re planning a big trip. The next month you might switch to home improvements and furnishings because you’re updating your home. The month after that, your best fit could be online shopping. It’s up to you.
If you max out the quarterly limit entirely with 3 percent category spending, you’ll earn $300 each year. That can grow significantly if you hit the various Preferred Rewards tiers.
The bottom line
Whether or not to sign up for the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card comes down to how you spend your money and how many cards you’re willing to juggle. It generally fits better as part of a broader multi-card strategy, leaning into certain types of occasional spending rather than serving as a daily driver. The higher you climb on the Preferred Rewards chart, it becomes more likely that this card could serve as your everyday workhorse.
Have a question about credit cards? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card information was last updated on August 23, 2022.