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Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students review

 /  6 min
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Snapshot

3.4

Bankrate rating
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Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students

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on Bank of America's secure site
4.2
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
Bankrate score
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Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
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Recommended Credit

Intro offer

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N/A

Offer valuation

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1.5X

Rewards rate

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Annual fee

Regular APR

Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students Overview

Before you embark on a study abroad program, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students can provide one of the best sign-up bonuses and flat-rate rewards programs you’ll find on a student credit card.

However, it’s important to weigh how much you’ll take the travel credit redemption route versus the cash rewards option. If you don’t mind the steep point value drop-off for rewards outside travel, the Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students card is one of the best travel credit cards for students.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    No annual fee or foreign transaction fees

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    Unlimited 1.5X points on all purchases—a high rewards rate for a student card

  • Checkmark

    Can earn 25 percent to 75 percent more rewards on all purchases as a Preferred Rewards member if you have an eligible Bank of America banking account with a qualifying balance

Cons

  • Redeeming for cash back drops your points’ value to 0.6 cents

  • No worthwhile travel or student-oriented benefits outside zero foreign transaction fees

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 1.5X points on all purchases
  • Welcome offer: 25,000 online points after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Intro APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 18.24% - 28.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • Regular APR: 18.24 percent to 28.24 percent variable

Current sign-up bonus

After spending $1,000 in purchases within your first 90 days, you’ll earn 25,000 points. These points are worth the most as a travel statement credit at 1 cent apiece, meaning your bonus is worth an impressive $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

This is an excellent deal for students since welcome offers are not usually a given on student cards. Even compared to other cards of this caliber, this is a great sign-up bonus that you can easily nab with an upcoming plane ticket purchase.

Rewards rate

The Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students delivers solid rewards and a nice sampling of redemption choices when compared to other student credit cards. But in practice, the possibilities are a bit shallower.

Earning rewards

This is a fantastic starter card if you want to get your toes wet with straightforward flat-rate rewards. You’ll earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases. Plus, cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open, and you won't have to worry about blackout dates or limited airline choices.

The rewards are even richer if you already bank with Bank of America. The Travel Rewards for Students is an eligible Preferred Rewards card, so you can earn between 25 to 75 percent more rewards on each purchase, depending on qualifying balances in other Bank of America accounts.

Redeeming rewards

The best way to redeem points is for a statement credit on qualifying travel purchases, including a wide scope of expenses from flights and tourist attractions to bus rides and parking fees. Your points can cover eligible travel purchases within 12 months prior to the redemption date

You can also choose to receive cash rewards (as a check or direct deposit into an eligible Merrill Cash Management Account) or a gift card. Travel credit and cash rewards redemptions require a minimum of 2,500 points and gift cards 3,125 points to redeem.

The variety of redemption methods are nice on paper, but you’ll get the most value when you redeem rewards for travel.

How much are points worth?

Points are worth the most toward a travel statement credit at 1 cent each. You’ll get significantly less value if you choose to redeem for cash rewards, which water down your points to a 0.6 cent value. Bank of America states that your point value may vary toward gift cards, so that means you may get more value out of redeeming for gift cards than cash back.

If travel is your goal, this shouldn’t hinder your ability to use rewards. But if you’re searching for more flexibility, a straight cash back credit card might make more sense for you.

Other benefits

The Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students card’s biggest stumbling block is the complete absence of any travel or student-oriented benefits outside no foreign transaction fees.

In fact, even non-travel Capital One cards at the student/limited credit level carry standard travel perks, such as auto rental collision damage waiver insurance, travel accident insurance and 24-hour travel assistance services.

Rates and fees

Naturally, this travel card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. There is also no annual fee—a nice perk for students just learning the world of rewards.

If you’re applying because you have a study abroad opportunity coming up, the 15-billing cycle 0 percent purchase intro APR (18.24 percent to 28.24 percent variable APR thereafter) is a wonderful offer to keep interest at bay from any large purchases it takes to make the leap, like airfare and enrollment costs.

How the Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students compares to other student cards

Overall, the Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students card yields one of the best rewards rates and sign-up bonuses among student cards, but the travel benefits and rewards value outside travel are weak by comparison. Travel statement credits are useful while abroad, but a cash back card can provide similar reward rates with more redemption flexibility and long-term value.

Even another Bank of America student card may offer a better value. The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for Students earns 3 percent back in a choice category—including travel—2 percent back on wholesale clubs and grocery stores, along with 1 percent back on all other purchases. Although the 2 and 3 percent categories are capped at $2,500 per quarter in combined purchases (then 1 percent back) the card might have more long-term rewards potential.

If you still want flat-rate rewards, however, the (The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is no longer available) Journey Student Rewards from Capital One card provides up to 1.25 percent cash back if you make your card payment on time (1 percent cash back on purchase, boosted to 1.25 percent for on-time bill payments). Plus, this card offers more travel and student features, including unlimited 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, Terms apply.

Here’s a look at some other rewards cards that might be a better alternative:

Best cards to pair the Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students card with

The best cards to partner with Bank of America’s student travel card will add more reward opportunities and student or travel benefits to your arsenal.

The Bank of America Cash Back student card, for instance, would rack up higher-value rewards on everyday living expenses, and it also qualifies for Preferred Rewards.

On the other hand, a rotating bonus category card like the Discover it® Student Cash Back can earn 5 percent cash back on purchases in its quarterly rotating bonus categories when you activate (up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1 percent). On top of that, it matches all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students card worth it?

By all appearances, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students is a solid, straightforward starter card—but “straightforward” becomes “stripped-down” in application.

It carries a high-earning rewards rate on all purchases and a hefty sign-up bonus compared to other student cards, and its redemption options seem diverse as well. But the Bank of America student travel card’s points lose power for anything outside travel statement credits.

It’s one of the few student cards specifically tailored toward travel, which makes it a natural choice if you’re looking to study abroad. But since you lose rewards value on non-travel redemptions, you might want to consider a flat-rate student cash back card if you don’t travel often.

*All information about the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply

Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Writer, Credit Cards

Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit card guides focused on cash back, credit scores and card offers.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.