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Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review: Flat-rate travel rewards with no annual fee

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Great for Bank of America loyalists who travel occasionally.

 /  12 min
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At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

4.1

Bankrate rating
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Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This no-annual-fee travel card is a flexible alternative to more complex travel cards with rewards that may be difficult to maximize. However, since points can’t be transferred to partner programs and there aren’t any travel-specific benefits, it can feel like a flat-rate cash back card with more red tape.

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Best for flat-rate travel rewards

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Rewards rate

1.5X
Info

Annual fee

Intro offer

Info

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Overview

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is a decent flat-rate rewards card for travelers who want to avoid an annual fee. It’s also a great fit for occasional travelers who only take a few trips per year and want to earn rewards on everyday spending, not just travel purchases. Because this travel rewards credit card carries a flat rewards rate and isn’t tied to specific hotel or airline partners, you won’t have to tailor your spending to any one category and can book your travel with any provider and receive a statement credit.

Bank of America credit cards also have a looser definition of travel compared to cards from other issuers, allowing you to receive a statement credit for purchases at campgrounds, travel agencies, zoos, art galleries and more. You can also redeem points for a statement credit toward dining purchases.

However, there aren’t any travel-specific features to speak of, and your rewards can’t be used to book travel directly through an issuer portal or a transfer partner. These details may be a dealbreaker for frequent travelers since you’ll usually get the best reward value when you redeem rewards through an issuer portal or by transfer to airline partners, as you can with many Chase, Capital One and American Express travel cards. 

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    There are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees to cut into your rewards value.

  • Checkmark

    The lengthy intro APR on purchases and balance transfers offers much more breathing room than many other rewards cards.

  • Checkmark

    You can boost your rewards rate by up to 75 percent as a Preferred Rewards member, which could make it one of the most rewarding flat-rate travel cards for no annual fee.

  • Checkmark

    You can redeem its flexible points to cover a comprehensive list of travel and dining purchases — even if those purchases are nearly a year old.

Cons

  • The minimum redemption of 2,500 points for travel or cash back (worth $25) is high compared to competing cards.

  • It offers some of the best travel-related redemption coverage, but the rewards rate is low if you aren’t a Preferred Rewards member.

  • The limited travel benefits make travel less convenient than it can be with other cards.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: Unlimited 1.5X points on all purchases and 3X points on Bank of America Travel Center purchases
  • Welcome offer: 25,000 online bonus points ($250 statement credit value toward travel purchases) if you make $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of opening the account
  • Annual fee: None
  • Purchase intro APR: 0 percent intro APR  for 18 billing cycles
  • Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent intro intro APR for 18 billing cycles on balance transfers made within the first 60 days (3 percent fee applies)
  • Regular APR: 17.74 percent to 27.74 percent (variable)

Current welcome offer

Bank of America is currently offering 25,000 online bonus points when you spend at least $1,000 in qualifying purchases within 90 days of opening the account. If you redeem these points for a statement credit, they’ll be worth about $250 statement credit toward travel. Considering that this card has no annual fee, this welcome offer is generous.

A $250 value is slightly higher than what you’ll find with some other no-annual-fee cards. Other cards’ sign-up bonuses can climb higher, but they typically charge an annual fee, which will eat into your rewards.

Keep in mind that since some competing cards only require a $500 spend to earn a $200 bonus, you may be spending double with the Bank of America Travel Rewards card to qualify for an extra $50 in rewards.

Rewards rate

This card offers a solid rewards rate on all your purchases, whether you’re traveling or at home, but these travel rewards work a bit differently than typical bonus miles. Instead of using rewards to book travel, your Bank of America travel rewards go toward statement credits on travel or dining purchases — meaning this card works more like a specialized cash back credit card.

If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25 percent to 75 percent more points on every purchase. This boost could add up to one of the best flat rewards rates available, especially for no annual fee.

Here’s a quick primer on how to earn and maximize your Bank of America travel rewards:

How you earn

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card allows you to earn unlimited 1.5X points on all purchases. You can also earn 3X points on travel bookings and other purchases through the Bank of America Travel Center.

However, the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program gives the Travel Rewards card an edge over similar competing cards, if you already have an eligible account with Bank of America. Depending on which status tier you hold, you’ll earn 25 to 75 percent bonus points on every purchase. That means Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards members can earn up to 2.62X points on all purchases and up to 5.25X points on Travel Center purchases. 

These rates could make the Travel Rewards card an especially great deal since rival cards typically max out at 2X rewards on general spending and 5X rewards on comparable travel portal purchases through the issuer.

How to redeem

You can redeem your points for gift cards, cash or a statement credit to cover travel-related purchases. Even better, you can request credit for your travel-related purchases up to 12 months after you make them. This feature opens the door to exceptional deals that you might not get with other travel reward programs, such as discount bookings through external travel websites. 

You can also redeem points for cash back as a check or direct deposit to an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account or Merrill Cash Management account. Just keep in mind that there’s a 2,500-point redemption minimum for travel credits and cash and a 3,125-point minimum for gift cards. 

Perhaps one of the best aspects of the Bank of America Travel Rewards card’s travel credit redemption is that it covers a wide range of purchase categories that may not usually qualify as travel or dining. For example, you can get statement credits for admission tickets to tourist attractions, bar and nightclub purchases, transit and RV and boat rentals. Some travel or dining-related expenses like in-flight goods and services and duty-free airport purchases aren’t eligible for statement credits.

Knowing which purchases qualify for credits can get confusing, so here’s a handy list of categories you can put travel credits toward:

Bank of America Travel Rewards card categories eligible for travel credits

Eligible travel-related category examples Eligible dining-related category examples
  • Airlines
  • Hotels and motels
  • Timeshares
  • Trailer parks, motorhomes and recreational vehicle rentals
  • Campgrounds
  • Car, truck, trailer and boat rentals
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies, tour operators and real estate agents
  • Transit including passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, parking lots and garages, tolls and bridge fees
  • Tourist attractions and exhibits like art galleries, amusement parks, carnivals, circuses, aquariums, zoos
  • Restaurants and eating places
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Bars
  • Taverns
  • Cocktail lounges
  • Nightclubs

How much are the rewards worth?

If you redeem your points for a travel statement credit, they’re worth 1 cent each, so 25,000 points equals $250. Cash and gift cards usually give you less bang for your buck. When you redeem for cash, your points are only worth 0.6 cents each (or $150 for every 25,000 points). The value of your points when you redeem gift cards varies by retailer.

Compared to Chase and other issuers with traditional travel reward programs, you may get more bonus category flexibility, but you can’t book travel with your points or transfer them to travel partners at a higher value. Bank of America Travel Rewards card points are stuck at a 1 cent-maximum. If you’re a frequent traveler, you may squeeze more value out of a card that allows you to transfer points to airline and hotel partners. According to Bankrate’s point valuations, several issuers’ points or miles can be worth 2 cents each on average with the right transfer partner.

Other cardholder perks

The Bank of America Travel Rewards card isn’t a powerhouse for perks like other travel-oriented rewards credit cards. It offers basic features like free access to your credit score, overdraft protection and account alerts. There are also a few extra benefits outside the Preferred Rewards program that might be helpful during your travels.

Preferred Rewards

If you bank with Bank of America or invest with Merrill, you may be able to join the Preferred Rewards program, which gives you a chance to earn a higher rewards rate on your purchases. Plus, you could receive other benefits like boosted interest rates on savings accounts and reduced interest rates on your home equity and auto loans.

Depending on how much money you keep in your combined Bank of America and Merrill investment accounts, you could earn up to a 75 percent bonus on your credit card rewards. So, if you have a combined balance of at least $100,000 and make a purchase that earns 100 points, you could get up to 175 points as a Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards member*.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards status tiers

  • Gold (at least a $20,000 combined balance): 25 percent bonus rewards
  • Platinum (at least a $50,000 combined balance): 50 percent bonus rewards
  • Platinum Honors (at least a $100,000 combined balance): 75 percent bonus rewards
*The Preferred Rewards program does offer a Diamond Tier status above the Platinum Honors Tier, but it carries the same 75 percent bonus rewards boost and is only offered to those with a $1 million to $10 million combined balance.

BankAmeriDeals

Bank of America cardholders have exclusive access to BankAmeriDeals, the issuer’s version of card-linked limited-time offer programs like Amex Offers or Chase Offers. You can log into your account and usually earn anywhere from 5 to 50 percent extra cash back (up to a certain limit) or a sum of cash back (usually $4 to $35) for spending a certain amount at participating restaurants and other merchants after activating the respective offer. BankAmeriDeals won’t rake in big bucks, but the “coins” you get for regularly using the program can help you obtain upgraded deals.

Visa Signature benefits

As a Visa credit card, your Bank of America Travel Rewards card has access to a portfolio of Visa Signature perks that can come in handy on the road. Contact your issuer to see which features your card specifically carries, but you can expect to receive standard benefits like:

  • Extended warranty protection
  • Visa Signature® Concierge services
  • Roadside Dispatch®
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Travel and emergency assistance

Museums On Us

If you love planning day trips to popular museums, then this benefit is an underrated gem. Simply presenting your Bank of America debit or credit card and a valid photo ID will get you free admission to 225-plus cultural institutions during the first weekend of each month.

Rates and fees

One of the main benefits of the Bank of America Travel Rewards card is the lack of fees. There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, which is great news if you plan to travel abroad. There’s also a 0 percent intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and on balance transfers made within your first 60 days (then a 17.74 percent to 27.74 percent variable ongoing APR), which can be helpful when financing a big purchase during the first year. You’ll be charged a 3 percent fee for each transfer you make.

How the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card compares to other travel cards

The Bank of America Travel Rewards card is one of the best travel credit cards with no annual fee if you value flexibility. It doesn’t operate like a traditional travel card with bonus points or miles but instead works like a flat-rate cash back card — except your statement credits are restricted to travel and dining-related categories. If you don’t travel frequently and “flexibility” means occasionally redeeming for cash rewards, you’re probably better off with a true flat-rate cash back card. 

Image of Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Bank of America's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

25,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1.5X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bankrate Score
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on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

75,000 miles
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Rewards rate

2 Miles - 5 Miles
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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Bank of America's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

50,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1.5X - 2X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Bank of America Travel Rewards vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Bank of America Travel Rewards card lets you redeem points to cover both travel and travel-related activities like dining and attractions. This aspect makes it a great choice for those who don’t always need a flight or rental car for a vacation. However, a true travel card can also offer similar versatility if you want more travel-based perks.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers more traditional travel card rewards but keeps the streamlined experience. It offers a higher rewards rate of an unlimited miles on all qualifying purchases, credit toward TSA Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees and the chance to earn a bigger welcome bonus. It also rewards actual hotel and rental car travel purchases at a higher reward rate if you book through the Capital One Travel portal.

On the flip side, the Venture card charges an annual fee, doesn’t offer an introductory APR and has a higher ongoing APR than the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card. The Venture card also doesn’t allow you to redeem miles to cover tertiary travel purchases like tourist attraction tickets and dining expenses. Instead, you can use your Capital One miles to book travel or cover eligible travel purchases made in the last 90 days.

To the Venture card’s advantage, its rewards can gain value with the right transfer partner. According to Bankrate’s latest mile valuation, Venture miles are worth an average of 2 cents per mile when transferred to a high-value partner, and the bulk of Capital One’s partners have a 1:1 transfer rate. So if you’re willing to trade some elbow grease for more rewards value, choosing the Venture card is likely the wiser route.

Bank of America Travel Rewards vs. Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

If you’re on the fence about investing money into a card with an annual fee but you’d like to benefit from a higher rewards rate on specific travel and dining purchases, you might want to look into the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card. It has the same annual fee as the Venture card, but with higher reward rates and much better travel benefits than the standard Bank of America Travel Rewards card.

You’ll also get prized travel insurance typically found on top-tier travel cards like trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost and delayed luggage coverage and trip delay reimbursement.

Although the rewards rate on travel and dining are only a small upgrade and the card remains relatively frill-less, you’re getting plenty for the price. In fact, frequent flyers can completely offset the annual fee without rewards spending via annual airline incidental statement credits and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits (applies every four years). Keep in mind that the incidental credits only cover costs like seat upgrades, baggage fees, airline lounge access and in-flight services rather than general airfare, but savvy travelers will find the Premium Rewards a much better deal than the base Travel Rewards card.

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

Since the Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a flat-rate card, the best cards to pair with should reward the categories you spend the most in with higher reward rates. Your Travel Rewards card points are best used to cover travel and dining purchases, so you’ll want a card that covers spending outside those two categories.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express could be one of the best cash back cards for the rest of your everyday spending. It earns high cash back rates on popular spending categories like U.S. supermarkets, select U.S. streaming services, transit and U.S. gas station purchases. This card has an annual fee, but the sheer amount of earning potential could more than cover the annual fee.

The Bank of America Travel Rewards card doesn’t provide many travel benefits or rewards on some expenses like in-flight purchases, so it may also be worthwhile to look into a brand-specific airline credit card that will fill in those gaps.

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

The no-annual-fee Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a good choice for frequent travelers who value flexibility and are Preferred Rewards members that already bank with Bank of America or Merrill.

Since you can redeem points for a travel rewards statement credit, you won’t have to deal with blackout dates or travel restrictions when redeeming, and you have the freedom to book through third-party sites for better travel deals. You’ll also be able to use your points to cover a wide range of travel purchases, from aquarium tickets to hotel stays, which aren’t covered by similar redemption options from other issuers.

However, there aren’t any travel-specific perks or opportunities to transfer rewards, so many cardholders looking for richer travel opportunities will find this card two-dimensional. Since your rewards are limited to travel or dining statement credit redemptions, a 2 percent flat-rate cash back card may even be a better option if you aren’t a Preferred Rewards member.

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Credit Cards Writer

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.

Edited by Credit Cards Editor
Reviewed by Former Senior Director of Content

* 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.