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Is the updated Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard the best small business card?

If you have a small business checking account with Bank of America, you can boost the card’s earning

Summary

The updated Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard is a particularly valuable choice for Bank of America account holders.

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The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card recently revamped its sign-up bonus and rewards rate – adding the flexibility to choose your own 3 percent bonus category from a list of six common business purchases. The new offer is certainly eye-catching, but does it up the value of the card?

There is no shortage of great business credit cards to choose from, including plenty of options with no annual fee. So how do you know which is best for you? While it is easy to choose based on a bonus category on a certain type of spending – like gas or restaurant purchases – there is something else to keep in mind.

The recently updated Bank of America business credit card might seem similar to other no annual fee options, but the unique Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program makes it particularly valuable for Bank of America account holders. In fact, users with more than $20,000 in an eligible account can earn more with the Bank of America card than even the most competitive alternatives.

Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards: At a glance

The new Bank of America business card comes with some great new benefits for small business owners, including an inflated sign-up bonus and the ability to choose the 3 percent bonus category. Here’s a quick look at what the updated card has to offer:

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Why should you get this card?

With the flexibility to choose your own bonus category and a points boost for Bank of America account holders with a substantial balance, the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard is a competitive no-fee option.

Read full review

Other things to know:

  • $300 statement credit if you spend $3,000 in first 90 days
  • 3% cash back on a category of your choice (gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services)
  • 2% cash back on restaurant purchases
  • $50,000 combined purchase limit on 2% and 3% categories each year, then 1%
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • $0 annual fee

In addition to a flexible rewards earning scheme, the card offers a 0 percent introductory APR on new purchases for the first 9 billing cycles (14.49-24.49% variable thereafter). This is a great perk for small business owners who need to finance a larger purchase with time to pay it off interest-free.

See Related: Choose how you earn rewards with Bank of America’s updated business cash back card

What is Business Advantage Relationship Rewards?

Business Advantage Relationship Rewards is a unique program offered by Bank of America for business credit cardholders with a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch small business checking account. Depending on your balance in that account, you get all sorts of additional perks – including discounts on loans and higher interest rates on small business savings accounts. Best of all, you get a rate boost on any qualifying Bank of America business credit card, detailed below.

TierBalance qualificationsPoints boost
Gold$20,000-$49,99925%
Platinum$50,000-$99,99950%
Platinum Honors$100,000+75%

You can boost the rewards rate on your Bank of America business credit card by as much as 75 percent just by maintaining a certain balance in a qualifying checking account. With the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards card, for example, you can earn the following reward rates.

Relationship Rewards tierBusiness Advantage Cash Rewards card earning rate
Gold
  • 3.75% cash back on choice category
  • 2.5% cash back on restaurant purchases
  • $50,000 combined annual purchase limit on choice category and restaurant purchases
  • 1.25% cash back on other purchases
Platinum
  • 4.5% cash back on choice category
  • 3% cash back on restaurant purchases
  • $50,000 combined annual purchase limit on choice category and restaurant purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on other purchases
Platinum Honors
  • 5.25% cash back on choice category
  • 3.5% cash back on restaurant purchases
  • $50,000 combined annual purchase limit on choice category and restaurant purchases
  • 1.75% cash back on other purchases

See Related: Boost your rewards by 75 percent with Bank of America’s Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program

Comparing top business card offers

While the flexibility to choose your own bonus category is nice, the Bank of America card is not the first business card to offer this perk. What sets it apart is the ability to boost your rewards rate through Relationship Rewards.

For example, compare the Bank of America Cash Rewards business card to another popular no annual fee card that lets users choose their own bonus category – the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. The SimplyCash Plus card earns:

  • 5% cash back on the first $50,000 spent at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless phone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers
  • 3% cash back on the first $50,000 spent in a category of your choice from a list of 8 (U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, airfare purchased directly from airlines, etc.)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases

We estimate the average rewards rate on this card to be around 1.44 percent cash back. If you don’t qualify for Relationship Rewards on the Bank of America card, this rate beats the Business Advantage Cash Rewards card’s 1.34 percent average rate.

Note: To calculate the average rewards rate, we gathered data on average business spending to determine both category and overall spend. We assume the average business cardholder spends $4,000 per month with the following weighting:

  • 63% on general purchases
  • 12% on dining/entertainment purchases
  • 11% on gas
  • 3% on computer/internet services
  • 3% on office supplies
  • 3% on travel and transport
  • 2% on insurance
  • 2% on telecommunications
  • 1% on utilities

Estimated yearly rewards value: Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards vs. SimplyCash Plus American Express

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit cardSimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
$48,000 annual spend x 1.34% cash back = $643.20$48,000 annual spend x 1.44% cash back = $691.20

While the sign-up bonus on the Bank of America card can help increase your earning in the first year, the SimplyCash Plus can bring in more over the long term.

However, that changes drastically when you introduce the Relationship Rewards bonus. Here’s what you boost your average reward rate to with each tier:

Estimated yearly rewards value: Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards with Relationship Rewards boost

TierAverage rewards rateEstimated yearly rewards value ($4,000 monthly spend)
Gold1.68$806.40
Platinum2.01$964.80
Platinum Honors2.35$1,128

As you can see, even a more moderate Bank of America small business checking account balance can boost your rate to earn significantly more per year than the SimplyCash Plus. In fact, the Relationship Rewards boost outpaces many of our most popular no annual fee business cards.

Other top no annual fee business cards

CardRewards rateEstimated yearly rewards value ($4,000 monthly spend)
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
$720
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • 5% cash back on internet, cable and phone services and at office supply stores (on the first $25,000 in purchases per year)
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on the first $25,000 in purchases per year)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
$705.60
Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
$720
U.S. Bank Business Select Rewards
  • 3 points per dollar on a category of your choice (day-to-day expenses, automotive or travel and entertainment)
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
$624

Bottom line

The updated Bank of America Cash Rewards business card has some enticing perks, such as the ability to choose your own bonus category to tailor it to your spending and an increased sign-up bonus. Plus, Bank of America or Merrill Lynch small business checking account holders can boost their rewards rate with the Relationship Rewards program. If you have more than $20,000 in a qualifying account, this card is one of the most valuable no-annual-fee business cards available.

See Related: Is the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard right for your business?

What’s up next?

In Products

Choose how you earn rewards with Bank of America’s updated business cash back card

Choice categories include gas stations, office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom and wireless, computer services and business consulting services.

Published: April 8, 2019

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: July 17th, 2019
Business
15.61%
Airline
17.59%
Cash Back
17.68%
Reward
17.58%
Student
17.79%

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