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How to maximize your Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card

This cash back card lets you choose a 3% cash back category and can reward you for saving and investing. Here's how to get the most from it

Summary

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card lets you earn cash back with no annual fee. You even get to choose the category for your top earning rate. Read on to learn how you can get the most out of this flexible cash back card. 

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The Bank of America content was last updated on September 16th, 2021

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is unique in that it allows you to choose the category you earn the highest rate of rewards in. This card also grants new cardholders a generous bonus offer, and there’s no annual fee.

Cardholders can also save money with 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles, followed by a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%. This makes it ideal for earning rewards on your spending as well as paying down large purchases without any interest for a limited time.

How to earn rewards

When you are approved for the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card, you can qualify for three different tiers of rewards based on your spending:

  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice among gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement and furnishings
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Just keep in mind that while you can earn unlimited 1% back in rewards on your spending, the 3% and 2 % bonus categories are capped at $2,500 in combined spending each quarter, after which you’ll earn 1% back.

Bank of America says you can change the 3% back category on your card once each calendar month through online banking or the Bank of America mobile app.

Also, remember that the rewards you earn on spending with this card are offered on top of the generous bonus offer. This initial offer lets you earn $200 in online cash rewards when you spend $1,000 on your card within 90 days of account opening.

See related: How much can you really make with a cash back card?

How to earn more with Bank of America Preferred Rewards

If you want to rack up even more rewards with Bank of America rewards credit cards, it can help to have a Bank of America deposit account or a Merrill investment account. Having either of these accounts and maintaining a minimum average daily balance can help you become eligible for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.

This program has three different tiers, each of which lets you earn an increasingly higher level of rewards on your spending. The following chart shows the average daily balance you need to maintain across your Bank of America deposit accounts and your Merrill investment accounts, as well as the percentage in bonus rewards you can earn.

GoldPlatinumPlatinum Honors
Three-month combined average daily balance required$20,000 to $49,999$50,000 to $99,999$100,000 or more
Credit card rewards bonus25%50%75%

As you can see, you have to keep quite a bit of money on deposit with Bank of America to qualify for this program. Then again, joining and earning the highest tier of bonus rewards may not be that difficult if you use a Merrill investment account for retirement.

Either way, becoming eligible for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program would let you earn considerably more in rewards with your card. Specifically, you could earn up to 5.25% back in your chosen 3% category, up to 3.5% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and up to 1.75% back on all other spending.

See related: Cash back vs. points: Which is better?

Maximizing rewards while you spend

There are several ways to maximize rewards with your Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, and it all starts with earning the initial bonus. When you get your card in the mail, you’ll want to make sure you spend at least $1,000 within 90 days of the date you were approved with the card. Doing this will ensure you qualify for the $200 in online cash rewards.

Other ways to maximize your rewards are detailed below.

Move your savings to Bank of America or open a Merrill investment account

If you have a big emergency fund or you’re flexible on where you invest, consider moving your money to a Bank of America deposit account or a Merrill investment account. You can gain access to the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program if you have at least $20,000 across your accounts, and joining this program can net you an additional 25% to 75% in rewards.

Change your 3% categories based on your spending

Also, keep in mind that you can change your card’s 3% category every month using the Bank of America website or the mobile app. Doing so can help you align your bonus rewards with big expenses you need to make, such as a new sofa for your living room or a vacation you need to book.

During times when you don’t have any big expenses planned, you can set your 3% category to one you spend regularly in, such as dining or online shopping.

Use your card for all everyday spending and bills

Finally, you’ll earn more rewards if you use your credit card for all your regular purchases and bills. This is true for regular spending, but it’s even more true for your card’s 3% category and each dollar you spend at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.

See related: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards vs. Chase Freedom Flex℠

Best ways to redeem your rewards

Bank of America lets you redeem rewards earned with this card in a few different ways, including:

  • Cash rewards, statement credits or deposits made directly into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or for credit to an eligible account with Merrill
  • Redemptions into a qualifying 529 savings plan with Merrill or for a check starting at $25
  • Automatic redemptions into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account starting at $25

While you can’t directly redeem rewards earned with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card for travel, merchandise or gift cards, keep in mind that statement credits let you accomplish the same thing. Simply charge anything you want to your credit card, then redeem your cash back to wipe all or part of the charge from your account.

Bottom line

Not many cash back credit cards allow you to choose your own bonus rewards categories or earn more cash as you save and invest. The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card stands out for its flexibility and the incentives it gives cardholders to be smart with their money. If you want something more than just a “set-it-and-forget-it” cash back card with a flat rate, this card may be for you.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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