|Business Rating:||3.4 / 5|
|Issuer Customer Experience||5.0|
In a Nutshell:
You could get unmatched value out of this card as a Preferred Rewards member at the Platinum or Platinum Honors tier, but most cardholders will be better off with a card that offers a higher base rewards rate – even if that means paying an annual fee.
1.5% cash back rewards on all qualifying purchases
$300 statement credit after you make at least $3,000 in net purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Bank Of America Customer Service Ratings
Depending on your business relationship with Bank of America, the Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card could be either one of the most lucrative business rewards cards on the market or yet another shrug-worthy 1.5% cash back rewards option.
While it may be a decent choice for modest spenders who favor simple, no-hassle rewards, the boosted rewards rate and exclusive perks offered by the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program are what make this card really shine. Depending on the size of your qualifying account balances, you could increase your rewards rate up to as much as 2.62% back – which is far and away the most generous flat rate out there.
But if you can’t qualify for the Preferred Rewards program’s Platinum or Platinum Honors tier, a business rewards card with a higher base rewards rate will likely prove more lucrative – even if it comes with an annual fee.
Why you might want the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card
Without a doubt, this card’s biggest selling point is its rewards potential. If you already have a business relationship with Bank of America and maintain a high average balance across your eligible accounts, the card could easily be the most rewarding business rewards card out there. But its streamlined rewards structure, intro APR offer and low cost also make it a great option for business owners looking for a simple way to earn rewards and save on interest.
Ideal for low-maintenance cardholders
If the idea of tracking spending, enrolling in bonus categories or juggling multiple rewards cards to maximize your earnings on different purchases sounds like more trouble than it’s worth, then the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card should be a great fit for you.
The card makes earning rewards exceedingly simple, as you’ll enjoy unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on all eligible purchases, without having to worry about where, when or what you buy. And since the card charges no annual fee, you won’t have to stress about spending enough so the rewards make up for the card’s cost. While credit card annual fees are often worth it when you consider a card’s rewards rate, sign-up bonus and other perks, such fees inevitably introduce some risk, which may put off savings-minded cardholders.
Cardholders who value simplicity will also appreciate the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card’s straightforward cash back redemption process, which lets you claim your rewards as a deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account, a statement credit or a physical check, with few restrictions on when and in what amount you can redeem. Your rewards also don’t expire for the life of your account and you don’t have to meet any minimum redemption threshold to get your cash back rewards as a direct deposit or statement credit.
Given its $0 annual fee and ease of use, the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card could make sense as part of a larger rewards strategy. Rewards-minded cardholders can supplement cards that earn bonus rewards in specific categories since the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card’s higher-than-average rewards rate is ideal for general purchases.
Terrific rewards and perks for big savers
Though its base 1.5% cash back rewards rate is nothing earth-shattering, the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card could offer exceptional value to qualifying Bank of America Preferred Rewards program members. Depending on how much money you keep in your qualifying Bank of America business deposit accounts and Merrill business investment accounts, you can boost your rewards rate by 25%, 50% or 75%, a feature that could easily make this the best flat-rate business card on the market.
Based on the three-month average total balance across your qualifying accounts, you could be eligible for Preferred Rewards program benefits at the following tiers:
- Gold tier ($20,000 minimum balance): 25% boost (1.87% cash back rate)
- Platinum tier ($50,000 minimum balance): 50% boost (2.25% cash back rate)
- Platinum Honors tier ($100,000 minimum balance): 75% boost (2.62% cash back rate)
Considering most business rewards cards offer a maximum cash back rate of 2% on general spending – and many of those also charge an annual fee – the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card is a clear value winner if you have average account balances of $50,000 or more.
To get a sense of just how much extra cash back rewards you could earn via the Preferred Rewards program’s boosted rates, compare the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card to a competitor like the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, which also charges no annual fee and offers 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. As you can see, the Preferred Rewards membership at the Platinum or Platinum Honors tier should net a good chunk more cash back rewards than a 2% cash back card.
|Card||Rewards calculation||Estimated total rewards|
|Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card (base rate)||$48,000 x 1.5% back =||$720|
|Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card (Gold tier)||$48,000 x 1.87% back =||$898|
|Blue Business Cash Card||$48,000 x 2% back =||$960|
|Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card (Platinum tier)||$48,000 x 2.25% back =||$1,080|
|Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card (Platinum Honors tier)||$48,000 x 2.62% back =||$1,258|
Along with a boosted rewards rate, Preferred Rewards membership comes with a number of exclusive perks for Bank of America customers. Depending on your membership tier, you can enjoy practical benefits like boosted Business Advantage Savings account interest rates, ATM transaction fee waivers, auto and real estate loan interest rate discounts, cash back on eligible payroll service fees and complimentary financial analysis and professional advice from a Merrill Financial Solutions Advisor.
Easy-to-score sign-up bonus
Not only is it easy to earn rewards with the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card, but you can also secure the card’s sign-up bonus without much trouble. You’ll earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 on net purchases in your first 90 days.
While this is far from the highest bonus available on a no annual fee business card, the spending requirement is quite low, coming out to roughly $1,000 in spending per month for your first three months. Considering we estimate the average small-business owner spends about $4,000 in a single month, this threshold should be easy to reach if your spending is similarly aligned.
Several competing cards require double that spending to earn their sign-up bonuses, which could put them out of reach for more modest spenders. For example, while the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card carries a whopping $750 sign-up bonus, you’ll need to spend $7,500 in your first three months to get it. The Amex Blue Business Cash Card, meanwhile, only offers a $250 welcome bonus for a $3,000 spend in your first three months.
Finance purchases or free up cash flow
Along with the savings you’ll enjoy on everyday purchases thanks to its ongoing cash back rewards, the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card could help you save big on interest charges. You’ll enjoy a 0% introductory APR for nine billing cycles on new purchases, followed by an ongoing variable APR of 12.24% to 22.24%. This means that as long as you make your minimum payment each month, you can carry a balance for nine months without being charged any interest – you’ll only pay interest on any balance that remains at the end of your promotional period.
While intro APR offers are not exactly a rare feature on business credit cards, plenty of cards lack this perk. This gives the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card an edge over several competitors if you could use the time to chip away at large business expenses or strategically carry a balance to free up cash flow. In fact, depending on the size of your purchase and how long you’d need to pay it off, the money you’d save on interest over nine months with this card’s 0% intro APR offer could even beat out a higher sign-up bonus or more valuable perks on another card.
Once your intro APR period ends, the card’s average ongoing APR is also fairly low, with the low-end APR coming in well below the average credit card interest rate of around 16%.
Why you might want a different card
The Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card could be a great fit for small-business owners who want to keep things simple and avoid an annual fee, but unless you’re a Preferred Rewards member, the card’s middling base rewards rate means it may not be your most rewarding business card option.
You can get better rewards value, even with an annual fee
If you’re stuck with its base 1.5% cash back rewards rate, the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card will likely fall short of a business rewards card that offers 2% back on general purchases or a higher rewards rate in popular spending categories – even if that card carries an annual fee. This gap gets even wider if you spend heavily with the card.
Take the Capital One Spark Cash Plus as an example. Though this 2% flat-rate cash back card charges a whopping $150 annual fee, the extra 0.5% in cash back it earns can easily make it more rewarding than the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card. Unless you spend quite modestly (about $30,000 or less per year in business expenses), the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card will offer less value.
|Card||Rewards calculation||Estimated total rewards|
|Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card||$48,000 x 1.5% back =||$720|
|Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card||$30,000 x 1.5% back =||$450|
|Capital One Spark Cash Plus||$48,000 x 2% back – $150 annual fee =||$810|
|Capital One Spark Cash Plus||$30,000 x 2% back – $150 annual fee =||$450|
Also keep in mind that if you spend heavily in a specific category of business expenses, you may earn more with a rewards card dedicated to that category than you would with a flat-rate card like the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card.
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, for example, offers 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 you spend on travel and in select business spending categories including shipping, cable services, phone services and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines (1 point per dollar after that). Spending heavily in these categories could easily net you tens of thousands of points, which are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for cash back or 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Check out this example, which assumes a $48,000 total annual spend, just a fourth of which falls into one of the Ink Business Preferred card’s 3X bonus category. Even factoring in its annual fee and lower rewards rate on general purchases (1 point per dollar), the card can offer more value than the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card:
|Card||Rewards calculation||Estimated total rewards|
|Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card||$48,000 x 1.5% back =||$720 in cash back rewards|
|Ink Business Preferred||$12,000 x 3 points per dollar + $36,000 x 1 point per dollar – $95 annual fee =||$805 in Chase travel (assuming a 1.25 cent point value)|
Fairly short intro APR offer
Though the card’s intro APR will be a valuable feature for small-business owners looking to chip away at large business expenses or free up cash flow, it’s far from the longest offer on the market. In fact, several competing business cards from Chase and American Express carry intro APR offers on new purchases for 12 months.
While three more months of intro APR may not be the deciding factor when comparing card options, the extra time could save you a decent amount in interest charges if you need to pay off a large balance.
How does the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash rewards card compare to other business cards?
While this new business rewards card from Bank of America could offer exceptional value to Preferred Rewards members and may be a great fit for modest spenders and cardholders who favor streamlined rewards, it likely won’t be the most rewarding stand-alone option for most small-business owners. Consider these alternatives, which offer either a more generous flat rewards rate, a higher sign-up bonus or a longer introductory APR offer.
2% cash back on all purchases
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
Up to a $1,000 cash bonus – $500 by spending $5,000 within the first three months, plus another $500 bonus after spending a total of $50,000 in the first six months
$250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
$750 if you spend $7,500 in first 3 months
$0 (see rates & fees)
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card vs. Capital One Spark Cash Plus
Though the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card carries a sizable annual fee, this should be easy to offset via cash back earnings. In fact, if you spend just $19,000 per year with the card (just under $1,600 per month), its earnings will beat out those of the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card. Big spenders will also love the card’s unique two-tiered sign-up bonus offer, which can get you a $1,000 cash bonus if you spend $50,000 in your first six months. However, one potential downside is that the Spark Cash Plus is a charge card. This means you won’t be able to carry a balance – you must pay your charges off in full each month. That could be a deal-breaker if you’re hoping for some payment flexibility in your business card.
Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card vs. Amex Blue Business Plus
Depending on your spending habits, the American Express Blue Business Cash Card could easily offer more value than the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card. That’s because the card offers a higher flat rewards rate while also charging no annual fee, with the caveat that its 2% cash back rate only applies to the first $50,000 you spend each year. The rewards rate drops to just 1% after you reach that annual spending threshold. That may sound overly restrictive, but if you do the math you’ll find you’d need to spend over $100,000 per year to come out on top with the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card and a 1.5% rewards rate.
Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card vs. Ink Business Unlimited
While the Ink Business Unlimited card can only match the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card’s ongoing rewards rate, it has a couple of key advantages. To start, the Ink Business Unlimited carries a much higher sign-up bonus of $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 in your first three months – more than double the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card’s offer. You’ll also get a slightly longer intro APR period and a lower high-end APR. The card comes with a 0% intro APR offer for 12 months on new purchases (followed by a 13.24% to 19.24% variable APR). On the downside, the card’s bonus is harder to reach due to the high spending requirement, and there’s no opportunity to boost your rewards rate like you can with Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program.
How to use the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card
- Take advantage of the card’s intro APR offer to finance large business expenses or free up cash flow.
- To maximize your rewards, combine the card with other business cards that earn more than 1.5% back in your largest spending categories, like dining, gas or office supplies.
- Be sure to maintain a three-month combined average daily balance of $20,000, $50,000 or $100,000 in your qualifying Bank of America and Merrill accounts to keep your respective Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors status.
- Be sure to pay off any new balances within the first nine billing cycles to avoid facing interest charges when your intro APR period ends.
Is the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card right for you?
If you maintain an average balance of at least $50,000 across your qualifying Bank of America business deposit or Merrill business investment accounts, adding the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card to your wallet should be a no-brainer.
No other flat-rate business card can match the boosted rewards rate qualifying Preferred Rewards members get on general purchases with the Unlimited Cash Rewards card. And even if you don’t qualify for Preferred Rewards member perks, the card could be a solid option for more modest spenders or cardholders who don’t mind sacrificing a bit of rewards potential to keep things simple and avoid an annual fee.
But if your goal is maximizing your rewards and you’re not a Preferred Rewards business member, there’s a good chance you’ll earn more overall with another business rewards card – even if it charges an annual fee.
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