Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review

Updated: January 13, 2022

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Updated: January 13, 2022

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Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
3.7 rating
3.7 rating
3.7 / 5
Rewards Value:2.6
Annual Percentage Rate:3.3
Rewards Flexibility:4.6
Features:2.0
Issuer Customer Experience1.6

In a Nutshell:

You can travel anytime you want with this flexible travel card: The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card sets itself apart from other travel cards by doing away with restrictive travel policies and letting you book your rewards-funded travel yourself.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate
1.5 points per dollar on every purchase

Average

Sign-up Bonus
25,000 online bonus points after spending $1,000 in first 90 days

Average

Annual Bonus
None

Poor

Annual Fee
$0

Excellent

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend, 3 year average)
$322

Average

APR
13.99% – 23.99% (variable)

Average

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • No limits on how many points you can earn
  • Redeem points for any travel or dining purchase
  • Redeem for a statement credit up to 12 months after making a travel or dining purchase

Cons

  • Cash redemption is only 0.6 cents per point
Excellent

Bank of America Customer Service Ratings

  • J. D. Power 2020 customer satisfaction rating: 812 (20% of issuers in this category ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: Yes
  • Online chat available?: Yes
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.8/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.7/5
Fair

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fees, Visa Signature benefits, EMV chip card with the ability to add a PIN for international travel, car rental insurance, roadside dispatch, lost luggage insurance, concierge services, purchase security

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review: More details

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is a great choice for travelers who like to hunt the web for the best deals without sacrificing the ability to use rewards for the purchase. It’s an incredibly flexible card but has some limitations when compared to cards with potentially higher rewards value.

See relatedBank of America Travel Rewards video review

Why you might want the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card

If you’re the type of cardholder always looking around for a good sign-up bonus on a card with no annual fee, then Bank of America’s travel card is a great option for you. You’ll earn a flat rate of rewards on all your purchases, giving you the freedom to shop for what you want, when you want to and still earn a decent rate.

One unique benefit of this card is that if you happen to have a Merrill or a Bank of America account you can earn a boosted rewards rate with Preferred Rewards.

High sign-up bonus

Though not the most valuable sign-up offer currently available, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card does include a decent bonus of 25,000 online points for users who spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. If you redeem these points for travel purchases, they are worth up to $250.

Flat-rate rewards on all purchases

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card comes with one flat earning rate on all purchases – making it easy to rack up points without keeping track of bonus categories or focusing your spending in one area. Cardholders bring in 1.5 points per dollar on every purchase. The one exception to this is purchases made in the Bank of America Travel Center, which earn an additional 1.5 points per dollar for a total of 3 points per dollar spent.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards program

If you are already a Bank of America or Merrill checking or savings account holder, you might be able to boost your earning rate on the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card. This is certainly the case if you have a significant balance. Bank of America has a tiered rewards rate program that increases at incremental stages depending on how large your account balance is in your Bank of America or Merrill account. You can potentially qualify for a 75% point boost with an increased earned rate of 2.6% (up from the standard 1.5% per dollar spent) by qualifying for Platinum Honors – Bank of America’s highest Preferred Rewards tier.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards tiers and earning rates

TierBalance requiredPoints boostEarning rate
Gold customers$20,000-$49,99925%1.9%
Platinum customers$50,000-$99,99950%2.3%
Platinum Honors customers$100,000+75%2.6%

As you can see, even if you don’t have a balance over $100,000 in your Bank of America or Merrill account you can still earn either a 25% or 50% boost to your rewards rate.

When combined with some of the other benefits of this card, even a 1.9% earning rate makes this card stand out despite the fact some flat-rate rewards cards have a slightly higher rate.

Flexible point redemption

Points earned with the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card are worth the same amount whether you book travel with the bank or another site – unlike other travel cards that offer a boost on certain purchases. However, this gives the card some added flexibility and means you can think less critically about how you want to use those points.

You can redeem points for any travel purchase made on your card in the last 12 months. That means you can find a better deal on a third-party travel site and still use your rewards to cover the cost. You may also redeem points for a statement credit to pay for dining purchases, a cash redemption or gift card.

Though the point value varies with these options, sometimes you may not always have another trip in mind and need to redeem your points before they expire.

Bank of America Travel Rewards redemption options

Redemption optionMinimum points needed to redeemPoint value (cents)
Travel (booked through Bank of America Travel Center)2,5001
Dining or Travel (booked through qualifying outside merchants)2,5001
Cash rewards2,5000.6
Gift card3,125varies

Intro APR for new purchases

In addition to easy-to-earn rewards and flexible redemption, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card offers a 0% introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for new cardholders (13.99% to 23.99% variable thereafter).

This can be a great perk for users who have a big purchase to make and want to pay it down over time without racking up interest. You’ll have a little more than a full year to make slow payments without having to worry about additional charges. Just be sure not to charge more than you can pay off in the introductory period, as the ongoing APR can be high.

Other benefits

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card doesn’t come with extensive perks, but it does come with a few benefits that make it valuable for frequent travelers.

  • No foreign transaction fee – When traveling abroad, you won’t pay any surcharge on foreign transactions.
  • Car rental insurance – If your rental car is damaged or stolen, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card can reimburse you in excess of the company’s insurance policy.
  • Add PIN for international travel – The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is an EMV chip card, and you can add a PIN for easy use when traveling overseas.
  • While certainly not the most impressive travel perks available on a rewards card, all these benefits can save frequent travelers some money on their next trip.

Why you might want a different travel rewards card

If you’re familiar with rewards programs, know which categories you spend your money and can plan accordingly to use different cards for every purchase, you might want to opt for a more elaborate card strategy that takes advantage of higher earning cards. A rate of 1.5 points per dollar spent is a decent rate, but it’s by no means the best offer out there.

That said, there are a few shortcomings the Bank of America Travel Rewards card has that makes it fall a little further down the list of best travel rewards cards.

No bonus for travel redemption

Redemption through an issuer’s travel portal is a competitive feature on a travel rewards card that comes with some other cards in this category. Unfortunately, points redeemed for travel through the Bank of America Travel center won’t see an increase in value like on some other issuer’s cards. This puts Bank of America’s card a little further down the list.

Although purchases made through the travel center will earn double points, redeeming those points for travel won’t increase their value. Meaning you’ll need to spend more to increase the worthiness of your rewards, while with another card it might mean spending less and redeeming for more.

For example, points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earn an additional 25% value when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Portal, making points (normally worth 1 cent each) worth 1.25 cents each.

The most value you can get out of a Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card point is 1 cent per point, other travel cards can often outpace its value. When comparing to another card, be sure to keep point value in mind because, like Chase, some issuers have increased point value.

Here is a quick look at some of our most popular travel cards and the rewards value you get out of each dollar you spend (factoring in average earning rate and point value).

Low rewards rate

While earning 1.5 points per dollar on every purchase is convenient and it can be boosted if you’re a Bank of America or Merrill account holder, for a general cardholder who’s looking for a solid travel rewards card, it’s a little low. Even the 3 points per dollar on travel booked through Bank of America’s Travel Center is comparatively low to other cards, especially considering the points’ low value for redemption.

If you want to step into travel rewards and fly higher, you might benefit from a card that earns at a higher rate on general purchases and pair it with a card from the same issuer that earns a high rate for travel. This may allow you to pool your points and redeem them through that issuer’s rewards portal.

For instance, you might be better served with a 2% cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay) paired with the Citi Premier® Card. While the Premier Card has an annual fee of $95, depending on how much you spend you may be able to offset that fee by earning more rewards than you would with the Bank of America Travel Rewards card.

How does the Bank of America Travel Rewards card compare to other cards?

The flat earning rate on the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card makes it easy to rack up points with this no-annual-fee option, but savvy spenders might be able to get more out of a travel card with a different structure. Here are a few popular alternatives:


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Wells Fargo Propel American Express
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card*
Rewards rate

  • 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through the Chase portal
  • 3 points per dollar on dining
  • 2 points per dollar on other travel
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
Rewards rate

  • 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
Rewards rate

  • 3 points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Sign-up bonus

60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Sign-up bonus

20,000 miles if you spend $500 in first 3 months

Sign-up bonus

20,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Other things to know

  • 25% higher point value when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards
  • Transfer points to travel partners at 1:1 rate
  • Primary car rental insurance
Other things to know

  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for first 15 months (14.99%-24.99% variable APR thereafter)
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Transfer miles to over 15+ travel partners
Other things to know

  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards or travel for the same point value
  • Transfer points to any Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards account

Chase Sapphire Preferred

A fan-favorite travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a good rewards rate and a valuable sign-up bonus. If you redeem all 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months to earn the bonus) for travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal, they are worth up to $750. The biggest drawback to the Sapphire Preferred is its $95 annual fee, though heavy spenders can probably offset this cost with a great earning rate on travel and restaurant purchases.

See Related: Bank of America Travel Rewards vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred: Which is best for you?

Capital One VentureOne

Like the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, the Capital One VentureOne doesn’t charge an annual fee and offers a flat rate of miles on most purchases – 1.25 miles per dollar. The Capital One VentureOne also charges no foreign transaction fee. However, the VentureOne also comes with a higher low-end and high-end APR rate (14.99% to 24.99% variable) than the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card does. Miles with the VentureOne are also worth that same as Bank of America points at 1 cent apiece. However, with a lower earning rate, the VentureOne won’t compete well with cards that have a high point value and a high earning rate.

Wells Fargo Propel

The Wells Fargo Propel is another popular no-annual-fee travel card, thanks to its extensive list of categories that qualify for the 3 point-per-dollar rate. Cardholders can earn 3 points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services as well as 1 point per dollar on other purchases. This makes it easy to rack up plenty of points. Plus, cardholders who also have a Wells Fargo Visa Signature credit card can transfer all their points to the Visa Signature to enjoy a 50% higher point value for airfare redemptions.

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card is no longer available.

How to use the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card:

  • Spend at least $1,000 in the first 90 days to earn the sign-up bonus.
  • Put all your purchases on the card to take advantage of a generous flat rewards rate.
  • Consider purchasing travel through the Bank of America Travel center to earn double points.
  • If you are eligible, sign up for Preferred Rewards to boost your earning.

Is the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card worth it?

If you are the type of cardholder who prefers to put all their purchases on one card and not worry about keeping track of bonus categories, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card offers a good rate of points for a card with no annual fee. Plus, Bank of America account holders with a significant balance can boost their rewards rate and fast-track their way to their next vacation.

On the other hand, if the realm of rewards earning sparks your curiosity and you want to maximize how much you get back for what you spend, you might consider a more strategic approach. That said, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a terrific option for newcomers to rewards or for those who aren’t confident in their ability to offset annual fees they may face with more beneficial cards.

Need more information on this card? See related articles:

*All information about Wells Fargo Propel American Express card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. 

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