If you’ve got travel fever, there’s no doubt that you’ve considered adding a travel credit card to supplement your budget by earning rewards. Most people don’t want to start off with a premium travel credit card, which comes with steep annual fees and slightly more involved ways to redeem travel rewards. That’s where the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card might come in.
This Bank of America credit card has no annual fee but still offers enough benefits to get you started on your award travel journey. Although you’ll get the most out of this card as a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member—an invite-only program based on the sum of your deposits with the bank—it might still be a worthwhile card to consider.
To help you know if this card makes sense for you, we’ve made this benefits guide that breaks down some of the key features of the card.
Quick card details:
- Welcome offer: 25,000 bonus points when you make $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening (worth $250 toward travel)
- Reward rate: Unlimited 1.5X points on all purchases
- annual fee: $0
- Intro APR for purchases: 0 percent intro APR for 15 billing cycles
- Regular APR: 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable
This card also has a few stand out features that make it a respectable starter travel card—the most notable being the welcome bonus and introductory zero-interest rate. If you spend $1,000 within the first three months of opening your account, you’ll earn 25,000 bonus points, worth $250 when redeemed toward travel or dining.
If you’ve got a big purchase on the horizon, the introductory APR offer will give you a 0 percent interest rate on purchases for 15 months. After the 15 months, your variable APR will be between 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent.
With the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, you’ll earn a flat 1.5X points on all purchases. There’s a way that you can earn slightly more (discussed below), but a flat rewards rate makes it pretty easy to predict earnings on all your purchases. Unlike some rewards cards, there are no rotating bonus categories to track or activate, making this card a good choice for simplicity.
You can redeem your rewards for a statement credit or cash as a deposit in an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account. The best part is that your cash redemptions don’t lose value, as with some rewards credit cards.
You can redeem your rewards for travel up to 12 months after the date of purchase. There’s a 2,500-point redemption minimum.
Other redemption options include getting statement credits for dining and takeout purchases, which includes a pretty broad range of venues: bars, lounges, nightclubs and, of course, restaurants.
Finally, you can also redeem points for gift cards, which only gives your points a value of .6 cents apiece and has a 3.125-point minimum for redemption.
If you’re part of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you’ll earn up to 75 percent more in rewards for each dollar you spend on your Travel Rewards card. The only requirement is to maintain a minimum balance in your eligible Bank of America or Merrill investing accounts. The minimum balance for each tier is as follows:
|gold||$20,000 to $49,999||25%|
|Platinum||$50,000 to $99,999||50%|
|Platinum Honors||$100,000 to $999,999||75%|
|diamond||$1,000,000 to $9,999,999||75%|
|Diamond Honors||$10 million or more||75%|
Though you need to maintain a significant amount of money on deposit with the bank to qualify for these tiers, you’ll find that it can really boost your earnings with the Travel Rewards card. At the highest tier, you could earn up to 2.62 points for every dollar spent on the card.
Additional card benefits
As a more entry-level travel card, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card lacks some of the more common travel benefits, like credits towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. There’s also no lounge access, travel insurance or annual credits—which you might expect with a no-annual-fee travel credit card.
However, there are some useful features that can still come in handy. First, there’s the BankAmeriDeals offer program. You’ll get access to exclusive discounts by using your card at eligible retailers for a specific period of time. You can save anywhere from 5 percent to 15 percent on certain purchases by activating your offer and using your card according to the offer details.
As a Visa Signature card, there are a few more card benefits to note:
- Purchase protection
- Visa Concierge Services
- Extended warranty coverage
- Access to roadside dispatch for emergency vehicle assistance
- Travel and emergency assistance
It’s also worth noting that this card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. If you plan to travel abroad, you at least won’t bust your travel budget with these extra fees.
Who should get the Bank of America Travel Rewards card?
This isn’t one of the very best travel credit cards out there by far. However, it does offer some benefits that could be appealing to someone that doesn’t travel much or has very relaxed standards for their award travel goals.
You should get this card if you:
- Want to earn rewards on your everyday spending
- Are a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program
- Don’t want to pay an annual fee to earn rewards toward travel
- Don’t mind foregoing some perks and benefits for a lower-cost travel card
You should avoid this card if:
- You have high expectations for award travel
- Because premium travel card perks like elite statuses, credits or airport lounge access
- Need a 0 percent introductory APR option for balance transfers
If you find that this card isn’t exactly a great fit, there are other cards that offer similar rewards rates, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Citi® Double Cash Card, which offer 1.5X and up to 2X rewards on all spending, respectively. The Chase Freedom Unlimited does have some additional advantages, like up to 5X boosted rewards on bonus categories plus the ability to earn and redeem more rewards for travel with a card combining strategy.
The bottom line
The Bank of America Travel Rewards isn’t the most feature-rich travel rewards card out there. For most people, they’d be better off with a flat-rate cash back card, or a rewards card with a higher rate than 1.5X on all spending.
For those who meet Bank of America Preferred Rewards requirements, the card could provide substantially more value. Even then, there are better cards available to take your award travel to the next level.