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BofA’s New Travel Cards – Your Best Option?

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Bank of America just rolled out 3 brand spanking new travel credit cards for the 2012 summer season. Competing against such greats as the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, these newcomers enter a market rife with fierce competition and seasoned rewards veterans. So how do these travel card neophytes stack up against the revered old-timers of the rewards realm? Here we review BofA’s new arsenal of travel cards and compare them to a few of our favorite standbys.

Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards

The Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards offers 2% back on every dollar spent. Double points are always awesome. The Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards also boasts flexible travel redemption options. You can redeem for statement credits to offset virtually any travel expense without restrictions or blackout dates. Points do not have earning caps or expiration dates. You also won’t have to pay a foreign transaction fee, saving you 3% on every out-of-country purchase.

The annual fee is waived the first year and $75 every year thereafter. In addition to a decent rewards rate and flexible redemption options, that buys you a few additional services, including travel and emergency assistance, a concierge service and purchase replacement.

All in all, the Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards is a pretty solid travel card. BUT, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is just a bit better. First off, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card  costs less. The annual fee is $0 intro for first year; $59 after that. As with the Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards, you’ll earn double miles, and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card  also comes with a great bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel

Similar to the Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards, miles can be redeemed for any travel expense without blackout dates or restrictions. Again, you won’t have to worry about a foreign transaction fee. And like its BofA competitor, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card grants access to an array of additional perks, including a concierge service, roadside assistance, preferred seating at events and more.

You may want to consider the Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards if you maintain a combined balance of $50,000 or more of average daily balances for the month, or month-end balances in deposit accounts and/or eligible investment balances at Bank of America.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card is essentially the same as the Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards but with a lower rewards rate an a $0 annual fee. The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card yields 1.5% back on every dollar spent. Like its big brother, it does not currently offer a signing bonus.

Once again, there are no spending caps, expiration dates, blackout dates or travel restrictions. There is also no credit card foreign transaction fee. The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card comes equipped with the same perks as the Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards, namely emergency assistance, a concierge and purchase replacement.

Capital One offers a similar card called the Ink Classic Business. In fact, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card and the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Cards are virtually identical. There are only two minor differences we find noteworthy. The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card’s reward rate stands at 1.25% back on every purchase–slightly less than the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card’s 1.5%. The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, however, offers a signup bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel. It’s a bit of a toss up. For a better rewards rate, go BofA. For a signing bonus, we suggest Capital One.

Bank of America WorldPoints Travel Rewards for Business Visa

The BofA Business Travel card is less than impressive. The signup bonus is a pitiful 5,000 points. The rewards rate is 3 points per dollar spent on travel booked through BofA and 1.5 points per dollar spent everywhere else. There is no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, no caps or expirations and no blackout dates. It has a 9-month 0% introductory purchase APR to give you time to spend without accumulating interest. It’s an okay card but certainly not the best option.

A similar (but better) card is the Ink Classic Business. The annual fee is $0 and you’ll earn 5% back on office supplies and phone/cable services, 2% back on fuel and lodging and 1% back on everything else. The Ink Classic Business comes with an APR of: 0% for 6 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% Variable . However, it DOES charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. You’re not going to want to make this your primary overseas card. But if your business needs are primarily domestic, you can’t go wrong with the Ink Classic Business.

  • DanT

    I do not believe this post is accurate. The new BofA Travel Rewards cards allow redemptions for travel charges at a rate of 1 point to 1 cent, with a minimum redemption of 2,500 points. In this case, the earning/redemption rate on the annual fee version of the card is the same as the Capital One Venture Card, the only difference is that the annual fee is slightly higher. On the other than, the no annual fee BofA card gives 1.5% back whereas the no annual fee Capital One Venture product only gives 1.25% back.

  • Jonrodgerwood

    Your review is also inaccurate in that both the bank of America cards and the capital one cards are visa signature. Therefore the whole benefits advantage you give to Capital One is inaccurate. I’m trying to decide between venture and the privileges rewards.

  • Wsv_price

    Stephen, aren’t the signature Perks the same between BOFA and Capital one? Both of the cards have the VISA Signature logo

  • Wolf

    We are going on our 1st cruise,would like to know the best cc to use as far as interestpercentage and perks,we have excellent crdit

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=570598986 Henry Allen

    BOA Travel Rewards is also signature, so you got that wrong. It’s identical to Venture One except it has a better rewards rate, and from the tone of your article, it sounds like BOA hasn’t paid you and Capital One has. What should we expect though, honesty on the internet? Hah.

  • Elbombo

    I think the BoA Travel Rewards card is better than the Cap One VentureOne card. The BoA card is a Visa Signature, has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee just like the VentureOne card. But it’s better because the BoA card gives 1.50 points per dollar spent and it now is capable of chip and signature so it’s great to use in other countries where the chip is required. If you go to the BoA website it shows that the card now has a chip and signature. I just received mine in the mail. While the cards are nearly similar, it looks like BoA edges out Capital One on this card.

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  • GregZB

    If you click on BofA Travel Rewards review page it gives two conflicting
    numbers. The review page says the base reward rate is 1.2% instead of
    1.5% in the summary section. A better head to head comparison might be against CapOne’s Cash Rewards which also offers a 1.5% rate with no forex fees. Cash Rewards has the edge with the initial bonus
    and has the added perk of changing the card’s image but lacks BofA
    Travel Awards’ EMV compliance which makes it more universally accepted.

  • Jeff

    If your a bank of America customer you also get a 10% annual bonus on the preferred making this card slightly superior for bank of america customers. Also, if you meet the $25,000 balance requirement you also get 30 free stock trades with your investment accounts every MONTH. Bank of America is clearly winning this fight if you meet the balance requirement and your an active trader.

  • Pete

    Update: the BoA Travel card currently (7/14) offers a 10,000-point ($100) sign-on bonus.