Simply put, the Bank of America WorldPoints Mall is middle-of-the-road at best. First the stats, all current as of 9/18/12:
- Average rewards rate: 3.26% (check out our calculation here. Bank of America’s portal partners with 35 of the 40 stores we tested).
- # of stores: 508
- Points post: on your credit card billing statement, within 60 days of product shipment
Top 3 Things to Know about the WorldPoints Mall
- Good limited time offers.
- Gradually improving rewards rates.
- Rewards are paid out in WorldPoints, which have a terrible redemption value.
- Buy from online only stores. These stores rely heavily on referrals to get business, so they offer big commissions. If you’re buying flowers, gift baskets, cosmetics, or shoes, you’ll score big with the WorldPoints Mall.
- View bonuses without signing in. Just want to check out the specials? You can get full access to the WorldPoints Mall site without having a BofA card. You just can’t buy anything.
- Check limited time offers. Go here first if you want to find the best deals.
- Check the seasonal deals. Even if you’re not doing back to school shopping, you can take advantage of the WorldPoints Mall’s increased rewards rates at those stores. The portal had some pretty nice savings running recently for back to school 2012.
What the WorldPoints Mall Does Well
Where does the WorldPoints Mall excel? Amount and variety of retailers. By our last count, the shopping site has 508 online partners. That’s not the highest number out there, but it’s over double the amount of merchants listed at ShopDiscover. Here are some popular stores that ShopDiscover and Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall miss:
|Retailer||At Bank of America WorldPoints Mall?||At Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall?||At ShopDiscover?|
The WorldPoints mall has also done a decent job of improving its rewards rates. We ranked 18 rewards malls in 2010, and the BofA shop came in at 12th. For the second largest bank by asset size in the United States, that’s bad. That’s like having all the answers in front of you then getting a D on the test.
Recently, though, the mall has been showing signs of life. An updated analysis in 2012 showed the online portal at 8th out of 16 malls, and a 2012 back to school comparison found the site at a shocking 4th out of 21 malls.
What does it all mean? Well, the WorldPoints Mall is getting better. The back to school comparison was skewed somewhat by ShopDiscover’s big 10% back to school promotion and BofA’s seasonal deals, especially since we only looked at major retailers. But the shopping portal now has more competitive deals – there’s no doubt about that.
What the WorldPoints Mall Doesn’t Do Well
The main problem? WorldPoints are kind of terrible. The poor redemption options doom the portal to second-rate. It’s frustrating – all the excitement at seeing a good rewards rate at the mall has to be tempered by the reminder that WorldPoints are just awful.
We don’t have the stomach to rehash it all in this post, but check out a more detailed summary of WorldPoints from our archives. Here are the quick hits:
- If you want cash, the rewards only get the full 1 cent value when you redeem 25,000 points.
- WorldPoints expire in 5 years.
- Using points on travel often results in high redemption minimums, limiting redemption intervals, and stupid restrictions.
Smart redemption, especially with flight rewards, can make these payouts valuable. But if you’re not a regular bonus point earner, skip the WorldPoints Mall and opt for an independent cash back website instead.
The mall’s instructions tell you to contact “FIA Card Services, N.A.” with questions. There’s no contact email and no contact phone number listed. You’ll have to visit the FIA Card Services website here to fight for your points.
For our calculations of average rewards rate, we checked the WorldPoints Mall’s rate at the 40 major retailers listed below. Note that the blank spaces are where the WorldPoints Mall didn’t have the merchant listed as a partner – we used the same 40 stores across multiple portals to normalize our results. BofA’s mall missed with 5 of the 40 stores. These 5 were excluded from calculating the average.
|Retailer||Bank of America WorldPoints Reward Rate|
|Bath and Body Works||2%|
|Bed Bath and Beyond||1%|
|Crate and Barrel||3%|
|Toys ‘R’ Us|