Advertiser Disclosure

Why the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card Is Great for New Points Collectors

Sept. 21, 2018
Travel, Travel Credit Cards
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

For those who have never collected points and miles before, getting started can be intimidating. Which program is right for you? Does collecting points even make sense for your travel style?

When considering all of your options, it’s best to start simple. That’s why the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card could be a good option for beginners. Here are three reasons to consider this for your first travel rewards card.

1. No hidden fees

One frustration travelers face is “hidden” fees when they open a new credit card or travel abroad using that card. Despite being labeled as “travel” credit cards, some add transaction fees when using it abroad. Though it’s a small amount — usually up to 3% of your transaction — that amount can add up quickly. This is often in addition to annual fees on a credit card, which range from $69 all the way to $550 and can start as soon as the card is opened.

» Learn more: Don’t let hidden hotel fees spoil your next trip.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers straightforward rewards without any “hidden” fees. There is no annual fee for holding the card and no fees for using it abroad. This means travelers can earn rewards everywhere they go without worrying about recovering costs every year.

For a new traveler who isn’t in tune with points and miles values, this is an easy way to see whether a travel credit card is a good fit. From there, travelers can determine if additional travel rewards cards offer the most value, or if a cash-back credit card is a better fit for their lifestyle.

2. Flexible points apply directly toward travel expenses

In addition to the 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card excels in simplicity. Instead of being locked into one booking website or reward program, this card allows you use points anywhere you book your travel.

This means cardholders can effectively book any flight, hotel room or ground transportation with their card and use points to pay for the expense. With every point worth one cent each, it’s easy to understand how to use points toward discounted and free travel.

» Learn more: It’s OK to use points and miles on ordinary expenses.

While there are some limitations on where you can use points, the qualifying travel categories are generous. Points can be used for purchases on airlines, hotels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, tourist attractions and exhibits like art galleries, amusement parks, carnivals and zoos. The only travel-related purchases points can’t be used on are those at duty-free shops and in-flight purchases.

3. Opportunities to earn bonus points

If the multiple ways to use points weren’t good enough, Bank of America makes it incredibly easy to earn even more points on spending. If you have a Bank of America account or if you book your travel through the Travel Center, you can earn even more points.

If you are already a Bank of America customer, you can earn an additional 10% bonus points on top of the 1.5 points you earn from the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. To qualify, the cardholder or the credit card co-applicant must have a consumer checking, savings or IRA account with Bank of America with a positive balance for at least 90 days. The bonus also applies to those who have a personal account with Merrill Edge, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated or U.S. Trust. Excluded accounts include 401(k) or other employer sponsored plans and 529 plans.

» Learn more: Should I get a card that earns flexible points or airline miles?

On top of earning bonus points with a Bank of America account, cardholders can also earn double points by booking their travel through the Bank of America Travel Center. When using their Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card at the Travel Center, cardholders can earn 3 points (1.5 bonus points and 1.5 base points) for every $1 spent, with no limit on the number of bonus points they can earn. Travel insurance purchases do not qualify for the additional 1.5 bonus points.

For new travelers, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers a lot of upside with very little risk. Combining rewards opportunities and generous redemption options, this card gives first-time travelers the chance to see how rewards work and can add up toward free travel over time.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2018, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
If you bank with Bank of America, you need this credit card
5 top perks of the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card
Is the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card worth its annual fee?

About the author