Editorial Review

Bank of America Travel Rewards Review: Easy Rewards for Easy Travel

Earn 1.5 points per dollar on all spending. Redeem points for credit on your statement against any travel purchase.

Melissa LambarenaApril 23, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.9

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: This solid no-fee travel credit card is especially rewarding for Bank of America® banking customers.

Bank of America BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card Credit Card

on Bank of America's website, or call (800) 211-3740

on Bank of America's website, or call (800) 211-3740

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles

recommended credit score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees

  • Generous flat rewards rate on all purchases

  • Flexibility to book travel how you want

  • Rewards accelerator if you bank with Bank of America or invest with Merrill Lynch

Cons
  • More restrictive than a straight cash back card

  • If you're a big spender with excellent credit and willing to pay an annual fee, there are cards with higher rewards

Alternate Pick: Higher rewards rate

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Unlimited 2 miles per dollar on everything

If you're willing to pay an annual fee ($0 for the first year, then $95), this card gives you 2 miles per dollar on all spending. It has a big sign-up bonus, and miles are redeemable for statement credit against any travel expense.

Read our review

Full Review

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is an excellent option for frequent travelers who want flexible rewards but just can't bring themselves to pay an annual fee for a credit card.

Cardholders earn an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases. Rewards never expire as long as the account is open, and they can be redeemed for credit against any travel purchase. With no foreign transaction fees and a $0 annual fee, this card definitely travels light.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: Basics

Basic card features

Vital statistics for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card:

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after 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.

Rewards:

  • 1.5 points per dollar spent.

  • 3 points per dollar spent on eligible travel booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center.

A value of 1 cent per point when redeemed for travel credit and a little over half a cent per point for cash. Points can also be redeemed for gift cards at varying redemption values. Minimum redemption: 2,500 points for travel or cash.

Interest rate: Introductory APR of 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR. (A 0% APR period is relatively rare on a travel card.)

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Key benefits

Flexible rewards. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card isn't tied to any particular airline or hotel chain. Book travel any way you want, with no restrictions and no blackout dates, and then use points to wipe out the cost on your statement. Bank of America® also has one of the broadest definitions of "travel" of any major issuers. You can use points to get credit for airfare, hotel stays, cruises and car rentals, of course — but also for things like campgrounds, art galleries, amusement parks, carnivals, circuses, aquariums and zoos.

Opportunities for even more rewards. If you're a Bank of America®  Preferred Rewards member, you can snag higher bonuses, described below. You also earn 3 points per dollar — twice the card's usual rate — at the Bank of America® Travel Center.

Visa Signature benefits. Visa Signature cards offer 24/7 concierge service, travel protections and luxury hotel benefits at more than 800 locations. Enjoy room upgrades, free in-room Internet service and free continental breakfast.

Travel-friendly features. As part of the Visa network, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card travels well internationally. Unlike American Express and Discover networks, the Visa network is widely available and more likely to be accepted by merchants outside of the U.S. You also don’t have to worry about paying foreign transaction fees which typically cost 1% to 3% of every transaction.

Preferred Rewards boosts earnings

The Preferred Rewards program allows certain Bank of America® credit card holders to earn bonus rewards. If you have enough money in combined balances in Bank of America®, Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch accounts, you can earn bonuses of 25% or more. There are three tiers to the program:

  • Gold: At least $20,000 in balances; earn a 25% bonus.

  • Platinum: At least $50,000 in balances; earn a 50% bonus.

  • Platinum Honors: At least $100,000 in balances; earn a 75% bonus.

Say you spent $10,000 on your card in a year. That would usually earn you 15,000 points, worth $150 at a penny a point. If you were a Gold member in Preferred Rewards, your bonus would push your earnings to 18,750 points ($187.50). If you were Platinum, 22,500 points ($225). For Platinum Honors, 26,250 ($262.50).

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: Drawbacks

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a great $0-fee travel companion, but depending on how much you spend and how you prefer to redeem, a different card might better suit you.

Other cards pay higher rewards rates

Bigger spenders will likely get more value from the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which earns 2 miles per dollar spent. Like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, it allows you to redeem rewards for credit against travel expenses at a rate of 1 cent per mile.

The annual fee on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is $0 for the first year, then $95. The rewards offset the fee if you spend over $4,750 annually.

You get a lower redemption value for cash

The Discover it® Miles has a lot in common with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: an unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar spent, a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. But a key difference is that the Discover it® Miles gives you the same value per point whether you redeem for travel or cash back. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has an edge over this card with its opportunities for bonus rewards and Visa's wider acceptance abroad, but the Discover it® Miles is worth considering if you want better cash-back value.

BETTER WELCOME OFFERS EXIST

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has a larger welcome offer: Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value. Terms Apply. It also earns a high rewards rate of 3 points per $1 spent on flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals and some qualifying everyday categories. It has a $0 annual fee. This card isn’t as equipped for international travel as the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card credit card, though. It’s a no-foreign-transaction-fee card, but it may have limited merchant acceptance abroad as part of the American Express network.

PREMIUM PERKS CAN TAKE YOUR TRAVEL FURTHER

The $0-annual-fee PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card offers premium perks without the cost. It has a hearty welcome offer: Earn 25,000 bonus points by spending $2,500 in the first 90 days of account opening. Cardholders get 3 points per $1 spent on travel purchases (4 points for those enrolled in the PenFed Honors Advantage program) and 1.5 points per $1 spent everywhere else. On top of rewards, the card offers a $100 annual air travel credit and up to $100 in the form of a statement credit for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck programs every five years. You’ll need to be a credit union member to qualify for this card.

If you'd like to see how these cards compare with other potential travel card options, you can search NerdWallet's list of top rated credit cards.

Is the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card right for you?

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers a solid travel rewards program for the fee-averse. If your deposits reside at Bank of America®, you can gain even more rewards.

Hear it from Nerds who have the card:

Lindsay Konsko contributed to this review