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.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
- 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
- Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
Pros & Cons
- 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
- 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
recommended credit score
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 and benefits
Basic card features
Vital statistics for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card:
- 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.
- A $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
- Introductory APR of 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49% - 24.49% Variable APR. A 0% APR period is relatively rare on a travel card
- A sign-up bonus: 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases.
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 have a Bank of America® checking or savings account, you are eligible for a 10% points bonus, making your effective rewards rate 1.65%. Members of the bank’s Preferred Rewards program can snag even 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.
Preferred Rewards boosts earnings
The Preferred Rewards program allows certain Bank of America® credit card holders to earn bonus rewards greater than the 10% for having a checking or savings account. 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.
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?
Lindsay Konsko contributed to this review
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