Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card Review: No Annual Fee and a Bonus Worth $250 in Travel

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INSIDER SECRET: If you have accounts or investments with Bank of America, your points could be worth up to 75% more.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers a solid welcome bonus, strong ongoing earning rates and no foreign transaction fees.

Right now, you can earn an intro bonus of 25,000 Bank of America Travel Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card. That’s worth $250 in travel when you redeem your points to erase travel charges such as flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees.

It has no annual fee, so keeping it open long term can help improve your credit score by increasing the average age of your accounts.

Here’s our Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card review.

Find out how to erase travel charges with points in our Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card review. (Photo by wiratho/Shutterstock)

Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card Review: Earn $250 in Travel from the Welcome Bonus

With the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, you’ll earn 25,000 Bank of America Travel Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. That’s worth $250 (1 cent per point) if you redeem the points against travel charges made on your account.

There’s a minimum redemption of 2,500 points ($25), and qualifying travel purchases are eligible for redemption for 12 months from the date it posts to your account.

The best part is that Bank of America has a very generous classification of what “travel” means:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Timeshares
  • Trailer parks
  • Motor home and recreational vehicle rentals
  • Campgrounds
  • Car rental agencies
  • Truck and trailer rental
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies
  • Tour operators and real estate agents
  • Passenger trains
  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Limousines
  • Ferries
  • Boat rentals
  • Parking lots and garages
  • Tolls and bridge fees
  • Tourist attractions
  • Art galleries
  • Amusement parks
  • Carnivals
  • Circuses
  • Aquariums
  • Zoos

So you can choose to book a flight on any airline or hotel in the US or abroad — and then redeem your Bank of America points to offset those charges. You can also redeem your points to erase charges like parking fees, tolls or even Disney tickets.

Use your points for just about any travel charge with the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card. (Photo by Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock)

You could redeem the points for “cash” with the same minimum redemption amount in the form of an account statement credit (without any travel charges to “erase”), but that will give you only 0.6 cents per point. This means your sign-up bonus would be worth only $150 as opposed to the full $250, so I would avoid this option. There’s also the option to redeem for gift cards, where the value per point varies (there’s a minimum redemption in this case of 3,125 points).

In short, your points are worth exactly 1 cent each when you redeem them for travel statement credits. This should be your only strategy for redeeming your Bank of America Travel Rewards points as it’s the best way to maximize their value.

How to Earn Points with the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

Depending on the other credit cards in your arsenal, you may or may not want to use the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card for your everyday purchases. That’s because you will always earn 1.5x points per dollar on all your purchases, regardless of their category.

Save your grocery store purchases for a credit card with supermarkets as a bonus category. (Photo by @eef89/Twenty20)

In other words, you will earn a consistent 1.5% back (when you redeem for travel purchases) for any purchase made with your Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card. There are no category bonuses or additional earning rates on things that are commonly more rewarding (such as grocery store purchases or restaurants), so you might want to use a different card for those specific purchases.

The only exception to how you can earn more points is through Bank of America Preferred Rewards.

Pair the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card With Bank of America Preferred Rewards

If you’ve got accounts or investments with Bank of America or Merrill, you could earn up to a 75% bonus when you use your Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card through their Preferred Rewards program.

If you have accounts with Bank of America or Merrill, your points could be even more valuable. (Photo by Sundry Photography/Shutterstock)

The bonus you receive depends on the combined balances in your Bank of America/Merrill accounts:

  • $20,000 to $49,999: 25% bonus
  • $50,000 to $99,999: 50% bonus
  • $100,000 or more: 75% bonus

That means if you’ve got $100,000 in your Bank of America/Merrill accounts, you’ll earn 2.625 points per dollar on every purchase when you use your Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card (1.5 points per dollar + 75% bonus).

To enroll in the Preferred Rewards program, you’ll need an eligible Bank of America checking account and a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America banking accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts.

How to Redeem Bank of America Travel Rewards Points

Because Bank of America points are worth 1 cent each toward travel purchases, redeeming is very simple. To view your points balance, log-in to the Bank of America website to view your credit cards. Then select the “Rewards” tab to view your “Total Available Points.” Here, you can view your pending, earned and redeemed points amounts (to make sure your accounting is accurate).

Click on “Redeem Points” in order to select how you want to use your points — whether for cash or to offset a travel purchase. There is a minimum redemption amount of 2,500 points (the equivalent of a $25 travel purchase), so be sure you have at least that many points before trying to redeem them.

Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card Benefits

Because this is a no annual fee credit card, it doesn’t come with the full slew of benefits you might expect from more premium (and expensive) credit cards. But Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card does have some solid benefits including:

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Points never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing
  • Free credit score
  • $0 liability guarantee

If you’re approved for the Visa Signature version of the card (credit line of $5,000 or more), you’ll also be eligible for Visa Signature benefits like car rental insurance and roadside dispatch.

Who Is Eligible for the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card?

Bank of America has what is known as the “2/3/4 rule.” This means you can only be approved for:

  • Two Bank of America credit cards every rolling two-month period
  • Three Bank of America credit cards every rolling 12-month period
  • Four Bank of America credit cards every rolling 24-month period
Be sure to account for Bank of America’s 2/3/4 rule. (Photo by Pavel Kapysh/Shutterstock)

Because of this restriction, make sure to take stock of your past Bank of America credit card applications before applying for a new credit card. That way you’ll know in advance if you fall within their rules and you don’t have to waste a hard pull of your credit.

Customer Support for the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

Bank of America customer support is available 24/7.  So if you ever have an issue, you can always call the number on the back of your credit card and speak with a live person.

I’ve always found Bank of America support to be fairly friendly and efficient, if a little bit uninformed. My family used Bank of America for our checking and savings accounts for years, and they were always prompt and responsive for things like fraudulent charges, replacing credit cards and anything else I needed.

Other Bank of America Credit Cards to Consider

If you’re looking for a different credit card from Bank of America, consider one of the following options with solid sign-up bonuses and different benefits.

Bottom Line

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a good option if you prefer a card with no annual fee and a simple rewards structure. It’s even more compelling if you have accounts with Bank of America/Merrill because you can earn up to a 75% bonus on your points through their Preferred Rewards program.

You can currently earn a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Bank of America Travel Rewards points (worth $250 in travel) with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. Your points are easy to redeem to offset just about any travel purchase you’ve made in the past 12 months with your card, like flights, hotels, rental cars, tourist attractions, parking and more.

To learn more about Bank of America points, check out these guides:

Updated on 2/10/20

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TCW
1 year ago

You can be safe under 2/3/4 and still get shot down if you have been churning credit cards for a long time. BofA looks at the total number of apps with all issuers, and if you have too many, they will deny you. That started being the case about a year ago.