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September 11, 2017

Bank of America Travel Rewards Review

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
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Bank of America Travel Rewards gives you 1.5x points for every purchase. But does it make a good travel reward card? Read on.

Overall Score

4.0

Rewards

4.5

Interest Rates

3.0

Fees

4.5

Benefits

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards card offers a simple way to earn points towards free travel.

You don't have to worry about complicated redemption methods or blackout dates. It has no annual fee, which is rare for travel reward cards.

And if you are a Bank of America customer, you have the opportunity to earn even more points.

But is it a good travel reward card? Read on to see whether it's right for you.

10 Reasons to Get the Card

Here are 10 of the most attractive benefits of the Bank of America Travel Rewards card.

  1. No annual fee. If you're only an occasional traveler, this probably makes more sense for you. Most travel rewards credit cards carry an annual fee of $95 or more, so it's good of BofA to offer an option with no annual fee.

  2. 20,000 sign-up bonus. You get 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. That's equal to a $200 statement credit that you can redeem towards travel purchases.

  3. 1.5x points on every purchase. Members get 1.5 points per $1 on every purchase, with no cap on the number of points you can rack up. This is effectively a 1.5% reward rate that you can apply towards travel purchases.

  4. Redeeming points is easy. To redeem your points, all you have to do is apply them as a statement credit against travel purchases. You can start redeeming with as little as 2,500 points for travel purchases made within the past 12 months.

    Bank of America also has a very broad definition of what counts as travel. See the list below.

  5. 0% intro APR on purchases. There's a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles. After that, a variable rate of 15.99% to 23.99% applies. This is good if you're planning on some large purchases or tend to carry a balance from time to time.

  6. Bonus rewards for Bank of America customers. If you've got a Bank of America checking or savings account, you get an additional 10% customer point bonus on every purchase you make with the card. The bonus can climb as high as 25% to 75% if you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client.

    Here's how the bonus rewards work:

    • 10% bonus if you have any of the above accounts.
    • 25% bonus if you have a combined balance of $20k - $50k
    • 50% bonus if you have a combined balance of $50k - $100k
    • 75% bonus if you have a combined balance of over $100k

    You need to have an active consumer checking, savings, or individual retirement account with Bank of America. Or be a client of Merrill Edge, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. or U.S. Trust.

  7. No foreign transaction fees. Many banks tack on a 3% foreign transaction fee every time you use your card outside the U.S. This card, however, has no foreign transaction fee.

  8. Built-in security protections. Bank of America takes security seriously so you can take advantage of things like EMV chip technology, customized alerts and the ShopSafe program, which adds an extra layer of protection when you shop online.

  9. Premium travel benefits. If you're approved for the Visa Signature version of this card, you get access to some nice travel extras, including 24/7 concierge service, discounts on travel packages and complimentary upgrades.

  10. Free FICO score. You can opt to get your updated FICO score for free every month. You can get your score without negatively impacting your credit score.

3 Reasons to Look Elsewhere

All of that sounds pretty great, but there are three reasons why you may want to pass on the Travel Rewards card.

  • You want to earn even more rewards. The 1.5% reward rate is pretty good, but if your goal is to always get the most points possible, you may have better luck with another card that offers a tiered rewards structure or a bigger sign-on bonus.

    However, if you are a BofA banking customer, you will get bonus points for every $1 spent. Then your reward rate will go up, which makes it more worthwhile.

  • You use frequent traveler programs. Unfortunately, this card doesn't let you transfer points to hotel and airline loyalty programs. Often, transferring your points will allow you to use them for more value. But with Bank of America Travel Rewards, you can only redeem your points for cash value on past travel purchases.

  • You'd rather get perks vs. points. The Visa Signature version of the Travel Rewards card comes with some nice extras, but other cards bring even more to the table. For example, some credit cards offer luxury perks like complimentary lounge access and statement credits for the Global Entry. However they also usually have an annual fee so you have to decide whether it's worth it to invest that much cash to make your trip more comfortable.

Our Opinion: Is the Bank of America Travel Rewards Worth It?

Overall, it's a decent card if you don't travel too much and just want something simple to use. The sign-up bonus is very generous for a card with no annual fee, and the 1.5x points on all purchases is a decent reward rate too.

Redeeming points is easy and you don't need to worry about award seat availability. Another good thing about this card is that you can redeem points for any travel purchase (see list below). So you're not limited to only using them for flights or hotels. You may find this more beneficial if you're more of a backyard tourist, train traveler, boutique hotel lover, etc.

However, if you travel by plane and are looking to maximize points, then you will be better off with a card that can transfer to airline partners. Most likely, you'll get more value out of it even if you need to pay an annual fee.

Another thing to think about: this is a fixed value card. Essentially, you're getting 1.5% back. However, you can only redeem those points on travel purchases. So think about if you can potentially get more back with a straight-up cash back card (such as Chase Freedom Unlimited). Keep in mind, though, that if you're planning on going abroad, many cash back cards charge a foreign transaction fee.

How to Redeem Bank of America Travel Points

You can redeem your points for any travel purchase made within the past 12 months. Bank of America has the broadest definition of "travel" that we've seen. So it makes the card easier to use even if you don't fly or stay in hotels.

Here's a list of what Bank of America considers as travel expenses:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels, motels, and timeshares (including Airbnb)
  • Trailer parks, motor home, and recreational vehicle rentals
  • Campgrounds
  • Car rentals
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies, tour operators, and real estate agents
  • Trains, buses, taxis, and limos
  • Ferries and boat rentals
  • Tourist attractions and exhibits (such as art galleries)
  • Amusement parks, carnivals, and circuses
  • Zoos and aquariums

Expenses NOT considered travel include: in-flight goods and services, duty-free airport purchases, and trailer/truck rentals for the purpose of hauling.

This generous definition of travel means that you can find ways to use this card even if you don't fly or travel far. You can redeem points even for a family visit to your local amusement park.

How It Compares

When you're shopping around for a travel rewards card, it helps to look at how the different offers stack up. We've compared Bank of America's offering to other popular and similar travel rewards cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: This card is a favorite among travelers. It offers a huge sign-up bonus and 2x miles on all travel and dining purchases. But there is an annual fee.

You can also use your points to redeem for travel on the Chase travel portal at 25% more value. However, the major advantage of this card is that you can transfer your points 1:1 to airline and hotel partners. Chase has one of the best lineups of travel partners, which includes major airlines United and Southwest.

 

Bank of America Travel Rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cyclesN/A
Purchase APR15.99% to 23.99% Variable APR based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.99% to 23.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR15.99% to 23.99% Variable APR based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.99% to 23.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual feeIntroductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
 

Benefits and Features

Points DealIntroductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 20,000 online bonus points if you spend at least $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
TravelTravel Rewards: Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchasesTravel Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Airline Airline Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Hotel Hotel Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Points Point Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Restaurant Dining Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Airline Transfer Partners Airline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

Bank of America Travel Rewards: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees was obtained on July 5, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus
Apply for Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
Barclaycard Arrival Plus: Like the BofA Travel Rewards, this is also a fixed-value card. However, there is an annual fee. But you get a huge sign-up bonus and get double miles on everything you spend.

Every time you redeem your miles, you get 5% of it back as a bonus. This effectively makes it a 2.1% redemption rate for every $1 you spend.

 

Bank of America Travel Rewards

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cyclesN/A
Introductory APR for Balance TransfersN/A0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening.
Purchase APR15.99% to 23.99% Variable APR based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.99%, 20.99%, 23.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR15.99% to 23.99% Variable APR based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.99%, 20.99%, 23.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$89 annual fee, annual fee waived for first year
 

Benefits and Features

Airline Deal Introductory Bonus Airline Rewards: Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
Points DealIntroductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 20,000 online bonus points if you spend at least $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. 
TravelTravel Rewards: Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchasesTravel Rewards: Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates. Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more. (Redemptions start at 10,000 miles for $100 toward qualifying travel purchases made in the last 120 days)

Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
Airline Airline Rewards: Earn 2X miles on all purchases.
Hotel Hotel Rewards: Redeem your miles toward hotel stays.

Bank of America Travel Rewards: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees was obtained on July 5, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Discover It Miles: This is a comparable travel rewards card with no annual fee. You also get 1.5x miles on all purchases. But there is no sign-up bonus; instead, Discover will match all the miles you've earned during the entire first year. In comparison, Bank of America Travel Reward's sign-up offer is a lot better unless you plan to spend over $13,334 in the first year.

 

Bank of America Travel Rewards

Discover it Miles

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles0% introductory APR for 14 months
Introductory APR for Balance TransfersN/A10.99% introductory APR for 14 months
Purchase APR15.99% to 23.99% Variable APR based on your creditworthiness and other factors11.99% to 23.99% (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR15.99% to 23.99% Variable APR based on your creditworthiness and other factors11.99% to 23.99% (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Airline Deal Introductory Bonus Airline Rewards: Discover will match all the miles you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers).
Points DealIntroductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 20,000 online bonus points if you spend at least $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. 
TravelTravel Rewards: Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchasesTravel Rewards: 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases. Redeem Miles in any amount to credit travel purchases from your statement, or get cash at any time.
Airline Airline Rewards: 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases.
Bonus Airline Rewards Bonus Airline Rewards: Discover pays you back for your in-flight Wi-Fi fees-up to $30 a year-with an automatic statement credit.*

Bank of America Travel Rewards: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees was obtained on July 5, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Discover it Miles: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees was obtained on July 3, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card and Discover it® Miles has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom Line

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards card is geared towards travelers who want a hassle-free way to earn rewards and don't like the idea of paying an annual fee. In our opinion, it's good for occasional travelers or those who travel, but may not necessarily fly or stay in large hotel chains. It's better if you have a Bank of America banking account so you can receive more bonus points.

On the other hand, there are plenty of cards out there that can help you earn free travel faster as long as you're okay with paying for them. Looking at your spending habits can help you decide if the chance to earn more rewards justifies paying a hefty annual fee.

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped travelers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Bank of America. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Bank of America.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on September 11, 2017. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check Bank of America website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card and Discover it® Miles has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Compare Bank of America Travel Rewards to:

Compare BankAmericard Travel Rewards vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Compare BankAmericard Travel Rewards vs Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Compare BankAmericard Travel Rewards vs Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited®


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