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Earning travel rewards is a great way to earn free travel, but many cards charge a premium for access to points and miles programs. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is an excellent vehicle to earn bonus points for travel statement credits without the hassle of an annual fee. Moreover, if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards Member, the pathway to building up points quickly is even easier. But is the simple bonus rewards program structure and sign-up bonus enough to make the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card worth having? Here’s what you need to know.

Sign-Up Bonus

The Bank of America Travel Rewards card comes with a one-time 25,000-point welcome bonus after you spend $1,000 on your card in the first 90 days from account opening. Each point is valued at one cent; so the 25,000-point bonus is the equivalent of a $250 statement credit towards travel purchases.

One of the best benefits of the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is the fact that you can easily redeem your points for different travel experiences. You don’t have to worry about blackout dates or special conditions. There’s no need to worry about loyalty to a particular brand, either.

Your points are used for a statement credit to pay for travel expenses, including hotels, flights, cruises, vacation packages and rental cars. You can even redeem your points to pay for baggage fees.

Rewards Rate

Unlike many travel rewards credit cards that earn varying rates depending on the spending category, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card earns an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases. There’s no cap on how many points you earn through your spending.

Additionally, you can earn 25%-75% more points on spending if you are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member. That means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 spent.

Annual Fee

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card carries no annual fee. Having to pay an annual fee each year can cut into your rewards — although many travel rewards credit cards with annual fees offer enough value to justify the cost. With the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, though, there’s no annual fee to get in the way of earning rewards.

Introductory 0% APR

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card comes with an introductory APR offer of 0% interest on purchases for the first 18 billing cycles from account opening and on any balance transfer you make within 60 days of opening your account. Intro offers are perfect for people who have upcoming large purchases they want to pay off over time without paying costly interest fees. After the intro 0% APR offer concludes, a variable APR that’s currently 18.24% to 28.24% will apply.

Credit Score

Credit card issuers don’t typically post credit requirements online. However, it’s often a good idea to have a good to excellent FICO® Score (670-850) if you plan to apply for the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card.

Card Benefits

Beyond earning points you can use toward travel, the only other travel benefit that comes with the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is no foreign transaction fees. Here are a few of the travel card’s other benefits.

Free credit score

Cardmembers can opt-in to receive free monthly FICO scores. The service is available through online access and the Bank of America mobile app.

Fraud protection

You are protected against fraudulent charges if your card is lost or stolen.

Overdraft protection

Customers can connect their card to a Bank of America checking account to prevent overdrafts, declined purchases and returned checks.

Account Alerts

Set up account alerts to make sure you’re on top of due dates and your balance.

Contactless Card

The Bank of America Travel card is a contactless card, which combines the security of a chip card with the convenience of contactless payment. On top of that, Bank of America is compatible with digital wallet technology. You can add your Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card to your phone and use it to shop at the store or even buy things in-app using Apple Pay or Google Pay. This card is also compatible with Samsung Pay.

No Foreign Transaction Fee

As mentioned, this card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, so it’s ideal for use when you travel overseas. Other credit cards might charge 3% on foreign transaction fees, but you won’t have to worry about it with this card.

Redeeming Points

The Bank of America Travel Rewards card has two primary options when you want to redeem your bonus points. First, you can cash in your points toward statement credit for travel purchases. The minimum redemption amount is 2,500 points, which — with each point worth one cent — is the equivalent of $25.

Because points are redeemed as statement credits, you can book travel anywhere. Rather than trying to earn points through a hotel or loyalty program, you can instead earn points for each purchase and then redeem them to pay for any travel purchase — without worrying about restrictions or blackouts.

You can also redeem your Bank of America points for gift cards. Gift card redemptions start at 3,125 points.

Points Expiration

Bank of America bonus points never expire as long as your card is open and in good standing. You can redeem your points for statement credits or gift cards when you hit the minimum requirement or you can save them up and use them at a later time.

Preferred Rewards

You can further your rewards earning with the Bank of America Travel Rewards card through the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. The program has three tiers: Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors. Your tier is based on your combined balances in Bank of America® deposit and/or Merrill® investment accounts.

To qualify to become a BOA Preferred Rewards member, you must have:

  • An eligible Bank of America checking account
  • A three-month combined average daily balance of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill® investment accounts

As mentioned earlier, Preferred Rewards members earn up to 75% more points, up to 2.62 points per dollar spent, on all spending.

Also, Preferred members enjoy other benefits like no fees at non-BOA ATMs, interest rate discounts on select loans and other relationship benefits.

Unfortunately, the large balance requirements could keep many cardholders from enjoying increased bonus points earning. Plus, other travel cards offer a higher rewards rate in certain spending categories.

Fees

One of the best benefits of the Bank of America Travel Rewards card is that it carries no annual fee. Many travel rewards credit cards come with annual fees of around $95 or more. This card charges fees for balance transfers, but it does not charge foreign transaction fees. That means you can use your Bank of America Travel Rewards card anywhere in the world without having to pay transaction fees on spending.

Here is how some common fees break down with the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card:

  • Annual fee: No
  • Balance transfer fee: Yes
  • Foreign transaction fee: No
  • Cash advance fees: Yes
  • Late payment fees: Yes

Always read the terms and conditions for any credit card you are thinking about applying for so you’re familiar with its fees.

Drawbacks

While there’s a lot to like about the Bank of America Travel Rewards card, it’s not without its faults. Here are some of the drawbacks to consider when weighing if this is the right choice for you.

Limited travel perks: Besides no foreign transaction fees, the card doesn’t offer much value for travelers. Because it’s a Visa Signature card, you may have access to some perks like travel protections and hotel benefits, but Bank of America travel rewards leave a lot to be desired.

Limited redemption options: With only two redemption options, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is much more limited than other travel rewards credit cards. Many loyalty rewards programs allow you to transfer your points to travel partner programs like airlines and hotels. Some cash-back credit cards offer more flexibility than the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card.

Small sign-up bonus: The card comes with a sign-up bonus worth $250 in statement credits for travel purchases. Although the spending requirement is relatively low, so is the bonus itself compared to other travel credit cards.

No bonus spending categories: Many travel rewards cards offer ways to earn higher rewards in specific categories like travel, dining and groceries. While you can earn unlimited points for spending with this card, it’s only at a rate of 1.5 points per dollar.

Bottom Line

The Bank of America Travel Rewards card offers simple rewards earning and a chance to earn free travel without paying fees. Redeeming your points is limited, so frequent travelers may be better offer finding a more versatile travel rewards credit card. Without the extra travel perks found with other cards, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card is better as a starter travel rewards card or current Bank of America customers who want to maximize rewards earning.

FAQs

  • You can use the rewards earned from your Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card to reimburse yourself for any travel or restaurant expenses at the rate of one cent per point. Additionally, you can redeem your points as cash back in the form of a statement credit. However, at one-half cent per point, the cash-back rate only offers half of the value. You can also redeem your rewards points for gift cards at varying values, depending on current promotions. Keep in mind that there is a minimum redemption of 2,500 points per transaction.

  • It depends on your needs, but in terms of earning points for travel with a $0 annual fee, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is a good credit card.

    However, if you’re interested in earning outsized redemption value for your everyday spending, consider a travel rewards credit card with an issuer that offers a rewards-booking portal or 1:1 travel transfer partners like Capital One, Chase or American Express.

  • Bank of America defines eligible travel purchases broadly and includes spending on airfare, hotel stays and other lodgings, car and select vehicle rentals, and commuting expenses.

  • Points earned with the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card can be redeemed at a value of $0.01 per point (100 points is the equivalent of $1). The points-per-dollar value may be lower than other travel credit cards, but this card does not limit you to a specific airline, hotel or vendor. Simply make eligible travel purchases with your credit card, and points can be used to reimburse you for those expenses. Plus, with a $0 annual fee, this card is a strong option for people who want to earn rewards travel without committing to the cost of an annual fee.

KP

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne is a personal finance, credit card, and travel writer. He is the family travel and budget expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids. His work has appeared on several websites, including FinanceBuzz, Credit Karma, Millennial Money, Club Thrifty, Student Loan Planner and Slickdeals.