Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review
A simple but flexible travel card — and an especially good choice if you don't want to pay an annual fee.
finder.com’s rating: 3.2 / 5
- Get this card if you want a simple points structure and no annual fee.
- Pick something else if you want premium travel perks like travel credits and airport lounge access.
- Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
Points as welcome offer
Up to 1.5x
Intro purchase APR
for the first 12 statement closing dates (then 14.99% to 22.99% variable)
|Product Name||Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card|
|Purchase APR||0% intro for the first 12 statement closing dates (then 14.99% to 22.99% variable)|
|Balance transfer APR||14.99% to 22.99% variable|
|Balance transfer fee||$10 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater|
|Cash advance rate||17.99% to 25.99% variable|
|Cash advance fee||$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater|
|Penalty APR||29.99% variable|
|Foreign transaction fee||None|
|Interest free period||Up to 25 days|
|Late payment fee||Up to $40|
|Returned payment fee||Up to $29|
|Additional cardholder fee||$0|
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
For travelers overwhelmed by the flashy features of other travel cards, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers refreshing simplicity. It comes with a good signup bonus, a straightforward points structure and flexible points redemption. If you’re not a hardcore traveler, that may be all you need.
Consistent rewards and a solid signup bonus
The card doesn’t have different point multiples for various spending categories. Instead, you’ll get a flat 1.5 points for every dollar spent anywhere — with no points cap or expiration date. Points can be redeemed as statement credit for travel purchases, so you can spend on a variety of travel needs and get reimbursed later. As a bonus, your points are worth extra if you’re a Bank of America customer: 10% more if you have a Bank of America checking or savings account, and 25% to 75% more if you’re a member of Bank of America Preferred Rewards.
Pay fewer fees and less interest
You get all of this while paying no annual fee or foreign transaction fees — a noteworthy combination for a travel credit card. And because the card is a Visa, it’s accepted more widely abroad than a Discover or American Express. As a sweetener, you’ll enjoy a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 statement closing dates, and then an APR of 17.99% to 25.99% variable.
If you want one of the strongest no-annual-fee travel cards — one that offers travel rewards without a complicated points structure — the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a solid pick.
Case study: Megan’s experience
Credit Cards Publisher
I opened this credit card because I love to travel internationally and wanted a Visa card that doesn’t have annual or foreign transaction fees. Essentially, I wanted a card that I could throw in a drawer for most of the year and only bring out for big trips.
That being said, I use this card quite frequently. With 1.5 points per dollar, I use it any time one of my other cards doesn’t offer better rewards. It’s really simple to redeem the points since they’re applied as statement credit.
However, it’s a basic card in terms of travel rewards. If you want to get into the travel points game — earn lots of points, transfer points to different airlines, get unreal deals on flights, brag to friends — this isn’t the best card for it. It is, however, a great first travel rewards card.
Annual fee: $0.
Enjoy your card without worrying about an annual membership fee.
Rewards: 1.5x points on all purchases.
Other cards offer different point multiples for various spending categories. But this BoA travel credit card keeps it simple. For every dollar you spend on any purchase, you earn 1.5 points.
Redeem points for statement credit on travel purchases, including flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, baggage fees and more.
Expanded redemption options for 2020
In response to consumer spending during the pandemic, Bank of America has extended cardholder redemption options to grocery stores, dining and takeout as well. This offer will stay in effect until December 31, 2020.
Signup bonus: 25,000 points.
Spend at least $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days your account is open to receive 25,000 bonus points — worth $250 toward travel purchases.
0% foreign transaction fees.
If you’re looking to use your card on purchases abroad without paying a foreign transaction fee, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a strong option. Because it’s a Visa, it’s more widely accepted abroad than Discover or American Express.
Compare Bank of America credit cards
Compare Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card with other cards
The value of points
Points you earn using the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card varies based on what you’re redeeming them for:
- Travel credits. Each point is equal to 1 cent in travel credit — for example, 3,000 points are worth $30.
- Cash rewards. Your points aren’t worth as much when redeemed for cash. A point is worth $0.006 — using the same example, 3,000 points fetches you $18.
- Gift cards. Bank of America indicates that the transfer ratio for gift cards varies.
Travel or cash reward redemption requires a minimum of 2,500 points, and gift cards require 3,125 points.
What does Bank of America consider as travel purchases?
Bank of America has a wider definition of what a travel purchase is than most other issuers. With Bank of America, you can redeem your points for any of the following categories to earn the highest redemption value.
- Airlines and air carriers
- Cruise lines
- Car rental
- Travel agencies and tour operators
- Taxi and limousines
- Suburban and local commuter passenger, including ferries
and bus lines
- Transportation services
- Hotels, motels and resorts
- Real estate rentals, timeshares, campgrounds and trailer parks
- Motor home and recreational vehicle rental
- Tourist attractions and exhibits
- Art dealers and galleries
- Amusement parks, carnivals, circuses and fortune tellers
- Aquariums, dolphinariums, zoos and seaquariums
- Boat leases and boat rentals
- Recreation services
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0% intro APR on purchases for 12 statement closing dates.
For your first 12 statement closing dates, you pay 0% intro APR on purchases. After, you’ll see a 17.99% to 25.99% variable APR.
Bank of America customer extras.
If you have an active Bank of America checking or savings account, your points are worth 10% more when you redeem them. If you’re part of Bank of America Preferred Rewards, your points could be worth 25% to 75% more.
Looking for more Bank of America travel card benefits?
Unlike other travel cards, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card lacks secondary benefits such as travel insurance.
If you want these perks, look into the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card. It offers travel protections such as:
- Trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance.
- Baggage delay insurance.
- Lost luggage reimbursement.
- Travel accident insurance.
- Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage.
- Auto rental insurance.
- Travel and emergency assistance services.
- Roadside assistance.
What to watch out for
For a late payment, your APR may revert to 29.99% variable, based on your creditworthiness.
Potentially high APR.
Depending on your credit, your variable purchase and balance transfer APR could be as high as 22.99% variable.
Potentially higher APR for cash advances.
For direct deposit and check cash advances, your variable APR may be as high as 17.99% to 25.99% variable. For bank cash advances — such as ATM cash advances — the APR can be 17.99% to 25.99% variable. You’ll also pay fee that depends on the type of cash advance you take.
No grace period on balance transfers or cash advances.
Purchases come with a grace period — that is, you’ll have at least 25 days after the close of the billing cycle to pay off your balance before accruing interest. This isn’t the case with balance transfers or cash advances: You’ll start accruing interest on them immediately.
What should I know before I apply?
To apply for a Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, you must be at least 18 years old or 21 if you’re a permanent resident of Puerto Rico.
Required documents and information
- Your name, residential status and residential address.
- Your Social Security number.
- Your email address, phone number and date of birth.
- Financial information, such as your annual salary and wages.
What credit score do I need?
You’ll have a better chance of approval for the card if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 to 850.
What’s my likelihood of approval?
Typically, credit card providers prefer customers with strong credit scores and high annual incomes. The higher those are, the higher your odds of approval.
Here are a few other factors that might affect your chances:
- How many hard pulls you have on your credit report. If you have several hard inquiries — or hard pulls — on your account, it might make you look desperate for credit. This implies you’re having trouble managing your debt, and Bank of America may be less likely to take you on as a customer.
- Factors that tie into your credit score. Credit utilization is a major factor that Bank of America will consider. The bank prefers a customer who has low balances relative to their credit limit. Having many new card accounts may be a red flag, too, as it may indicate you’re desperate for credit. It may also give the impression that you’re a flighty customer who’s just hunting for signup bonuses.
Bank of America travel: Visa or Mastercard?
You’ll find the Visa and Mastercard logos sprinkled throughout BoA travel cards. The provider’s flagship products tend to be Visas, but you’ll see Mastercards among the cobranded products.
What do customers say about the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card?
Cardholders are generally pleased that the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card comes with no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Overall, they also like the card’s easy points structure. However, some customers say it’s difficult to get unauthorized transactions reversed.
As of May 2018, Bank of America earns a Trustpilot score of 5.5 out of 10. Most negative reviews cite unhelpful customer support, while positive reviews point to the bank’s easy-to-use website.
Bank of America is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has a B+ rating.Back to top
How to apply for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
- Go to the Bank of America website and click Apply Now.
- Complete the application with details that include your name, address, annual income and Social Security number.
- Review and submit your application.
How long will it take to be approved?
Because conditional approval is automated on the Bank of America website, you’ll likely get a decision within 60 seconds. If there are issues with your application, it could take a few weeks to hear back.
How long will it take to get my Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card?
After you’re approved, you’ll typically receive your card within 7 to 10 business days.
I got the card. Now what?
- Make timely payments. Pay your statement through your online account, where you can enroll in autopay.
- Avoid interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
- Avoid fees. Late and returned payments come with fees of up to $40. Balance transfers come with fees of either $10 or 3%, whichever is greater. Also, cash advances have a fee of $10 or 5%, whichever is greater.
- Contact customer service. If you have questions, contact customer service at 1-800-432-1000.
How do I redeem points from the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card?
To redeem your points, log in to your Bank of America account and navigate to the Rewards tab.
There are three redemption options:
- Travel. Redeem your points for statement credit on flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, baggage fees and more.
- Gift cards. You’ll find gift cards for a variety of retailers, restaurants and more.
- Cash. Request a deposit to a bank account.
Travel and gift cards usually have redemption values of 1 cent per point. But you may get a lower value when redeeming for cash.
With easy points redemption and no annual fee, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a strong choice for anyone who values simplicity. It’s a good alternative to other travel cards that can charge annual fees of $95 or more.
Before you decide on a particular card, compare your options with our guide to travel rewards credit cards.
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