Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card review | finder.com

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review – August 2018

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A simple but flexible travel card — and an especially good choice if you don’t want to pay an annual fee.

30-second take

  • 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 680 or higher.
Product NameBank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Card TypeVisa
Annual Fee$0
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases16.74% to 24.74% variable
Introductory Purchase APR0% for the first 12 statement closing dates (then 16.74% to 24.74% variable)
Balance Transfer Fee3% or $10 of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash Advance Rate19.74% to 26.74% variable
Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Foreign Transaction FeeNone
Interest Free PeriodUp to 25 days
Minimum Interest$1.5
Late Payment Fee$38
Returned Payment Fee$27
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age
Welcome BonusEarn 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Reward Value per Dollar1.5 points
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

The basics

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.

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.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers a signup bonus of 25,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days your account is open. It isn’t as attractive as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card — which gives you 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, with a potential for up to 80,000 points — but it’s relatively easier to obtain.

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 19.74% to 26.74% 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.

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.

The perks

  • 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 the Bank of America® Travel Rewards 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.

  • 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 $200 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.

You’ll also like …

  • 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 19.74% to 26.74% 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.

What to watch out for

  • Penalty APR.

    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 24.74% variable.

  • Potentially higher APR for cash advances.

    For direct deposit and check cash advances, your variable APR may be as high as 19.74% to 26.74% variable. For bank cash advances — such as ATM cash advances — the APR can be 19.74% to 26.74% 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.

Consider other cards if …

  • You spend a lot on travel and dining.

    You may get more out of a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card, which comes with $0 annual fee the first year and $95 a year thereafter and offers 2x points on travel and dining purchases. With an annual fee of $95 a year, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is another option. It offers 2x points on travel and dining and 1.5x points on all other purchases. It also offers up to $200 in travel statement credit.

  • You want top-tier benefits like travel credits and airport lounge access.

    For stronger travel perks, look for a premium travel card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Platinum Card® from American Express or Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card™ — all of which come with travel credits and complimentary airport lounge access.

  • You want stronger cash back.

    You can redeem your Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card points for cash rewards. However, the points are worth a mere $0.006 apiece, which calculates to a cashback reward rate of 0.6%. Compared with the travel credit and industry standard of 1%, it’s rather weak. For stronger cash back, consider products like the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card and Citi® Double Cash Card.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome Bonus Reward Value per Dollar APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee
1 points
16.74% variable
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
1 points
16.74% variable
$495
Mastercard Black Card members receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
2 points
16.74% variable
$995
Earn points every time you spend. Luxury Card enhances your purchasing power by providing you with one (1) point for every one dollar ($1) you spend. Every purchase gets you closer to the rewards you want.
Earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
None (Charge Card)
$550
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
None (Charge Card)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($195 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Earn 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
1.5 points
16.74% to 24.74% variable
$0
20,000 online bonus points offer. Ditch the restrictions of typical airline rewards cards. Any airline, any hotel, anytime. No blackout dates.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of your account opening, and an additional 30,000 points when you spend a total of $30,000 on purchases within the first year of your account opening.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
1.5 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$95
Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$450
Earn 50,000 BONUS POINTS after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening* — that's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2 miles
14.74%, 21.24% or 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2 miles
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.* Plus a $100 statement credit after your first purchase.
Earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$99
40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open

Compare up to 4 providers

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 680 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.

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.

How to apply for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

  1. Go to the Bank of America website and click Apply Now.
  2. Complete the application with details that include your name, address, annual income and Social Security number.
  3. 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 $38. 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.

Bottom line

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.

Frequently asked questions

Images: bankofamerica.com

Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for finder.com. When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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