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Card Review: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Card Review: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

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• Updated: July 31, 2018

Flexible Rewards For More Travel

Some of the best travel credit cards offer big sign-up bonuses and flashy perks, but they often also come with high annual fees. If you're on a budget or despise fees in general, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card is a solid choice.

Its generous rewards rate, decent sign-up bonus and flexible redemption options make it worth considering for anyone who wants to earn free travel.

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Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

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    • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
    • NEW OFFER: 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
    • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
    • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
    • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
    • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR
    • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
    • If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
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The Basics

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card offers valuable benefits along with its $0 annual fee. It gives 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, and you'll earn even more rewards if you're an existing Bank of America customer. For example, if you have a checking or savings account with the bank, you'll get 10% more rewards – or 1.65 points per dollar spent. Preferred Rewards clients can get up to 75% more rewards.

The card's redemption process makes it easy to use your points for free travel. Use your Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card to book travel anywhere and then use your points to get a statement credit on the purchase. That said, you’d earn double the points on travel if you book through the Bank of America Travel Center.

The card also has no foreign transaction fees, making it ideal for international travel.

Sign-up Bonus and Introductory Features

In addition to the card's high ongoing rewards rate, you'll also get a head start on your next trip with its sign-up bonus. Earn 25,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. That's worth $250 toward travel purchases.

You'll also get some leniency if you want to use the card to finance a big trip. It offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases for your first 12 billing cycles.

Pros

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card can be quite lucrative if you use it right. Even with the card's base rewards rate, only one other no-annual-fee travel card – the Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card – can compare. Because of Discover's spotty overseas acceptance, however, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card's Visa acceptance gives it the upper hand.

When it comes to redeeming your rewards, the process is straightforward. Simply use the card to book your travel, and you'll have 12 months from the day the transaction posts to use your points to offset some or all of the purchase.

This means that you don't even need to have enough points at the time of the travel booking. With the 12-month eligibility period, you'll have plenty of time to earn enough rewards to get a statement credit.

The card's 0% APR promotion is also a big plus. This valuable feature is rare among travel credit cards.

For example, say you book $1,000 in airline tickets shortly after you get the card. You'll have 12 months to pay that purchase off interest-free. What's more, you'll have already earned $265 worth of rewards to offset the cost a little ($15 from the purchase and $250 from the sign-up bonus). Then, you'll have 12 months to earn even more rewards to put toward the purchase.

Cons

The average credit card interest rate is around 16%, but the minimum APR you can expect from the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card is higher than that. After the card's 0% APR promotion is over, the standard purchase APR is variable, depending on your creditworthiness.

In general, it's best to pay off your credit card balance in full each month. That advice is especially important with this card.

If you can stomach an annual fee, you would likely get a higher sign-up bonus and potentially better rewards elsewhere. In fact, the bigger sign-up bonus can often effectively pay two or more years' worth of the annual fee.

Lastly, despite the card's flexible redemption options, it can't match the flexibility of cash back. With a cash back credit card, you can use your rewards for travel, but you can also use it for other things if you choose.

Conclusion

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card is a great option for people who want solid travel rewards without the annual fee. Its relationship bonuses and 0% APR promotion can help you maximize the card's value in ways that you can't with many other travel credit cards.

If rewards are your top priority, you'll be better off checking out high-octane travel cards like the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Before applying for this or any other card, shop around and compare several travel credit cards to make sure you're getting the best one for your needs and preferences.

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