The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Review

Eric Bank

By: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a masters in business administration from New York University and a masters in finance from DePaul University.

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Editor: Jon McDonald

Jon McDonald
Jon McDonald

Jon leverages 15-plus years of journalism expertise to inform financial consumers about emerging trends and companies making an impact in the industry. He is most knowledgeable in the areas of budgeting, credit card rewards, and responsible credit use. Jon has a passion for writing and editing, and his articles have appeared in publications produced by The New York Times.

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Reviewer: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Review

Rated 4.9 /5.0 ★★★★★

Finding a good travel rewards card with no annual fee is like a breath of fresh air in a world where many top-tier travel cards come with yearly fees that range from $95 to $600 or more. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is one of those rare cards — a consumer-friendly beacon in the realm of no-annual-fee travel cards, making it a standout candidate for a spot in your wallet.

In this review, we put the card under the microscope alongside three of its closest competitors to guide you in choosing the one that aligns with your needs. While the card is an obvious win for Bank of America patrons, it also appeals to savvy consumers who bank elsewhere.

A Low-Cost Card For Travelers

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a real asset for Bank of America customers, especially those in the Preferred Rewards program. That’s because, as a member, every purchase earns you an impressive 25% to 75% more points on everything you buy.

Now, let’s talk about numbers that’ll make you smile. With this card in your wallet, you can rack up as many as 2.62 points for every dollar you spend. That’s a stellar rate, considering most cards usually stop their flat-rate rewards at 2%.

And you don’t have to worry about annual fees or fees on your international adventures. Plus, it welcomes you with open arms, offering bonus points and an interest-free period on purchases and balance transfers for new cardholders.

The card might not have all the bells and whistles of those high-end travel cards, but the credit card keeps it sweet and simple, offering high rewards with a smattering of perks. It’s a good balance if you love earning big without the fuss of extra frills.

How to Qualify & Apply for the Card

First, you need to be a US citizen or permanent resident and at least 18 years old. It’s also important to have a steady income so monthly payments feel like a breeze, not a burden.

Filling out the application is quick and easy. You can access the application on the bank’s website and learn more about the card below:

Disclosure: When you apply through links on our site, we often earn referral fees from partners. For more information, see our ad disclosure and review policy.

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Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • 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 as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after 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 travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 18.24% - 28.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
$0
Excellent/Good

Additional Disclosure: Bank of America is a CardRates advertiser.

You start the application by sharing a bit about yourself, including your name, home address, phone number, and email address. Next, it’s time to disclose your citizenship status, Social Security number, birth date, employment status, and what you earn each year.

At this point, if you’ve got someone special in mind (maybe a family member or a dear friend), you can add them to your credit card application as an authorized user. Plus, if you’re juggling balances on other cards, here’s your chance to consolidate them with a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. Keep in mind, a balance transfer fee will apply so be sure to understand the card’s terms and conditions.

Once you give the terms and conditions a long look, it’s time to submit your application. The bank will perform a hard pull of your credit reports — a necessary step to ensure everything aligns.

An approval decision on your application will be on its way to you shortly.

Benefits & Drawbacks to Consider

Diving into the details of the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, we explore the blend of benefits and drawbacks that come with it, giving you a more well-rounded perspective. This balanced view is essential to help you weigh its advantages against any potential limitations, ensuring you make an informed decision that suits your lifestyle and financial goals.

Benefits

    • Rewards Program: Picture yourself earning a splendid 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on eligible purchases. And the best part is that the card has no limit to how many points you can earn.

    • Signup Bonus: Spend a certain amount in the initial months of opening your account and receive a one-time bonus.

    • No Annual Fee: Say goodbye to annual fees. This card is all about keeping things easy and fee-free.

    • Flexible Redemption Options: Your points are similar to personal travel currency. You can redeem them for flights, hotels, dreamy vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or even pesky baggage fees, all with no blackout dates.

    • No Foreign Transaction Fees: This card is your passport to worldwide shopping without the extra fees.

    • Introductory APR Offer: Embrace the 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days — a financial breather before the standard variable APR begins.

    • Preferred Rewards Program Eligibility: If you are part of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you can earn 25% to 75% more points on every purchase.

    • Extended Warranty Protection: Shop with more confidence, knowing that your purchases come with additional warranty protection.

    • Travel and Emergency Assistance: When traveling abroad, you have access to crucial assistance services, including medical and legal referrals and emergency transportation.

    • Rental Car Insurance: Enjoy the open road with fewer worries, thanks to collision damage waiver coverage on rental vehicles.

    • Roadside Dispatch: A helping hand is always available with the card’s pay-per-use roadside assistance program.

    • Digital Wallet Compatibility: Stay secure by adding the card to your digital wallet, making payments smooth and easy.

    • Optional Overdraft Protection: You can link your credit card to a Bank of America checking account for added peace of mind with overdraft protection, subject to your available credit and a transfer fee.

This credit card brings a rich array of benefits to your financial life, all without the burden of an annual fee. It’s like having a financial toolkit that fits snugly in your pocket. But it does have a few shortcomings compared to other offerings.

Drawbacks

    • No Bonus Categories for Extra Points: You earn a consistent 1.5 points per dollar on purchases, but the card doesn’t offer extra points in categories such as dining or travel.

    • Standard APR After Introductory Period: Think of the 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases as a honeymoon phase. Once it’s over, the card settles into a standard variable APR, which can feel steep if you carry a balance.

    • Credit Score Requirements: Imagine this card as an exclusive club. It generally opens its doors to those with good to excellent credit scores. If you have subpar credit, this card will be out of reach — for now.

    • No Significant Travel Perks: While it’s great for earning travel points, it’s light on plush travel perks that the pricier travel cards flaunt — including luxurious lounge access and annual credits.

    • Preferred Rewards Program & Banking Relationship: To participate in the Preferred Rewards program, you must have a banking relationship with Bank of America and meet certain balance requirements. It’s similar to needing a VIP pass to get into the party.

    • Lack of Purchase Protection: This card prefers to keep things simple, so it refrains from offering purchase, return, or price protection.

While the card is a valuable companion for many, especially with its straightforward rewards structure and absence of an annual fee, it may fall short on certain perks and benefits. You must decide whether it provides the right balance to suit your financial and lifestyle needs.

More Travel Cards Worth a Look

The following cards compete for the business of travelers who want good benefits. Two of these options charge no annual fee, and the other’s yearly fee is under $100.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Miles you earn from the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card allow you to fly on any carrier, anytime, without restrictions. This no-annual-fee card provides new cardmembers with an introductory 0% for 15 months APR promotion for purchases and balance transfers.

You can earn bonus miles by spending a set amount on purchases during the first 90 days after account opening. This travel credit card also pays a bonus rewards rate on rental cars and hotels you book through Capital One Travel. It provides a flat, unlimited rewards rate on all other eligible purchases, and you can redeem your miles in many ways.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
21.49%-28.49% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card provides trip cancellation insurance that also covers delays and interruptions. Its reasonable $95 annual fee includes a handsome welcome bonus and many other perks, including purchase protection, extended warranties, travel and luggage insurance, and rental car coverage. Some cardowners report credit limits exceeding $100,000.

The card offers a respectable amount of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which are popular for their value and versatility. It also awards points on travel and dining and provides many travel protections. Your points are worth 1.25X when you redeem them for travel through Chase, and you can also transfer them 1:1 to partner loyalty programs.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
  • Member FDIC
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
20.49% - 29.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers one of the industry’s highest membership reward rates on travel when booked through the Chase Ultimate Reward portal. Moreover, it provides remarkable travel perks for a card with no annual fee. These include travel and emergency assistance services, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and auto rental collision damage waiver benefits.

If you also have a Chase Sapphire card, you can transfer your Freedom points to your Sapphire card to increase the value of your Ultimate Rewards points by 1.25X or 1.50X. In addition, Chase Freedom Unlimited® features purchase protection, zero liability protection, fraud monitoring, free credit score access, extended warranty protection, and identity restoration services.

Cardholder Reviews From Reddit

Many cardholders have taken to online forums such as Reddit to express their satisfaction. One contributor liked the card when used with Preferred Rewards

“It’s decent if you’re already tied into the Bank of America ecosystem and have over $20k (Gold), $50k (Platinum), or $100k (Platinum Honors) in your checking, savings, or other financial products. Then, the bank offers either 25%, 50%, or 75% more rewards on their credit cards. For example, on their Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, if you spend $1000, the regular earning rate is 1.5%. But with the 50% addition for Platinum, you’re earning 2.25 points/dollar. For no annual fee, it’s not a bad card.

But another Reddit user, algamer89, thinks better card choices exist:

If you’re just looking for something with a good rewards rate on travel, getting the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and setting it to the travel category would give you double the rewards rate. American Express credit cards and Chase Sapphire Preferred also have a lot of travel benefits. Still, you’d need to do the math and determine if the annual fees are worth it in your situation. Ironically, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card card is not the bank’s best travel card.”

Some online contributors advised consumers to consider their alternatives so they can wring out more rewards or get better benefits. You should take some of these opinions into account when making your decision, especially if they resonate with your situation.

FAQs: Is It Hard to Get the Card?

A credit score of 750 or higher is the key to qualifying for the card. But it’s not just about the numbers; You also need to check all of the boxes of the card’s eligibility criteria we covered earlier.

Having a Bank of America checking or savings account may also work in your favor. Of course, the account should be as tidy and well-managed, free from fees and overdrafts. It’s all about showing that you are a stellar banking partner.

What is the Card’s Credit Limit?

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card isn’t just any card — it’s a Visa® Signature card, which means it has a $5,000 minimum limit. If you have a clean credit history, a high score, and a robust income, you might find yourself with a credit limit that soars much higher.

Now, let’s sprinkle in some insights from our friends at Intuit. They’ve crunched the numbers and found that the average credit limit for folks who own this card — or similar cards — hovers around $8,685. And $10,000 is a common limit for many cardmembers.

The card is a potential passport to higher spending power. Over time, it could open doors to bigger and better credit opportunities.

How Do I Redeem My Bank of America Travel Rewards?

Imagine having a treasure trove of travel rewards at your fingertips. Redeeming your travel points is as easy as a few clicks online, a quick tap on the bank’s mobile app, or a simple phone call.

The card doesn’t box you into any particular airline or hotel brand. Instead, it offers you the freedom of general-purpose points. Starting at 2,500 points, you can redeem these for travel credits or cash rewards. And if you’re feeling generous, gift card redemptions begin at 3,125 points.

The bank applies your rewards as a statement credit to your account, offsetting travel and dining expenses from a wide range of qualifying merchants. These include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, RV rentals, campgrounds, car rental agencies, and cruise lines.

Keep in mind that not all purchases are eligible for the travel credit. In-flight goodies and those tempting duty-free airport purchases are some notable exceptions. But the card still has you covered for most travel and dining adventures.

You can redeem your points for a statement credit (the minimum is 2,500 qualifying points). Each point is worth $0.01 when redeemed for travel credit (so 2,500 points equals $25).

BOA bonus points screenshot
Customers who meet requirements can earn bonus points.

The card allows you to redeem points for a check, an electronic deposit into a Bank of America® checking or savings account, or even credit it to an eligible Cash Management Account with Merrill.

You can cash out each point for $0.006, so 2,500 points turn into $15 in your pocket. And if gift cards are your thing, you’re in luck because the redemption value for those can be even higher.

How Does it Compare to the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card?

Let’s dive into a side-by-side comparison of the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, each offering unique perks tailored to different consumer needs. This comparison will illuminate how each card caters to distinct spending habits and reward preferences, helping you decide which card better is better for you.

FEATURE Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card – YOUR PASSPORT TO EARNING AS YOU EXPLORE Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card – TAILOR YOUR EARNINGS TO YOUR LIFESTYLE
Rewards Enjoy a breezy 1.5 points for every dollar you spend on any purchase with no limits Earn a generous 3% cash back in a category you choose, be it dining out or home improvement. Plus, get 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% on everything else.
Choose Your Adventure It’s all about simplicity – no specific categories to track. Flex your choice muscle: pick your favorite category to earn more, and change it up to fit your lifestyle.
Welcome Aboard Bonus Hop on with a sweet bonus when you spend a set amount in the first few months. A little boost for your travels! Start your journey with a similar bonus, making your first months even more rewarding.
Redeeming Points Use your points for all things travel — from flights to hotel stays, with no blackout dates. Freedom to roam! Cash back your way: Redeem for statement credits, checks, or a deposit into your Bank of America account.
Yearly Commitment Zero annual fee — keep your wallet and passport equally light! Also, there is no annual fee. More cash for your adventures or passions!
Early Bird Special Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases. Perfect for that big getaway! Get 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. A smooth start!
Globe-Trotting Perks No foreign transaction fees — roam the world without extra charges. A 3% foreign transaction fee applies — best for adventures closer to home.
VIP Treatment Preferred Rewards members earn up to 75% more points. As a Preferred Rewards member, earn up to 75% more cash back on every purchase.
Booking Freedom Book travel how and when you want with no restrictions. Cash rewards give you flexibility, but not specific to travel.
Welcome, Travelers! Ideal for those with good to excellent credit — your ticket to the world. Good to excellent credit scores are also welcome here — start crafting your cash back story.

In summary, while the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card shines for its travel-centric rewards and no foreign transaction fees, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card stands out with its cash back flexibility and bonus categories. Your choice between the two cards ultimately hinges on whether your spending aligns more with frequent travel or you prefer to maximize cash back in chosen categories.

Is the Card Worth Getting If I Don’t Have a Bank of America Account?

This card can be a valuable choice even if you don’t have a Bank of America account. The bank designed it to be straightforward and generous, offering points on all purchases regardless of where you bank. This card suits anyone who loves the simplicity of earning travel rewards.

Redemption flexibility is another standout feature. Whether you’re eyeing travel credits, cash rewards, or gift cards, you have many options, making it adaptable to your lifestyle and preferences.

For those bitten by the travel bug, this card waives foreign transaction fees, making it an ideal companion for overseas adventures. Plus, the 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases offer can provide financial breathing room — a boon if you’re planning significant expenditures or looking to manage existing debt more effectively.

Do Bank of America Travel Rewards Expire?

No, the travel rewards do not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing. This significant advantage gives you the flexibility to accumulate points without the pressure of a looming expiration date.

This feature makes the card especially appealing if you prefer to collect points at a leisurely pace or travel occasionally. The absence of an expiration date on your rewards means you can enjoy accumulating points and redeem them on your terms.

This Card May Be For You If …

Cardholders fall into several categories, but most have a few common traits that align well with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. You may consider filling out an application if any of the following apply to you:

    • You Love Travel: Ideal for those who frequently travel or plan to do so, as the card’s rewards cater to consumers with travel-related expenses.

    • You Appreciate Flexibility in Rewards: The card allows you to earn points on every purchase and redeem them for travel, cash back, or gift cards, among others.

    • You’re Opposed to Annual Fees: Perfect if you want to avoid the extra cost of an annual fee, as this card doesn’t charge one.

    • You Desire No Foreign Transaction Fees: Great for international travelers who want to avoid incurring additional charges on overseas purchases.

    • You Wish to Take Advantage of Introductory APR Offers: These promotions let you make large purchases or transfer balances with a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days.

    • You Are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards Customer: The card is especially advantageous if you are a Preferred Rewards member, as you can earn even more points.

    • You Have Good to Excellent Credit: This card is suitable if you have a good to excellent credit score, which this card requires.

The card is an ideal choice for frequent travelers seeking flexible rewards, no annual fee, and it offers additional perks for Bank of America customers, all without the hassle of points expiring.

Alternatives to Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Not quite sure if Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is right for you? We encourage you to check out these guides to popular alternatives:

Before applying for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offer or any other offer, be sure you understand all fees, interest rates, and terms so you can make the best decision for your own financial goals.

About the Author

Eric Bank
Eric Bank Finance Expert

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a masters in business administration from New York University and a masters in finance from DePaul University.

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