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Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card Review: Is It Worth It?

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card Review: Is It Worth It?

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers value and flexibility, giving cardholders the option to rotate their highest earning categories each month.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Quick facts

  • Credit needed: Excellent/Good
  • Sign-up bonus: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earning rate: Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Low intro APR on purchases: 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, followed by a 14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR.
  • Preferred Rewards bonus: Get a 25% to 75% reward bonus with the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program

Pros

  • Solid sign-up bonus
  • $0 annual fee
  • Flexibility to choose where you earn the most
  • Earning rate includes useful day-to-day spending categories
  • Cash rewards don't expire
  • Low intro APR offer on purchases
  • Bonus rewards for Bank of America Preferred Rewards members

Cons

  • Charges foreign transaction fees
  • Spending caps on bonus categories
  • Few additional perks
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Is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card worth it?

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers consumers a unique rewards earning strategy that allows them to choose the spending category they want to earn the most in each month. With a $0 annual fee, cardholders can earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases. The earning categories offered by this card span a variety of useful areas for day-to-day spending, making it a great card for average consumers.

You'll also enjoy a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, followed by a 14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR. Finally, Bank of America and Merrill account holders can especially benefit from this card, with the ability to earn an extra 25%-75% points through the Preferred Rewards program.

Who is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card best for?

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is not only great for everyday consumers looking to earn big on their daily spending, but it can be especially useful for consumers who are already banking with Bank of America and Merrill. Cardholders have the opportunity to choose the spending category where they earn the most and have the option to change it each month. Account holders with Bank of America and Merrill can earn an additional 25% to 75% points through the Preferred Rewards program, making this card even more lucrative.

Earning rate

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card holders earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

While this is already a strong earning rate for everyday spending categories, what makes this card unique is that it gives you the option to choose your 3% bonus category each month. You can change your top category once per month through Online Banking, or use the Mobile Banking app, and if you don't change it then it will simply remain the same.

3% cash back categories

  • Gas
  • Dining
  • Drugstores
  • Home improvement/furnishings
  • Online shopping
  • Travel

Unfortunately, the 2% and 3% combined bonus categories are capped at $2,500 per quarter, so big spenders won't necessarily get the best returns with this card.

Sign-up bonus

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card comes with a solid sign-up bonus:

$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

This is a straightforward and valuable bonus that shouldn't be too challenging to attain.

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What it's worth: $200

Who is eligible to earn this bonus: Customers who open a new account will be eligible to earn this offer, but not for those who are converting an existing account. Your account must be open and in good standing to receive this offer.

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Redeeming rewards

Redeeming your Bank of America rewards is pretty straightforward. You can either redeem your rewards for statement credits, deposits made directly into your Bank of America checking or savings account, credits to your Merrill accounts, or as checks. The nice thing about earning cash back is that you always know the exact value of your rewards, because you earn it in cold, hard cash.

Preferred Rewards members earn more

It's free to enroll in the Preferred Rewards program, but to do so you will need an active, eligible Bank of America checking account and have a three-month combined average daily balance of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill® investment accounts.

Bank of America and Merrill account holders can enjoy added benefits from this card, as they'll earn a 25% to 75% rewards bonus with the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. This allows cardholders to maximize their points earning potential, ultimately resulting in significant amounts of cash back. There are three tiers of the Preferred Rewards program, Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors. Your tier is based on the combined balances in your Bank of America® deposit and/or Merrill® investment accounts:

  • Gold ($20,000 to $49,999 account balance) — 25% bonus
  • Platinum ($50,000 to $99,999 account balance) — 50% bonus
  • Platinum Honors ($100,000+ account balance) — 75% bonus

Low intro APR on purchases

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card holders can take advantage of a low intro APR offer on purchases: 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, followed by a 14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR. This is a nice perk for consumers who are looking to pay down debt but still want to earn rewards on their daily purchases.

Drawbacks

  • Charges foreign transaction fees — While the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card can be a great credit card for everyday spending, we don't recommend using it for international travel. This card charges 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction made in a foreign currency, or made in U.S. dollars if the transaction is made or processed outside of the United States. While 3% might not seem like much, it can quickly add up when traveling abroad.
  • Spending caps on bonus categories — This card caps your rewards in the combined 2% and 3% bonus categories at $2,500 per quarter. That can be limiting for consumers who shop for families or who spend significantly more than that each quarter.
  • Few additional perks — This card has a lot to offer by way of earning rate and sign-up bonus offerings, but unfortunately it lacks many additional benefits. If you'd prefer a cash back card that offers perks like travel and purchase protections, you may want to check out another cash back card.

What credit score do you need for the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card?

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card requires a Excellent/Good credit score. Be sure to check your credit score before applying to improve your chances of acceptance.

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Alternatives to the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card has a lot to offer everyday consumers, but it's important to compare it against other popular cash back credit cards to see if it's the best fit for your needs.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: Great for high cash back rates and purchase and travel protections

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of our favorite cash back cards due to its high rewards rates and perks and benefits. These cards are very similar in their features, so the better card for you will largely depend on your spending habits and preferences. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® lets you Enjoy 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; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases

Those who dine out and travel often, and prefer a high rate of unlimited cash back on everything else or have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® would be better off using the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, as you can transfer your points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to redeem your points for lucrative Ultimate Rewards points.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card vs. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

Verdict: An excellent cash back card for flat-rate rewards

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a solid flat-rate cash back card, which can be a good alternative to the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card if you don't want to deal with tracking different spending categories. This card lets you earn unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply) with a $0 annual fee.

Other features include a low intro APR offer on purchases: 0% intro on purchases for 15 months (then 15.24% - 25.24% (Variable) APR, and a respectable sign-up bonus: One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card vs. Discover it® Cash Back

Verdict: A top cash back card for rotating categories with an extremely high first year value potential

The Discover it® Cash Back is a rotating category cash back card that provides 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically. Note though, that Discover's $1,500 spending cap is lower than the $2,500 limit on the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, which can be limiting for high spenders.

For 2022, the Discover it® Cash Back categories include grocery stores and fitness club and gym memberships (January through March), gas stations and Target (April through June), restaurants and PayPal (July through September), Amazon.com and Digital Wallets (October through December). The sign-up bonus is also unique for the Discover it® Cash Back card — Discover matches the cash back you earned at the end of your first year for new cardholders.

Should you apply for the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card?

If you're looking for a solid no annual fee credit card that lets you earn high rates of cash back rewards on everyday purchases, you can certainly benefit from the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card. The card offers you the flexibility to choose the earning category you spend the most in each month, which can be great for consumers with varied expenses. However, there are lots of other great rewards credit cards out there that could be a better fit for your needs.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get my bonus from Bank of America?

You can get the online cash rewards bonus if you meet the spending requirement within the timeframe stated in the offer terms.

What is Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card?

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a cash back card with rotating categories. This means you have the option to select which of the six offered cash back categories you want to earn 3% cash back in, and you can choose to change your selection once per month. This card is a good option for consumers with varied spending.

How many Bank of America cash rewards cards can you have?

You can have more than one Bank of America cash rewards card at once, but you will not be approved for a second card if you haven't had your first card for at least 24 months.

The information related to Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card and Discover it® Cash Back has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).