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Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: A Good Value for International Travelers

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: A Good Value for International Travelers

Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is one of the issuer’s top credit card offerings. Cardholders earn an unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, making this card good for everyday spending. We think that on its own, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card generally falls flat when compared to stronger competitors, such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. However, consumers who have an existing account with Bank of America can see higher rewards rates, depending on the average balance they maintain in their accounts.

Review: Is the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Worth It?

Unless you are a BofA customer, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is far from being one of the best rewards cards or even one of the best travel cards. Other options, like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, provide users with higher rewards rates and better bonuses. For example, it gives back a value of 2.1% on every $1 spent (the card actually offers 2 miles for every $1 you spend, but we value each mile at $0.0105) , compared to the 1.5% of the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. Consumers who have a savings, checking or other deposit account with Bank of America can qualify for a point bonus, which can make this credit card competitive with the Arrival Plus and other top rewards cards. Just having an open account qualifies consumers for a 10% point increase, putting them at 1.65 points per $1. The best value kicks in once you have an average of $50,000 put away with BofA — then you begin earning 2.25 points per $1, and eventually can go as high as 2.625. We explain these relationship bonuses in greater detail below.

The welcome offer on the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is among the best for 'no-annual fee' travel rewards cards. Coming in at just $250 (when used as statement credit towards travel purchases), it is higher than a lot of competing cash back credit card bonus offers.

This credit card has no annual fee, an EMV chip, and no foreign transaction fees. This sort of combination is rare among most credit cards, which is why we think the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card does stand out and offer consumers some value. Most other credit cards that offer EMV technology and no-foreign exchange fees tend to cost a lot in terms of annual fees - some upwards of $80 to $100. Consumers who don't have high enough spending to justify an annual fee card, but find themselves shopping abroad, have a lot to gain from a card like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, for this exact reason.

What are the Benefits & Features of the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card?

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Purchase APR
17.24% - 25.24% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent
Details
  • 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 17.24% - 25.24% 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%

Every purchase you make with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card earns you 1.5 points per $1. These points can later be redeemed as statement credit on travel expenses. In this way, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card works similarly to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (in that rewards are used only retroactively). You use points to pay for past purchases - you may not use your rewards points to book future travel like you would with some other travel rewards credit cards. In order to redeem your rewards, you must accumulate at least 2,500 points – that translates to approximately $1,667 in purchases.

There are 25,000 bonus rewards points up for grabs within the first 90 days of opening a Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card account. To qualify, a cardmember must spend at least $1,000 on purchases, within the allotted time. This does not mean you must carry a balance of $1,000 for 3 months. For example, if you make purchases totaling $1,000 in the first 7 days you get the card, then pay off your credit card bill in full, you will receive the 25,000 point bonus. Also, the bonus is entirely based on spending (cash advances, fees, and balance transfers do not count).

The value of a single Bank of America credit card reward point is $0.01. We get this by examining the card’s signing offer. You receive 25,000 points, which BofA claims is worth $250 in travel statement credit. $250 / 25,000 points = $0.01. Since you are earning 1.5 points with each dollar you spend, the card has an effective rewards rate of 1.5%.

Rewards Bonus for Bank of America Savings & Checking Account Holders

If you currently do business with Bank of America, you will earn anywhere between 10% and 75% more rewards points with every purchase. Just by having an active BofA account, you will earn 1.65 points on every $1 spent using the card. The more money you hold with the bank, the greater your point bonus becomes.

Average BoA Balance

Point BonusRewards Rate

$20k

10%1.65%

$20K - $50K

25%1.88%

$50K to $100K

50%2.25%

$100K+

75%2.63%

How does the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card compare to other credit cards?

We examined how the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card fared against the competition. To do so, we compared the value from spending, bonuses, and other utilities provided by each of the cards below.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers better rewards rates to those consumers whose spending skews towards dining and travel. With 2x points on every $1 spent in those categories, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a rewards rate of up to 2% (and 1% on all other spending). This is much better than the flat 1.5% you get with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card (without the relationship bonus). As long as more than half of your spending skews towards travel and dining, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provides the higher value.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card bonus pales in comparison to that of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The latter offers up a bonus worth up to $625 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. That is $375 more in value over the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is meant for high spenders, and comes with an introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95 every year after that. This means that if you are not a big travel spender, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card will be a better fit, due to it being completely free. As long as you grab the signup bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, however, it covers the cost of the annual fee for 5 years.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card vs Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

We generally prefer the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card to the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, due to the fact that the two cards are extremely similar, with one of the key differences being the better long-term earning potential of the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card card gives users 1.25x miles on every $1 they spend. That is a rewards rate .25% lower than that of the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. We recommend users interested in long-term savings to prefer the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for that reason. The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card awards 10x miles on purchases made through hotels.com/Venture until January 31, 2020.

In terms of international travel utility, both the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card have an EMV chip, and no foreign transaction fees, making them ideal for the big travelers.

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

Unless you bank with BofA, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a better credit card than the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, due simply to its flexibility. Both cards come with a 1.5% rewards rate. Users are also free to redeem their rewards anytime they need to – unlike with the Travel Rewards card, which requires consumers to redeem a minimum of 2,500 points.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card vs Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is better for individuals who are less focused on travel, and more on domestic spending - particularly at grocery stores and purchases of gas. With this card, you receive 3% cash back on gas, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter. Users earn 1% cash back on everything else.

Where do the two cards differ most? That would be in the foreign transaction fee! If you are someone who wants to use their card abroad, you should steer clear of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card – it will charge you 3% of each transaction. We definitely prefer the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card as the superior value for those who travel abroad.

Comments and Questions

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Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, and Amazon Business American Express Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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.

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® Card 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).