Best Bank of America Credit Cards of 2021

Best Bank of America Credit Cards of 2021

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card gets our vote for best Bank of America credit card, due to its generous sign-up bonus, higher-than-average rewards on every purchase and solid travel benefits.

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.

The second largest retail bank in the U.S., Bank of America offers a broad range of financial products to approximately 66 million consumer and small business clients. This includes an array of credit card options geared to different types of consumers, from first-time cardholders and consumers rebuilding their credit to those with excellent credit.

The best Bank of America credit cards let you rack up cash back and travel rewards, or save money on interest for a limited time. Bank of America also happens to boast some of the best no-annual-fee travel and cashback cards.

This guide was created in order to help you find the best Bank of America credit card deals available today. ValuePenguin compared all options from Bank of America, digging into the details to find out about all the benefits they offer. If you are hoping to find a new credit card for your wallet and Bank of America is on your radar, keep reading to learn how their cards work and who they're best for.

Best Bank of America credit cards 2021

Methodology

To make choosing the right card easier, we've looked at credit cards reviewed on ValuePenguin as well as cards on major issuer sites to compile a list of the best rewards credit cards available right now. Our recommendations are based on the additional value you can earn with the cards — including the rewards value, cost of ownership and value of benefits such as travel and purchase protections, lounge membership and airline companion passes. Our choices are not influenced by our advertisers. Learn more on how we calculate rewards.

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Bank of America card benefits | Types of Bank of America cards | Preferred Rewards program | Application rules | How to apply | FAQs

Best Bank of America credit card for students

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

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

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students lets cardholders earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings; 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs; and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Note that bonus rewards in the 3% and 2% categories are capped at $2,500 in combined spending in these categories each quarter, after which you'll earn 1% back.

This card doesn't charge an annual fee, and you'll get a free FICO score on your monthly credit card statement. This makes it a good credit card option for students who want to keep their costs down while they monitor and build their credit. You'll also qualify for an intro APR of 0% for the first 15 months on purchases and an intro 0% for the first 15 months on balance transfers, followed by an APR of 13.99% to 23.99% variable. Note, you'll have to pay a balance transfer fee of Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Benefits

  • Save money on interest for a limited period of time.
  • Earn rewards on all your spending.
  • You can choose your 3% bonus category.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Build credit and see your FICO credit score for free.

Drawbacks

  • Bonus categories are capped at only $2,500 in spending each quarter.
  • You can only redeem rewards for cash back, statement credits or transfers into eligible Bank of America or Merrill accounts.

Best Bank of America cashback credit card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

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

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is another card that lets you choose one of your bonus categories. Once you sign up, you'll earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), 1% cash back on all other purchases. Note that you'll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined 3% and 2% bonus category spending each quarter, after which you'll earn 1% back.

This cashback credit card also makes it easy to save money with an intro APR of 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, followed by a 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR. A Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. balance transfer fee applies if you transfer a balance. However, this card doesn't charge an annual fee.

Benefits

  • Earn rewards on your spending.
  • Choose your own 3% bonus category.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Free FICO score on your credit card statement.

Drawbacks

  • Bonus rewards in 3% and 2% categories are capped at $2,500 in spending each quarter.
  • You can only redeem your rewards for cash back, statement credits or transfers to eligible Bank of America and Merrill accounts.

Best Bank of America travel credit card

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Earn 50,000 online bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is considered one of the best Bank of America credit card deals available today, and that's due to both its initial bonus offer and its ongoing rewards. Once you sign up, you'll earn 2 points for every $1 you spend on travel and dining purchases. Plus, earn 2 points for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases – now through 12/31/21. Earn 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all other purchases. No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire. You won't pay any foreign transaction fees (None), although a $95 annual fee does apply. To make up for this fee, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card offers up to — a $100 airline incidental credit for qualifying incidental purchases each year and a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership every four years.

As a premier travel credit card, this card also comes with an array of important travel benefits. These include trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay coverage, lost luggage reimbursement, roadside dispatch, auto collision damage waiver, travel and emergency assistance and more. You'll also qualify for consumer benefits like purchase security and return protection, among other perks.

Benefits

  • Generous sign-up bonus offer.
  • 2 points for every $1 you spend on travel and dining purchases. Plus, earn 2 points for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases – now through 12/31/21. Earn 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all other purchases. No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
  • Qualify for up to $200 in travel statement credits.
  • Receive premium cardholder benefits and consumer protections.

Drawbacks

  • A $95 annual fee applies.
  • You can only redeem rewards as a Bank of America checking or savings account deposit, as a credit toward an eligible Merrill account, as a statement credit on your card account, for gift cards or for purchases in the Bank of America Travel Center.

Best Bank of America airline credit card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from just $22). To qualify simply make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card is one of our favorite travel credit cards. For a $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $75 annual fee, you'll Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don't expire on active accounts.

Aside from the welcome offer, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card comes with an annual companion fare, a free checked bag for you and up to six companions on every itinerary and 3% foreign transaction fees. However, the card has limited rewards earning potential — the only bonus category is on Alaska Airlines purchases, and you'll earn 1x miles on all other purchases.

Benefits

  • Earn miles you can use for flights with no blackout dates.
  • Generous sign-up bonus offer and rewards for Alaska Airlines purchases.
  • Frequent flyer perks like a free checked bag and an annual companion fare for $99 plus taxes and fees.
  • Receive 20% back on all Alaska Airlines purchases made in-flight, as well as 50% off day passes at the Alaska Lounge when you pay with your new card,

Drawbacks

  • $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $75 annual fee applies.
  • Only bonus category is 3x miles on Alaska Airlines purchases.

Best Bank of America business credit card

Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Earn a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening.

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card is a great card for medium-sized businesses with predictable expenses. You'll earn Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back on dining and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. You'll get 3% and 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter.

This business credit card from Bank of America doesn't have an annual fee, but you will get an intro APR of 0% for 9 billing cycles on purchases, after which you'll pay a 12.24% - 22.24% variable APR. This card also comes with travel and emergency services, including $100,000 in travel accident insurance and emergency ticket replacement, lost luggage assistance and more.

While the Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card is a great $0-annual-fee business card, it's best for businesses with low to moderate expenses due to the $50,000 threshold. But if you don't find it suitable for your business, the issuer has other options available for Bank of America business cards.

Benefits

  • Generous sign-up bonus offer and ongoing rewards.
  • Qualify for cardholder benefits and travel insurance.
  • Pick your own 3% bonus category.
  • $0 annual fee.

Drawbacks

  • You can only redeem rewards for cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account, as a statement credit or as a check that can be mailed to you.
  • 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction foreign transaction fee applies to overseas purchases.

Best Bank of America credit card to build credit

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Secured

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Secured is a secured credit card, meaning you have to put down a cash deposit as collateral. While putting down a deposit to secure your own line of credit may not sound ideal, secured credit cards are easier to get approved for if you have bad credit, and they can help you build credit and get back on track. This secured credit card requires a minimum security deposit of $300 to get started.

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Secured doesn't have an annual fee ($0), and you get the chance to earn rewards as well. Once you sign up, you'll earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings; 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Benefits

  • Earn rewards on your spending, a rare perk among secured credit cards.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Free FICO score on your statement each month.
  • Build up your credit score over time.

Drawbacks

  • Security deposit required.
  • No initial bonus offer.

Bank of America credit card benefits

The best Bank of America credit cards offer some powerful benefits, although cardholder perks and insurance offerings vary from card to card. The following benefits are common among the top Bank of America credit card deals, but make sure to reach each card's terms and conditions so you know which ones apply to the card you select.

Travel insurance

Some Bank of America credit cards come with various types of travel insurance, which can include benefits like trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay coverage, lost luggage reimbursement, emergency evacuation and transportation coverage and more. These benefits apply to trips you book and pay for with your Bank of America credit card, and you should note that coverage limits apply.

Auto rental collision damage waiver

Auto rental collision damage waiver is an important credit card benefit that applies when you rent a car and pay with your credit card. This coverage can kick in if your rental car is subject to damage or theft, but the coverage is secondary and only applicable once other insurance you have has been used. Note, Bank of America will be discontinuing these benefits on most of its cards, starting Feb. 1 2021. After then, your only option will be the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, if you want a travel credit card that includes car rental insurance coverage.

Purchase protection

Some Bank of America credit cards offer purchase protection (also called purchase security), which pays for repairs or replacement if an item you buy with your credit card is stolen or damaged within a specific period of time. Coverage from Bank of America can provide reimbursement for up to $10,000 per claim.

No foreign transaction fees

Several Bank of America credit cards don't charge foreign transaction fees, including the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card. No transaction fees means you can make purchases overseas without paying any more than the cost of your purchases.

Credit card PINs

Some credit cards from Bank of America also come with chip and pin technology, which means you may be able to use these cards in unattended terminals in countries where PIN numbers are required. You may also be able to use your credit card for contactless payments.

Types of Bank of America credit cards

Like most credit card issuers, including the likes of Chase and American Express, Bank of America offers different types of rewards credit cards that can make sense for different people. If you're curious about the types of cards they offer and how they might work for you, consider the following card types and card options.

Cashback credit cards

Cashback credit cards are a type of rewards credit card that lets you rack up cash back or statement credits for every dollar you spend. Many cashback credit cards come with no annual fee, and some offer alternative redemption options like gift cards or merchandise in addition to cash back or statement credits.

Among the best Bank of America credit cards, examples of cash back credit cards include the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card.

Travel rewards credit cards

Travel rewards credit cards offer different types of rewards, and the way you can redeem them depends largely on the card you select. Some travel credit cards let you rack up flexible points you can redeem in more than one way, while others let you earn airline miles or hotel points.

Travel credit cards from Bank of America include the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card or the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card.

Business credit cards

Business credit cards are a type of card geared toward business owners instead of regular consumers. With a business credit card, you can secure a line of credit for your business, and you also get the chance to build business credit. Even better, you could earn rewards and gain access to cardholder perks.

Bank of America offers the Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card.

Co-branded credit cards

Co-branded credit cards are a type of card that is branded by both a credit card issuer and a major brand or retailer. Bank of America offers quite a few co-branded credit cards with partners like Alaska Airlines, Norwegian Cruise Line, Spirit Airlines, Allegiant, Amtrak Guest Rewards and more.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards program

If you're looking for a way to earn more rewards for each dollar you spend, then joining the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is a good option. Just remember that the entry requirements for this program are fairly high — to qualify, you'll need to have at least $20,000 on deposit with Bank of America.

If you qualify for the Preferred Rewards program, you can earn 25% to 75% more credit card rewards for each dollar you spend, depending on your status level:

  • Gold (required balance is $20,000-$49,999.99): 25% bonus
  • Platinum (required balance is $50,000-$99,999.99): 50% bonus
  • Platinum Honors (required balance is $100,000 or more): 75% bonus

The following chart shows how much you'll earn in rewards with some of the best Bank of America credit cards if you become a top tier Platinum Honors member.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Travel and dining2.62%5.25% ($2,500/quarter, if travel is your choice category)3.5%
Gas 2.62%5.25% ($2,500/quarter, if gas is your choice category)2.62%
Grocery stores and wholesale clubs2.62%3.5% ($2,500/quarter)2.62%
All other purchases2.62%1.75%2.62%

Bank of America application rules

There are no hard and fast rules that govern who can apply for the best Bank of America credit card deals, nor are there any specifically listed minimum credit score requirements. Before you apply for a Bank of America credit card, you should compare all your options and make sure you find one that suits your needs and spending style the best.

In terms of earning a sign-up bonus from Bank of America, you should read the fine print and terms and conditions on your credit card application to make sure you understand them fully.

You may find fine print that lets you know which purchases do and do not count toward a minimum spending requirement. With the Alaska Airlines Visa®, for example, the fine print says that the bonus offer is a one-time promotion "limited to customers opening a new account in response to this offer and will not apply to requests to convert existing accounts." It also says that you have to make total purchases of at least $2,000 to earn the bonus offer, and that fees, including the annual fee, returns and adjustments do not count toward that total.

How to apply for a Bank of America credit card

Before you apply for a Bank of America credit card, it can help to check your credit score to see where you stand. The best travel and rewards credit cards from Bank of America and other issuers are typically only available to consumers with very good or excellent credit, which usually involves a FICO score of 740 or higher. However, you may be able to qualify for the best Bank of America credit card deals with a lower credit score, since there are no specific requirements from Bank of America.

Once you determine your credit score and prepare to apply, make sure to gather the necessary information to fill out your credit card application. When you apply for a Bank of America credit card, you'll need to supply your name, address, phone number, Social Security number, email, date of birth, employment information and other basic personal details.

According to Bank of America, you may be able to get a response on your credit card application in as little as 60 seconds after you apply.

Does Bank of America prequalify consumers for credit cards?

Where some credit cards let new cardholders get prequalified for their card offers before they submit a full application, Bank of America credit cards do not offer this option. If you want to increase your odds of approval, we suggest checking your credit score to see where you stand before applying.

Does Bank of America have secured credit cards?

Bank of America offers two secured credit card options, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Secured and the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card. These cards require a minimum deposit of $300 as collateral to get started, but they don't require an annual fee — plus, you can earn rewards on your spending with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Secured. You also get the chance to build your credit score with responsible use over time.

Does Bank of America cover rental car insurance?

Some Bank of America credit cards come with an auto rental collision damage waiver that works secondary to your other insurance policies. This coverage can apply when you pay for your rental car with a Bank of America credit card that offers it.

When will I get my Bank of America credit card?

Bank of America says you'll get your credit card in the mail within 10 business days after you apply. However, you'll have to activate your credit card over the phone, using the Bank of America mobile app or online before you can use it.

Can you use a Bank of America credit card overseas?

Bank of America credit cards are offered as Visa and Mastercard credit cards, so you can use them anywhere in the world Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

Does Bank of America have travel insurance?

Some Bank of America credit cards offer travel insurance such as trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay coverage, lost luggage reimbursement and emergency evacuation and transportation coverage. For this coverage to apply, you'll have to pay for your trip with your Bank of America credit card.

Can I customize my Bank of America credit card?

While Bank of America does let customers customize their debit cards with various options, they don't offer any fully customizable credit card options.

Can I have two Bank of America credit cards?

You can definitely have more than one Bank of America credit card, and it can make sense to do so if you want to earn different types of rewards or access different cardholder benefits. Having more than one Bank of America credit card can also let you earn more than one initial bonus offer, provided you sign up for a different card.

Does Bank of America have a metal credit card?

Bank of America does not have a metal credit card. If you specifically want a metal credit card, you'll have to choose a different issuer.

Which Bank of America credit card is best?

The best credit card for you will depend on your individual preferences, spending habits and budget. However, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card could be a solid option for most people. You'll earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The information related to Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students, Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card , Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card , Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card, Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card and Bank of America® Cash Rewards Secured 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).