Bank of America Travel Rewards Guide

Bank of America’s travel rewards program isn’t as lucrative or extensive as what rivals like American Express or Chase offer, but some cardholders may find value in its simplicity.

If you’ve got one or more Bank of America credit cards that allow you to earn and redeem rewards for travel, or are interested in applying for one, this guide can help explain the basics of the bank’s travel program, including how to earn and redeem travel rewards points and more.

Bank of America travel rewards basics

Compared to other issuers, Bank of America has a smaller portfolio of travel credit cards, but there are some similarities in how you earn and redeem travel rewards with each card.

Essentially, you can redeem the rewards you earn for statement credits to cover travel-related purchases. Some Bank of America travel cards may also allow you to cover purchases like dining with your award statement credits.

With each card, you’ll also gain access to the Bank of America Travel Center, where you can search for travel deals and pay with cash or rewards. The site operates much like a travel search engine, similar to Expedia or Orbitz.

Although the issuer announced the launch of a Partner Rewards program accessible to Bank of America credit card and debit card holders late last year, the travel rewards program still lacks travel transfer partners.

However, as we’ll explain below, being a member of Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program could increase the value of the rewards you earn by 25 to 75 percent, should you have enough in a qualifying Bank of America account.

Bank of America travel credit cards

As mentioned, Bank of America has only a handful of cards that offer ongoing rewards and travel-focused perks. Here are the cards you can choose from:

Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

  • Rewards rate: Unlimited 1.5X points on all purchases
  • Welcome bonus: 25,000 bonus points when you make $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of opening the account (worth $250 toward travel purchases)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Additional perks: No foreign transaction fees; long zero-interest offer on purchases and balance transfers; Visa Signature benefits

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is an entry-level travel credit card that allows you to earn basic travel rewards without paying an annual fee. Its rewards rate is simple; just swipe and earn 1.5X points on all of your spending without any limit. There’s no need to track spending categories or activate any special offer on your account to receive your rewards. Further, you can also earn 3X points on travel bookings and other purchases through the Bank of America Travel Center (except for insurance).

If you’re in the market to pay off existing credit card debt or fund an upcoming purchase, this card can be a good option thanks to its 0 percent intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days (followed by variable APR between 16.24 percent and 26.24 percent).

For more information on card perks, read our Bank of America Travel Rewards card benefits guide.

Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card

  • Rewards rate: Unlimited 2X points on travel and dining purchases; 1.5X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: 50,000 bonus points when you make $3,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Additional perks: $100 incidental airline credit; up to $100 in credits toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck; Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection perks; no foreign transaction fees

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card offers another level of travel rewards: 2X back on all travel and dining purchases and a flat 1.5X rate on everything else. Plus, its welcome bonus is relatively easy to earn for an annual-fee-carrying travel card — spend just $1,000 a month for your first three months and receive 50,000 bonus points.

The card also offers statement credits toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership every four years and an annual airline incidental credit. And with Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection perks, you can enjoy automatic room upgrades, late checkout, complimentary breakfast and more.

Read our Bank of America Premium Rewards card benefits guide for more information on all the card has to offer.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite credit card*

  • Rewards rate: Unlimited 2X points on travel and dining purchases; 1.5X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: 50,000 bonus points when you make $3,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Additional perks: $300 in annual airline incidental statement credits; $150 in annual lifestyle statement credits; up to $100 in credits toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck; complimentary Priority Pass Select membership; 20 percent off airfare redemptions through the Bank of America Travel Center; Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection perks; no foreign transaction fees

While the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite credit card, launched late last year, has the same rewards structure and welcome bonus as the Premium Rewards card, it’s packed with a few more benefits to ease its $550 annual fee.

Enjoy $200 more in airline incidental statement credits compared to the Premium Rewards card, the same Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit opportunity and Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection perk access. Plus, you’ll get $150 in lifestyle statement credits each year toward things like food delivery and streaming service costs, discounts on airfare redemptions through the Travel Center as well as Priority Pass Select membership, giving you access to 1,300-plus airport lounges worldwide.

Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students*

  • Rewards rate: 1.5X points on all purchases
  • Welcome bonus: 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in purchases within your first 90 days
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Additional perks: No foreign transaction fees; zero-interest offer on purchases

Although its features and benefits are minimal, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students can be a good entry-level card for students with little-to-no credit history. You’ll get 1.5X points on all purchases, plus the ability to redeem rewards for a statement credit on qualifying travel purchases.

There’s also a 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles (followed by a variable APR between 16.24 percent and 26.24 percent), which can help students who have a large purchases on the horizon that they’d like to pay off over time (think textbooks or dorm supplies).

Who are Bank of America travel cards best for?

As noted, this travel rewards program is best if you want simplicity and flexibility in earning and redeeming travel rewards. The Bank of America rewards cards listed above allow you to use your rewards to cover eligible travel purchases. Other redemption options include cash and gift cards.

If you are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards program member, you’ll get much more value than other cardholders. This invitation-only program gives you access to special offers and discounts based on the combined balance of qualifying Bank of America or Merrill Investment accounts. Here’s a look at the five tiers offered:

Minimum three-month average balance $20,000 $50,000 $100,000 $1 million $10 million
Credit card rewards bonus 25% 50% 75% 75% 75%
Rewards rate for 1.5X back 1.875X 2.25X 2.625X 2.625X 2.625X
Rewards rate for 2X back 2.5X 3X 3.5X 3.5X 3.5X

How to earn Bank of America travel rewards points

The only thing you need to do to earn rewards is use your Bank of America card for eligible purchases; you don’t need to keep track of rotating bonus categories or activate offers in your Bank of America account to earn rewards. For some of the travel cards we mentioned above, you’ll earn more rewards in travel and dining categories, but there’s no need to track or apply for your rewards.

Additionally, Bank of America’s travel and dining categories are more extensive than those of most travel rewards cards:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels and motels
  • Timeshares
  • Trailer parks, motorhomes and recreational vehicle rentals
  • Campgrounds
  • Car, truck, trailer and boat rentals
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies, tour operators and real estate agents
  • Transit, including passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, parking lots and garages, tolls and bridge fees
  • Tourist attractions and exhibits, like art galleries, amusement parks, carnivals, circuses, aquariums and zoos
  • Restaurants and eating places
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Bars
  • Taverns
  • Cocktail lounges
  • Nightclubs

How to redeem Bank of America travel rewards points

You can redeem rewards for a statement credit to cover eligible travel purchases. Other redemption options include cash as a check or direct deposit into an eligible Merrill Cash Management Account or a gift card. Travel credits and cash rewards redemptions require a minimum of 2,500 points, and gift cards require 3,125 points to redeem.

How much are Bank of America travel rewards points worth?

Bank of America travel rewards are worth 1 cent per point, according to Bankrate’s points valuations. Redemptions for cash or gift cards may be of lesser value.

How do Bank of America travel rewards compare to other points’ values?

In most cases, your Bank of America travel rewards points are worth 1 cent per point. In other cases, such as the Premium Rewards Elite credit card, your rewards points can get a 20 percent boost for travel bookings through the Travel Center — not to mention rewards boosts from Preferred Rewards membership.

Issuers such as Chase, American Express and Capital One offer similar boosts for redeeming points through their travel portals. However, those issuers also have transfer partners that can allow you to get more value for travel purchases like airfare, hotel and car rentals.

Bank of America doesn’t yet have this in place. If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, that may make up for the lack of travel partners, but it’s something you’d have to analyze on a case-by-case basis.

Bank of America travel rewards frequently asked questions

The bottom line

Bank of America’s travel rewards program isn’t as attractive as those of other major issuers. But if you’re willing to accept some of the other competitive program advantages — namely, the extensive travel and dining categories and Preferred Rewards bonuses — it may be worth it.

Truthfully, if you’re at least a semi-frequent traveler, you’ll find much better value from rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.

*All information about the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite credit card and Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/bank-of-america-travel-rewards-guide/