Bank of America Travel Rewards card: 2021 review

Gabriela Peratello

If you travel often, having a travel credit card can help you manage your money while earning perks and benefits. The Bank of America Travel Reward Card comes with unlimited point-earning opportunities, and a 0% APR introductory offer. This guide walks through all you need to know about the Bank of America travel card, including the rewards to look out for and the costs you might run into.

📑 Table of Contents

Travel credit cards aren’t the right option for everyone. If you’d rather avoid the cost of paying for credit, and get access to the real mid-market exchange rate every time you travel, you need the Wise Multi-currency Account. More on that coming up later.

Learn more about Wise

Overview: the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

    🔑 Let’s start with the big stuff — the Bank of America Travel Rewards card key features¹:
  • 0% APR opening offer, valid for 12 months — then 13.99% - 23.99% variable APR
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee when you spend abroad
  • Unlimited point earning — 1.5 points for every dollar spent on regular spending, 3 points when you spend with the Bank of America travel centre
  • Preferred Reward members can earn up to 75% more rewards
  • Up to 25,000 bonus points available for new card holders
  • Spend points on travel and related purchases, or redeem as cash at a lower rate

Pros & Cons

✅ Pros❎ Cons
  • No annual fee
  • Good reward earning opportunities
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Excellent opening offers
  • Not the highest reward rate available
  • Redeeming points for cash comes with a lower conversion rate compared to travel spend
  • Depending on your credit score, interest may be on the high side

Compare the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card with other providers

The good news is that there are plenty of travel credit cards out there, so you’ll find the right one for you with a bit of research. Here’s how Bank of America’s offering measures up compared to some other major credit card providers:

Bank of America Travel Rewards²American Express Platinum Travel Card³Discover it Miles Travel Card⁴Chase Sapphire Preferred⁵
FeesNo annual fee695 USD annual feeNo annual fee95 USD annual fee
APR
    Intro APR of 0% for 12 months
    13.99% - 23.99% variable
    15.99% - 22.99% variable
    Intro purchase APR of 0% and balance purchase APR of 10.99% for 14 months
    11.99% - 22.99% variable
    15.99% - 22.99% variable
Foreign transaction feeNo foreign transaction feeNo foreign transaction feeNo foreign transaction feeNo foreign transaction fee
Recommended creditGood - excellentGood - excellentGood - excellentGood - excellent

Another alternative for international travel: meet Wise

If you travel regularly, you could save money with Wise.

You should open a Wise Multi-currency Account for free online There's no annual fee, no minimum balance and no interest to worry about. When it’s time to travel you’ll be able to top up your account in dollars and switch to whichever currency you need using the mid-market exchange rate. Hold dozens of different currencies in the same account, and only ever pay a low, transparent charge to switch between them. Buy foreign currency when the exchange rate looks good, hold it until you need it, and spend using your linked debit card.

No surprises and no hidden fees — just simple spending all over the world.

🚀 Create your Wise Account


Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit card full review

Choosing the right travel card can mean you save money in the long run, and get rewarded for spending you’d already planned. Let’s take a closer look at the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card benefits so you can decide if it’s the right one for you.

Features

You can earn 1.5 reward points for every dollar you spend, with no restrictions. Reward points don’t expire so you can choose to redeem them when you’re ready. Use the points as credit to pay for travel and restaurants — you can buy a flight, book a vacation, or even grab a takeout.

Your Bank of America Travel Rewards card can be used for contactless payments, with online and mobile banking, and is accepted anywhere you see the Visa symbol¹.

Advantages of the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

  • Earn 1.5 points on the dollar, and even more if you’re an eligible Preferred Rewards customer
  • Flexible rewards are available, and points don’t expire
  • Link to a Bank of America checking account for overdraft protection

Disadvantages of the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

  • Depending on your credit score, the interest rate may be higher than alternative cards
  • For the best redemption rates, rewards can only be redeemed on set categories of spend

Rewards

One of the best things about getting a travel focused credit card is that you’ll earn rewards as you spend. Choosing a card which offers rewards you can redeem against spending you’ll enjoy is important. In the case of the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card your points go further when you use them as credit against travel related purchases and dining — so you can treat yourself for less.

How to earn rewards

Earn rewards on all spending, with a base line of 1.5 rewards for every dollar you spend. There are some options to boost your rewards even more, including joining the Preferred Rewards program⁶, and spending at the Bank of America travel centre. Book your travel with Bank of America’s travel centre to earn 3 points per dollar instead of 1.5.

You’ll be eligible for the Preferred Rewards program if you hold at least 20,000 USD in eligible Bank of America and Merrill deposit or investment accounts. Preferred Rewards customers are assessed based on the total funds held, with the highest rewards tier getting a 75% boost on the rewards you can earn on the Travel Rewards card, as well as improved interest on saving and lower fees on credit⁷.

How to redeem rewards

You’ll be able to redeem your rewards as credit against spending which falls into either the travel, restaurant or takeout categories.These categories are extremely broad, including most dining, museums, vacation spend, car rental and travel tickets — however some items like in-flight dining may not be covered. Spend your rewards on travel to get the best redemption rate: 2,500 points = 25 USD.

You can also take your rewards as cash or gift cards, at a redemption rate of 2,500 points = 15 USD.

Fees and charges

All financial products come with some fees attached — so you’ll want to go through the small print before you sign up to the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card. Here are the key costs to know about — you can get the full product disclosure online.

Fee typeBank of America Travel Rewards Card cost
APR
  • Opening APR 0% for 12 months
  • Variable APR on card spending after opening offer: 13.99% - 23.99%
  • Variable APR on balance transfers: 13.99% - 23.99%
  • Variable APR on cash advances: 16.99% - 28.99%
  • Penalty APR for late payment: up to 29.99%
Annual feeNone
Foreign transaction feeNone
Late payment feeUp to 40 USD
Returned payment feeUp to 29 USD

It’s good to know that the interest rate you’re offered will depend on your credit score at the time you open your account with Bank of America. That means that people with higher credit scores could get a lower interest rate, as they’re considered less of a risk. Make sure you know what interest you’ll accrue before you start to use your Bank of America Travel Rewards Card, so there are no surprises down the line.

Spending internationally: exchange rate

There’s no foreign transaction fee when you spend internationally with the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card. However, you’ll also need to know the exchange rate which will be used to convert your spending back to dollars.

The Bank of America Travel Rewards Card is on the Visa network, which means you’ll get the Visa exchange rate as long as you avoid dynamic currency conversion. The Visa rate is typically pretty fair, but it’s worth remembering that you’ll get the live rate on the day your transaction is processed — which could be a couple of days after you physically swipe or tap your card. If the exchange rate changes in the interim, you could miss out.

Whenever you spend with your card internationally, you’ll also want to watch out for dynamic currency conversion (DCC). This sounds harmless, but can mean you stack up costs and get a poor exchange rate. You’ll encounter DCC when you use your card to withdraw cash from an ATM or make a merchant payment. If you’re asked whether you’d rather pay in dollars or the local currency wherever you are, always opt for the local currency. Picking to pay in dollars means you’ll get the DCC exchange rate which can be pretty lousy, and may pay extra fees.

Always have the live mid-market rate with Wise

    💡 If you’d rather know in advance what exchange rate you’re getting, check out Wise.
    • Top up your account in USD and switch to the currency you need for your travels
    • Manage your money on the go using the Wise app
    • Spend using your linked debit card
      It’s always free to spend currencies you hold, which can mean you get a better deal in the end.

    Wise accounts can be opened fee free, and there’s no need to worry about paying interest or running into penalty charges for late payments. See how much you could save with Wise, today:

    The true cost of sending USD to GBP

    Get your free Wise Account


    If you’re in the market for a travel credit card, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card is well worth checking out. You’ll get flexible rewards you can use to have fun on your travels, and a competitive interest rate for people with a good to excellent credit score. Make sure you read the terms and conditions, and understand the interest and penalty charges before you sign up — and check out the Wise Multi-currency Account as a comparison to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your needs.


    Sources:

    1. Bank of America - Travel rewards credit card
    2. Bank of America - Travel rewards terms and conditions
    3. American Express - Platinum card
    4. Discover - Travel
    5. Chase - Pricing & terms
    6. Bank of America - Preferred rewards benefits
    7. Bank of America - Preferred rewards details

    Sources checked on 08.16.2021.


    Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

    This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

    We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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