New Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa Card – A Solid Cash Back Card

Bank of America just released a new Travel Rewards Visa, which at the surface doesn’t offer a huge sign-up bonus (only $100), but might be a good go-to no-fee credit card with decent rewards. Let’s take a look at the features of this card:

  • $100 sign up bonus
  • 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases (equivalent to 1.5% cash back)
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 3 points per dollar (consisting of 1.5 base points and 1.5 bonus points) for the first $6,000 in airline purchases (up to 9,000 bonus points) made at the Bank of America Travel Center (“Travel Center”) each calendar year
  • If you have a qualifying Bank of America checking, savings, or retirement account (it appears any of these accounts qualify) you get an additional 10% bonus of net purchases every year (calculated on Dec 31st each year)

For a card with no annual fees, this is pretty solid, especially for people who want a “no hassles” (somehow that statement sounds familiar) type of credit card. In fact, besides the Capital One Cash Rewards card, this is likely to be one of the better cash back cards on the market today. I especially like the fact that there are no foreign transaction fees on this card, which is a feature that is usually only available on Capital One cards and typically credit cards with high annual fees like the Amex Platinum Card ($450), Chase British Airways Visa ($95), United MileagePlus Club Visa ($395), and Chase Hyatt Visa ($95).

Assuming that you already have a Bank of America checking account (they are the largest US bank, so this is probably not a stretch of an assumption), you would earn 1.5% + 0.1% = 1.6% cash back for all purchases. This is a slight edge over the Capital One Cash Rewards card detailed below:

  • $100 sign up bonus (after spending $500 in the first 3 months)
  • 1% cash back on all purchases + 50% bonus on all cash back earned every calendar year (equivalent to 1.5% cash back)
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

As you can see, this new Bank of America card is almost a mirror image of the CapOne card. I’m sure that’s not a coincidence, considering that CapOne has been marketing the heck out of this card and appears to be doing well with it.

Again, this card really appeals to people who travel occasionally for leisure and want a straight-forward, no annual fee rewards card. I can’t dispute the beauty of having a simple cash back card where you don’t have to think about rotating 5% cash back categories each quarter like the Chase Freedom, or different earnings rates by category 3% grocery, 2% gas & department stores with the Amex Blue Cash.

I also like the fact that the B of A Travel Rewards card has a couple nice kickers like the 10% bonus for having a checking/savings account and double points (equivalent to 3% cash back) for booking airfare through their travel center. What’s more, I like that B of A will only pull from one credit bureau where as CapOne will pull from all 3 credit rating agencies! This can be a huge negative with CapOne, since those 3 hard pulls can bring your credit score down significantly (5-10 points). CapOne is also much stricter with credit approvals than B of A is, so if you have a credit score below 650, I would be hesitant to submit a credit card application to CapOne.

Overall, I would rate this card a good 4 out of 5 stars. The simplicity combined with solid earnings rate, and no foreign transaction fees, and of course no annual fee are huge selling points. Due to the low sign up bonus this is not a good churning opportunity, but its a good card to keep in your wallet to improve your score over the long-term, since it costs nothing to keep and will eventually improve the average length of time your accounts have been open, which is a factor in your FICO score.

Am I going to apply for this card? Most likely not, since I just got approved for the Band of America Virgin Atlantic card, but I’ll keep an eye on this card, and would be tempted if the sign up bonus were to increase!


4 thoughts on “New Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa Card – A Solid Cash Back Card

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