I reviewed Bank of America’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card in this post: Anatomy of a credit card: Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards review
Next in the line is Bank of America’s BankAmericard Travel Rewards card, one of my favorite credit cards, and one of the most under-rated rewards credit cards.
Unlike the other card which targets consumers with a high portion of everyday spending allocated to grocery and gas purchases, this card focuses on travelers. Still, both bearing the BankAmericard brand, these two cards offer very similar benefits. To avoid repeating myself, I will highlight the main features, and if you’d like to read into the features, you can refer to my review of the Cash Rewards card.
Bank of America’s credit cards: an insider’s view is my blog post that describes the hidden benefits of owning a BofA credit card. Check it out!
I. Non-loyalty points rewards
The rewards type is non-loyalty points, where points are redeemed at a 1 cent per point ratio for travel expenses. “Travel” is very broadly defined. I have skimmed through their program details and found that travel expenses include purchases from:
Airlines, air carriers; Lodging-Hotels, Motels, Resorts; Car Rental Agencies; Cruise Lines or Travel Agencies and Tour Operators; Passenger Railways; Transportation-Suburban and Local Commuter Passenger, including Ferries; Bus Lines; Transportation Services; Real Estate Agents and Managers—Rentals or Timeshares; Campgrounds and Trailer Parks; Motor Home and Recreational Vehicle Rental; Tourist Attractions and Exhibits; Amusement Parks, Carnivals, Circuses, Fortune Tellers; Aquariums, Dolphinariums, Zoos, and Seaquariums; Boat Leases and Boat Rentals; and Recreation Services-not elsewhere classified
Not sure how to comment on this extensive list. I bet massage services in your home city count, too 😉
1. Reward formula: 1.5 points per dollar on everything. If you book travels through Bank of america’s Travel Center, a practice that I do not necessarily recommend, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar. If you have a banking account with BofA, you’ll get an annual 10% points bonus, making your earning rate effectively 1.65 points per dollar.
2. Redemption option: Point redemption works in the form of expense reimbursement: you pay the expenses up front, then get partial credit back. You get a credit of 1 cent per redeemed point. Travel expenses will be available for redemption online for 6 months, and by phone for 12 months, from the posting date of the transaction.
3. Minimum amount for redemption: 2,500 points
And since the list of expenses eligible for point redemption covers most recreation services, points are as good as cash. I view this Bank of America’s BankAmericard Travel Rewards card as a 1.65% cashback rewards credit card.
II. Card Benefits
1. No foreign transaction fees
Credit cards typically charge you 3% for purchases in another currency. Sometimes when you purchase a service whose office is based in another country such as hotel booking through hotels.com, you’d have to pay the foreign transaction fees since the transaction is in a foreign currency. With the BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card, you won’t pay these fees.
2. Free concierge service
Concierge service is actually a very helpful feature of this card. Sometimes when you travel to an unfamiliar location and need to get tickets for special events or find places that satisfy certain requirements, this concierge service will be very helpful: somebody else will actually do the legwork for you. I’ve tested this function out myself: their concierge, Silvia, was able to find very detailed information on shark viewing tours on Oahu, Hawaii, down to the prices, schedules, and pick-up locations.
3. Other benefits
The following features are common between this card and the Cash Rewards card:
- Purchase Replacement
- Purchase Guard
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
- Emergency Travel Assistance
- Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance
III. Interest rate and fees
- APR: 14.99% – 22.99%
- Annual fee: $0
- Balance transfer fee: 4%
IV. Additional benefits
- Overdraft Protection
- EMV Chip Technology
- Mobile Banking and Text Banking
V. Introductory offer
- $100 cash back bonus after $500 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- 0% APR for 12 billing cycles
In short, the Bank of America’s BankAmericard Travel Rewards is a very good no-annual fee, 1.65%-earning credit card that carries no foreign transaction fees and offers a complimentary concierge service. If you want a simple rewards card with a straightforward, high earning rate, you should consider this card. I have the card myself, and have been very satisfied with it. Together with the Cash Rewards card, this credit card will stay with me forever.