The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card is issued by Bank of America. If you’re looking for a way to save on travel, yet maintain flexibility with airlines, this card is worth a look. I’d like to thank one of my wonderful readers for mentioning this card. It really has some pretty good perks, especially if you travel overseas now and then.
Sign-up bonus: If you spend $500 within 90 days of opening your account, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus points, which can be redeemed for a $100 statement credit. Not bad!
By the way, if you have another qualifying account with BoA, you can earn an annual 10 percent bonus on points earned each year.
It’s a fairly generous rewards program and I like it. But you have to pay attention to a few things to maximize your benefit.
You earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent on purchases. But you get 3 points per $1 spent on the first $6,000 in airline purchases (up to 9,000 bonus points) made at the BoA Travel Center each calendar year. All other purchases you make at the Travel Center, excluding insurance purchases, will receive 3 points per $1 spent and there’s no limit on bonus points.
You need to reach 2,500 points ($25) to redeem your points for a reward. You can redeem your points for flights, vacation packages, cruises, hotels, rental cars, and more. You can even redeem points to pay for baggage fees. You can also call BoA and redeem your points for a statement credit. There are no limits to the number of points you can earn and your points don’t expire. You can get more information about the travel rewards right here.
You know what else I like about this card? No foreign transaction fees. So if you travel overseas, you’ll save a bundle on foreign purchases. And this card also has a smart chip, which is mighty useful when you’re in a country that has limited capability to process a card with a magnetic stripe on the back.
If you’re not familiar with a chip card, don’t worry. It’s not that complicated. A chip card looks just like a regular plastic credit card except that it has an embedded plastic chip as well as a magnetic stripe on the back. BoA has a nice primer on chip cards and you can get solid information right here.
Okay, let’s move on to the rates and fees and see what we have here.
Rates and fees
You do need excellent credit to qualify for the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. Like many rewards credit cards, the interest rate at the high end of the APR range isn’t anything to write home about. It’s pretty high at 22.99 percent.
But if you’re using a rewards card, you aren’t planning to carry a balance anyway, right? That’s right! You have a 25-day grace period with this BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card, so that’s plenty of time to get in your payment.
APR: You get a zero percent intro APR for the first 12 statement closing dates. After that, you get a variable rate between 14.99 percent and 22.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness.
Balance transfers: You get a variable rate between 14.99 percent and 22.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness. The transfer fee is 3 percent.
APR for cash advances: You get a variable 22.99 percent APR for direct deposit and check cash advances. But you get a variable 24.99 percent APR for bank cash advances. Plus, there’s a 3 percent (but it goes as high as 5 percent) transaction fee. This bank always has a complicated formula for cash advances and how much it costs. So I’ll make it easy. Think about this: Interest on a cash advance begins immediately. So just don’t do this. Ever.
Penalty rate: A whopping 29.99 percent variable APR. This may be applied if you make a late payment. Now, the good news is that Bank of America doesn’t apply a penalty rate to an existing balance even when they can legally do so. For instance, if you’re more than 60 days late with a payment, an issuer can apply the new rate retroactively. But I’ve been told by a BoA spokesperson that they’ve chosen not to take advantage of that. I think that’s awesome.
Annual fee: None.
Foreign transaction fees: None!
The bottom line
Overall, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card gets a thumbs-up from me. It’s not terribly complicated and it’s generous enough. You won’t get perks like priority boarding or passes to airport lounges, but you can save money. And for many travelers, that’s more than enough.
Note: Credit card agreements change frequently. So my review is based on the information that was in effect today. Be sure you read all the disclosure statements carefully.