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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

TPG reader Raji sent me a tweet to ask about a credit card loyalty program that doesn’t get a lot of ink:

@ThePointsGuy — “How do you rate the Bank of America Travel Rewards card for traveling and earning points?”

Cash-back and fixed-value rewards aren’t a focus of my personal award travel strategy, because I generally get better value out of airline and hotel loyalty programs, or transferable points programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards. However, it’s important to diversify your points and miles, and programs like Bank of America Travel Rewards can definitely come in handy.

One of the main attractions of fixed-value rewards is that they’re easy to use. You simply pay for travel expenses normally and then use your points to wipe those charges from your statement. You’re not limited by award availability, so you can pay for whichever flight or hotel room you want and then redeem points to cover the expense later. Also, you’re still eligible to earn points/miles and elite credits like you would if you paid cash, so your overall return is a little higher.

The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card has a standard earning rate of 1.5 points per dollar spent. Points are worth 1 cent apiece toward eligible travel purchases, so you’re basically getting a return of 1.5%. However, Bank of America offers bonuses to banking customers ranging from 10% (for regular checking and savings accounts) to as high as 75% for members with combined balances over $100,000. That equals an overall return of 2.625%, which is pretty impressive, though it requires a sizable investment.

This card has some things going for it, but I feel like it’s mediocre overall unless you’re earning a banking bonus. On one hand, Bank of America is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 20,000 points (worth $200 in travel) when you spend $1,000 on the card in the first 90 days. That’s not bad for a card with no annual fee, but it’s only half of what you get from the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, each of which offers 40,000 miles (worth at least $400 in travel) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

Furthermore, those cards earn 2 miles per dollar spent, so they offer a better return for cardholders who don’t also have a substantial banking relationship. The same goes for several no-fee cash-back options, like the Fidelity Investment Rewards Card from Amex and the Citi Double Cash Card. While those cards don’t come with a sign-up bonus, they come out ahead in the long run.

If you do have accounts with Bank of America and can take advantage of the banking bonuses, then I think this card is a no-brainer, especially since there’s no annual fee. I might still prefer to earn Starpoints for my non-bonus spending, but the return at the upper tiers is pretty respectable. If only Bank of America would start adding transfer partners, this program would become a lot more interesting!

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

LIMITED TIME OFFER. Aside from the 100,000 points welcome bonus (available until 8/8/18), Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.†
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.