Bank of America Adds a 24-Month Restriction to Certain Credit Cards

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Just a few days after a major Wall Street Journal article pronounced “Rewards Credit Cards Gained a Fanatic Following—Now Banks Are Pulling Back,” it looks like that prophecy is being brought about, at least for one issuer. Doctor of Credit reports that Bank of America has added a new rule that will restrict how many sign-up bonuses you can earn on some of its most popular credit cards.

Similar to Chase’s and Citi’s 24-month rules for earning a sign-up bonus more than once on a given card, you’ll now be restricted to signing up for one card (and therefore receiving one sign-up bonus) every 24 months, although the exact rules appear to vary per BoA card.

The most restrictive rules apply to the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card and the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card.

Specifically, the terms of the Premium Rewards card state:

“This Premium Rewards card will not be available to you if you currently have or have had a Premium Rewards card in the preceding 24 month period.”

And the Alaska card’s terms have similar language:

“This card will not be available to you if you currently have or have had the card in the preceding 24 month period.”

In practice, this would mean that you can only be approved for either card if you don’t currently have the card and haven’t closed it within the last 24 months. Essentially, you’ll have to wait 24 months after you’ve closed one of the affected cards to get it again and receive a sign-up bonus. The business version of the Alaska visa card does not appear to have this languages in its terms — yet, that is.

There are two other popular cards that have similar, but less restrictive rules, the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card and the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card.

The terms of the Cash Rewards card state:

  • “This Cash Rewards card will not be available to you if you currently have a Cash Rewards card unless you have had that Cash Rewards card for at least 24 months.”

While the Travel Rewards card’s terms are nearly identical:

  • “This Travel Rewards card will not be available to you if you currently have a Travel Rewards card unless you have had that Travel Rewards card for at least 24 months.”

The difference with this language is that you can get a second Travel Rewards or Cash Rewards card after you opened one 24 months ago, while still holding one of the cards. In other words, you could open a Travel Rewards card, wait 24 months, and then open another one.

These rules follow in the footsteps of other banks that have incrementally made it harder to receive sign-up bonuses on a given card more than once. And this isn’t the first time Bank of America has introduced restrictions, either. In 2017 it introduced the 2/3/4 rule, limiting consumers to only being approved for up to four new cards in a 24-month period.

Regardless, these new rules don’t mean the end of credit card rewards — far from it. There’s still fierce competition in the credit card market with cards continuing to offer more perks and better rewards earning rates — you may just need to adjust your application strategy.

For more on Bank of America’s credit card application rules, read our Ultimate Guide to Credit Card Application Restrictions.

TPG reached out to Bank of America for comment but hasn’t heard back by time of publication.

Featured image by The Points Guy staff.

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