Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

If you want to be earning more from your rewards card, it could be that your card’s bonus categories don’t closely match your spending. In that case, take a closer look at the revamped Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, which offers some of the most flexible rewards available for a no-annual-fee card.

Unlike a traditional rewards card that requires settling for one or two preset categories – such as restaurants or travel – the Bank of America Cash Rewards card lets you pick the types of purchases that earn the biggest bonuses.

Choose Rewards That Work For You

If you like to online shop, you could choose 3% cash-back on every online purchase. Or if you’re getting ready to remodel your home, you might opt for the 3% bonus on home improvement and furniture purchases. Other spending categories with 3% cash-back include gas, dining, travel, or drugstore purchases.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards card also offers 2% cash-back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% back on every other $1 you spend.

The card limits the purchases that earn a 2% to 3% bonus to $2,500 in combined quarterly spending (roughly $833 a month). So you might need to look elsewhere or supplement this card with a different rewards card if you’re an especially big spender.

However, if you spend more than $800 a month on a category that earns a 3% bonus, you could rake in as much $300 by the end of the year – not bad for a card that lacks an annual fee.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards card also offers more opportunities than the average rewards card to earn significant bonuses.

What Does It Cover?

Unlike many other credit cards that sharply restrict the kind of purchases that count toward a bonus, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card offers a 3% bonus on an array of purchases, primarily online. As a result, you could earn a bonus on almost every purchase you make, up to $2,500 per quarter.

Here’s a breakdown of the types of purchases that could earn a 3% cash-back, depending on your selected choice category.

Online shopping

This is, by far, the most flexible bonus category, with 3% back on purchases that include everything from airplane tickets, and concerts, to clothing and cookware. If you do most of your shopping online, you’ll struggle to find another no-annual-fee card that offers this much value. For example, online purchases that count toward a 3% bonus include airfare, tickets from Ticketmaster.com, Groupon “experiences,” goods from Etsy or other independent e-commerce retailers, gift cards from Starbucks.com and music from iTunes. The only online transactions that don’t count toward the 3% bonus are non-retail purchases, such as tax payments, utility payments, and service fees.

Gas

You earn a bonus at any major gas station, such as Chevron or ExxonMobil. You also might get a reward if you fill up at a wholesale club, such as Costco or Sam’s.

Dining

You earn cash back at sit-down restaurants like Olive Garden and fast-food restaurants like Chipotle. You could also receive a bonus if you use your card at a coffee shop, bar, cocktail lounge, disco or nightclub.

Travel 

Unlike some cards that award bonuses only on airplane tickets or hotel stays, this card awards 3% cash-back on a range of travel expenses, including public transportation, taxis, tolls, and parking fees. Even more unusual for a rewards card, you earn 3% back in the travel category if you use your card at an amusement park or at another attraction, such as a zoo, aquarium, art gallery, or circus.

Drugstores

If you choose this bonus category, you earn 3% cash-back at any drugstore or pharmacy, such as Walgreens, RiteAid or CVS.

Bonus Category Vs. 3% Bonus Category

You are not stuck with just one bonus category. Bank of America lets you switch your 3% bonus category once a month. So you can customize your rewards based on what you’re planning to spend money on that month. That’s a huge step up from other cards that require you to stick with the same bonus category all year – even when you’re unlikely to spend much in that category.

Bank of America Cash Rewards Card Vs. Other Cards  

The customizable spending bonus and unusually broad bonus categories of the Bank of America Cash Rewards card make it one of the most exciting cash-back cards available.

Other no-annual-fee cards, such as Chase Freedom® and Discover it®, offer the same amount of cash-back on bonus categories (up to $300 a year at 5% cash-back). However, the bonuses for these cards may be often are hard to maximize claim since the bonus categories change every quarter, and the issuer chooses them – not you.

Meanwhile, flat-rate cards such as the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards card let you earn 1.5% cash-back on every purchase. But your earnings are limited. For example, you’d need to charge roughly $1,700 a month to collect more than $300 cash-back. With the Bank of America card, you’d need to spend around half that amount.

One of the Bank of America card’s biggest competitors is the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, which lets cardholders pick their reward categories.

The U.S. Bank card’s cash-back program is a bit more generous. For example, it awards 5% cash-back on up to $2,000 in quarterly purchases in the category of your choice and unlimited 2% cash-back on another group that you pick. However, its categories aren’t nearly as broad as those for the Bank of America card, and you must wait three months to change categories.

Also, the welcome signup bonus for the Bank of America Cash Rewards card is more generous. You get $200 cash-back if you charge $1,000 within 90 days of account opening—many competitors, by contrast, award just $150 in online cash rewards.

Terms

For a no-annual-fee rewards card, the terms of the Bank of America card terms are relatively standard. However, its APR is high – especially for cardholders with lower credit scores – so you’ll want to avoid carrying a balance. The card promotes a variable APR range of 16.24% to 26.24%.

It does offer an introductory APR of 0% over 12 billing cycles on new purchases and balance transfers. However, you’ll pay a 3% fee if you transfer a balance.

Oh, and you won’t want to use this card abroad, as it comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee. 

Also, the late-payment fee is relatively steep – up to $39. Bank of America might even increase your APR to 29.99% if you repeatedly miss payments.

Who Should Get This Credit Card? 

With so much flexibility, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card might suit just about any cardholder, especially anyone seeking a no-annual-fee map with customizable bonus categories.  Further, if you are a Preferred Rewards member with Bank of America, you can boost your rewards even more based on qualifying amounts.   Gold members can get a 25% rewards to boost, Platinum members can get a 50% boost, and Platinum Honors members can get a 75% rewards to boost.

Bottom Line

The Bank of America Cash Rewards card has a wide range of categories to earn more each time you swipe. If you done out often, have travel plans, or simply want to want to get more from the gas station, then this card can be a great fit for you,

Want to learn more about saving with each swipe? Check out our Credit Card blog to learn more!

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