The Bank of America Cash Rewards Card is a solid alternative to transferrable points earning cards. It offers lots of cash back and the option to select a 3% category. Plus, rewards can increase even more for those who have a Bank of America (BOFA) or Merrill Lynch bank or investment account. That’s because its part of the BOFA Preferred Rewards Program.
Furthermore, the Cash Rewards Card has no annual fee but a lot of possibilities. It’s a great card for flexibility, especially for cardholders who choose a category in which they can’t earn more with another credit card.
Most of the Cash Rewards Card’s value comes from its earning structure. Cardholders can earn 3% cash back on one of the following categories:
- Home Improvement / Furnishing Stores
- Online Shopping
Having the ability to choose a 3% category is fantastic. Its versatility gives cardholders the ability to fit it around their other credit cards. But that’s not all! Cardholders can earn 2% cash back at Wholesale Clubs and Grocery Stores, as well as 1% on non-bonus spend.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program
BOFA’s Preferred Rewards Program increases rewards earned on BOFA credit cards. Those with BOFA accounts will see their rewards increase by a certain percentage depending on how much they have in their account. If a cardholder has multiple accounts, the bank takes the total amount in all accounts to determine the percentage.
Use the following table to determine your percentage and revised multipliers:
|Level||Minimum Amount Required||Percentage||3% Category||2% Categories||1% Non-Bonus Spend|
|Platinum Honors Preferred||$100,000||75%||5.25%||3.50%||1.75%|
Having at least one bank account (or several) with BOFA is nice depending on how the Cash Rewards Card is used. Using it for just the 2% and 3% categories will net cardholders loads of cash back, especially at the Platinum Preferred Level and higher. At those levels, earnings will rival some of the best cash back cards on the market.
However, this card is not worth it for non-bonus expenses because there are 2% cards that would net you more rewards. Travelers should opt for a transferrable point-earning credit card that offers higher multipliers for travel and dining.
Furthermore, BOFA is offering a sign-up bonus worth $200 for the Cash Rewards Card. This bonus can be earned after spending just $500 within the first three months. The $200 is nice, but other cards have more valuable bonuses, especially if the bonus comes in the form of transferrable points. However, this bonus is like earning 40% cash back on the first $500 spent on the card.
Cash back credit cards are generally simpler than travel cards in the way of redemption. Fortunately, the BOFA Cash Rewards Card is no exception. Cardholders can redeem their cash back how they want.
The simplest redemption option is via statement credit. This method lets cardholders use their rewards towards purchases or paying their next bill. For travelers, this is nice because there are some travel purchases that cannot be paid for with transferrable points. Having a small balance of cash back to pay for these purchases is always a great idea.
Alternatively, putting the cash into a BOFA bank account is another excellent option. BOFA offers 529 Savings Accounts or any Merrill Lynch or Merrill Edge account. With the right investments, you can grow your cash back into something much larger.
Redeeming for gift cards is another option. But its not the smartest one because your points will go a longer way with investing.
Despite being a no annual fee cash back card, the BOFA Cash Rewards Card offers a few benefits:
Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance
This benefit comes automatically when purchasing travel tickets for a common carrier using the Cash Rewards Card. However, it’s not very useful because it only covers cardholders if they die.
Free Monthly FICO Score
Having a Free Monthly FICO score nice because it lets cardholders know how their credit is doing each month. This is huge because you can use that number and a summary to help you strategize your next credit move.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great no annual fee alternative to the BOFA Cash Rewards Card. It earns cash back as a standalone credit card. But its rewards can be converted into Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points if you have a premium Chase credit card.
The Freedom Unlimited earns 5% cash back (or 5x UR points) on travel purchased from the Chase Travel Portal. It also earns 3% (or 3x UR points) on dining and pharmacy purchases, as well as 1.5% (1.5x UR points) on non-bonus spend.
Plus, Chase is offering a sign-up bonus worth $200 (or 20,000 UR points) for the Freedom Unlimited. This bonus can be earned by spending just $500 within the first three months. This is the same bonus that’s offered on the Cash Rewards Card.
Citi Double Cash
The Citi Double Cash is the most generous no annual fee cash back card for general expenses. It earns up to 2% cash back for all purchases. As its name implies, cardholders get paid twice. They earn 1% cash back upon making a purchase and another 1% upon paying their bill. This principle emphasizes the point of paying in full each month.
However, Citi is not offering a sign-up bonus for the Double Cash Card. That’s because of its high earning rate for all purchases. Nonetheless, the Double Cash Card could also be a complement for the Cash Rewards Card. You can use the latter for the 3% category and the former for everything else.
Susan G. Komen Card
This card is a variant of the BOFA Cash Rewards Card that’s co-branded with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The sign-up bonus, earning, burning, and perks are the same between this version and the regular version. However, a small portion of all purchases gets donated to the Komen Foundation. This card is an easy way to earn cash back and donate to charity.
The Bank of America Cash Rewards Card is a fantastic option for cash back lovers and those with BOFA accounts. Travelers with unusual expenses will also benefit.
The earnings become very enticing for those who are part of the BOFA Preferred Rewards Program, especially at higher levels. For those who have at least $50,000 saved, invested, or waiting in a retirement or education fund, moving to BOFA and getting this card might pay off big.
SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT says: Be aware with the Cash Rewards card! When you are approved, you are sent a Master Card. If you wish to use this card at Costco, you will have to call and request a change to Visa, and as long as the approved credit limit is $5000 or more, you will be issued a Visa Signature card and receive the Signature benefits – which in my opinion are better than the Master Card World benefits. If your credit limit is $4999, you will be issued a Visa Platinum card. It takes anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to… Read more »
I should have said that if your credit limit is less than $4999, you will receive a Visa Platinum card.
I’ve had this card for years and love it. I’ll keep it because of the Zero annual fee. And being able to choose the 3% category is a game changer.