How to maximize Bank of America credit card rewards

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Bank of America’s credit card rewards program is straightforward and simple. It may work for loyal Bank of America customers who want to earn and redeem cash back or travel rewards without a lot of hassle.



How to earn Bank of America credit card rewards points

Bank of America offers several credit cards that can earn you rewards. And if you’re looking for rewards bonuses and other extra perks, you can also join Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. All three tiers in the program — Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors — come with extras. Here are some credit card options to consider, along with ways to maximize your rewards.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card: Best for people who want to choose their cash back categories

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers 3% cash back on eligible purchases a category of your choice, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, or home improvement and furnishings. You can use the mobile app to change your selection once every calendar month. To boost your earning potential, try to align your 3% category choice to your highest spending category every month.

Additionally, the card offers 2% cash back at eligible grocery stores and wholesale clubs, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. The 3% and 2% cash back categories are capped at $2,500 in combined quarterly spending, after which you’ll earn the base 1% rewards rate for the rest of the quarter. The card has no annual fee — and your cash rewards never expire.

Thinking about getting this card? Read our full review of the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card to learn more.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: Great for travel rewards on a budget

For travelers who want a no-nonsense travel card with a $0 annual fee, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card can be a great fit. With a card that offers 1.5 points for every $1 spent — with no earning limits or points expiration — it’s easy to track your points based on your spending.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, which can help budget travelers save on fees for purchases made abroad.

Bank of America currently offers a sign-up bonus of 25,000 bonus points (worth $250 when redeemed as a statement credit toward eligible travel or dining) after spending $1,000 on the card in the first 90 days.

If you’d like to read more, check out our full review of Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Best for travelers who want to maximize rewards

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is a strong option for travelers who want a premier credit card without the fuss and complex point systems that some other top travel cards feature. This card offers two points per $1 on travel and dining spending, two points per $1 on eligible grocery spending through the end of 2021 and 1.5 points per $1 spent on everything else. There’s no limit to how much you can earn, and your points don’t expire.

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card has an annual fee of $95. But frequent fliers can offset the cost by taking advantage the card’s annual $100 in airline incidental statement credits, which will be automatically applied against qualifying purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services and airline lounge fees. On top of that, every four years the card will cover up to $100 in airport security statement credits toward TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry application fees paid for with the card.

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card currently comes with a signup bonus of 50,000 points (worth $500 in rewards) after you make at least $3,000 in purchases during the first 90 days.

Still evaluating? You can read our full review of the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card.

Join the Preferred Rewards program to earn more rewards

If you want to boost your rewards-earning potential on eligible cards by up to 75%, it may be worth considering joining Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. But to do so you’ll have to first qualify by having an eligible Bank of America checking account and have a minimum of $20,000 combined in qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts.

Here’s how the requirements and bonus rewards break down for each tier.

  • Gold: $20,000 minimum 3-month combined average daily balance — 25% bonus rewards
  • Platinum: $50,000 minimum 3-month combined average daily balance — 50% bonus rewards
  • Platinum Honors: $100,000 minimum 3-month combined average daily balance — 75% bonus rewards

Although you’ll need to initiate enrollment in the program on your own, once you’re in, your balances will be checked monthly to see if you qualify for a higher tier. And don’t worry: Even if your balances fall below the $20,000 minimum, you’ll still get to stay in the program for a year after you enroll.

How to redeem Bank of America credit card rewards points

Redeeming Bank of America credit cards rewards points is fairly straightforward. But beyond maximizing your rewards-earning potential with the Preferred Rewards program bonuses, there’s very little cardholders can do to boost their point redemptions.

While each of the three cards has some variation between their redemption options, the value of points is the same for each card — 1 cent per point.

1. Redeem your points for cash

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card and the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card (once your points balance is 2,500 or more) both let you redeem cash back as a statement credit against your balance on the card. You can also opt for a direct deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account — or credits to eligible Merrill investment accounts.

2. Redeem your cash back rewards for an investment in education

If you’d instead prefer to invest the cash back that you earn in a 529 education savings account, both the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card and the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card allow you to do so. The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card requires a $25 minimum redemption.

3. Redeem your travel rewards for statement credits

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and the Bank of America® Premium Rewards®  credit card both allow you to redeem your points against travel and dining purchases on your credit card statement once your points balance is 2,500 or more. To use this benefit, simply log into your account and navigate to your rewards page to find redemption options.


What’s next?

The rewards program for Bank of America credit cards may be a good option for Bank of America loyalists, especially those who qualify for the points-boosting Preferred Rewards program. It may also be a good fit for people looking for an uncomplicated approach to earning and redeeming points for cash back or travel.

For everyone else, there are other great rewards cards programs to look into.

If you want to lean into travel and dining points, Chase Ultimate Rewards® and the American Express Membership Rewards® programs both offer more variety in cards to choose from as well as redemption options. And if you’re looking for a better match in cash back bonus categories, you can shop for cash back rewards cards on Credit Karma.


About the author: Sean McQuay is a long-time personal finance nerd. He’s passionate about budgets, credit cards, and earning useful rewards with minimal effort. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a father to three rambunctious kids. Read more.