New Bank of America credit cards boost travel rewards

Bank of America logo on building

Offering its alternative to frequent-flyer miles cards and rewards programs, Bank of America recently launched three travel rewards credit cards for individuals and small businesses that let them use points for a wide range of travel expenses, from rental cars to cruises.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards offers 1.5 points for every dollar spent on purchases. Compare that to standard rewards programs, which offer 1 point per dollar.

There’s no annual fee. (The equivalent card for small businesses is the WorldPoints Travel Rewards for Businesses.) There’s an introductory APR of 0% for the first year, then it goes up to a variable rate between 15% and 23%.

The BankAmericard Privileges with Travel Rewards offers 2 points for every dollar. It has an annual fee of $75, which is waived for the first year. The bank will waive the fee in subsequent years for customers who have at least $50,000 in deposits and investments with the bank.

The APR is the same as for the standard Travel Rewards card, but it kicks in immediately; there’s no introductory waiver on that one.

All cards give an immediate bonus of 10,000 points, plus an extra benefit if you have an account with the bank: an automatic 10% rewards bonus every year on total card purchases.

Redeeming points is easy.

You can use the card to pay for your travel expenses on any website or through any travel agent, then go online or call to redeem your points for a statement credit toward all or part of your trip purchases.

The benefits for all credit cards include no limits on total points earned and no expiration dates.

Similar to many good rewards programs, this one has no blackout dates.

Travel protection features include 24-hour travel and emergency assistance, travel accident insurance, reimbursement for lost luggage and damage coverage for rental cards.

International travelers don’t have to worry about those pesky foreign transaction fees that can total 2% to 3% of each transaction abroad. Bank of America won’t charge you any on these cards.

While the Privileges card is a close runner-up to the popular Capital One Venture card, which also offers 2 miles per dollar spent, the latter’s annual fee is $59, also waived for the first year.

That’s a better deal if you’re not a Bank of America account holder.

But the standard Travel Rewards card for those who don’t bank with BofA, and the Privileges card for those who do, are good choices for those who want to move beyond just airline miles as rewards.

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