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businessinsider - 12 days ago

Bank of America offers great lesser-known cards, from the Alaska Airlines Visa to the Premium Rewards card. Here are our top 5 picks.

Summary List Placement Bank of America offers a surprising number of rewards credit cards, and each has its own unique earning structure and suite of perks. Some of the best options include the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card and the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card. If you re eligible for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you can rack up 25% to 75% more rewards with some cards, depending on the program tier you qualify for. Make sure to compare Bank of America credit cards in terms of their sign-up bonuses and ongoing rewards. The right card for you will offer the best combination of rewards for spending, cardholder perks, and redemption options. See Business Insider s guide to the best rewards credit cards. While Chase and American Express tend to grab all the headlines, there are plenty of other issuers that offer valuable rewards and travel credit cards. Bank of America is one such off-the-radar issuer that boasts a surprising number of cash-back and travel rewards cards to fit any spending style, some with no annual fee. If you re in the market for a new rewards card but have tapped out on your options with other card issuers, consider giving Bank of America rewards cards a try. However, you should also compare each of these cards side by side so you wind up with the right earning structure for your goals and the type of rewards you want to spend. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky The best Bank of America credit cards in 2021: Best overall: Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card Best with no annual fee: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Best for travel: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Best for airfare: Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card Best for train fare: Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® Before you apply for a Bank of America credit card, you should know that some cards let you earn 25% to 75% more rewards. This is possible thanks to the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, which incentivizes Bank of America customers to keep money on deposit in order to rack up more points. You ll need to have a three-month average combined balance of at least $20,000 in eligible Bank of America accounts to qualify, though. There are three tiers in the Preferred Rewards program — the level you qualify for and the bonus you ll receive depends on how much you have in BofA or Merrill banking or investment accounts: Preferred Rewards Gold: Requires $20,000-$49,999 in qualifying accounts — 25% rewards bonus Preferred Rewards Platinum: Requires $50,000-$99,999 in qualifying accounts — 50% rewards bonus Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors: Requires $100,000 or more in qualifying accounts — 75% rewards bonus Best overall: Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card Why you ll love it: The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card currently offers one of the issuer s biggest sign-up bonuses. You also get travel perks like credit for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee and up to $100 in airline credits each year. Here s our full Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card review. Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after you spend at least $3,000 in the first 90 days Earning structure: You ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. Annual fee: $95 Pros: Generous welcome bonus, lucrative travel perks, a reasonable annual fee Cons: Limited redemption options for travel In a lot of ways, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card mimics the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — for example, both cards earn 2x points on travel and dining. But there s a big difference in non-bonus category earning — the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card offers 1.5x points on all other purchases, whereas the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card only earns 1 point per dollar. The $95 annual fee on the card is reasonable, especially when you consider up to $100 in annual airline fee credits and Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) application fee credits every four years. Plus, the card doesn t add foreign transaction fees. You can redeem rewards from the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card for statement credits, transfers to a qualifying Bank of America or Merrill account, gift cards, or purchases made through the Bank of America Travel Center. Best with no annual fee: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Why you ll love it: The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card allows you to choose the category in which you ll earn the most rewards. Read our Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card review to learn more. Sign-up bonus: $200 in cash rewards after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. Earning structure: Earn 3% cash back in a category you choose from a list and 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 in combined spending each quarter (then 1%). You ll also earn 1% back on all other purchases. Annual fee: $0 Pros: Generous earning structure, no annual fee Cons: Earning caps limit rewards on bonus spending The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card doesn t charge an annual fee, yet its rewards can be very lucrative over time. This card lets you pick a single category to earn 3% back in with options including: Gas Online shopping Dining Travel Drugstores Home improvement/furnishings You also earn 2% back on grocery stores and wholesale club purchases, although bonus earnings are limited to combined spending of $2,500 per quarter (then earn 1% back). The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card also offers a flat 1% back on all non-bonus spending, and that s on top of the welcome bonus. Since this card doesn t charge an annual fee, it s easy to see how you could use it to get ahead. Best for travel: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Why you ll love it: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers generous flat-rate rewards on all your spending, and you won t pay an annual fee. Find out more in our Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card review. Sign-up bonus: 25,000 points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days Earning structure: This card gives you a flat 1.5 points for each dollar you spend with no limits or bonus categories to keep track of. Annual fee: $0 Pros: Generous bonus and ongoing rewards with no annual fee Cons: No real travel-related perks The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers a rewards structure that s easy to understand. You ll earn 1.5 points for each dollar you spend on all purchases, and there are no limits to keep track of at all. On the redemption side, you can cash in your points for statement credits to cover travel purchases at a rate of 1 cent each. The card doesn t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees and comes with an introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles. After that, the rate is 14.99% - 22.99% variable. Best for airfare: Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card Why you ll love it: The Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card allows you to earn valuable Alaska Mileage Plan miles along with a companion fare that can help you save even more money. See our Alaska Airlines credit card review for all the details. Sign-up bonus: 40,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening and the Alaska companion fare from $121 ($99 fare, plus taxes and fees from $22) Earning structure: You ll earn 3 miles per dollar you spend on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases. Annual fee: $75 Pros: Earn Alaska miles on everyday spending, qualify for Alaska Airlines companion fare, free checked bag on Alaska flights Cons: Annual fee, no priority boarding benefit The Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card is popular among consumers because Alaska miles are incredibly valuable, and travel enthusiasts also like the card s famous companion fare. Once you meet the welcome offer minimum spending requirements, you ll receive a companion fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) when you book a qualifying paid fare with your credit card. You ll get another companion fare every year you renew the card as well. To sweeten the deal, the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card lets you and up to six guests on your itinerary check a bag for free on Alaska flights — normally, the first checked bag costs $30 each way. This card does have a $75 annual fee, but it s well worth it if you can use the checked bag benefit, companion fare, and other perks like 20% back on Alaska Airlines inflight purchases. Best for train fare: Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® Why you ll love it: The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® offers superior perks for people who travel with Amtrak all the time. Sign-up bonus: 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening Earning structure: Earn 3x points on Amtrak travel, 2x points on other qualifying travel purchases, and 1x points on all other purchases. Annual fee: $79 Pros: Welcome bonus and a handful of Amtrak-related travel perks Cons: Rewards from this card are mostly just good for travel on Amtrak The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® offers a surprising number of benefits on top of the points you earn in this program. You ll receive a complimentary companion coupon each year, a complimentary one-class upgrade each year, a complimentary station lounge pass, and an easier path to tier status. This card does come with a $79 annual fee, but you won t pay foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad. Also, note that you ll get a 20% rebate on purchases made on Amtrak when you pay with your credit card. Related Product Module: Related Product Credit CardsRelated Content Module: More Credit Card Coverage Join the conversation about this story NOW WATCH: Epidemiologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths


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