Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card Review: Earn Cash Back Your Way [2020]

Being able to choose your top cashback rewards category — and change it as your spending habits shift — can really maximize your earning potential.
Last updated Jul 15, 2020 | By Stephanie Colestock

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When shopping around for a new cashback credit card, there are a few things you’re probably hoping to find. Your list might include a card that has no annual fee, great rewards that match your spending, or a sweet bonus offer.

With the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card, you can enjoy all three of these benefits — and more. Plus, with the ability to earn cash back “your way,” it’s easy to get the most out of your cash back rewards all year long.

But is this the right cashback credit card for you? Keep reading this Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card review to find the answer.

Choose Your Cashback Category

Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Benefits

  • $200 cash rewards bonus offer
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • 3% cash back on one category of your choice
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Quarterly spending caps
  • Relatively small sign-up bonus


Who should get this card?

The Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good choice for cardholders who don’t want to worry about the added expense of an annual fee, while still earning competitive rewards on the things they buy. This card is probably best suited for those whose spending may fluctuate throughout the year.

Since you’re able to select your own 3% cashback category — picking the category of your choice (dining, drug stores, gas, home improvement/furnishings, online shopping, or travel) — it’s easy to earn rewards based on how you actually spend. And since you can change this category as often as once a month, you can earn maximum cashback rewards even as your spending habits shift.

Additionally, this card is a good choice for anyone interested in 0% interest on purchases, balance transfers, or both. That’s because the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card offers an introductory 0% APR on all purchases made in the first 15 billing cycles of account ownership. This 0% interest rate for 15 billing cycles also applies to balance transfers made within the first 60 days. This gives you a little over a year to pay down your balance without incurring interest charges.

With that said, this card might not be a great idea for those who travel outside the country often, as it does charge 3% on foreign transactions. Depending on where you go and how much you spend, this could equate to tens or hundreds of dollars in fees.

Card basics

Annual Fee $0
Intro Bonus Get $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Intro APR 0% APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles, and a 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%

Top card benefits

Here’s a look at some of the top benefits offered by the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card:

  • Achievable welcome offer: This card currently offers a $200 welcome bonus, and you’ll only need to spend $1,000 in the first 90 days in order to earn it.
  • Earn cash back your way: You’ll automatically earn 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. The highest-earning category, however, is decided by you. Cardholders earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (dining, drug stores, gas, home improvement/furnishings, online shopping, or travel).
  • Change your biggest rewards as needed: Do all of your holiday shopping online in November, but drive cross-country to see family in December? No problem! Simply choose online shopping for your 3% category in November and then select gas for the following month. This way, you can optimize for your spending even as it fluctuates.
  • Every dollar counts: Even once you reach the spending cap on the 3% and 2% rewards categories, you can still keep earning. Outside of those categories — or even in those categories, beyond the $2,500 quarterly limit — you’ll still earn 1% on everything you spend.
  • Boost earnings even higher: Bank of America Preferred Rewards members can boost their cashback earnings by 25-75%, meaning you could earn as much as 5.25% in your top spending category each month. You can read more about how you can do this below.
  • Low introductory APR: New cardholders can take advantage of an introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles as well as a 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles (transfers must be made within the first 60 days in order to be eligible).

Earning & redeeming

Let’s talk about some of the most lucrative ways to earn rewards with the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card, and how you can maximize your redemptions after the fact.

Best ways to earn

The great thing about this card is the flexibility to change your earning potential according to how and when you spend. I don’t know about you, but my own spending fluctuates quite a bit throughout the year. I may remodel my kitchen in March, do a ton of back-to-school shopping online in August, and enjoy travel from October through December.

A travel rewards credit card is great when I’m planning a trip, but it doesn’t help as much when I’m replacing my kitchen appliances. And a gas rewards credit card is always helpful but doesn’t reward me the most for my Amazon spending.

This is why the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card is so unique. It allows cardholders to “earn cash back your way,” choosing a new 3% category up to once a month. This means you can get the most cash back rewards for holiday shopping, spring remodels, and summer vacation — all with the same card. Plus, you earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs all year, and 1% on all other purchases.

Categories Rewards rate
Category of your choice (dining, drug stores, gas, home improvement/furnishings, online shopping, or travel) 3%
Grocery stores and wholesale clubs 2%
All other purchases 1%

If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards program member, you can boost your rewards by an additional 25-75%. In order to enroll in this no-fee program, you will need to open a personal checking account with Bank of America. Between this account and other eligible Bank of America (or Merrill Lynch) accounts, you will also need to carry a three-month combined average balance of $20,000.

Your Preferred Rewards tier is based on your combined balance between these eligible accounts. The higher your tier, the more your Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card cashback earnings will be. Below is the rewards chart as of Dec. 18, 2019.

Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

Maximizing your redemptions

This card isn’t just flexible when it comes to earning. You will also enjoy multiple cashback redemption options, and your cash rewards will never expire.

Your cashback redemption options include:

  • Redeem for cash rewards in any amount, at any time. These can be in the form of a statement credit, deposits into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or credited to an eligible Merrill account.
  • Redeem as a contribution into a qualifying Merrill 529 account (minimum redemption of $25).
  • Set up automatic redemptions (in increments of $25 or more) into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account.

Common questions

Here are a few frequently asked questions about this card, in case you’re still wanting to learn a bit more.

How does the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card extended warranty work?

With the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card, you get extra peace of mind when purchasing eligible items. With this card, the manufacturer’s warranty will automatically be doubled, up to one additional year.

To file an extended warranty claim on an eligible purchase, you’ll need a copy of your credit card statement showing the original purchase, a copy of your receipt, and evidence of the manufacturer’s warranty. You can call Card Benefit Services at 800-592-4089 with any questions or to begin a claim.

Which grocery stores and gas stations are eligible for Bank of America Cash Rewards cash back?

According to Bank of America, each merchant is responsible for their own merchant category code, or MCC. This code determines which rewards category your purchase falls under once it’s charged to your card.

With that said, Bank of America does list BP, SUNOCO, Chevron, Shell, and Exxon Mobile gas stations as examples that will work for the gas category. You may also get credit for warehouse stores with gas stations that offer a pay-at-the-pump option.

As far as grocery stores, Bank of America lists “supermarkets, freezer/meat lockers, candy, nut or confection stores, dairy product stores, and bakeries” in their list of accepted merchants. However, be aware it’s still up to the merchant to choose their own MCC, so this is not a guarantee.

Also, superstores and drug/convenience stores are excluded from this bonus category, even if they sell groceries at their location.

Do Bank of America cash rewards expire?

No, the cash rewards you’ve earned will never expire!

Does the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card have purchase protection?

The only purchase protection offered by the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card is the aforementioned extended warranty coverage. It does not offer any additional protection on purchases, such as cell phone coverage or return protection.

The extended warranty protection will give you up to 12 additional months of coverage, which could be very beneficial. However, it may not be enough if you were looking for a card that also protected you against stolen or damaged purchases or extended your return window.

Does Bank of America give high credit limits?

When it comes to the size of your credit limit, no two cardholder experiences will be the same because credit lines are determined in part by the applicant’s creditworthiness. However, the bank does make it easy to request a credit limit increase over time or if you plan to travel, by including an easy-to-use link in their Online Banking portal. This doesn’t guarantee your limit will be increased, though, as it will still depend on if you’re eligible.


Other cards to consider

While the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good option for many, it might not be the best choice for your wallet. Luckily, there are a number of great options from which you can choose that check similar boxes.

The Chase Freedom Card is another $0-annual-fee credit card that also offers a healthy welcome bonus of $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months. With this card, you’re also able to make the most out of a variety of spending categories each year, thanks to its 5% cash back rate on rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 quarterly). Additionally, this card also offers a 0% APR on purchases only for 15 months.

Another $0-annual-fee credit card you may want to consider is the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card. It offers a bonus of $150 cash back after spending $500 in the first 90 days, and there is no limit to the rewards you can earn. As with the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card, this card allows you to choose your rewards rate — but not just in one category. You will get 5% cash back on two chosen categories (up to $2,000 quarterly), 2% cash back on one chosen everyday category, and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases. This card’s introductory 0% APR offer is for balance transfers only, though, so keep that in mind if you’re getting a card to pay off a big purchase over time.

Choose Your Cashback Category

Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Special Offer

Get $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days

See how these cards compare:

Chase Freedom Card
Chase Freedom Card
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases
  • 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
  • $150 sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers
  • Up to 5% cash back on eligible purchases