The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers you opportunities to choose between a different 3% cashback category each month. These categories include gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, and home improvement and furnishings.
You can also earn 2% cash back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter).
The $2,500 spending cap limits your earning potential, but the Customized Cash Rewards offers more control over your rewards compared to most other cashback credit cards. Learn how to make the most of this card by understanding how the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards categories work.
What are the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards categories?
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards categories are bonus categories in which you can earn above the 1% cashback rate on up to $2,500 in purchases each quarter.
Some bonus categories offer a 3% rewards rate while others offer a 2% rate. You have the option to select one option between six different categories each month that earn the 3% rate. You can’t choose which categories offer the 2% rate.
Here are the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards bonus categories:
This is your default 3% category as a new cardholder. It won’t change until you change your category for the first time in your online account through a web browser or the Bank of America mobile app.
Gas stations, marinas, and fuel dealers typically count as gas purchases, though how a purchase is classified often depends on the merchant. For example, does a gas pump at a wholesale club count as “gas” or “wholesale club”? It depends on the merchant.
But Bank of America lists these merchants as examples where purchases are frequently classified as gas:
- Exxon Mobil
Note that EV charging stations are also included in the gas category.
Online shopping is a 3% category that initially seems a bit vague. After all, what counts as “online shopping”?
According to Bank of America, a variety of online retailers fit the bill in this category. This could include bookstores, clothing and apparel stores, department stores, electronics stores, sporting goods stores, and more.
Example merchants include, but aren’t limited to:
Note that cable, streaming, internet, and phone plans are also included in the online shopping category.
The dining 3% category is straightforward and typically includes restaurants, fast food restaurants, bars, cocktail lounges, taverns, and other similar establishments.
For merchant examples, this could include:
- Domino’s Pizza
Travel is another 3% category that’s often straightforward, but you might encounter some purchases that you didn’t expect.
For example, it’s common for flights, car rentals, and hotel stays to show up as travel purchases. But you might also find certain amusement parks, zoos, and tolls show up as travel as well.
Merchant examples could include:
- American Airlines
- Royal Caribbean International
Popular drugstores often carry much more than prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, so this 3% category could offer additional value in certain situations.
Merchant examples for drugstores could include:
Home improvement and furnishings
Home improvement and furnishings is a wide 3% category that could include a variety of purchases from different retailers. The range of included purchases could include paying a contractor to buying wood from a lumber store. Hardware stores and certain furniture and home furnishing stores could also be included.
Merchant examples for this category include:
- Ace Hardware
- Bed Bath and Beyond
- Crate and Barrel
- The Home Depot
Grocery stores and wholesale clubs
This category offers 2% cash back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter).
Bank of America includes a variety of stores in its “grocery” classifications, such as:
- Grocery stores and supermarkets
- Freezers and meat lockers
- Candy, nut, and confection stores
- Dairy product stores
- Miscellaneous food stores
TipSuperstores such as Walmart and Target aren’t often included in this category, which is typical for most card issuers. Wholesale clubs typically include stores such as Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club.
Other perks of the Customized Cash Rewards card
While the ability to customize categories is a compelling reason to consider the Customized Cash Rewards card, here are some other benefits:
- Welcome bonus offer: This credit card offers a $200 welcome bonus, and you’ll only need to spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening to earn it.
- Low introductory APR: New cardholders can also take advantage of an introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles (then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR), as well as a 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any qualifying balance transfers made in the first 60 days (then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR). There is a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each transaction.
- Flexible redemption options: You can redeem your cash back in any amount at any time. This can be in the form of a statement credit, a direct deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or a credit to an eligible Merrill account. You can also set up automatic redemptions in increments of $25 or more into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account. You can also redeem your cash back as a contribution into a qualifying Merrill 529 account.
WarningOne potential drawback of the Customized Cash Rewards card is that it has a foreign transaction fee of 3%. Another is that you can’t redeem your rewards as gift cards like you can with some other cashback cards.
How to choose a Customized Cash Rewards category
Follow these steps to choose your Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards category:
- Log into your Bank of America account using a web browser to log into online banking or the Bank of America mobile app.
- Find your Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card and select its rewards tab.
- Choose “Get Started” and then “Change Category” to select from the available options.
You can change your category once per month or make no changes and the previous category will stay the same. The default category is gas if you’ve never changed the category.
Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a category:
- What are your typical spending habits? If you typically spend a lot on Amazon, it likely makes sense to choose online shopping. But if you eat out a lot, the dining category could be the better option. Aligning your category choice with your spending habits could help you earn more cash back.
- Do you have any upcoming large purchases? You might choose a category that goes against your normal spending habits if you have an upcoming large purchase. For example, you typically choose gas because you drive a lot, but you know you have some upcoming flights to purchase for a family vacation. In this case, it might make more sense to choose travel over gas for the month you’re buying your flights.
Keep in mind that you have a $2,500 combined spending limit on 2% and 3% categories. This means that you’ll only earn rewards at these increased rates until you’ve spent $2,500 on those categories in a quarter. Anything over the $2,500 limit earns 1% cash back until the next quarter when the limit resets.
For more information, check out our Customized Cash Rewards credit card review.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards is a rewards program that offers certain perks and benefits to qualifying Bank of America customers. These perks apply to these specific Bank of America credit cards:
- Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
- Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card
- Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
- Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card
The Preferred Rewards program is free to join, but you have to meet these two requirements:
- Have an active and eligible Bank of America checking account.
- Have a three-month combined average daily balance of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts (including checking and savings accounts) and/or Merrill® accounts.
If you meet these criteria, you could earn a 25% to 75% bonus (depending on the size of your three-month combined average daily balance) on your cash back with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card.
That could be a significant boost to your earning potential. Let’s say you spend $2,500 on a 3% category in three months. That would typically net you $75 in cashback rewards. A 75% boost would give you 5.25% cash back and net you $131.25 in cash back. That’s $56.25 more rewards for the same amount of spending for being a Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards member.
Other cards to consider
If the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, consider some alternative options. These are a few of the best cashback credit cards available from other credit card issuers:
Citi Double Cash® Card
The Citi Double Cash® Card is considered one of the best credit cards for earning cash back. It has a $0 annual fee and provides 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24. This simple earning rate could be useful if you don’t want to keep track of multiple spending categories.
The Citi Double Cash also provides an introductory APR offer on balance transfers. Receive 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable).
Check out our Citi Double Cash Card review for more details.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ has a $0 annual fee and you can earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
The Freedom Flex also offers 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories you activate (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service); and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Earning an unlimited 3% rate on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service) beats the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for the same spending categories.
Read our Chase Freedom Flex review to learn more.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has a $0 annual fee and a generous welcome bonus: Earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 6 months. Terms apply.
American Express Blue Cash Everyday® also offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 per year on purchases in each category, then 1%); and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases.
The higher rewards caps on the 3% spending categories (compared to the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards) could prove more useful if these are common everyday expenses for you.
Check out our American Express Blue Cash Everyday® review for more information.
How do I change my Bank of America rewards category?
You can change your Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards choice category using your Bank of America online account. This can be done through the Bank of America mobile banking app or by logging into your account through a web browser. Your category is set to “gas” as the default until you change it for the first time.
What are the categories for Bank of America Cash Rewards?
These are the 3% cashback categories for the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards:
- Online shopping
- Drug stores
- Home improvement and furnishings
You can also earn 2% cash back on purchases from grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter).
What is the annual fee for a Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card?
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card has a $0 annual fee. This card also offers 3% cash back on the category of your choice - now with expanded categories; 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 spent each quarter in the 2% and 3% categories combined); and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
What credit score do you need for the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card?
To be approved for the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, you will typically need good to excellent credit. This typically translates to a FICO score of 670 or higher.
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards provides 3% cash back on the category of your choice - now with expanded categories; 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 spent each quarter in the 2% and 3% categories combined); and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
This type of earning structure could make sense depending on your spending habits, but it might not be the right fit for everyone. For other top credit card offers, use our dedicated page to compare credit cards and find the best option for you.
Choose Your Cashback Category
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