What are the Bank Of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card Categories in [November 2022]?

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card bonus categories include gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, home improvement and furnishings, grocery stores, and wholesale clubs.
Last updated Nov. 22, 2022 | By Ben Walker, CEPF | Edited By Melinda Sineriz
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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.

In this article

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:

Gas

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:

  • BP
  • Chevron
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Shell
  • SUNOCO

Online shopping

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:

  • Amazon.com
  • Apple.com
  • BestBuy.com
  • Etsy.com
  • Kohls.com
  • Macys.com
  • Nike.com
  • Target.com
  • Ticketmaster.com
  • Walmart.com

Dining

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:

  • Chili’s
  • Chipotle
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Grubhub
  • McDonald’s
  • Starbucks
  • Subway

Travel

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:

  • Airbnb
  • American Airlines
  • Amtrak
  • Expedia
  • Marriott
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Uber

Drugstores

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:

  • CVS
  • RiteAid
  • Walgreens

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
  • IKEA
  • Lowes
  • Sherwin-Williams
  • 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
  • Bakeries
  • Miscellaneous food stores

Tip
Superstores 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 18 billing cycles (then 16.99% - 26.99% variable APR), as well as a 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any qualifying balance transfers made in the first 60 days (then 16.99% - 26.99% variable APR). There is a balance transfer fee of $10 or 3%, whichever is greater.
  • 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.

Warning
One 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:

  1. Log into your Bank of America account using a web browser to log into online banking or the Bank of America mobile app.
  2. Find your Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card and select its rewards tab.
  3. 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.

Preferred Rewards

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:

The Preferred Rewards program is free to join, but you have to meet these two requirements:

  1. Have an active and eligible Bank of America checking account.
  2. 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 - 18 month BT offer is considered one of the best credit cards for earning cash back. It has a $0 annual fee and provides up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay for those purchases. 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 17.74% to 27.74% (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 $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months.

The Freedom Flex also offers 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases.

Earning an unlimited 3% rate on restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery) and drugstores 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 up to $250 - earn 20% back in statement credits (up to $150) when using your card to shop at PayPal in the first 6 months, plus earn a $100 statement credit after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months.

The 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 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 Blue Cash Everyday from American Express review for more information.

FAQs

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:

  • Gas
  • Online shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • 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; 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.

Bottom line

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards provides 3% cash back on the category of your choice; 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

Annual Fee

$0

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Up to 3% cash back in one category of your choice
  • Long intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Quarterly spending caps
Card Details
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn 3.75%-5.25% cash back on purchases in your choice category.
  • No annual fee and no expiration on rewards.
  • New longer intro period! 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 16.99% - 26.99% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF Ben Walker, CEPF, is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially sound decisions. For over a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben is a Certified Educator of Personal Finance and has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.