Bank Of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card vs. Bank Of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card: What’s the Difference?

The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards provides cash back and intro APR offers, but the Bank of America Travel Rewards offers points and has no foreign transaction fees.
Last updated Sept. 29, 2022 | By Ben Walker, CEPF | Edited By Melinda Sineriz
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For most, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is likely better than the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for its introductory APR offers and for earning cash back.

But the Travel Rewards card is better for earning travel rewards, avoiding foreign transaction fees, and using points for travel redemptions.

Let’s dig into the details of this Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards vs. Travel Rewards review so you can see which credit card might be the best fit.

In this article

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards vs. Travel Rewards

Both the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and Bank of America Travel Rewards are issued by Bank of America and use the Visa payment network. But the Unlimited Cash Rewards focuses on earning cash back and providing an intro APR offer on qualified balance transfers.

On the other hand, the Travel Rewards card focuses on earning points that can be redeemed for statement credits toward travel and dining purchases.

Check out this table to quickly compare the main perks and benefits of both cards, including their sign-up bonuses, redemption methods, and intro APR offers.

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Card type Cash back/Balance transfer Travel
Credit card issuer Bank of America Bank of America
Credit card network Visa Visa
Annual fee $0 $0
Welcome bonus Earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
Earning rate Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
Redemption methods
  • Statement credits
  • Deposits into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account
  • Credits into eligible Merrill® accounts
  • Statement credits for travel and dining purchases
  • Deposits into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account
  • Credits into an eligible Cash Management Account® with Merrill 
  • Gift cards 
  • Mailed checks
Intro APR See Terms intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases (then See Terms)

See Terms intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any qualifying balance transfers made in the first 60 days (then See Terms)
See Terms intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases (then See Terms)


See Terms intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any qualifying balance transfers made in the first 60 days (then See Terms)

Other benefits
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Visa Signature concierge
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Visa Signature concierge
  • Secondary rental car insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
Foreign transaction fee 3% None
Credit score needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good
Apply Now Apply Now

What both cards excel at

The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and Bank of America Travel Rewards share these similarities:

  • Annual fees: The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards has a $0 annual fee while the Bank of America Travel Rewards also has a $0 annual fee.
  • Welcome offers: Both the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards provide valuable bonus offers. These could be helpful to new cardholders for earning a large amount of rewards soon after account opening.
  • Rewards rates: The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases while the Travel Rewards card offers 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. It’s basically the same flat rate and no bonus categories, with the only difference being the type of rewards you earn.
  • Intro APR offers: Both credit cards provide intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers. The Unlimited Cash Rewards offers See Terms intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then See Terms APR. The Travel Rewards offers See Terms intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then See Terms APR.
  • Preferred Rewards: Many Bank of America credit cards offer access to the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. You have to meet certain requirements to become a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member — such as having an active and eligible Bank of America checking account and having $20,000 or more in eligible accounts over a three-month period — but you could earn up to a 75% rewards bonus on your credit card purchases if you reach the Platinum Honors tier.
  • Payment networks: Both cards use the Visa payment network, which is accepted in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.
  • Additional card benefits: You’ll find certain benefits on both cards, including extended warranty protection, roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance services, and access to 24/7 Visa Signature concierge services.

4 important differences between Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards

Compare these four important differences between the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards to see which card might make the most sense for you:

1. Type of rewards

The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards is a cashback credit card while the Bank of America Travel Rewards earns points. There’s not much of a difference between what this means except the available redemption options (more details on this below).

Overall, you typically want a card that earns cash back rewards if you prefer cash-related redemption options. But a card that earns points or miles would typically have travel-related redemption options.

If you prefer earning cash back, check out our Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards review for more details.

Winner: Tie. It depends on whether you prefer earning cash back or travel rewards.

2. Redemption options

At first glance, it seems like the redemption options on the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards are cut and dry — the Unlimited Cash Rewards offers cash-related redemptions while the Travel Rewards offers travel-related redemptions.

But digging deeper into the terms and conditions for each credit card, you see that the redemption options are fairly similar with a few, small differences.

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Redemption methods
  • Statement credits
  • Deposits into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account
  • Credits into eligible Merrill® investment accounts
  • Statement credits for travel and dining purchases
  • Deposits into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account
  • Credits into an eligible Cash Management Account® with Merrill 
  • Gift cards 
  • Mailed checks

Most notably, the Bank of America Travel Rewards has many of the same redemption options as the Unlimited Cash Rewards, even though one card is focused on travel rewards while the other is focused on cash back. There are also a few extra options on the Travel Rewards such as gift cards and mailed checks — though, these generally aren’t as useful as bank deposits or statement credits.

Keep in mind a few distinctions with the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards. “Statement credits” aren’t limited to travel and dining purchases like they are on the Travel Rewards. Also, “credits into eligible Merrill® accounts” includes eligible cash management and 529 Merrill accounts, while the Travel Rewards redemption only includes the cash management option.

There’s no clear winner between the two credit cards based on their redemption options because it’s highly dependent on your preferences. At the end of the day, either cards’ rewards could be used for bank deposits, which is essentially straight cash that could be used for anything.

Winner: Tie. It depends on your redemption preferences.

3. Foreign transaction fees

The best travel credit cards don’t typically have foreign transaction fees because frequent travelers don’t want to deal with this additional expense. Since the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards isn’t marketed as a “travel card,” it comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee.

On the other hand, the Bank of America Travel Rewards doesn’t carry foreign transaction fees — making it the clear winner in this category. Read our Bank of America Travel Rewards review to learn more.

Winner: Bank of America Travel Rewards because it doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.

4. Visa Signature benefits

Both the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards are Visa Signature credit cards. This means they have additional benefits for cardholders.

But which Visa Signature benefits a card receives depends on the credit card issuer. The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards offers these Visa Signature benefits:

  • Extended warranty protection
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Visa Signature concierge

The Bank of America Travel Rewards offers these Visa Signature benefits:

  • Secondary rental car insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Visa Signature concierge

The Bank of America Travel Rewards is this winner here because it offers the same benefits as the Unlimited Cash Rewards plus more travel-focused benefits.

Winner: Bank of America Travel Rewards because it offers more Visa Signature benefits.

Which card should you choose?

Neither of these credit cards is outright better than the other as it depends on your preferences. But consider these scenarios to help you decide which card makes the most sense for you.

You should choose the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards if:

  • You prefer earning cash back over travel rewards.
  • You want specific redemption options such as general statement credits or credits into eligible Merrill accounts (including qualifying 529 accounts with Merrill).

You should choose the Bank of America Travel Rewards if:

  • You prefer earning travel rewards over cash back.
  • You want specific redemption options such as statement credits toward flights, hotel stays, vacation rentals, baggage fees, and restaurant purchases.
  • You want to avoid foreign transaction fees.
  • You want more travel-related Visa Signature benefits.

Either credit card could provide you with valuable rewards on your everyday spending. For more top credit card offers, check out our list of the best rewards credit cards.

FAQs

Is the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card worth it?

Yes, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card is worth it as a credit card that offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and $0 annual fee. It also provides intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers and you could earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.

Is the Unlimited or Customized Cash Rewards card better?

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is likely better than the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards because it offers higher cashback rates in spending categories such as gas, dining, grocery stores, wholesale clubs, and online shopping. But the Unlimited Cash Rewards could make sense if you want a simple rewards rate and fewer cards to carry.

What is the maximum you can redeem for with Unlimited Cash Rewards?

There is no maximum you can redeem for with the Unlimited Cash Rewards. The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards has no limit on cash back you can earn and no maximum redemption amount. These redemptions require a minimum redemption amount of $25:

  • Statement credits
  • One-time Bank of America bank account deposits
  • Credits to a qualifying 529 account with Merrill

Bottom line

There’s not much difference between the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and Bank of America Travel Rewards.

But the Unlimited Cash Rewards is the better option if you want to earn cash back. The Travel Rewards card is the better option if you prefer travel rewards and want to avoid foreign transaction fees.

If these cards don’t make sense for you, use our dedicated page to compare credit cards and find the right card for your wallet.

Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on All Purchases

Annual Fee

$0

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • $200 cash rewards bonus offer
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Long intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee
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 unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn 1.87%-2.62% cash back on every purchase with Preferred Rewards.
  • No annual fee.
  • No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn and cash rewards don't expire.
  • 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.