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Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card Application Experience & Strategy
Last year PDX Deals Guy covered the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card in detail. At its base level, the card earns 1.5% cashback and works similar to the Arrival Plus in that you charge travel expenses to the card and then redeem your points towards a statement credit against those charges.
On the surface 1.5% cashback doesn’t look very good, but when you dig deeper, this card gets much better. That is because of Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. By being a good Bank of America customer you can get a bonus on the rebate. Here is how it works:
- Bank of America checking or savings customers: 10% bonus or 1.65% cashback.
- Bank of America Preferred Rewards Gold: 25% bonus or 1.875% cashback.
- Bank of America Preferred Rewards Platinum: 50% bonus or 2.25% cashback.
- Bank of America Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors: 75% bonus or 2.625% cashback.
As you can see, for Platinum and Platinum Honors members this card bests any currently available cashback card. Considering there is no annual fee and no cap, it is quite good.
Current Bonus Offer
The card actually has a very good sign-up bonus right now considering it is a no annual fee product.
Current Bonus: 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days – that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases.
My Strategy For Applying
Since I have been doing quite a lot of reselling and since I like to travel a lot, this card has been on my radar for quite some time. Of course the main reason this makes sense is if and only if one has Platinum or Platinum Honors in the Preferred Rewards program. Platinum Honors requires a three month average of $100K between all Bank of America and Merrill Lynch accounts.
I carefully studied the terms and once you join the program, you have status for 12 months before you are re-evaluated. Then, if you don’t re-qualify for your tier, they give you an additional 3 months before knocking you down. In other words, I could get 15 months of Platinum Honors by moving money into BofA temporarily and that is what I did. Thankfully the sale of our house meant I didn’t need to move money from other places & although this money is only passing through it works.
Applying for the Card
Last week I decided to apply for both the Travel Rewards card and the Alaska Airlines 30K + $100 offer. I have applied for two cards before on the same day with Bank of America and the inquiries were merged. Additionally I haven’t opened a Bank of America card in awhile so two cards isn’t really pushing it. Since the Travel Rewards card was more important to my strategy, I submitted that application first and then submitted the Alaska app a few seconds later.
Bank of America Doesn’t Hate Me Anymore – Maybe
For those who haven’t been following along closely, Bank of America has hated me for awhile. For some reason they would approve me for cards, but always with a $1K limit. This forced me to stop applying for Alaska Airlines cards since I always was reduced to a 5K bonus. I was hoping that moving this money into BofA would help strengthen me as a customer.
Both apps took quite awhile to process and the Travel Rewards card came back first with an instant approval! I was also quite shocked when I saw the $17,000 credit limit. Success! Unfortunately the Alaska card processed forever, then asked me some personal information to verify identity and then said they needed to review my application. I am waiting it out and haven’t called them, but I am hoping for an approval.
Between my household’s many Chase Ink Plus cards, our two AT&T Access More cards and now the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card we are setup pretty well for earning maximum rewards on our reselling and everyday purchases. Of course this fun will only last for approximately 15 months, but I’ll deal with that reality next year.
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