The market for travel rewards credit cards grows a little bigger with the arrival of three new cards from Bank of America. The BankAmericard Travel Rewards, BankAmericard Privileges and WorldPoints Travel Rewards for Business cards cater to frequent international travelers with better-than-average rewards rates.
Features found in all three cards include complimentary concierge service, 24-hour travel and emergency assistance, no foreign transaction fees, no blackout dates and no expiration on points earned.
The no-annual-fee BankAmericard Travel Rewards card offers 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases and 3 points per dollar on the first $6,000 spent through Bank of America’s Travel Center per calendar year. A 10% annual points bonus applies if the cardmember also has a qualifying Bank of America account (i.e., deposits, retirement, investing or trust).
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The BankAmericard Privileges card is a slightly upgraded version of BankAmericard Travel Rewards. It carries a $75 annual fee that is waived for the first year and for customers with at least $50,000 in deposits and investments with Bank of America and its affiliates. Additionally, the card earns 2 points per dollar spent on all purchases and gains priority servicing.
The WorldPoints Travel Rewards for Business acts as the business version of the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card with perks such as easy expense tracking and discounts on business purchases.
Rewards redemption starts at 2,500 points for travel credits, cash back, merchandise and charitable donations. Cardmembers can go online or call to have points redeemed as statement credit to offset the costs of travel purchases.
“With these new travel cards, customers can earn reward points faster and can choose any airline, hotel or other travel provider for their travel plans,” said Susan Faulkner, an executive of consumer and small-business products at Bank of America, in a prepared statement.
Previously, Bank of America only offered branded travel credit cards with companies including Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, AAA, Royal Caribbean, Virgin Atlantic and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Some features of Bank of America’s newly-released credit cards follow trends in the financial industry.
Capital One is known for sticking with the no-foreign-transaction-fee policy on all of its credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a popular travel rewards card targeted at affluent customers that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Bank of America’s new cards join this group to attract consumers who seek to avoid the fees related to making card purchases abroad.
Also, Bank of America offers an incentive to open more accounts because of the 10% annual points bonus. Relationship banking became increasingly important after recent snafus led bank customers to close their accounts and banks struggle to maintain its fee revenue stream.
Bank of America is the third-largest U.S. credit card issuer by purchase volume, behind Chase and American Express, according to The Nilson Report.
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