Which BoA Credit Card to use?

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arsenalfan
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Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by arsenalfan » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:09 pm

If you're in the top Platinum Honors BoA rewards level and want to maximize cash back, should you use BoA Cash Rewards or Travel Rewards Visa?

lhl12
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by lhl12 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:28 pm

I believe the brand new Premium Rewards card is better than either Cash Rewards or Travel Rewards

avalpert
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by avalpert » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:34 pm

It depends on what you are spending on - groceries, costco and gas have higher rate on the Cash Rewards card and everything else on Travel Rewards. The Premium Reward card has the same generic rate as the Travel Rewards and higher rates for Travel/Restaurants but comes with an annual fee (and offers up to $100 back on incidental spend with airlines like checked baggage/in-flight meals so you could potentially cover the fee).

arsenalfan
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by arsenalfan » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:47 pm

Thanks alvapert. Ugh wasn't aware there was a Premium Reward.
We do grocery, costco, gas, restaurants. About $10k per month paid in full.
Sounds like we'll just stick with Cash Rewards.
Got the Travel Rewards for when we start traveling more - we hit the $2k or whatever is required to get the initial bonus 20k miles, but now I'm trying to decide on which one to keep in the wallet/use for autopay.

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:40 pm

arsenalfan wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:47 pm
Thanks alvapert. Ugh wasn't aware there was a Premium Reward.
We do grocery, costco, gas, restaurants. About $10k per month paid in full.
Sounds like we'll just stick with Cash Rewards.
Got the Travel Rewards for when we start traveling more - we hit the $2k or whatever is required to get the initial bonus 20k miles, but now I'm trying to decide on which one to keep in the wallet/use for autopay.
The good rewards are capped at $10k/year of spending, or more precisely $2.5k/quarter. Looks like your exceeding the spend by 12x.

In light of that additional information, it's optimal for you to spend $2.5k/quarter using Cash Rewards (harvesting 5.25% gas, 3.5% costco/groceries), and everything else on Travel Rewards (2.625%). You can increase your spending/quarter on Cash Rewards by picking up a second or third card though I'm not sure it's worth the hassle for you to deal with that.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

beehappy
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by beehappy » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:46 pm

arsenalfan wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:09 pm
If you're in the top Platinum Honors BoA rewards level and want to maximize cash back, should you use BoA Cash Rewards or Travel Rewards Visa?
I use both cards. Cash rewards for groceries and gas, then Travel Rewards for everything except Amazon, for which I use the Amazon Signature for 5% back. I'm considering switching out the Travel Rewards for the Premium card. I think the sign up bonus and $100 airline incidentals more than make up for the annual fee.

arsenalfan
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by arsenalfan » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:17 pm

Thank everyone! I've never played the miles/travel game. Probably should now that our family is taking 4-8 individual round trips per year?

I'm not a super optimizer, so will probably just stick with the BoA Cash Rewards for now. One card simplicity is key, I'm okay with apple paying for crap at the risk of losing $50-100 per year. I know, I know.

What is the deal with the BoA Premium Card?

duuuuuude
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by duuuuuude » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:45 am

There are caps for the gas/groceries, but you can also get a second cash rewards card and effectively double the limits...for instance every once in awhile we hit the $2500 quarterly limit, so we start using the second cash rewards card for the remainder of the quarter to max out the 3.5% cash back for the grocery category and 5.5% for gas. Otherwise any purchases over the limit yields 1% (+ 75% platinum honors bonus for 1.75%.

If you only have one cash rewards card, getting a second (or more)one will get you the bonus of $262.50 cash back for spending $500 first 3 months ($150 + 75% platinum honors bonus). (Can be a little more than $262.50 if you purchase in the bonus categories).

With the 3.5% at grocery stores we also buy gift cards if we know we're going to spend a certain amount at a retailer, thus netting 3.5% back vs. 1.75% by just using the card alone with the retailer.
Last edited by duuuuuude on Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

mageedge
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by mageedge » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:50 am

IF you are actually spending $120k p.a. on the card and want to use just one of those 2 cards then the Travel Rewards will give you a better deal - 2.625% vs. 1.75% on all but $10k (max cash rewards bonus spend) of your expenditure. That assumes you spend c.$3k p.a. on travel reimbursables.

adman_c
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by adman_c » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:33 am

My understanding of the new Premium Rewards card is that you get the increased base rewards rate of the Travel Rewards card (i.e. 2.625% at platinum honors), but that you can redeem the rewards for cash back, not just travel. The Cash Rewards (for groceries/gas/costco) and the Premium Rewards (for everything else) seems like a pretty outstanding combination if you're at platinum honors level.

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:55 am

adman_c wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:33 am
My understanding of the new Premium Rewards card is that you get the increased base rewards rate of the Travel Rewards card (i.e. 2.625% at platinum honors), but that you can redeem the rewards for cash back, not just travel. The Cash Rewards (for groceries/gas/costco) and the Premium Rewards (for everything else) seems like a pretty outstanding combination if you're at platinum honors level.
The Premium Rewards card gives 2.625% on everything, redeemable in cash. $95 annual fee. There are a few additional perks, but that's mostly it.

The Travel Rewards card gives 2.625% on everything, redeemable in statement credits for travel. $0 annual fee.

If the OP's family travels a decent amount, the Travel Rewards > Premium Rewards. If I were OP only wanting to deal with 1 card, I'd go 100% Travel Rewards.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

beehappy
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by beehappy » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:57 am

adman_c wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:33 am
My understanding of the new Premium Rewards card is that you get the increased base rewards rate of the Travel Rewards card (i.e. 2.625% at platinum honors), but that you can redeem the rewards for cash back, not just travel. The Cash Rewards (for groceries/gas/costco) and the Premium Rewards (for everything else) seems like a pretty outstanding combination if you're at platinum honors level.
The premium also pays 3.75% (at platinum honors) for travel and dining. There's an annual fee of $95, but with 50k points at signup ($500) + $100/year for airline incidentals, it'll pay for itself in our case. And I can probably consolidate my spending onto that card and ditch the cash rewards and travel reward cards for simplicity.

adman_c
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by adman_c » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:59 am

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:55 am
The Premium Rewards card gives 2.625% on everything, redeemable in cash. $95 annual fee. There are a few additional perks, but that's mostly it.

The Travel Rewards card gives 2.625% on everything, redeemable in statement credits for travel. $0 annual fee.

If the OP's family travels a decent amount, the Travel Rewards > Premium Rewards. If I were OP only wanting to deal with 1 card, I'd go 100% Travel Rewards.
I disagree. If the OP’s family travels a decent amount, and they even occasionally pay for a checked bag (4 bags per year total) then the premium rewards card is undeniably better, since the annual fee will be made up for by the reimbursement of airline incidentals.

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:07 am

adman_c wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:59 am
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:55 am
The Premium Rewards card gives 2.625% on everything, redeemable in cash. $95 annual fee. There are a few additional perks, but that's mostly it.

The Travel Rewards card gives 2.625% on everything, redeemable in statement credits for travel. $0 annual fee.

If the OP's family travels a decent amount, the Travel Rewards > Premium Rewards. If I were OP only wanting to deal with 1 card, I'd go 100% Travel Rewards.
I disagree. If the OP’s family travels a decent amount, and they even occasionally pay for a checked bag (4 bags per year total) then the premium rewards card is undeniably better, since the annual fee will be made up for by the reimbursement of airline incidentals.
Airline incidentals are only reimbursed up to $100/year. So at best you're breaking even with the Premium Rewards. At worst you're out $100. To me, this makes Travel Rewards > Premium Rewards.

If you add in the TSA Precheck / Global Entry, the scales can tip barely in favor of Premium Rewards every 5 years when you're up for Global Entry renewal.

2.625% is the best straight cash back (or travel back) rate in the market right now. Both are good cards, though I think Premium Rewards isn't worth the cost given the similarities between the two cards.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

adman_c
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by adman_c » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:30 am

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:07 am
adman_c wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:59 am
I disagree. If the OP’s family travels a decent amount, and they even occasionally pay for a checked bag (4 bags per year total) then the premium rewards card is undeniably better, since the annual fee will be made up for by the reimbursement of airline incidentals.
Airline incidentals are only reimbursed up to $100/year. So at best you're breaking even with the Premium Rewards. At worst you're out $100. To me, this makes Travel Rewards > Premium Rewards.

If you add in the TSA Precheck / Global Entry, the scales can tip barely in favor of Premium Rewards every 5 years when you're up for Global Entry renewal.

2.625% is the best straight cash back (or travel back) rate in the market right now. Both are good cards, though I think Premium Rewards isn't worth the cost given the similarities between the two cards.
Agreed that the cards are extremely similar. For my particular use, we'll easily recoup the Premium Rewards annual fee--my family travels 3-4 times per year and we always need to check at least 2 bags (traveling with young children). We'll benefit from the slightly higher rewards on Travel/Dining and the flexibility to use the rewards for cash back should we choose to. Now I just need to use up my UR points and dump my high-annual-fee CSR card!

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:07 pm

I don't spend a lot, and I don't travel at all. The bulk of my spending is for gas and grocery, so the cash card is better for me. I prefer not to juggle multiple cards, so I just use that for everything unless I have a rotating category on Chase or Discover.
This week's fortune cookie: "You will do well to expand your horizons." Ow. Passive-aggressive and vaguely ominous.

jayhawkerbeef
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by jayhawkerbeef » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:50 am

beehappy wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:57 am
adman_c wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:33 am
My understanding of the new Premium Rewards card is that you get the increased base rewards rate of the Travel Rewards card (i.e. 2.625% at platinum honors), but that you can redeem the rewards for cash back, not just travel. The Cash Rewards (for groceries/gas/costco) and the Premium Rewards (for everything else) seems like a pretty outstanding combination if you're at platinum honors level.
The premium also pays 3.75% (at platinum honors) for travel and dining. There's an annual fee of $95, but with 50k points at signup ($500) + $100/year for airline incidentals, it'll pay for itself in our case. And I can probably consolidate my spending onto that card and ditch the cash rewards and travel reward cards for simplicity.
At platinum honors level keep the cash rewards for groceries (3.5% back) and gas (5.25%) with the bump, ditch just the travel rewards for premium.

Tabulator
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by Tabulator » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:36 am

Does anyone have a Bank of America card with primary car rental insurance? I am not aware of one. It is my understanding that this is an important reason, for those who rent cars, to stay away from Bank of America. Chase offers it with some of their annual fee cards.

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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by travellight » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:04 pm

arsenalfan wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:17 pm
Thank everyone! I've never played the miles/travel game. Probably should now that our family is taking 4-8 individual round trips per year?

I'm not a super optimizer, so will probably just stick with the BoA Cash Rewards for now. One card simplicity is key, I'm okay with apple paying for crap at the risk of losing $50-100 per year. I know, I know.

What is the deal with the BoA Premium Card?
Lol, I just recognised that I am a super optimizer... It's my biggest addition.

drk
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by drk » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:34 pm

arsenalfan wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:17 pm
Thank everyone! I've never played the miles/travel game. Probably should now that our family is taking 4-8 individual round trips per year?

I'm not a super optimizer, so will probably just stick with the BoA Cash Rewards for now. One card simplicity is key, I'm okay with apple paying for crap at the risk of losing $50-100 per year. I know, I know.

What is the deal with the BoA Premium Card?
Not to beat a dead horse, but: with $10k in monthly spending, you're giving up $2,000 a year by only using the CashRewards card, even more if you're paying out of pocket for travel.

overthought
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by overthought » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:34 am

duuuuuude wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:45 am
With the 3.5% at grocery stores we also buy gift cards if we know we're going to spend a certain amount at a retailer, thus netting 3.5% back vs. 1.75% by just using the card alone with the retailer.
Interesting idea! For some reason I thought gift card purchases didn't usually count toward rewards programs, but I don't know how they'd differentiate if I just tossed the card in the cart with my other groceries.

Generator515
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by Generator515 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:06 am

Just throwing it out there, but if spending that much and not opposed to an annual fee...if you are doing a good part of your grocery shopping at an actual supermarket, the Amex Blue Cash preferred gives 6% cash back on groceries ($6K for the year) for a $95 annual fee. Use that card for groceries and then leverage the rest of the $10K on the BoA card for gas and Costco...

Jags4186
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:23 am

Just a quick word of warning regarding BoA credit cards. They offer some of the weakest extended warranty and purchase protection benefits and no price protection benefits. You’ll need to decide if the simplicity of using 1 card is worth giving up those benefits. I’ve really gotten into using price protection this year and I almost always am able to find a better price after I purchase something. Of course I don’t purchase that many items so searching every now and then isn’t that difficult of a proposition.

For non bonused, non “price protection” eligible spend I use AMEX Blue Business Plus for 2x MR. There is no place in my wallet for BOA even at 2.62% cashback.

quizzer25
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by quizzer25 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:48 am

lhl12 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:28 pm
I believe the brand new Premium Rewards card is better than either Cash Rewards or Travel Rewards
I'm a BOA platinum honors member having a travel rewards card, which is also my oldest credit card. Planning to apply for the premium rewards card and convert this travel rewards into cash rewards card (to retain history).

Thinking of buying AA giftcards every year to get the $100 incidental charge and planning to sell the gc's in marketplace. I may lose $15 dollars by doing this with a net loss of $10 as the annual fee is $95.

Hoping to more than cover this loss by:
Additional cashback in gas and grocery in Cash rewards card
Additional cashback in Travel and Dining in Premium rewards card.

I do international travel yearly for atleast $5K and also travel on local trains.

Any points to consider before I apply?

Thanks

danaht
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Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Post by danaht » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:55 am

To maximize your rewards - you should use both the B of A Travel Rewards and Cash Back cards.

1) Use the cash back card for gas, groceries, wholesale and department stores
2) Use the travel rewards card for travel, and everything else that you did not use on #1 - (or use on everything if you reached your quarterly special rewards limit for #1 - which has never happened to me personally)

I also have other credit cards to use in conjunction with the above:
1) Target Red Card - 5% back on Target purchases
2) GM rewards card - 5% back to be used on a new GM vehicle purchase later on the first $5,000 purchases every year. (I only use this card for $5000 of purchases per year) This is probably my weakest card - because it does not collect interest or any compounding while waiting for a new vehicle purchase (once every ten years)

note: Amazon also has a 5% rewards store credit card - I don't have this since I no longer make that many purchases on Amazon.

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